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Bi-Fold Doors: Advice to a Newbie

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SSJS

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Hi All – I have been perusing the amazing forums for quite a while now, absorbing as much as I can, being a (very) new woodworker –if I can call myself that at all!

I decided to experiment and make my own external bi-fold doors as the ones that we liked were extremely expensive –close to £6K without fitting. I made a quick sketch in Fusion 360, which I am familiar with, and I wanted to harness the beehive wisdom of this forum and check that my rationale doesn't have TOO many flaws :) And also to ask some questions...

- Door Dimensions: the rough opening width and height are 2.27m x 2m, so I calculated that each door panel should have as follows: door thickness: 58mm, door stiles width: 95mm, top rail height: 95mm and bottom rail height: 185mm. Given the 26.8mm double glazed panel, do these dimensions look alright? Would I be able to get away (safely) with thinner door stiles?

- Laminated –VS– TEC –VS– Solid Wood: initially, I wanted to order solid Iroko or Douglas Fir for the doors, however I read an old (but gold) post from 2011 re: bi-fold doors talking about laminating. Which one would be more preferable given that I don't own a planer/thicknesser and I was looking at ordering some PAR wood for this project. Any thoughts to avoid warping / wood movement? In terms of the overall cost, is it worth investing in a benchtop thicknesser instead of buying PAR timber?

- If I order cut-to-size PAR, what are the things I should consider when it comes down to dimensions?

- Bottom Rolling Door System: I spent a considerable time to find the best value-for-money system. I saw Hafele Slido Fold Bottom Rolling, Centor F3 and Barrier Components Vistafold – all suitable for external bi-fold doors. The price difference is considerable!!! The most affordable is the Vistafold system at £380 incl. VAT. Any thoughts on this one too?

I regret for the long email and I appreciate the community's wisdom! Thank you in advance!
 

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MARK.B.

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Please dont take this the wrong way, but as a very new woodworker you might just be biting of more than you can chew in taking on such a project at the moment. I have no idea of your background or capabilities/access to tools etc but would suggest you start off doing something a tad easier than this.
There are plenty of people on here with the skills and knowelege to advise you but even so it's a big project for a begginer to take on.
 

Terry - Somerset

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I think this could be a very ambitious project for someone with limited experience unless you habitually work carefully to fine tolerances and time is not a constraint - eg: doing accurate tight joints at the corners. You are obviously concerned about style and appearance and this is a job which will be on show for years to come.

I would not claim to be any sort of expert (I would be reluctant to start a project like this) but a number of points are clear and may not already be factored into your design:

- you will need a router and appropriate bits to make a rebate into which the double glazing sits
- you need to think about how the glazing will be retained in the rebate - wooden strip?
- you will need to consider how the joins between the doors, and the doors and surround, are to be sealed when the doors are closed.
- I assume your track system comes with locks etc - otherwise need to think about security
- I assume that there is a wood frame - this may need rebating appropriately for seals and door closure

If you have very limited tools you may be into a some spend for router, chisels, workbench, saws, drill etc. Sorry to be a bit negative!!
 

AJB Temple

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My advice is don't.

A lot of the effect of bifold or sliding doors, is minimising frames and maximising view. Wood is not ideal for that. Plus wood moves. Bifold doors tend to be on south facing walls and can get extremes of sun and rain. Equals - wood moves a lot.

Once you have bought stable wood, track, suitable glass and realised how difficult it is to to a good job, you will have saved maybe £2k but in a few years you will replace them with manufactured ones.

I can make doors and windows. I would not dream of doing this as a novice. But, I wish you the very best of luck if you do.
 

Trevanion

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Bifolding doors, the biggest pain in the ass even for professionals.

Most people think they want bifolding or sliding doors for a small opening but really what they want is a slap around the head with a newspaper and being told they need a french door or a single door with two glass side panels at a fraction of the cost and many times more reliable.

If you've got absolutely no skill level, I would not even consider it, I don't like to discourage people from doing things themselves but this is simply something that shouldn't be DIYed, sorry.
 

Horsee1

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I’ve never made bi folds but everyone I’ve seen making them always looks to be having a horrible time.
Are you going to push on regardless and prove everyone wrong?
 

profchris

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A quick search found me solid (laminate 3 ply) oak doors very like your drawing for under £2,500, I guess plus VAT so £3k.

https://www.aspire-doors.co.uk/external ... -solid-oak

Would yours look better and be cheaper? If not ...

And to be honest, if you're relying on PAR timber to be an exact size, and straight, then you're in for a disappointment! Other problems aside, your doors wont fit.
 
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