After receiving its first United States patent in 1972, metal bi fold closet doors have made a tremendous difference in architecture design of new homes. With its creation, and with the need to build smaller and more affordable homes, bedrooms, once overtaken by closet space and door functioning requirements, became smaller, leaving smaller spaces available for closets. To adjust to the smaller room size and the smaller closet door frames, builders began using bi-fold doors. Today, bi-fold doors are commonplace and are now utilized in a variety of ways. Some bi-fold doors function as closet door coverings, pantry entrances, and room separators or when vertically hung, they operate as garage doors or aircraft hangar doors. By using a high-grade unbreakable glass material, some manufactures are producing glass bi-fold track systems for a quick protection device for homes and businesses to protect against tornados, floods, and hurricanes.
Construction and installation of a metal bi fold closet door is rather simple and consists of two panels hinged together and placed on a framing track or metal rail anchored into the doorframe. Wheels or casters attached to the door panels allow the door to swing open, and the two panels meet outwardly. Older models of bi-fold doors, usually manufactured with metal material, received a variety of complaints from consumers. The most common complaints consisted of issues with the bi-fold doors becoming unhinged and the wheels, or casters jumping the track. Other complaints included the door becoming unstable over time and with repeated use to the point not closing evenly or not opening properly.
Fortunately, metal bi-fold door construction has greatly improved and with the price of the tracking material, wheel casters and door material decreasing, the bi-fold door has increased in popularity once again.
With their multi-use functionality, construction materials used to manufacture bi-fold doors has become just as diverse. Although the most common material used is metal, bi-fold doors are also manufactured from solid wood, compressed wood, hollow wood, vinyl, mirrors, and glass.
Frequently used for closet doors or as pantry entrances, metal bi-fold doors are the most popular and the most reasonably priced. When purchasing a bi-fold door, it is wise to measure the doorframe, allowing room for the frame tracking system and the metal door panels with the caster wheels attached. Often, the bi-fold door closet track and hardware are sold separately from the panels themselves. You can also purchase all-inclusive kits, (panels, hardware and metal track), but the quality of the panels, and the track and hardware system is a bit lower than materials sold separately. Depending on the quality of track you wish to purchase, closet door hardware and track kits can cost approximately $26.00 for light weight material (best used for minimal, indoor use), about $40.00 for higher residential or commercial grades (for frequent door use) or $79.00 for the finest quality track kit systems.
Manufactured with a thin sheet of metal, metal bi-fold door panels are both durable and easy to maintain. Most varieties are flush and the sleek panels are available in a variety of colors to add to the décor of any room. Additionally, some metal bi-fold door panels are designed to give the panel a “locker style” feel, which will add a collegiate appeal to a child’s bedroom closet. Final costs for metal bi-fold panels depend on your chosen style, color, and thickness of the metal you wish to purchase. Prices can range from $60.00 for cheaper quality panels and quickly increase to $150.00 or more for higher, quality metal panels or for those with a more decorative design.
One of the serious safety malfunctions with the bi-fold door is the high chance of a child gaining access to the door, opening the panels, resulting in injury to fingers. Since the metal bi-fold door panels do not come with a lock often available on solid doors, a bi-fold lock was designed to prevent opening of the door. The lock is attached between to two panels at a high level so a child cannot reach the lock. Metal bi-fold closet door locks cost less than $5.00 and are very easy to install.
Installation of a metal bi-fold door depends on the tracking system and the panels you have purchased. Each system includes instructions on how to install your track hardware properly. In order for your metal bi-fold closet door to work properly, it is highly suggested to follow the manufacturer installation instructions.