If you’re reading this, then chances are that you’re a small contractor or builder who recently was asked to install a high-quality folding door system. Like most builders or carpenters focused on building the perfect door, you want to make sure that you get it all right. From the airtight seal on patio door panels to the alignment of the glazed glass panels for interior doors, every little detail counts.
In today’s post, we want to give the builders a simple guide on the basic steps of installing the highest-quality folding doors. Whether you’ve been contracted to complete a residential installation or you’re working on a commercial project with large openings and panoramic views, we’re here to show you just how simple these systems are to install.
Why Bi-Fold Door Systems Are A Great Option
At first, the prospect of installing these large multi-point doors in somebody’s living area may seem like a daunting task- especially if you’ve never done it before. Thankfully, installation is a good deal easier than it looks on the surface. Before you try to talk your client out of the idea or convince them that sliding doors or swing doors are better options, here are a few reasons why bi-fold door systems are an excellent option when it comes to business and home decor.
Folding Doors Are Energy-Efficient
Although they may not look like it, today’s folding doors dominate the market in terms of energy efficiency. Most of these doors were originally designed in Southern California, which is known for having some of the country’s strictest energy codes for building materials (including windows and door systems). If they can pass California’s codes, they can pass just about anywhere else on the globe.
Manufacturers are able to accomplish this with thermally-efficient low-emissivity glass (referred to as low-e glass). This involved layering glazed glass with a reflective coating designed to reflect most of the sun’s harmful UV rays and thermal infrared rays. In addition to this, they often inject Argon gas between the window glazing to further control the energy transfer between outside and inside the living area.
There’s a reason why most of these folding doors come with a 5 to 10-year warranty. From high-quality stainless steel hardware to reinforced-aluminum and solid wood door stiles, these are some heavy-duty door systems.
Apart from the door frame, your client will also be able to choose from a wide range of glass options to ensure that they’re getting the maximum energy efficiency out of the system along with any additional impact-resistance qualities.
Versatile Design Options
Since each individual panel is connected via a multi-point system, there’s quite a bit of versatility in terms of configurations and design options. Some folding door systems even allow builders to create round doorways or dual-wall entrances.
Your clients will also be able to choose between whether or not they want bi-folds for a small entrance or for large openings. Smaller systems may only involve 3 to 5 panels, while large systems may include upwards of 10 individual door panels.
How To Install Folding Door Systems
By now, hopefully, you’re feeling a bit more confident about the product itself. Now, let’s take a look at how to install folding doors. Patio doors tend to be the hardest jobs and may require the most additional renovation while room dividers, small closet doors, and interior doors tend to be simpler jobs.
Step 1: Take Your Measurements
If the measurements aren’t done right the first time, then everything afterward could fail. It’s therefore vital that you and your client work together to figure out exactly how large they want their folding doors to be and then properly measure the height, width, and depth of the area where they’re going to be.
While you’re at it make sure you take note of any studs, structural supports, or important wires and pipes that may need to be re-routed if you have to knock down portions of the wall.
Step 2: Figure Out The Right Configuration
The second step is to figure out the configuration with your client. Where do they want the everyday use door positioned? Would they prefer the doors open outwards or inwards? While they may seem like insignificant questions, every detail matters.
Step 3: Make Sure The Homeowner Has The Right Accordion Door
Once the homeowner decides on the size and configuration, they’re ready to order. Make sure to double-check the order before they place it, though. As the builder, you’ll want to make sure that they selected all of the right options so they can avoid delaying the job by having to return or replace it.
Step 4: Remove Any Walls Or Barriers
Once the new folding door system is in, you’re ready to start knocking down walls and expanding any existing doorways. Just make sure that you’re aware of where any other wires and important pipes might be before you take the sledgehammer to the wall. It may be wise to temporarily turn off the home’s water supply or electricity to prevent any accidents.
Step 5: Cut The Floor Track
Once the space is open, you’re ready to cut a floor track. This is where the bottom half of the door’s supports will slide across when the panels are opened or closed. Make sure it’s as straight as possible to avoid any hiccups when the door opens.
Step 6: Install Ceiling Track
The top door track works with the floor track to keep the door panels perfectly suspended and operating smoothly. This is going to pretty much be the same as installing the floor track. Just make sure that all screws and installation hardware is flush so that it doesn’t hinder any wheel or pin movement once the doors are installed.
Step 7: Install The Doors
Now that the supports are all installed, you’re ready to start placing your door panels on their new tracks. Usually, you’ll place one panel at a time on the track until they’re all in place. Then, you’ll connect the hinges to each other to create the full system.
Step 8: Test The Doors
Don’t forget to test the doors once you’re finished installing! Go through a few door revolutions and have your client do the same to ensure that everything is operating as smoothly as it can be.
If you have any trouble installing these doors, your best bet is to call the manufacturer. They know these door systems better than anybody and may be able to provide you with all of the exact charts and building instructions that you need.