How to Hang Bi-Fold Doors - dummies

By Gene Hamilton, Katie Hamilton

Bi-fold doors are frequently used in bathroom storage closets or as a way to conceal a clothes washer and dryer when the bathroom does double duty as the laundry room. The trouble with the track hardware of most traditional bi-fold doors is that it folds the four panels of the doors into the jamb, taking up valuable space. The two door panels on each side take up almost 12 inches, limiting the access and usability of the closet.

Full-access folding door hardware, which is installed as a hinging mechanism so the door panels can lay flat against each other, is a better choice. The panels fold outside of the jamb against the wall, giving you easier access to the closet or laundry equipment.

Here are the directions for installing the hardware kit for a full-access folding door made by Johnson Hardware, which is the type we’ve installed. If you’re using another brand, follow the manufacturer’s directions. The steps that follow give you an idea of the work involved:

  1. Lay out the position of the hinges on the door.

    Measure 7-1/8 inches down from the top of the jamb and mark the edge of the jamb. Make a second layout mark 3 inches down from the top hinge and another mark 31 inches down from this mark.

  2. Align the hinge so that the top edge of the hinge is on the layout line with the front of the hinge flush with the jamb casing, and mark the location of the mounting screws on the jamb. Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes for the mounting screws and then install the hinges with the screws provided. Install the hinges with the pin side of the hinge facing up.

  3. On the edge of the bi-fold door that faces the jamb, make layout lines 7 inches from the top of the door, 31 inches down from this mark, and another 31 inches farther down the door.

  4. Install the other half of the hinges so the holes for the hinge pins are facing down and the bottom edges of the hinges are aligned with the layout marks and flush against the face of the door.

  5. Hang the door and test its fit.

  6. Install the hinges on the other jamb and door if you’re hanging four doors.

  7. Remove the doors from the jamb hinges.

  8. Place the doors face side down on a flat surface and align the doors at the top and bottom.

  9. Mark the location of the mounting screws, drill pilot holes, and mount the hinges with the screws provided.


    Locate the door hinges 6 inches from the top of the doors and then every 31 inches.

  10. Rehang the doors and check their movement.

  11. Install the control arm bracket on the back of the outer bi-fold door so that it’s flush with the outer edge of the door.

    If the jamb has a headstop, measure its thickness and add 1 inch to this measurement to calculate how far down from the top of the door to mount the control arm bracket. If there is no stop, mount the bracket 1 inch from the top.

  12. Attach the arm to this bracket and then open the doors so that they fit flush against the wall.

  13. Adjust the length of the control arm so that it’s 1/4 inch less than the width of one door.

  14. Screw the other end of the bracket to the jamb or to the doorstop.