Folding doors are the doors that fold in on themselves; whether they come in two or four sections (or more, if they’re custom made), the opening is in the middle. They are usually suspended from the top rails by rollers or wheels, with bottom rails to guide them. The panels, connected by centralized hinges, can be moved back and forth with a knob or by pulling on the innermost panel.
Most often used as an alternative to sliding doors, French doors and regular cabinet doors, the larger ones can be used as room dividers, while their smaller versions can be found in kitchen hallways or in the laundry rooms.
The benefits of saving a lot of space are obvious: when opened, they take up much less space than normal doors; it can be argued that installing bi-fold doors actually creates additional space. For example, when used as patio doors, bi-fold doors allow you to open your home to the outdoors and let in fresh air and natural light. That makes them ideal wherever unobstructed views are desired.
Bi-fold doors look just as good whether they are closed, open, or half open. You can choose from a variety of materials: wood, aluminum, and vinyl are the most common. Bi-fold doors made from premium hardwood like wood can add a touch of class with a modern twist to any space.
Are there any drawbacks to installing bi-fold doors? Although they are more common than before, they are still considered a luxury: they cost more than normal doors. However, the cost can be worth it: not only because of their high functionality, but because they tend to give any space a sleek, contemporary look.
What about security? Don’t be fooled by their appearance: they are built to be robust and can be additionally equipped with anti-drill key cylinders and high-security hinges. If you’re worried about children getting their fingers caught between the panels, you’ll be relieved to find that newer bi-fold doors come with a safety feature to prevent such accidents.
People who habitually pull the knob on a folding door outward, as on a normal door, and not sideways, as they are designed to be pulled, can put a lot of stress on the tracks and wheels. That can cause the tracks to bend or the wheels to come off. If you decide to install folding doors, to enjoy all the benefits they have to offer for a long time, always try to push the doors to the side in a linear fashion.