Common bifold door problems and how to fix them
Many homes in the UK have bifold doors fitted either internally or externally. Internal bifold doors are common for partitions, whereas external bifold doors are a great way to open up a living space, extension or summer house.
This, therefore, means that bifold door problems are common in the UK, and there are many reasons why this may be.
Firstly let's take a look at what the most common problems are when it comes to fixing bifold doors.
Often bifold door repairs can be quick, easy, and be a DIY solution, but in other cases, it may be better to get replacement bifolding doors.
Here are some of the most occurring issues:
- Bifold door won't shut
- Bifold door not shutting flush
- Bifold door locks not engaging
- Bifold doors sticking or not sliding properly.
- Bifold doors make a noise when opening
- Bifold doors dropped
- Bifold doors won't open
One of the main things you will notice in this guide is how to fix bifold doors and that the problems are more often than not the same problem, the main difference is how it affects your bifolds.
All these issues are common problems with composite doors, uPVC doors, and other types of external doors too.
Factors that can affect problems with bifolding doors
There are several factors that can affect what problems a bifold door may experience. Some of these factors include:
This is a pretty obvious one but over time, the door may start to wear and tear, which can cause issues such as the door not closing properly, becoming loose or the track becoming misaligned.
In the long run, it may be the most cost effective to replace your bifolds or track hinges than repair them.
This is a good idea why you should always use a trusted and rated installation company as an incorrect installation can lead to problems such as misaligned tracks or unevenly distributed weight, which can cause the door to stick or become difficult to open.
Many people fit their own bifold doors if they have the right tools, but this is a risk and can also affect the warranty of a door or an insurance-backed guarantee.
Poor locking mechanism
Security is everything, and your external bi-fold doors locking properly is paramount. Choosing the right exterior bifold doors and lock mechanism can ensure that you and your family are safe, as well as keeping your doors in place when locked.
Most external doors in the UK now have to have a certain standard of lock or above for security.
Bifold doors and door frames are often made of wood or other materials that can expand or contract depending on the humidity levels in the air.
With this expansion, warping or bulging brings problems that can cause the door to become stuck and stop your doors from opening or closing properly.
Kids, pets, excessive pressure or carelessness can easily cause your doors to be put out of place or become loose. Accidents or impacts can damage the door or the tracks, leading to problems such as the door not closing properly or the track becoming misaligned.
Depending on the type of hinges that you have on your bifolds, more often than not it is the hinges that get bent or break though.
Lack of regular maintenance, such as cleaning and lubricating the tracks, can lead to problems such as the door sticking or becoming difficult to open.
Simple ongoing maintenance or ensuring they are kept clean can go a long way to keeping your bifold doors from needing to be repaired or replaced.
Poor quality materials
Using low-quality materials can lead to problems such as warping, cracking, or other damage that can cause the door to malfunction. uPVC bifold doors are a prime example of poorly manufactured door systems when cheap materials are used.
Materials like aluminium bifold doors or composite bifolding doors are a much better and safer option. It's important to regularly inspect and maintain your bifold doors to prevent problems and ensure they function properly.
There are many other differences between aluminium & uPVC bifolds, which you can read about to see which is a better investment.
Size is another big one, excuse the pun, as larger bifolds with multiple panel configurations have more parts and hardware that increases the chance of needing to repair them. Replacing panels is an option; however, larger bifolds will never really be the same.
Don't be put off by larger multi-panel bifold doors, though, as aluminium bifold doors are pretty durable by today's standards.
Are your bifolds beyond repair? Find out here how much bifold doors cost in our guide.
Bifold doors won't shut
Internal bifold doors are often made of wood or timber, so they could be subject to water damage or heat, which makes them change shape or warp, as it is more commonly known.
This will cause your doors to become misaligned or even cause other parts to move or break, such as the tracks or hinges.
If you have bifolds that are facing the outside, then this is most annoying, especially if you have external bifold doors as this will affect the security of your home. However, there is more often than not a quick and easy solution to the reason why.
If you have any bifold issues, then it is likely that you can fix them yourself. However, if you are unsure, then always contact a professional.
How to fix bifold doors that won't shut
To address bifold doors that are not closing properly and you have the right tools, several steps can be taken.
- If you have internal bifold doors, check that the tracks are appropriately aligned, without obstructions or debris hindering their functionality. If you have external bifold door problems, then checking for debris in the tracks should be high on the list.
- Have the doors dropped? If so the doors should be adjusted to ensure they are level, with height screws on the bottom pivot bracket.
- If the bottom pivot bracket is ok, then make sure you check the condition of the top pivot bracket should be checked for security and proper function.
- The doors may have swelled in heat; therefore, it may be necessary to adjust the tension of the doors using adjustable tension screws on the top and bottom pivot brackets. On external bifold doors, if the hinges or rollers are damaged, replacement is required to guarantee the doors' proper functioning.
Bifold doors not shutting flush
Similar to your bifold doors that won't shut, a bifold door not shutting flush may be more secure, but not as much as it would be if it was shutting correctly.
Ideally, this needs fixing as soon as possible.
Again, over time, bifolding doors can move, change or warm with use, so they become misaligned, damaged or drop.
Here are the main reasons why a bifold door won't close properly and what you can do to fix the issue.
How to fix a bifold door not closing properly
- Check the tracks or runners for debris or build-up of any sort. Clean the tracks and make sure there are no blockages or obstructions. if you have removed any debris, then try shutting your bifold door, and if it works, then you have solved the issue.
- Check to see if the door is aligned properly. Often, bifold door systems can drop, and if not properly aligned, they can move in the door frame and stop them from being straight. If this is the case then you need to check the hinges.
- Check the pivot hinges. Bifold door hinges and door hinge bolts play a huge part in the operation of the door. If these break, move, or bend then you will have issues relating to misalignment. Adjust the hinges so your bifold doors are properly aligned.
- Check the door frames as sometimes these can be poorly fitted and move. The door jamb goes around your doors and needs to be secure to keep your doors straight. If this is the case, the frame may need to be re-fitted.
Bifold door locks not engaging
If your door is not secure then it can be dangerous, therefore if your bifold door lock is not engaging it can be unsafe. The lock not engaging can mean that either the door is at fault or the lock is at fault.
Therefore you should check to see if the door and hinges alignment is correct, and check if the door is shutting flush. If it is then it is the locking system that is broken or jammed, if not then it is likely that the door needs to be adjusted.
How to fix a bifold door not locking
Fixing a lock system is more difficult and will likely need an expert, however, if the door needs adjusting then have a look at our previous tips on making sure the door is shutting properly.
If you have the DIY knowledge, then this can be done by yourself, or you can call a professional handyman or door fitter who will likely quickly be able to fix this for you.
Bifold doors sticking or not sliding properly
Out of all the benefits of bifold doors, the sliding working properly is probably the most important. If it starts to stick or not slide properly, then more often than not, it has to do with debris in the tracks.
This is a common problem, and a quick check of the tracks will tell. If you have an exterior bifold door, then this is nothing that can't be sorted with some mild detergent, warm water and a cloth.
Simply use this to clean the track, but don't forget to lubricate it again afterwards.
Bifold doors making a noise when opening
Smooth and quiet opening of bifold doors is the goal, so if your doors opening makes a weird noise or sound, then there is obviously an issue.
Depending on the type of noise will likely depend on what the problem is. here are some common noises bi-folds make when opening.
Bifold doors scraping
if your bifold doors make a scraping noise when opening, then the problem will be to do with debris such as stones or something hard in your running tracks. If you can remove what is trapped in the tracks then you will likely solve this problem.
Once you have done this, we strongly suggest that you lubricate the tracks again, as any rubbing or scraping will have removed some of the liquid.
Bifold doors squeaking
If your bifold doors squeak when opening then you likely need to check where the sound is coming from to inspect further. If it is the tracks then something may be lodged again and simply need removing or simply lubricating.
however, if it is the hinges or mechanism, you may need to consider oiling, lubricating or replacing them.
Bifold doors rattling
This, again, depends on where the rattling is coming from. If it is inside the frame of the panels, then there may be some broken parts. You should also check the glass or double glazing to see if there is anything inside there too.
Bifold doors dropped
This is not just relevant to bifold door systems, as other bifold door alternatives such as composite front doors, french doors and uPVC front doors all can drop, especially after just being fitted. This is easily rectified usually, though, with a few minor adjustments.
Fixing this can be done by yourself but we usually suggest getting a professional to do it. Bifold doors drop all the time, which can stop them from shutting, which obviously affects security and how they open and close.
If your door isn't making a noise but appears broken, here are some of the issues we find from our customers:
How to fix a dropped bifold door
To fix a door that has dropped you need to adjust the hinge bolts themselves to the right level. The best way to do this is to open your doors so you can fully access the hinges with a screwdriver to alter the height of the hinges.
Depending on the type of hinge you will usually be able to move the bifold door, how far will depend on which make of brand. If you are unsure, please use an expert to stop you from causing more problems. This should be a relatively cheap fix.
Bifold doors won't open
If your bifold doors won't open then this could mean numerous things. Your lock may be stuck or jammed, the door could have expanded or warped in extreme heat or in cold temperatures they could even be frozen shut.
This ideally would need to be inspected further. However, if you can unlock the door and hear the locks moving, it is likely that it is your door and not the locking system.
You should also consider before forcing bifolds that are stuck shut open, whether you need to lock them back up again, as you may not be able to if they break even further.
Should you repair the bifold doors or replace them?
This is the big question. If your bifold doors are old and problems are starting to occur, then it may be time for new ones. Always check to see if they are still under warranty though.
Here at Value Doors, all our doors come with a 10-year warranty, so if your doors are 10 years old and you used a good door company, then you may be in luck!
If you need new aluminium bifold doors, then you can build your multi-panel bifold doors with installation online.