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I recently bought an older house with 4 closets that have the bi-folding hollow closet doors like those from Jeld-Wen. Upon inspection 2 sets of doors had to be thrown away as the mounting hardware holes were broken.

A few weeks later, I discovered that two of the closets were not 80 inches tall, which would require the doors to be trimmed in order to be installed correctly. I lost track of which doors went to which closet. However, it seems like a pretty good guess that the thrown away doors were the ones that were trimmed making the places where the mounting hardware mounts smaller and more subject to breaking.

What is a way to mitigate this? I don't really want to modify the house so much to raise the closet door jamb, and I would prefer not having to install new ones each year. Any ideas?

More details:

One closet is 79.25" the other 79". This will require at least a .5" and a .75" trim. It could be a .75" and 1" trim.

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    How tall are the doors? How can a hole in wood be "broken"? Details, please. – isherwood Mar 15 at 14:02
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    If it's not too late, un throw away the original doors. I'd bet they can be repaired for less cost and effort than procuring new ones. Show us the damage. – isherwood Mar 15 at 14:34
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    Have you considered replacing the bifold doors with standard hinged doors? – Jim Stewart Mar 15 at 16:53
  • @JimStewart good suggestion, but would not really work with the size of the house. – Pete B. Mar 15 at 16:57
  • @isherwood way too late. – Pete B. Mar 15 at 16:58
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You could order doors that are built to fit your openings. They may be more expensive up front, but should be just as strong and durable as standard height doors and not require regular replacing.

You could also reinforce the mounting area by cutting it a bit shorter and installing a bit of metal plate to help take the stress.

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    I presume you mean that the custom ordered door would be a last resort, @isherwood? Modifying the door by trimming and reinforcing was my alternate suggestion. Could you provide more detail and, perhaps, your own suggestion? – FreeMan Mar 15 at 14:20
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Hollow-core doors typically have rails along the top and bottom of at least 1". This means that you can probably take enough off the ends of standard slabs to fit your opening. Some suggestions:

  • Drill through the rail from the top and bottom to gauge rail thickness. Mark the bit in such a way as to be able to assess thickness and proceed slowly.
  • Leave as much wood as possible at the top, since this is where most of the hanging stress tends to be.
  • Leave at least 1/2" of rail on each end. Less could reduce the integrity of the door.
  • Use good technique when cutting door slabs: Apply masking tape; use a sharp finish blade; cut from the back side; pre-score with a razor knife just inside the cut line.
  • Alternatively, use a hand planer. Be sure to cut from both corners toward the center so as to not blow out the edge. Make small cuts and keep the planer table tight to the door.
  • Sand or plane a bevel on all cut edges for better appearance and durability.
  • Stain to match and apply at least one coat of urethane varnish to seal the wood.

If you find that you can't leave enough wood, simply cut the bottom off the door where needed and insert a new rail. It'll be fit between the side rails and can simply be glued in place. Knock the structural cardboard or fiberboard ribs into the door cavity to make space, then shave any remaining bumps smooth with a sharp chisel. Clamp well across the entire edge for about 4 hours after gluing.

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Due to the carpet thickness I trimmed 1.5 inches off the bottom of the door that was 79". The rail was about an inch thick so the old rail was in tact from the trimmed part. I was able to pull the door outsides off the door, and with a little sanding was able to glue the old rails in place.

To reinforce the rails I added this part which my local Lowes did not have in stock:

https://amzn.to/3sgqQ8S

One set of doors done and I am very satisfied.

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    Glad you got it working, and thanks for coming back to update with your own answer & the check mark!! – FreeMan Mar 23 at 17:40

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