For the door, the variations will be the type of door material such as wood, laminate or metals, glass or mirror even and the quality of the door material. Is it hollow or solid, what is the thickness of the materials and the like. You usually know when you grab a door, the quality of the materials with which it was made. Feel for a good weight too. When considering bi-folds and accordions, remember you don’t want it too heavy as it could have difficulty maintaining its track depending on its size and the sturdiness of the framework its being applied to. The hardware comes into play here as well but we’ll get into depth in that in a moment.
It might seem like more work than you want to do but you might want to consider upgrading your closet framework. I’d only suggest this if its obviously sub-standard or you plan on putting in say, a solid wood glass veneered set of accordion doors – that’s very heavy, and unless you want it all crashing down, you’ll want to upgrade and ‘bolster’ the support system. All that said there are many doors you may hang without going to all that trouble and where your existing doorframe will do just fine.
This brings us to the hardware. This is really what makes the difference in how and how well your accordion closet doors will work. The various types of hardware for your closet doors are:
The traditional mount design, you’ve probably seen it, is attached to the top of the door, has a rather compact track size and 2 or 3 wheel hangers that glide the door open and closed.
A full-access mount refers to the same idea with a hinge of sorts allowing the door to be swung completely out of the way and folding flush to the wall adding about 3 more inches to your closet access. These are not suggested in a high traffic or low care area as, having more vulnerability by design, they can be more easily damaged than most other hardware mounts. In a smaller area though, they might be just the right answer.
Tap-in is the kind we’ve all seen in contractor grade settings. They’re the very ‘affordable’ version of the traditional mount. The difference is no wheels but instead, a silicone sealed rubber ‘top’ that spins in the track.
The side mounted accordion closet doors is my favorite. It’s the most discreet look actually making the door appear to slide in the air. It does this by virtue of its extra stability. It attaches to the door with an el bracket. The el offers two points of contact and much greater stability and endurance. This design is sensible anywhere but great for the kids room and or guest closet. The side-mount is an easy upgrade and well placed extra dollar. This small modification to the traditional accordion door hardware design can save you hours and days in the years to come in home repair and headache. And if you manage rental properties, you can’t live without it. Just buy in bulk and keep in inventor, as your old hardware breaks, replace it with these sets.
This link offers great visuals and really good zooms of all the above mentioned styles of available hardware. The zooms are high quality and can load a bit slowly but they’re worth it for understanding the differences and the quality variations out there.
Next time your looking around at closet doors, you’ll notice that even from a distance you can tell side-mounted accordion doors from the rest. They just hang better. But, whatever you choose, go for quality and your doors will stand the test of time.