12

I'm installing two of these bifold doors side-by-side in a 60" frame:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Pinecroft-30-in-x-80-in-Optique-Clear-Full-Lite-Universal-Reversible-Interior-Wood-Bi-fold-Door-873526/

doors

Unlike the closets that most people install bifold doors on, these will need to be opened and closed from both sides. From the traditional "front" side, I think I know where to place the knobs: on the hinge-side rail of the panel closest to the opening.

However, I'm not sure where to best place a knob on the other side. Opening is easy: push the door in the center. But closing flat, without a knob, is difficult. A knob directly opposite the "front" side knob would provide the right leverage, but it seems like that would prevent the doors from folding.

5
  • I'm not understanding the problem. From the pictured side, a user can clearly pull the knob to open the door, partially folding it, then push the knob to the left to complete the fold. A user on the other side of the door can push the stile, pushing it partially open, then simply push the stile to the side to complete the fold.
    – Huesmann
    Jan 24, 2023 at 13:19
  • This is the part you're missing: "then simply push the stile to the side to complete the fold" - that doesn't work. There isn't enough sideways leverage, without something to hold onto and provide it. Where would you put your hand? On the edge of the door panel that you're trying to close? Then what happens once it's almost closed? etc. Jan 24, 2023 at 14:45
  • Way-out there alternative - Would you consider an electrically-operated door opener/closer, like an electric curtain? That way it could be opened with the push of a momentary button on the wall. No doorhandles needed giving a flush look and nothing to catch yourself on, but can still be opened in a power outage by pushing from one side and overpowering the motor. Downsides, cost and likely low speed of opening. Added complexity for what should be a simple thing.
    – Criggie
    Jan 24, 2023 at 23:00
  • Why don't you get a different kind of door that is better suited for operating from both sides?
    – mmathis
    Jan 26, 2023 at 17:40
  • You can also look into a double action door (opens both ways). Not sure of the usage case but I have a double action door going into the dining room from the kitchen. In that application it is great. I just have a brass plate on both sides. Jan 26, 2023 at 20:15

5 Answers 5

28

Welcome to the world of flush mount, flush ring mount.

Nothing is sticking out and in your way.

There are many options in finish, sizes and you can mount them on both sides.

Source: Amazon

flush ring

flush

4
  • Depending on the thickness of the door, those may be problematic.
    – Huesmann
    Jan 24, 2023 at 13:14
  • 1
    Thanks, I think this is the most pragmatic solution! Jan 24, 2023 at 14:40
  • 3
    They also make recessed "finger pulls", which are basically a pull hole, just with more metal. :)
    – Martha
    Jan 24, 2023 at 18:13
  • I've seen some antique doors that used a more primitive version of this: a thumb-sized leather tab that was attached at one end to the door at knob height. Plenty to grab and pull for closing the door, and when you opened the door it hung flat and didn't get in the way. As a bonus, it didn't require cutting into the door at all.
    – bta
    Jan 27, 2023 at 0:07
24

For this purpose they invented the handle hinge.

enter image description here

One of these at door-handle height and matching plain hinges in above and below, and you get a handle that dissapears into the fold when the door is opened, and reemerges as the door is closed.

5
  • 2
    This is a nice find.
    – gnicko
    Jan 24, 2023 at 13:57
  • 1
    Interesting! This is the direction I'd ideally like to go in, but other than a reverse image search for the exact product (drakeandwrigley.co.nz/…) I haven't had luck finding a place to buy them. Jan 24, 2023 at 14:39
  • The local hardware stores filled almost two pages with results when I searched "handle hinge". It seems theses are made by three companies "Drake and Wrigley", "Morgan & Aickin" and "Unique Hardware" all New Zealand Companies, thus local to me! If you do want to import these beyondhardware.co.nz will ship internationally.
    – Jasen
    Jan 24, 2023 at 19:49
  • Unfortunately that works ONLY on one side of the door. How would you install it on the other side ?
    – Traveler
    Jan 27, 2023 at 0:13
  • As described in the question. possibly with a D handle instead of a knob to reduce snag risk.
    – Jasen
    Jan 27, 2023 at 5:07
8

There's a reason that this type of door is normally only used on closets. You've discovered it. Best bet - choose a door type more suited to dual-sided opening, rather than committing to a door that does not work well for that.

The only thing I can envision working correctly, and there may not be enough wood in the frame for it to work, would be a recessed or flush grip or pull (a hole with an edge you can pull on, that does not stick up and get in the way of folding - or a bit of hardware that folds flat, but can be pulled out) or else a hole all the way through, which limits other door functions, but could serve as the handle for both sides.

Images I can easily find are all on annoying websites that make putting them here a hassle. So do an image search on those terms.

1
  • +1, handle on the inside or not, closing this from the inside is gonna be a major pain in the ass every single time.
    – MaxD
    Jan 24, 2023 at 16:14
5

How thick is the wood?

You could drill a finger-recess opposite the handle, and then route around making an undercut. The shape could be a circle, or a vertical slot with rounded ends.

The recess should be slightly above or below the handle on the other side. to avoid running into the mounting hardware/screws.

Advantage is that this makes the door lighter rather than adding any more weight, and has no moving parts.

Disadvantage is the door closing might be hard for people with very low finger strength. So you should orient the doors so the conventional handle is toward the most-used side if possible.


Example router bit that would make a nice shape:

enter image description here

Approximate result:

From https://www.festool.co.uk/knowledge/application-examples/routing-recessed-handles

3
  • Very nice! What's that bit called? I'd like to find one like that for future shop furniture projects.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 25, 2023 at 15:17
  • @FreeMan no idea sorry... I googled "undercut router bit" to find that image. toolstoday.com/router-bits/… looks useful.
    – Criggie
    Jan 25, 2023 at 20:38
  • 1
    Ah, excellent! Looks like it's called a "Finger grip bit". And you've linked to an Amana Tools retailer. Quality tools with eye-watering prices. ouch!
    – FreeMan
    Jan 26, 2023 at 12:36
1

I'm currently using a pair of bifold doors as the access way (through the old closet) to a new addition. Since we're creating a lot of dust, we're closing them from the inside.

There are a set of "aligners" that help hold the doors together and make sure they don't bang around as they close. They've been quite useful to ensure the doors completely close behind us, minimizing the dust that escapes into the finished parts of the house.

This is what the aligners look like: enter image description here
Source: Home Depot. No recommendation intended or implied.

This is how they're installed:
enter image description here
Source: Lowes. No recommendation intended or implied.

They are, generally installed low on the door, but could be installed higher and for general use.

No, they're not pretty, but they work and there's probably a pair included with your brand new door. Even if there isn't, they're dirt cheap at only $3 from the HD link.


Don't really think I could recommend this as a long-term solution unless you really don't care about appearance, but it's an option for those, like me, who need a short term solution.

3
  • 2
    I wouldn't want to try and close a door with these. Seems like a real finger-pincher. I also wouldn't install them on doors which are occupied on both sides. They're fugly.
    – isherwood
    Jan 24, 2023 at 13:42
  • 1
    Eh. with one door closed (easy enough), a simple push on the one on the open door will close it. Recommended to keep fingers out of the way, though! Fugly? Yup! I did mention that. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Jan 24, 2023 at 13:45
  • You could decrease the fugly-and-finger-pinching aspect of these by dipping the business ends in paint, letting it dry, and repeating the process several times to get a nice thick coating. Ideally, you could use liquid rubber of some sort, but that's harder to work with. Possibly a pre-made rubber sheath could be found, but odds of finding an exact fit are slim. Jan 26, 2023 at 15:30

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