Intro and bifold door question


Hello all,
I am a newbie to the group, relatively new homeowner of a relatively old home (late 1800s). I'm not an especially skilled DIY'er, but not a complete idiot, either. Needless to say, with an old house to maintain, I learn more every day!
My current issue is a bifold single door that will only open about halfway. It's not off the track and doesn't visually appear to have anything wrong, but when I try to fold it open more than about halfway, it resists and feels sort of "sprung." I can force it back all the way by pushing on it really hard, but it won't stay. It doesn't drag or stick, opens smoothly to about halfway. It happened suddenly -- opened it once and it worked fine, opened it the next time and it wouldn't open all the way. It feels as if there is something caught behind it keeping it from opening all the way, but there's nothing there. It's the kind that hangs from a plastic/nylon roller in the top track and pivots on the lower corner (no track on the bottom). I've had a lot of bifold doors before and thought I knew every way they could go wrong, but this is a new one on me. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance, Jo Ann
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wrote:

I would check the roller and see if it's damaged. The "plastic/nylon roller" can have a piece (think flat tire) broken off and not roll correctly in the track. Also check that the track is secure and not moving about, flexing or such.
Perhaps the hole for the roller (drilled in top of the door?) is "wobbled" out and flexes the roller during movement.
Perhaps a screw holding the track has broken, causing the track to flex a bit.
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Is the door too close to the jamb so it strikes the jamb when you try to open it> The top and bottom adjusts to control this jamb clearance.

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Agree. The pivot pin at the bottom of the door could has slipped out of position.
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Can you tell whether the push-back is coming from the top or bottom, the door half closest to the wall with the top and bottom pins, or is it possible that there is some problem with the hinges between the two halves??
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There are several designs to bifolds, so a lot depends on how yours is built. Mine are attached on a pivot at the 'fixed' jam side, and then have a single pin that rides in the track at the other side, with a spring in the track at the open end that puts tension on the door when it is closed to keep it closed. It sounds like yours is on a closet, so check that there is nothing like a coat or shirt sleeve that might be getting in the way on the fixed side of the door when it opens. It might not be obvious once you have the door open.
If this isn't the case, check the track at the open end to see if there is a spring and it is working as you'd expect. It could be out of place, or bent and causing the door to bind when opening if the spring is in a certain position where as it might not bind if it is positioned slightly differently. Look in the track to be sure a mounting screw isn't loose and catching on the door in some way.
Is the floor surface carpeted? Check that the bottom of the door isn't catching on something.
It has to be something that you can see if you watch closely. Next time it gets stuck, stop and check it out closely. You should be able to see something.
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Be sure to let us know what you find!
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After reading the responses, I thought "These guys are right. It's a simple design with only a few possibilities, not some sort of complicated, advanced technology." So, I lifted the door off the track and discovered -- a sticky-tape lint roller stuck behind it! I couldn't see it when I examined the partially opened door because it was stuck right in the middle of the door, right at the V where it's hinged. I had looked at the shelves and nothing was protruding, had looked at the floor to see if something had fallen down, but it never occurred to me that the fallen item had actually attached itself to the door in the one spot where I couldn't see it with the door partway open (it's a shallow pantry cupboard, so it wasn't possible to squeeze in behind far enough to see the back of the door). That's why the door felt springy when I tried to force it; the roller would compress (they're only tape and cardboard), but was thick enough to exert pressure and bounce back when I let go; and, of course, the harder I pressed, the better it stuck. Anyway, thought I would post this to say thanks to everyone who encouraged me to examine the door more closely and also to give everyone a laugh! Thanks for the help!
Jo Ann
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Late 1800's, wow. I bet that place has a lot of character.
I hope this group can help you get some of your issues resolved. The one thing to keep in mind throughout is many of the basic principals the we (I for one) take for granted will not even apply to your home. So, if someone suggests something to you based on what we see in our mind and what we said doesn't make sense when you are actually looking at it, there may be a good reason.
A friend of mine has a house that is like 150 years old and has told me some stories. Fishing wire for instance is a PITA normally. Try doing it through an 8x8 or 12x12.
There are people in this NG that have older homes but of course, the further back you go the fewer number of experienced people who have actually dealt with it.
Best of luck. You won't run out of things to do I suspect. Then again, maybe you bought it totaly redone and the only issue that remains is that door:-)
Just my welcome and .02 Red...
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Thanks for the welcome! Yes, it does have a lot of character, which keeps me in love with it even when I get frustrated. It's a "folk Victorian" -- two-story symmetrical design, wrap-around fancy-spindled porch, beautiful hardwood floors, mostly original Eastlake-style wood trim (almost all heavily painted, sigh...). A lot of it was redone before I bought it, some in ways I agree with and some not (surprising how easy it is to live with the "nots" with so many things begging for attention, though). It is mostly 12 x 12 construction and you are SO right about it being a PITA at times. Every time I do something, I learn more about its original quirks as well as assorted attempts and errors of repair/remodeling made by many previous owners. My big project last summer was turning a badly executed 3- season room remodel back into a screen porch. Biggest ongoing project is plumbing replacement, ugh. Cast iron, galvanized, copper, plastic -- anything that's been used for plumbing in 100 years is under my house somewhere!
But at least my bifold door is working again :)
Jo Ann
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You're just about done :-)

There's a story of generations throughout. Piecing it together, right or wrong, as you are doing projects is kinda neat.
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When it comes to a commode- American Standard Cadet. Anybody disagree?

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Might be helpful posted under a new subject.
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and so forth yet, other than faucets. So far, I'm just having all the pipes and water lines replaced. The biggest part of the project will be replacing the line from the street to the house, which I'm hoping to put off forever, but which my plumber and my pal who works for DPW advise will probably need to happen "any time now" (translation: One of these days you're going to wake up with a lake in your yard.)
I'm also getting ready to tackle the tile on the bathtub walls. Some of it has come loose, and the grout and caulk around the lower rows need to be replaced. I'm going to try to do this myself. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the wall behind the tile isn't damaged, which might take me out of my depth pretty quickly. I have a Dremel that I'm planning to use to get out the old grout, unless you guys would recommend something else.
Jo Ann
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Disclaimer: Not a tile pro.
What is the grout spacing? If it's like 1/16 inch, keep in mind the each edge of each tile may have two 1/32 lips (right where the grout goes). These are made to touch as the tile is laid out giving a 1/16 spacing. When you start removing grout, be aware you may be cutting into them.
My experience is very old grout can be very hard. What size are the tiles?
I've never been impressed using a rotory Dremel with a grout bit.
I've used a Roto Zip with a diamond blade. VERY dusty but very fast.
The latest thing is oscillating tools. Made by many manufaturers ranging from $35 at Harbor Freight to the Fein Multimaster at around $400. Never used one on grout but they are awesome on wood. The half moon or grout removal blade allows you to get right into corners.
The different manufactures call them by different names but they are all known as oscillating tools. They come with changable blades that do anything from wood plunge cutting, to sanding to scraping. That scraper blade would probably be a big help getting the old thinset off the wall as well as the tile backs of the loose tiles you're going to reuse.
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Jo Ann wrote:

Hi Jo Ann, and welcome to the group. Please don't forget to send your yearly donation in to keep the servers running, suggested contribution is $50, which I will put into the treasury for you.
Email me for the address to send the money, and again, welcome to the group.
Jon
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wrote:

Thanks for the greeting and the donation information, Jon. I'll send you a Western Union money order right away. In fact, I'll tell you what -- send me your bank account information and I'll just deposit it directly, ok?
Jo Ann
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This group gives lots of free advice, some is worth much more than what you pay for it, some is worth less than what you pay.<G>
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Jo Ann wrote:

LOL, an excellent response! :->
Jon
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