Bifold door knob placement

graywings123November 19, 2011

Can someone help me with the correct placement of the knob on a bifold door? Obviously it goes on the panel without the hinge. But on that panel, does it go in the center or more towards the left or right of center?

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snoonyb

Really?
"bifold door?"
"Obviously it goes on the panel without the hinge."

Since it is general preferable to be in front of the opening, you place the knob(s)
on the hinge side of the door that will meet the jamb or another door in a 4 door opposing installation.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 11:01AM
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graywings123

Snoonyb, I think we are saying the same thing. The knob goes on the panel that is not hinged to the wall. My question is WHERE ON THAT PANEL does the knob go? Does it go left, right or center on that panel?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 6:02PM
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snoonyb

Other than what I've said, it's a matter of preference and since there is wrist action involved, arthritis.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 10:11AM
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brickeyee

Sine the needed motion is to pull the center hinge outwards the force will be reduced if you place it closer to the hinges between the panels.

It will also look bad.

The middle of the panel seems to be a common compromise.
More force needed, but over a shorter distance.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:10PM
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HandyMac

There are two motions in force. Opening and closing. Knob placement is a compromise, since the optimum placement for opening is opposite that for closing.

Knob close to the hinge make opening easier---less force required to start the door opening. The knob closer to the right edge of the door makes closing easier---less force required to get the door moving.

Which means the center is the usual compromise.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:16PM
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brickeyee

"There are two motions in force. Opening and closing. "

Pull on the knob to open, push on the knob to close.

At least that is how the ones in my rentals operate.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 4:28PM
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graywings123

Brickeyee, if it were that simple, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Handymac, thank you for understanding the issue.

What caused me to ask is that one of my bifold doors has the knob off-center on the panel. It is closer to the center hinge.

As handymac points out, the door opens easily, but it is difficult to close, and I find myself using two hands to close it - left hand on the knob and right hand pulling on the door to start closing. Otherwise the door seems to fight me.

I'm wondering whether to move the knob towards the center or add a second knob. Or maybe a horizonal bar.

Thanks for the responses.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:44AM
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HandyMac

If you can stand the look, adding a second knob fixes the problem.

Or, mount a long bar so you can grab near the hinge to open, and near the door edge to close.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:05AM
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brickeyee

"Brickeyee, if it were that simple, we wouldn't be having this conversation. "

You appear to be making this a lot harder than everyone else's experience with bi-fold doors.

At most a gentle push on the hinged joint should start the closing.

You might want to check if the tracks are clean, and use paraffin wax to lubricate them (a piece of old candle rubbed on the friction surfaces).

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:04PM
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brickeyee

If you opened them to the stop, try just pulling the edge before pushing on the knob.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:06PM
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graywings123

It's a step-in closet with a 23 inch opening. Opening the door fully gives me 19 inches to walk through.

At most a gentle push on the hinged joint should start the closing.
Perhaps it should, but it doesn't.

try just pulling the edge before pushing on the knob.
Well, now we have gone full circle, because that's what I do and I am looking for a way to avoid touching the door and just using the knob. That's why I asked whether the knob placement is causing the problem.

I can and will try waxing the track but the door seems to move smoothly.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 7:14PM
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kudzu9

I've always mounted the knob near the hinges as that will provide the easiest application of force. If you don't like the look, you can add a second knob near it but in the mirror position on the other door: then you have a symmetrical appearance.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 3:55AM
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janralix

I'm usually asking rather than answering questions here, but your post caught my eye. It's probably too late to help you, but I'll throw in my two cents worth for anyone who happens along later.

I just had the same question regarding placement of the knob (knobs in my case - two doors). In my case, the picture on the door packaging showed a central location, while the instructions said to place the knob left of center (towards the center hinge). I guessed and went with the instructions.

Wrong guess.

After installation, when I pulled on the knobs to open the doors, they worked fine. However, when I tried to shut the doors, they didn't budge. After fiddling with them a few minutes, I discovered I could close them fine if they weren't opened all the way back to the stops.

My solution (at that point not being able to relocate the knobs without leaving a screw hole exposed) was to insert a screw up through the track, but not all the way through, leaving just enough of it - about 1/4" and still up in the track, not exposed below the track - to prevent the door from opening 100%. The screw was about 1" from the stop, so when the door was open it just wasn't 100% open, but close enough that no one would notice. After that, the doors opened and shut perfectly.

I'm not an expert (obviously), but I suspect there is some geometry involved here and the proper placement of the knobs may have something to do with the width of the doors involved, as well as the length of the stops used with the doors. In my case, I made my own stops with the screws I installed.

The flip side of this would seem to be that if the knobs were placed to the right of center (away from the center hinge), the problem would be in opening the doors rather than closing them - but that's just my guess - and I don't see a remedy for that situation other than a horizontal handle that someone mentioned above, which might or might not be desired.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 12:04AM
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sdello

FWIW, in my opinion the door in photo is upside down. The louvers should slope down from inside to outside. Knob placement should be in the center of the door section (for aesthetic reasons). The door should oeprate smoothly and be pushed closed once the sliding piece starts towards the closing position. If it's opened to far just pull the leading edge to start it closing.

On a similar note does the loose end of the toilet paper hang off the front of the roll or the back?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 10:47AM
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sierraeast

"On a similar note does the loose end of the toilet paper hang off the front of the roll or the back"?

It all depends on geographic location as it varies by region but most professional T.P. installers will go with" under and over, not over and under" installs. Always seek out reputable T.P. installers in your area, check references, and ask to see their work from previous T.P. hanging projects. Dont necessarily go with the lowest bidder!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 11:45AM
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dennisgli

"On a similar note does the loose end of the toilet paper hang off the front of the roll or the back"?

Depends on if you have a kitten or not. Off the front is more convenient. But a kitten will gleefully unroll the whole thing in minutes unless you have it going off the back!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:38PM
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andee_gw

This means all the bifold doors in my house have an incorrect knob placement -- yet they all work just fine, opening and closing! The knob is on the exterior hinge-side panel near the interior hinge. So instead of pushing and pulling laterally toward the the door opening edges, I pull and push toward and away from me.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 12:06PM
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sierraeast

We always installed same as the pic above.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 5:52PM
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renovator8

I find that the best location depends on the way the door opens and closes. Some bi-folds have more play in the mechanism and will not close unless the knob is at the center or leading edge of the leading panel so I usually show a knob on the center of each panel.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 11:55AM
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graywings123

I changed out the hardware in another bifold door in my house. I reversed the opening (the jamb is now on the right) and I was planning to move the handle. However, the door opens fine with the old handle placement. I've come to the conclusion that handle placement has little to do with how the door works - it's the quality of the hardware that determines how well the door opens and closes.

I bought the new hardware from Johnson Hardware and there is a significant difference in the quality of the pieces. I bought the residential grade hardware; and for $20+ and a little work, a daily annoyance went away.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 9:36AM
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Kristin Pingree

I thought this eHow article was useful. (See link.)

I've always done mine off-center and have never thought they looked bad at all. To me, the centered knobs actually look "less centered" overall b/c they are so far from the crease where the hinges are, which would be the true center of the entire bifold. I know it's the most common way to do it, but the "centered" approach looks weird to me since the knob is 3/4 of the distance away from the pivot. I don't like it, personally.

I have always had paneled closet doors, so I have lined them up with the edge of the panel closest to the hinge on the non-pivot door, centered vertically between the panels in the "open" space. This placement also makes the doors easier to open & close. I had a rental w/them centered, and my in-laws' are centered. It's minor to some people, but it does take more force to open & close them and could make a difference if you struggle with any arthritis or mobility issues. To me, the easier to open, the better. (Sorry for the bad lighting in my photo; I just used my phone's camera instead of getting out my good camera.)

Here is a link that might be useful: eHow article

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 4:30PM
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sdello

krisgun:
As others have said before in this thread. It's really a matter of aesthetics and personal preference. Personally, I think your doors look asymmetric with the knobs placed there and would look much better with the knob centered on one of the panels (regardless if it required a little more effort to operate.). My 0.02.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 4:25PM
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