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Installing External Bifold Doors

There are a wide range of external bifold doors available and any of them will bring a great deal of character to your home. Most enticingly of all, it's deceptively easy to install bifold doors. Here we'll be providing a step-by-step guide on how to fit a bifold door in your home, that should take you no longer than a wet Sunday afternoon to accomplish. You can read our guide on how to install internal bifold doors here.

Do keep in mind, however, that whilst this is a fairly straightforward procedure, a good level of DIY experience will be necessary. Exterior bi fold doors are quite a bit trickier to install than interior doors, so please keep that in mind.

How To Fit External Bifold Doors                      

The first thing you're going to want to consider beforte bifold door installation is whether or not you need to seek planning permission. Adding doors to your home is generally considered a permitted development, so you should't need it, but in rare cases it might be necessary, so it's always best to ask, just in case.

Next, you'll want to make a few preparations before hanging bifold doors. If you are replacing an existing set of doors, make sure that the lintels over the opening are in good shape. This is, of course, assuming the aperture is the same width and height required for your new door, as if not, you'll probably need to hire a structural engineer to help you increase or decrease the size of the opening.

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Before you properly get started, you might also want to spend some time figuring out how the doors are going to look and work in your home and make other adjustments accordingly.

Right. Now you should be ready to begin. So. Here we'll be taking you through how to install external bifold doors step by step.

1. Make sure you have all of your tools ready to go, and that all of the components that came with your doors are within reach. You should also make sure before you begin, that the structure you're attaching the top track to is capable of supporting the loa d of the doors and its accompanying glazing and hardware. You'll also want to use a spirit level to make sure that the vertical and horizontal surfaces are in alignment with one another.

2. Before you get to work assembling the frame, you'll need to prepare the sill for assembly. If your sill is not already pre-assembled (this will depend on the manufacturer) then simply apply a bead of silicon to the rebate in the top part and push the two parts together. Next, drill 2.5 x 25mm pilot holes through the three fixing holes in the underside of the sill at around 100mm, 250mm and 400mm from each end.

3. Now you're ready to assemble the frame. Your frame will most likely need to be fixed together with woodscrews and gaskets, which will come with your set. Apple some silicone sealant (which, again, should have come with your door set) to each end of the head assembly, either side of the tenon at the mill end of each jamb assembly, and to each end of the stops of each jamb assembly.

We should probably stress at this point, that if these words mean nothing to you, you should either turn back now and seek professional help or do a lot more research!

4. Next, fix the jamb assembly to the head assembly, then slot the tenon at the sill end of the jamb assembly into the available channel in the sill assembly and screw them together. Before you move on, check that the corners of the frame are square and everything looks (for want of a better word) stable. If they seem wonky, loosen the screws and adjust the frame before retightening them. Finally, secure the tie plates to the underside of the frame at the positions you prepared earlier with the pilot holes.

5. Now you should be ready to fix the frame in your opening. Guide your frame into the opening and adjust its position so that the fixing holes in the head track are in the right positions. Once you're happy with the position, pre-drill the lintel through the head used the prepared holes as a guide.

Next, remove the frame head to allow for pre-drilling of any masonry above the lintel, which will need to be drilled through the holes in the lintel to a reasonable depth (at least 40mm), so it can comfortably receive the fixing screw.

6. When you're happy with your positioning, place around 5mm of packing between the head and top of the opening and below the sill until it's nice and tight. Be sure to to over-tighten though, as this will cause you major problems further down the road.

Use a spirit level to make sure the head and sill are level, making adjustments as you go by packing more at each of the fixing points until it's level. Then do the same vertically for the jambs.

7. Your frame should be secured by the packers now, so you will be able to drill the 8mm holes 70m into the structure on either side of the frame through the prepared holes in the jambs. Next, insert your frame fixing bolts through the jambs and into the walls and tighten them just enough to make sure the jambs are not distorted.

8. Now it's time to fix your sill and head. For each sill tie, find a decent fixing point and drill for the masonry plug before fixing the ties using said plugs. Then, check that the jams are vertical and the head and sill are level, and you should be ready to fix the head.

9. The fixings to the head need to be fitted in stages. Starting with the two outer fixings, offer up the fixing screw and tighten it a little, but not fully. At a central point, lightly tighten a screw until the head and the lintel are almost touching, then working from the jambs inwards, lightly tighten screws, varying the packing between the head and the lintel to create a slight upwards curve to the head.

Once the curve is acceptable (varying from around 5mm at each jamb to 0 in the middle) finish tightening your screws and congratulations, the hardest part is done!

10. Next you'll need to attach the hinges, which is far from an exact process, and will depend on your specific external bifold doors set. You should have received some instructions with your purchase, so please consult them! At this point, if your doors have shipped with a multipoint lock you'll also want to install this before you hang your bifold doors.

11. In preparation for the doors themselves, the carrier hinges and pivots need to be fitted into your top track in the right order (which should be relayed to you in the instruction supplied with your doors) through the cut-outs that can be at one or both ends of the top track, depending on your individual setup. The top and bottom blocks of the pivot hinges should be positioned so the adjustment screws can be reached after the bifold doors have been hung.

12. Once the hinges, the carrier hinges and pivots have been installed, you're good to go! All of the guide work should have been done for you by this point, so it should be rather self explanatory work actually mounting the doors themselves. Just remember to make sure that you adjust the top and bottom pivot hinges to ensure the each previous door is vertical before attempting to hang the next one and make sure that your doors are fitted to the pivot hinges first using the pre-drilled pivot holes.

At this point, we should mention that no bifold door setup will ever be exactly the same as another, so you should really pay attention to the instructions that come with your doors, as vague and confusing as they might seem at first.

    How To Remove Exterior Bifold Doors

    Considering the effort you've just gone through installing your exterior bifold doors, the idea of removing them is probably the last thing on your mind right now, but there might be a pre-existing system you need to get rid of. The general steps shouldn't be that different to removing internal bifold doors, only there are more components to worry about and these doors will be heavy, so you might want some help with this job and you'll definitely want to remove the doors one at a time.

    Then it's largely a matter of reversing the steps above, only be sure to take it one step at a time so as not to leave any lasting damage. If you find the process too daunting, you might want to bring in some paid help for this one.

    How To Adjust External Bifold Doors

    Adjustments to exterior bifold doors are certainly possible, but they are not easy. Still, it's a lot easier than installing or removing them! Adjusting bi fold doors height is probably the simplest change to make. If your bifold doors are a little uneven, there should be a screw at the lower mounting point to adjust the height with.

    All you'll need is a small wrench or allen key and a pair of pliers! There might also be bolts at the top you'll need to adjust, and then it's a matter of trial and error until you've got it just right.

    If your bifold door isn't square with the opening, meanwhile, you'll need to loosen the screws that hold the top door bolt and slide the assembly left or right in the track until it lines up. The bottom track (if there is a bottom track) should also be altered likewise until you're happy.

    If you want to make general door adjustments, the pin on the edge of the door should be spring loaded, so if you push down on it hard enough, the door should pop out of the track and you can adjust bifold doors before popping it back in!

    Read our guide on installing internal bifold doors here.

    Conclusions and final tips:

    Please note, of course, that this is a very basic guideline to installing and hanging your bifold doors, so you might want to supplement our advice with some more visual aids. Still, we hope we've helped you realise that it's certainly not an impossible task to install your own external bifold doors. It is, however, certainly not a task to be taken lightly.