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Installing A Bifold Closet Door and Knob Placement

by - Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Learn how to install a bifold door and give your closet an update with these helpful installation tips.

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After sharing progress on our One Room Challenge guest bedroom makeover on Instagram, I received a few questions about the bifold door installation and queried my audience about knob placement on a bifold door. Installing a bifold door is something we've gained a lot of experience with recently - this makes the third bifold closet door we've replaced in the last six months! I swear we're not aggressive with our closet doors but for some reason the old ones have just fallen apart and stopped working all at the same time.

With each installation we've learned a few things so I thought I would share them in a post. There are lots of great video tutorials that show the step-by-step of installing bifold doors, but I wanted to highlight a few things particular to bifold doors and built in closet systems.

Bifold Closet Door Installation


Our most recent install was a pair of bifold closet doors in our guest bedroom. The closet is a reach-in closet which we recently updated with an IKEA PAX closet system. Here is the (very scary) Before of this closet:

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Have you struggled with how to put a bifold closet door back on track? Typically it's just a matter of depressing the top pivot and popping it back in the track but these old bifold doors would never stay put, no matter how many times we fixed them. Replacing these bifold doors would give us better functionality and a cleaner, updated look.

If you look closely, you'll see the left door is actually sitting on the floor. This project would involve not only replacement of the old bifold closet doors, but also installation of a brand new closet system (IKEA PAX).

Our first step was to remove the existing door trim. The new closet system was deeper than the previous shelving and crashed into the horizontal jamb across the top of the door. Removing the trim would make installation of the closet system easier.

Next step was to install the closet systemvery similar to the closet we installed in our daughter's room. Also similar, we installed filler panels at the top and sides of the PAX units to hide the gaps and make them look built in. It's a small detail but makes your closet look much cleaner and more custom!

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Bifold Door Sizes

Bifold doors come in a variety of common door sizes. If you cannot find a bifold door size that fits your door opening dimensions, you can consider special order or custom sized doors. For this project, we used two standard 36"x80" Masonite Expo™ Heritage® Series Logan™ Moulded Bifold Doors

These bifold doors came with everything needed: the doors, track, hardware, and knobs (though we replaced those with our own handles).

Important to note:

When installing a bifold door, you need to ensure that there is enough clearance and the door doesn't hit anything behind it when the doors are open. Here is an illustration from our daughter's closet:

installing bifold door, how to install a bifold closet door, bifold closet door instructions, bifold knob placement

installing bifold door, how to install a bifold closet door, bifold closet door instructions, bifold knob placement

Step 1: Installing the top bifold track

Installing bifold door hardware is pretty straightforward. Most steps are the same but read the manufacturer's instructions that came with your door to be sure.

With the closet in our guest bedroom, we knew we needed at least 1.5" behind the track for clearance. Using a 1.5" piece of wood as a spacer, Sean was able to set the top bifold track at an appropriate distance away from the face of the shelving and screw it in. If you don't have this situation, just install the top bifold track centred on your horizontal door jamb.

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Since we had a pair of bifold doors, we had to install two tracks. The bifold door tracks were installed so that they were touching in the centre of the door opening, and were about 1/4" in from the corners:

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Step 2: Installing the bottom pivot bracket

The bottom pivot bracket needs to be plumb and in line with the top bifold track. Again, using a 1.5" wood spacer, Sean drew a level line and then installed the bracket. He repeated this for the other side as well.

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Step 3: Installing pivot hardware and guide wheel

Installing the top and bottom pivots and the guide wheel is the next step. Here's a tip: the top pivot needs to be depressed as you hit it with a hammer so hold the plastic wheel down with the side of a screwdriver as you tap it in.

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Step 4: Install doors and fix alignment

Now you can install the doors. Install the top pivot first and while still holding the door, drop the bottom pivot in place. Then, spend the next hour playing with the alignment! This step is never easy and is best done as a two-person job. Have one person adjust the top or bottom pivots as the second person holds a level on the leading edge of the door to see when you have it straight.

Here's our doors when we first installed them. You can see they are completely misaligned. Also, we discovered that the actual door opening was not level - notice how the middle of the door opening is higher and the corners dip down. This would not be too much of a problem as we could hide some of the unevenness with the door trim.

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Step 5: Install door trim

Once we had the doors level, we installed new door trim. The horizontal and two vertical trim pieces (natural wood) comprise the stop. The stop sits in front of the doors and holds the left and right outside edges of the trailing (outer) doors in the correct vertical position.

The door casing (white moulding) is placed on top of, and set back from, the stop. The casing hides where the door stop and drywall meet.

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Where To Put Bifold Door Knobs?

The final hurdle is determining where to put your knobs on your bifold doors. The knobs can be placed on the "leading" door (the door closest to the centre), or the "trailing" door (the door furthest from the centre). I've shown the different position options below and some make it easier and harder to open the doors.

Knob placement on bifold doors:


  1. Leading edge of the leading door. Closing the door will be easy but opening it will be difficult as the knob is far from the pivot of the door and you don't have the leverage required to open the door easily.
  2. Middle of the leading door. This is the ideal position. It minimizes the force required to open and close the door.
  3. Middle of the panel on the leading door. If your door has panels, center your handle in the middle of the panel, not the middle of the door
  4. Hinge edge of the leading door. A knob here will make it easy to open the door but closing it will require more force.
  5. Hinge edge of the trailing door. Opening the door will be easy but closing will be a bit more difficult
  6. Centre of the trailing door. Opening and closing will require some force.

The ideal bifold door handle placement in order of preference would be 1, 2, or 5. No matter which horizontal position you place your knob, ensure that the knob is centered vertically on the door.

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You can see that for this closet we used pulls instead of knobs. I prefer pulls to knobs as there's more to grip and the form makes it easier to glide the doors horizontally to open. Since our doors had panels, the pulls were placed centred on the panels (placement #2)

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With our closet shelving so close to the doors, we opted not to install the bifold door aligners on the backs of the doors as they could possibly snag on our clothing. Another small functional issue is that our PAX shoe shelves (bottom left) are not able to pull out because of the bifolds. We could have just put our shoes on shelves but we like how these look and they keep the shoes more accessible so we kept them despite that shortcoming.

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We have to install one more shoe shelf and paint the bifold doors, but otherwise, this bifold closet door installation is done! It looks more updated, organized, and functions better too. You can see more of my closet organizing tips here.

Installing a bifold door can be frustrating but I hope this post helped in case you're struggling with your own bifold doors.

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This post is sponsored by Metrie. Thank you for supporting the brands whose quality products I bring into my home and make this blog possible.

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