How to Replace Slats in Louvered Bifold Doors
Bifold door slats are easy to replace if you have a little patience and a little knowledge of woodworking. If the door came apart from either the top or the bottom and the slats fell out it won’t require much woodworking knowledge to repair the door. When you have slats that are broken, it will require some time, patience, and a few tools to repair the door. This article focuses on replacing the slats that have gone missing from the top or the bottom of the bifold door.
Bi-Fold Door Operation
The constant opening and closing of the bifold door puts a big strain on the four corners of the frame and in time causes the frame to separate. The slats of a bifold door usually aren’t glued in place. This is to allow for expansion and contraction with the relative humidity. It is the frame that supports the slats and the door assembly. Consequently, when the frame loosens up enough, the slats will fall out.
Step 1 - Remove the Door
Replacing the slats while the bifold door is hanging is not only difficult, it will make it harder to reassemble the frame properly and to make it sturdy once again. Remove the door from the track and put it down on its side. so the slats face you in a vertical position.
Step 2 - Insert the Slats
Start by inserting the slats into the lower frame. Carefully push the top frame towards the lower, inserting the slats into the upper half of the frame as they come together. One note here, before pushing the frame back together, use some carpenters glue at the ends of the frame where they join each other. The carpenter's glue will make these joints very strong once again. If you can’t push the frame tightly together by hand, place a block of wood against the frame and hit the block of wood with a hammer, forcing the frame back in place. Remove any excess carpenter's glue with a water-dampened cloth.
Step 3 - Tie the Frame
Tightly tie some light rope around the frame at the point of repair or clamp it tight before leaving the bifold door to dry 24 hours for maximum strength. Once dry, remove the rope or clamps and hang your repaired door.
A Few Notes
If you need to replace a broken middle slat, you will have to find a slat that matches the style and door of your current bi-fold door. Take a trip to a local home improvement center to pick one up. You will insert the slat the same way as noted above, but you will need to make sure you do not disturb the other slats in place.
If you cannot find a slat that matches your door, you will have to purchase some raw material wood and shape the slats using a chisel and a wood sculpturing tool (whittling). This can be very time-consuming.