Internal Bifold Doors Size & Buying Guide
Bifold doors are a versatile, great looking type of door that you can use for open plan living solutions, for walk-in closets, storage areas, and more. These doors are just coming back into fashion, though, and finding the perfect design isn’t always easy. This quick guide will help to take some of the stress out of buying internal bi-fold doors.
What is a BiFold Door?
Bifold doors feature three doors, linked together. The doors fold in two places (which is why they are called bi-fold doors). That is the strict definition of a bi-fold door. However, you will find that a lot of people – both buyers and manufacturers – refer to any door that folds as a bi-fold door, even if it folds in more than two places, or if it is just a two panel door.
Picking the Right Size of Door
As with any other interior door, the standard height of a bi-fold door is 2074mm. The doors are designed so that you can trim them down to 2040mm to fit most openings. If you need something taller or shorter than those dimensions then you will need to get a door specifically designed for your opening.
You have more flexibility with the width of the door. You’ll find that it’s quite easy to buy doors starting from 1671mm wide, and that run all the way up to 4652mm wide. Smaller, and wider, options are usually easy to find too. Usually, each individual panel can be between 700mm and 1000mm wide, and you can choose the sizes and configurations of door to suit your opening – so an opening that is 2800mm wide could have up to four 700mm doors, or two 1000mm and one 800mm, or some other configuration, depending on your preferences.
It’s a good idea to talk to the door manufacturer to get some advice about the configuration of the doors. The size of each panel, the position of the handles, and the number of panels can all make a difference to how easy the door is to open, and how smooth the pull is.
If you want custom sized bifold doors, then you can get them made. You will need to supply the manufacturer with the required size of the door. Note that this is not the size of the rough opening, but the size of the opening once the frame is in place. Make sure that the opening is plumb, and take several measurements across and down, so that you get an accurate picture of the size of the door. Supply the biggest measurements – you can always plane down the door to make it fit (as long as the difference is just a few mm), but you can’t make a door that is too small any bigger.
Thickness and Panel Size
Internal bifolding doors come in a range of thicknesses. You can get slimline doors that have a sight-line of just 132mm, or continental style doors with 140mm sight lines. There are thicker doors that are solid wood or that are slatted. The profile you choose will depend on your budget, the material the doors are made from, and how much you care about noise-insulation, etc.
There is no hard limit on the size of a bifold door – you can get them as big as 6250mm wide if they are made out of aluminium, or even bigger with mechanical joins. However, bigger doors will be heavier. Usually, it’s not recommended to get panels that will end up weighing more than 80-100kg, because they are simply unmanageable. Even with good, smooth runners moving a heavy door can be unpleasant. It’s usually a better option to go for smaller panels and more folds.
Avoid going too small with the panels, though – anything smaller than 700mm, and you will find that the panels start to bind when they fold, which makes them hard to operate.
How Many Doors?
The standard style of bi-fold door features three doors. You can buy folding doors which have more door panels – five, for example – and these are a good choice if you have a very large opening to fit a door to. It is possible to purchase bi-fold doors that have an even number of door panels, however most people find that these are frustrating to operate. Whenever you want to open the door, you will find that you have to pull open two doors, which takes longer and can be a little more awkard. Systems with just three or five doors are easier to use.
Trackless or Tracked?
Trackless systems are good if you have a relatively small opening, with light doors. They look nicer, since all of the running gear is concealed at the head of the door. However top-hung systems with a base track are better for bigger door panels, and for larger doors, so which system you choose will mostly come down to personal preference.
Installing Internal Bifold Doors
It is quite easy to install an interior bifold door; certainly far easier than fitting an external door, where security is a greater concern. You can fit an internal bi-fold door in an hour, and it doesn’t require a lot of specialist tools – just a cordless drill, a ladder, and a hammer. Even fitting the runners is quite a simple process as long as you work slowly and systematically.
Once the door is in place, all you need to do is keep it clean and well maintained. Take some time to vacuum clean the runners periodically, so that you don’t have to worry about debris, dust or dirt clogging them and making the door hard to open.