Hardware for Heavy Bifold Doors

Advice on hinge and track choices for an extra-beefy bifold door, with discussion of a few fine points. February 27, 2013

I have a client that wants 4" thick bi-fold doors. The opening is 78 1/2" x 105 1/2". The doors are designed with 5" stiles, 8" top rail, 10" bottom rail and 6 mm glass panels. I have not found any hardware for this size of bi-fold door. I usually use Johnson, as that is what is available here is Baja California Sur. I can order other hardware from the US if need be. Any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor D:
I don't fear the use of normal hinges as long as you use plenty of them (at least four in your case), long screws (the right diameter, not drywall screws), and thick jambs. You should really order hinges spec'd for the weight though, just for covering your butt. Would I lose sleep over it? Probably not, but saving a few bucks on hinges is hardly professional.

From contributor B:
Hager has some heavy duty bi-fold kits as does Hafele. I know the Hager comes with a 4x4 standard bearing hinge, which I would think could be swapped out with a ball bearing model if you requested.

From contributor C:
Wow! 4" thick? You don't mean cm? Sounds like old hacienda doors with a twist. Assuming you're doing bastidor (because of the weight limit of 57kg per door), I wouldn't have a problem with the Johnson system. I've done a few sets using them and I find the quality far superior to anything else, including Ducasse.

From Gary Katz, forum technical advisor:
I think you're talking about bi-fold hardware and not butt hinges; or are you talking about using both? I've done that, but it's tricky. And even if you're not, I think you'd be safe to use either the Johnson or Hagar Heavy Duty track and trucks (carriages). I've hung 6/0 x 10/0 doors on that hardware with no problem. The real soft spot when hanging a heavy door on a bi-fold carriage is that your screws are driven into the top of the door, and with a 5" stile, most of them will be into the end grain. I found the risk was in those screws stripping out. In one case I mortised out the top of the door and inlaid a tenon-like block of hardwood set in epoxy, then fastened the screws into that. Just a thought. 4" thick doors are going to be pretty heavy.