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Facts of life with Folding Doors

Along with the many benefits folding doors provide for your home, they also come a few small drawbacks. Once understood though these drawbacks can readily be dealt with by the operator.

Pictured: Bifold stacker door installed by Aluminium Plus

One of these drawbacks has to do with odd numbers of panels and the tendency for the end panel to ‘drop’ as it is operated. This characteristic is symptomatic of all weathersealed folding doors, and all folding doors where the carriers are mounted on the ends of the panels. It is not a product flaw – it is merely a quirk of the laws of physics.

In a system with 5 doors opening in one direction, if all panels are unbolted and fully opened you may or may not notice anything odd – depending on just how you went about the opening sequence. If now from the fully open position you swing the single ‘access’ panel to a closed position (parallel to the track and channel) you will likely notice that it hangs at an angle. The heavier and wider the door panels are, and the thinner the door panels are, the more it will hang or ‘drop’.

This is ‘drop’ is caused by the twisting of the other 4 panels as the fifth panel tends to pull the top out and push the bottom in. If you had 7 doors instead of 5 it would be even more noticeable, and if you had 3 doors it would be less so.

It is possible for the end of the door to even drag on the sill if the operator just grabs the end of the swinging door and pulls it along to close the doors.

Pictured: If not stacked back properly when fully opening door, the swinging door panel can drop and drag along bottom sill.

The Solution?

When closing (and opening) the doors to it's full opening size (and the fixed panels are being stacked onto one another), the single swinging door needs to be opened right up, either at 90° the track or even right back against the next door. If the swinging door is kept in this position as the stacking doors are operated the swinging door ‘drop’ will not occur. See diagram below.

Pictured: If swinging door is either held firmly at 90° or pushed onto the adjacent fixed panel and then pushed back the swinging door won't cause damage to the sill.

Glen Pacholke

On behalf of Centor Architectural

Pictured: 9 panel stacker door with swing door positioned in the centre, installed by Aluminium Plus

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