Sliding closet doors make an excellent space saver in your bedroom, family room or anywhere you have a closet and want to keep the junk inside hidden from view.
One great benefit is that sliding closet doors don’t use up precious floor space, increasing the usable space, since there is no allowance for door clearance required.
You can choose from three primary types of sliding closet doors. Each type will have different pros and cons, depending on your application. Plan ahead and consider how you will use the closet space when deciding which type of sliding closet door to install.
Multi-fold Closet Doors
Multifold doors fold like an accordion. They are typically made of narrow panels of wood, plastic or fabric. When closed, multi-fold closet doors look like wall paneling or vertical blinds. When open, they use up very little space, leaving your room open and providing excellent access to the closet space.
Since the doors are thin they won’t provide much sound insulation, but they’re easy to install, mounting from underneath the door jam or along the ceiling. This also enables them to be used as privacy dividers between rooms so that you can close the spaces off from each other or open the room up into a larger space.
Bypass Closet Doors
Bypass doors are well suited to closets since they don’t require any door swinging area and do not use any avaialble floor space. They are usually made from panels of wood and can be covered with fabric or mirrors to match your room’s decor. Almost any door becomes a sliding door if you install it using a sliding door hardware kit.
Bypass doors are typically hung from a track installed under the door opening’s head jam. The track will be hidden by decorative trim. A secondary track or guide is installed at the bottom of your door opening and guides the sliding doors from the bottom, providing a smooth sliding action. One drawback with bypass doors is that only one side of the closet can be accessed; to get to the other side you must slide the doors the opposite direction.
Bi-fold Closet Doors
Bifold doors are great if you want to make the full width of the door opening accessible, like in the case of a laundry closet. Bi-fold doors can be purchased in a variety of styles; plain, raised panel, louvered and mirrored. Installing bi-fold doors is a great do-it-yourself project that most homeowners can tackle.
A drawback to bi-fold sliding closet doors is that you lose some floor space when the doors are open, but not as much as you do with regular hinged doors.
Instructions for replacing sliding closet doors:
Measure your old doors accurately, and then go to your favorite home improvement center or lumberyard.
Choose a new set of closet doors that fits your style and room decor. You will find plenty of styles to choose from, finished or unfinished. Be sure the doors you buy are the same size as your old doors.
Finish your new closet doors, if you purchased them unfinished. It is best to finish the doors before hanging.
Remove the old doors by lifting them out of the track; most sliding closet doors hang in an overhead track. Some have a locking mechanism you can override by holding down a small lever. In some cases, you may find specific points on the track where the rollers have to be positioned over a cutout before you can lift the doors free.
The old track must be removed from the top of the door opening with a screwdriver. You shoudn’t need the old hardware except if you have door guides mounted on the floor, which you can probably leave in place and reuse unless they are damaged or worn beyond what you find visibly pleasing.
Compare the length between your new track and the old one. If its too long, trim the new one with a hacksaw so that it fits the opening correctly.
Mount the bracket in the same location as the old one, being sure the screws are seated properly so that the heads don’t interfere with the roller movement. Don’t overtighten the screws, or the track may warp out of shape and prevent your new closet doors from sliding smoothly.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mount the rollers on the top inside edge of your doors. Some kits come with the rollers already mounted, in which case you can skip this step!
Hang the new doors on the track.
Check everything for fit and adjust the rollers if needed per your manufacturer’s instructions.