Accordion doors can be a low-cost solution for a variety of needs. For example, if you have a doorway that’s too small for a traditional door or too wide for a single door, these folding doors may be ideal. They also make excellent room dividers.
You can find accordion doors in a range of colors, materials, and styles, allowing you to choose an option that fits with your décor.
Installing an accordion door is pretty easy, so it’s well within the reach of most homeowners. It also only requires the use of some basic tools, so you won’t have to invest in costly equipment to get the job done right.
Measure the Door Opening
Before you even purchase the accordion door, you need to make sure you have the necessary measurements to buy the proper size. First, measure the width of the door opening. Then, measure the height of the door opening on the left side, right side, and from the center. Out of the three heights, use whichever measurement is shortest as your point of reference.
Purchase the Accordion Door
Now that you have your measurements, you can purchase the door. You’ll find multiple styles to choose from, so select one with your preferred look. Just make sure that the door is designed for your doorway size or a larger one.
These folding doors can be cut down to size. The height can be shorted and the width slimmed down as needed, so, if they don’t have your ideal size available, don’t be afraid to choose one that is slightly larger than necessary.
Trim the Door If Needed
If your door is longer than the opening, you’ll need to trim the excess from the bottom. If you don’t want the edge to drag across the floor, make sure to remove an additional 1/8-inch for more clearance. Before making any cuts, examine the bottom edge of the door. If you see a series of screws connecting the pieces, these will need to be collected after the excess is removed.
Begin by laying the door flat. Then, use a yard stick or tape measure to mark up from the bottom the amount that needs to be removed. Make several marks along the bottom, then use the straight edge to align the dots.
In most cases, a utility knife is sufficient from trimming away the extra material. Make sure to place the door on a surface that can either withstand being cut by a utility knife (like a self-healing cutting mat) or that you don’t mind accidentally being cut. Otherwise, when you are pulling the utility knife through the door material, you may damage the surface below.
Use the straight edge as a guide for the utility knife and use firm, constant pressure while slowing moving the edge through the material. In some cases, such as if the material is particularly thick, more than one pass may be necessary. If so, keep the straight edge in the same position and slowly draw the utility knife down the same line again until the excess material is removed.
Alternatively, you can also use a hacksaw to shorten the length. Make sure to hold the door securely as it may shift due to the sawing motion. Once the ends are removed, wipe them down with a rag to remove any shavings.
If you saw screws at the lower edge before cutting, you’ll need to collect them now. These will be reattached by placing them into the small holes located on the new bottom edge of your door. Simply use a screwdriver and secure them in place. This keeps the individual sections from sliding, ensuring your accordion door operates properly.
Trim the Door Track If Needed
If the door track is larger than the opening, this will also need to be trimmed. Examine each end to see if one has a stop in place. If so, you’ll cut excess from the other end. If not, then either end may be sufficient. When in doubt, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for additional details.
Next, measure the door track and mark the point where a cut will need to be made. Then, place the door track on a stable surface, like a work bench, and use a hacksaw to remove any excess. Take care when removing the piece, as metal shaving can be created by the sawing process.
Use a rag to wipe the surface, being aware that the edges may be sharp. Check to make sure the track fits within the doorway and proceed once you confirm it does.
Install the Track and Door
Now, it’s time to actually install the door. This is a multi-step process that needs to be followed in order. First, center your track in the opening and drill a single pilot hole through the centermost in the track.
Next, place a single screw into the pilot hole, taking care not to tighten it all of the way. At this point, we want the crew to prevent the track from falling, but not so tight that the track can’t swivel. Then, rotate the track so that one end is pointed just outside of the doorway. This gives you access to the track, allowing you to slide the accordion door rollers into the space. Feed the rollers into the track until all of them are on, then swivel the track back into the doorway, ensuring it is centered in the space.
The next step is to drill the additional pilot holes for the screws. Slide the accordion door all of the way to the right, leaving the doorway open and a portion of the interior of the track visible. Drill all of the pilot holes based on what is visible and then add the screws. Then, slide the door all of the way to the left and repeat the drilling process for any newly exposed anchor points and add the screws after the pilot holes are made.
Add the Anchoring Clips or Door Jamb Molding
At this time, your accordion door should slide freely from left to right and back again. However, if you want one of the ends to remain connected to the door jamb, then you’ll need to install anchoring clips or door jamb molding, depending on which was included in your kit.
For anchoring clips, you’ll need to install each one individually. Center the anchoring clips under the door track and mark the screw holes so you can place a pilot hole. Then, place the anchor and screw into place. You can use a level to help keep them straight as you screw them in one by one.
If you have door jamb molding, center it under the track and use the level to keep it straight. Mark the location of the pilot holes and drill them. Then, realign the molding and screw into place. Clip the door into the anchors or molding following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Attach the Door Handle
If your accordion door comes with a door handle that isn’t preinstalled, you can add it now. Often, there are pre-drilled holes in the door that allow the handle to be attached. Follow the directions provided by the manufacturer.
Install the Latch If Needed
Some accordion doors come with latches that need to be installed on the side door jamb opposite from the one supporting the anchors or molding. Often, these are small and may feature a magnetic closure.
First, slide the door into the closed position so you can see where the latch point strikes the door jamb. Next, center the latch horizontally based on the contact point. Mark the spot for a pilot hole, remove the latch, and drill the hole. Then, realign the latch and screw into place.
Now, you have a completely installed accordion door, and you can begin enjoying this cost-effective, flexible doorway covering option immediately.