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roboson 09-25-2012 12:06 PM

Building a hanging folding door partition
Hi. I need to build a folding door partition to cover an 18' space. The doors have to be 18" from the ceiling and a floor track cannot be used. I'm thinking I would have to buy solid slab doors, hinge them side to side, install wheels with extensions (to create 18" space between ceiling and door top) at the tops of doors, track along the ceiling. Ceiling is a tiled drop ceiling so no obvious support.

Anyone ever do such a project? Ideas as far as supplies needed? Thanks.

notmrjohn 09-25-2012 03:15 PM

I've never done one that long, or with space at top. Whats the reason for that? in fact a little more whys and wheres would be helpful. Why can't you just buy accordion wall? Some have no track top or bottom
Two 9 footers might be easier to extend and fold from each wall. Top extenders on top of each door need to be stiff. There are folding closet doors sold with proper hinges, hangers, rollers etc don't know if you can get track 18' long, could piece shorter together. I assume this wall will either be completly extended or retracted? You could get sliding barn door hardware that long. There is usually no bottom track involved. Support track from frame built above drop ceiling, attached to what ever ceiling frame is up there.


mae-ling 09-25-2012 04:12 PM

That what I thought of. Barn door track and hardware. Then some metal extension tubes/pipe own to the door. Must be something nicer looking

Gonna have to support it above the drop ceiling.

notmrjohn 09-28-2012 09:58 AM

I wonder if that 18" at top is actually distance from suspended ceiling to real ceiling? Makes sense. And then you don't have bizzaro open frame arrangement over wall.
....robo?.....oh, roooooboooo

PoleCat 10-01-2012 08:12 AM

I presume you meant hollow slabs to keep weight down. Still, folding doors that are 9' out from each side will be a challenge. Your bottem pivot would need to be able to withstand a lot of side pressure when the doors were not deployed. Standard bi-fold hardware wouldn't take it.

notmrjohn 10-01-2012 12:13 PM

" bottem pivot would need to be able to withstand a lot of side pressure when the doors were not deployed." Most of stress is going to be at top, folded or open. Bi-fold hinges are designed for that stress, and are available for regular interior doors, probably not at big box store though. For easier installation I'd look for non mortise hinges. Installed in standard way, no more stress on unsupported pivot of several joined bifolds than one door.

For heavier door, there needs to be a hanger at every other top pivot with angle support to corresponding pivot. I'd certainly use aluminum for any metal braces. And i would not rely on any style hinges for any support. Even though there is no bottom track, rollers, especially under non hung pivots, should be used. I've never purchased doors for any that I have built. They were usually a bit more decorative and were basically 3/4 to 1 1/2" thick, two sided raised panel cabinet doors. Sometimes had to route groove or sandwich in aluminum channel to resist warping and twist.

Robo, regardless of what panels you use, hanging and support hardware is where most of your attention should be. I don't know height of your ceiling, but assuming 96", you can cut inch off top and bottom of standard 80" door or bi-fold. I wouldn't go any thinner than 1 3/8, without bottom support you will get warpage and twisting. Standard 36" bi-fold will run you about $35-40, will come with most hardware you need, fold into two "packages" a bit over 18"X 8 1/4". Standard 36' hollow core will run $20, will have no track and roller, or other hardware ( regular 3" hinge will work, with extra support, but I'd go longer) will make package 36"X 4 1/4. Weight of each 3' is about 30 lbs., 180 lbs + hardware, so be sure track is strong enough.

I think one 18' wall will be a bit unwieldy, especially to close, it will make folded pack same width but twice as thick. Either way, you'll need some sort of hook and eye, or cam latches that will pull wall straight and firm when closed.

I kinda think robo has given up on idea, and we are now engineering and desiging this on our own. Anybody got any color preference? I'm leaning toward distressed, aged, raised panel, rift cut oak and antiqued, vertigred brass hardware.

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