How to Make a Tri-fold Door

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Folding doors offer the convenience of closing off entryways without requiring the space for movement of a swinging door. While most folding doors consist of two panels, a tri-fold door can be made for those doorways that are slightly wider than a typical bi-fold door would cover. The door can be stained or painted to suit your style, and appropriate hardware and materials to hang your door can be found at most home improvement stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • ¾-inch thick plywood
  • Boards, 1-by-2 inches
  • Screws, 1.5 inches long
  • Drill or electric screwdriver
  • 6 hinges, 3 inches long

Measure the width of your doorway. Subtract 1.25 inches from this width and divide the resulting amount by three. This will be the width of each of the panels.

Measure the doorway’s height. Subtract 1.5 inches from the height to find the length of the three panels. Measure and cut three pieces of plywood to this length and the width found in Step 1.

Measure and cut six 1-by-2-inch boards according to the length determined in step for the vertical framing.

Subtract 4 inches from the Step 1 width measurement to determine the width of the horizontal framing. Measure and cut six 1-by-2-inch boards to this length.

Lay a piece of plywood on the ground, and position two vertical boards and two horizontal boards around the edges to form a frame over the plywood. Make sure the ends of the horizontal boards abut against the sides of the vertical boards. Insert a 1.5-inch screw every foot through the boards and into the plywood underneath. Repeat this step to form the other two panels.

Set the three completed panels on the ground with the framing facing the floor. Align the top and bottom edges so the panels are flush to each other and there is a ¼-inch gap between each panel.

Space three hinges evenly down one gap so the hinges would swing closed upward toward you. Secure the hinges with ½-inch screws. Space the other three hinges evenly over the other gap, but position these so they would swing closed downward. Secure the hinges to the panels with screws.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stencil designs over the plywood or along the framework to add details to the tri-fold door, or paint or stain it a solid color that will blend in with the walls of the room.
  • Consult the folding door hardware manufacturer’s directions for door clearance information and increase or decrease the subtracted 1.5 inches from the door’s height as needed.
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