Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

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In this article: Sliding doors and their varieties; the pros and cons of accordion doors; how to choose a sliding door; the cost of folding doors; accordion door – complete set; self-installation of the sliding door; how to make a door-book with your own hands.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

Traditionally, in our houses, the rooms are separated by walls and doors, otherwise their inhabitants would never be able to be alone. With all their variety, doors have one common drawback – opening them requires free space, which is necessary even for sliding doors. And since there are doors not only between rooms, but also for various kinds of cabinets, then in total square meters it takes quite a lot to open them, and these meters could be used with greater benefit. Perhaps the solution to the problem will be accordion doors – we will closely study this issue.

Folding door – always free corridor

Regardless of the number of rooms and the total footage of the apartment, our houses have very narrow corridors, as a rule, leading to the bathroom, bathroom and kitchen – a fully open door to any of these premises blocks the corridor by 2/3, interfering with the tenants. The radius of movement of the door leaves forces households to reckon with them and plan the arrangement of furniture not as they would like in reality. But what about the vending piece of furniture, the length of which does not allow it to be installed, because it interferes with the movement of the door leaf? Of course, you can remove the door leaf altogether, decorating the entrance to the room with some kind of fabric or a curtain made of beads, you can replace the swing door with a sliding door, however, its installation will also require space for the door leaf and you will have to transfer switches with sockets. There is another solution to the problem – a folding door, the sash of which does not need to be opened, hidden in the wall, or run along it.

Folding doors consist of two or more panels that move along a rail fixed at the top of the doorway – doors of this design are used at the entrance areas of buses, trams and trolley buses. Double-leaf doors, typical for public transport, are called book-doors – their design is simple and reliable, but each of the two wings is quite weighty.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

The folded doors of such doors are two times narrower than those of classic swing doors, the sections that make up them can be both symmetrical and asymmetrical in relation to each other – the second option looks especially original. The leaves of the book-doors, depending on the design, can move both to one side of the doorway, and on both sides of it. In the folded position, the sashes of such doors either gather at the edges of the doorway, slide into the cassette inside the wall, or are located along it.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

Accordion doors in their design resemble a musical wind instrument, to which they owe their name (in the EU, such doors are called accordion doors, this name is closer to Europeans). There are more than two sections in the folds of accordion doors, most often their width is 100-120 mm. Their doors are somewhat similar to the shutters, only the panels forming the “accordion” are rigidly connected to each other by hinges, from above and, in some structures, from below, are inserted into the rail guides. The end panel is responsible for movement along the guides, while the panel closest to the door jamb is fixed next to it with metal axles.

Pros and cons of folding accordion doors

As usual, I’ll start with the positive characteristics of folding doors:

  • saving space in the apartment (house). Compared to most other door designs, such doors in the “open” position least of all block the passage;
  • door leaf dimensions are identical to standard swing door leaves;
  • any set of sliding doors is universal in the direction of opening, the choice of which is made by the owner of the apartment;
  • to block the transfer of the sash to the “open” position, it is not necessary to additionally cut in the blocker – the rail guide is equipped with a special latch that performs this function;
  • if necessary, their sash can always be expanded or reduced by adding or removing panels;
  • there is absolutely no noise during the closing or opening of the sash;
  • the ability to automate the closing and opening of the sash;
  • sliding doors never slam shut due to draft.

In addition to blocking the doorway, accordion doors with plastic slats can be used in bathrooms and showers, acting as a waterproof barrier. In addition, sliding doors can be used to periodically divide rooms into functional areas..

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

Negative characteristics:

  • relatively short service life – about 5 years;
  • the greater the number of panels in the leaf of a sliding door, the lower its heat and sound insulation properties. Compared to swing and sliding doors, sliding doors block sound waves and retain heat worse due to the greater number of gaps between, above and below the panels;
  • the total strength of the sash depends on the number of panels – the fewer, the higher it is;
  • high dependence on how flat the floor surface is, on the quality of installation and the characteristics of the fittings;
  • the opening and closing of the sliding door leaf must be done carefully, with a minimum application of force, otherwise it will quickly fail;
  • they should not be installed as entrance doors;
  • installation is allowed only in standard doorways that are rectangular;
  • in the “open” position, the accordion panels folded on one side of the jamb slightly reduce the width of the doorway, making it difficult to move large furniture through it.

How to choose an accordion door

Most often, doors of this design are installed in the doorways of a bathroom, toilet, kitchen or wardrobe. Standard folding doors and accordion doors are produced in heights of 2.03 m, 2.50 m and 3 m, the width of the opening they cover is from 0.6 m and more. The panels that form the sash of sliding doors are made of MDF or plastic, solid wood is rarely used, because more weighty. To increase rigidity, each plastic panel usually contains a metal profiled frame made of steel or aluminum. The fold of the accordion door can be blind or have stained-glass inserts.

Sliding interior doors of the lower price range – about 3000 rubles. with delivery and installation – they will serve their owners no more than a year or two. The panels in the sashes of such doors are made only of plastic, the metal frame is not used in their design, the locking panel is magnetic. The fasteners that connect the panels to each other and are used for hanging the sash on the guide rail, however, like the rail itself, are made only of plastic. You should not purchase such book-doors, regardless of the manufacturer..

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

The price of high-quality sliding doors starts from 3000 rubles. and reaches 30,000-35,000 rubles. – Cheaper designs have white plastic doors, a significant part of the fittings are also made of plastic, there are no stained glass windows. As the cost increases, the quality characteristics of sliding doors increase – their design uses expensive and reliable hardware from European manufacturers, high-quality key-locked locks are installed, the panels are made of veneered MDF, contain stained glass inserts, the ends can be equipped with a noise-absorbing groove seal.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

When choosing a sliding door from a suitable price segment, be sure to make sure that the sash moves smoothly and easily when it opens and closes, that there are no visible gaps between the sash panels in the “closed” position, the door leaf should not swing. Since it is possible to evaluate these characteristics only at the assembled door at the stand, such a stand with just such a model of a book-door should be in the hall of the outlet.

Installing an accordion sliding door

The complete set of the sliding door includes: sash panels; upper guide (rail) made of aluminum; one or more carriage rollers; hinges for connecting panels to each other; installation elements; adjusting key; other accessories. To overlap doorways of standard width (up to 1 meter), the lower guide is not required, extensions and platbands, as a rule, are not included in the kit and must be purchased separately.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

Measurements of the width and height of the doorway must be made before purchasing a sliding door, because otherwise, it will not be possible to outstrip the exact number of panels in its sash.

We proceed to the installation of the guide. The width of the guide rail for a standard doorway is 33-35 mm, its height is 33-39 mm – if the length of the guide is greater than the width of the doorway, then it must be cut with a metal file. The distance between the holes in the rail through which it will be fixed to the upper part of the doorway is 250-300 mm. If, by cutting off part of the rail, you have reduced the number of holes for fasteners, then drill new.

Install on the side of the rail opposite to the direction of opening the sash, the latch (if the sash travels from left to right, then to the left side, if from right to left – to the right), into which the axis of the end panel will be inserted and placing the carriage slider in the rail, fix the guide in the upper part of the doorway on self-tapping screws 20-30 mm in length.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

It is necessary to install two metal axles on the end panel of the sash – one in the upper part, the other in the lower. To do this, mark the position of the axes and drill holes for them (if there are no holes), their depth should be less than the length of each axis – after installation, their ends will protrude from the panel (the dimensions of the protrusions should be in the door installation instructions). We fix the axes on the panel – the positions of the upper and lower axes must be strictly identical vertically and horizontally! We install the receiving plate under the lower axis in the lower corner of the doorway, carefully marking its position in relation to the latch previously installed on the guide.

In the upper end of the panel, which will be installed last in relation to the panel with metal axles, we drill a hole for the roller runner fastening, drilling a hole for immersing its rack – it will be needed when fine tuning the door after hanging.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

Lay the panels that form the door leaf next to each other in the position in which they will be hinged, without confusing the position of the rightmost and leftmost panels. We proceed to the installation of the hinges – we carefully mark their position on the sashes, measuring the necessary distances and making marks with a pencil. Between any adjacent flaps, except for the two extreme ones, it is required to place three hinges – the location of the hinges of the same level horizontally (highest, middle or lower) on all flaps should be the same, no, even the slightest displacement is allowed, otherwise distortions will occur and cracks will appear on the panels ! Having accurately marked the positions of the hinges (the vertical distance between each three should be the same), we fix three of them on one sash. You can put them on the back side of the future door leaf, which is easier, or between the leaves, however, for this you will have to cut out the seat nests, and it will not be easy to do this in the absence of factory preparation of the panels for the installation of accessories. It is necessary to connect adjacent panels with hinges in such a way that when the sash is fully open, the distance between them is 3 mm.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

We drill a groove for the door handle on the extreme panel – its position differs from the classic one, it should be installed on the extreme panel, near the hinge connection with the adjacent one, and not at the end of the sash. There are grooves between the two intermediate panels for installing a locking lock and we proceed to hanging the assembled sash on the previously installed fasteners.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

Having folded the sash, we lift and wind the axles fixed on it metal into the landing plates, fix them on them. Then we connect the axis of the slider carriage with the corresponding plate on the extreme panel of the sash. To accurately adjust the position and movement of the accordion door sash, you need an adjusting key – we arm ourselves with it and, by loosening or tightening the nuts on the axes of the ends and carriage, adjust the sash.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

To overlap a doorway more than a meter wide or when building a sash from wide and weighty panels, you will need a larger number of upper runners and an additional support that regulates the sash in the lower part of the opening. A lower guide rail is required, into which the carriage wheels are driven and secured to one or more sash panels. However, such a guide will have to be hidden by a threshold or recessed into the floor, in addition, its channel will constantly accumulate dirt, which is not easy to completely clean.

DIY sliding door accordion

The main problem that arises when trying to independently manufacture a sliding door is the impossibility of replacing specialized fittings with something. It will be easier to purchase a ready-made set of fittings and equip self-made panels with it..

For the manufacture of a sliding door-book you will need: a set of accessories, which includes a carriage with sliders, axles and stoppers; aluminum guide rail; sheet of 16 mm laminated MDF, the area of ​​which is equal to the area of ​​the doorway; pvc edge in LMDF color; three loops; self-tapping screws for wood and possibly concrete.

Fittings for a sliding door will cost about 2500 rubles. (guide included), on the Russian market there are high-quality fittings of the domestic company “Alf” LLC and Western “Helaform” (Finland), “Sisco sistem” (Italy), “Hettich” (Germany).

The cost of one sheet of laminated MDF, 16 mm thick, will be about 2,400 rubles. (depending on the color of the laminate). The square of one sheet of LMDF with dimensions of 2.07×2.8 m – 5.8 m2. On the leaf of a sliding door-book, you will need a fragment of an MDF sheet, 0.8 m wide and 1.93 m long, with a doorway width of 0.8 m and its height 2 m.Using laminated chipboard is not recommended to create a leaf of a book-door leaf, since these plates poorly hold self-tapping screws in their structure, and also have a greater weight, compared to MFD, – m2 laminated chipboard weighs about 15 kg, while m2 LMDF weighs about 13 kg, i.e. smaller. Accordingly, the weight of the required sash dimensions for a book-door, with a total area of ​​1.544 m2, from laminated chipboard would be more than 23 kg, and from LMDF – 20 kg.

The cost of pvc edging is about 15 rubles. per running meter. To glue it to the edges of the LMDF panels, you can use any contact adhesive, for example, the “Titan” or “Moment” brands. Door hinges will cost an average of 100 rubles. for one. A door handle-lock, designed only for book doors, costs about 650 rubles. – the mechanism of such a lock cuts into the end of the second, if we count from the point of axial connections of the sash, panel, between two adjacent panels.

The installation of the fittings is carried out in the same way as described above in the “installation of the sliding door-accordion”. The only difference is that there are no ready-made panels for the sash – you will have to make them yourself.

Saving space: selection, installation and self-production of accordion doors

We mark the rectangle cut out from the LMDF sheet in order to cut out two panels from it for the sash of the sliding door. The panels can be of the same width, or you can make one of them wider than the other – that’s up to you. Having cut out the panels, carefully process their end edges with sandpaper No. 0, then wipe them with a rag and remove the dust – you can glue the plastic edge, pressing it to the butt covered with glue using a roller (you can use an uncut glass bottle). The edges will dry out and stick in 12 hours – after waiting for this period, we begin to mark the locations of the hinges, accessories for the axles and the carriage, the lock with the handle, prepare the installation grooves and mount them. Then we move the sash panels together and hang it on the axis, fix the carriage and adjust the smoothness of the door leaf. The book door is ready and in the end it cost less than the one bought in the store – for the amount spent on components for our book door, you can only buy a ready-made door with plastic panels, the strength of which is very low.

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