8 Tips on How to Fix Sliding Closet Doors

Kelly Weimert
Written by Kelly Weimert
Updated July 28, 2022
Entrance hallway in a modern design apartment
Photo: Полина Власова / Adobe Stock

Save money by tackling sliding closet door repairs yourself

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Bifold doors help keep your closet's contents private while conserving square footage since they don't open into the room as far as standard doors. However, their unique design means you'll need to take a different approach to repairing bifold doors than you would with a standard door. Fortunately, many sliding door fixes are fairly straightforward. 

From unsticking a stuck closet door to realigning it to open smoothly, these handy tips will have your door back in working order in no time. 

1. Learn How Bifold Doors Work

Empty white built closet
Photo: Jason / Adobe Stock

It helps to understand how this door type works in order to learn how to fix bifold closet doors. Most bifold doors come with their own hardware for installation, but you can often repair them using generic parts from the hardware store. 

Bifold doors feature pins on the top and bottom of one side of the door. These pins hold the door in place while allowing it to pivot open and closed. The pins are affixed to your doorway through brackets attached to the door jamb. The brackets feature pivot holds, which aptly hold the pivot in place. 

This type of closet door also has a guide that helps the door slide in and out of place, which is typically a spring-loaded plastic wheel. The guide is placed on the door's outer panel and affixed to the door's metal head track. 

2. Reset the Guide to Straighten a Bifold Closet Door

Sometimes bifold doors slip out of the head track, causing the door to lean. When these doors lean, they're difficult to open and close. Fortunately, this is typically an easy fix. 

First, check your door's guide, which is the small, usually plastic, wheel located on top of one of the panels. If the guide has fallen off its track, put it back on track then close the door. Sometimes this is all you need to do to straighten the door. 

However, before you call it quits, look at the gap between your door's edge and the track. If the gap is even slightly wider or narrower than the gap at the bottom of the door, you need to realign the bottom pivot to fully straighten it. 

3. Realign the Bottom Pivot

If the bracket attached to your bottom pivot has notches, lift the door slightly and move the pin to a new notch. In many cases, this will straighten the door. 

If you don't have a notched bracket, your best bet is to shift the bracket position until it straightens the door. This process can take a bit of trial and error. To start, remove the door—opening the door will make it easier to remove. Once it's open, lift the door to compress the top pivot spring, then remove the bottom pivot from its bracket before taking out the top pivot from its bracket and removing the door. 

Then loosen the bottom bracket screw and move the pivot hold to a position that you think will straighten the door. This process usually only involves a very small shift from one side to the other. When it’s complete, put the door back, sliding the top pivot in first, followed by the bottom pivot, then test it. If it's still off, repeat the process until you find the right position for the pivot hold. 

4. Apply Wax or Silicone Spray to Stuck Bifold Doors

Fixing furniture doors using a screwdriver
Photo: ReaLiia / Adobe Stock

When bifold doors get stuck rather than smoothly open and close, it's often due to a lack of alignment, which you can fix using the same steps you'd use to straighten the door.

If you suspect your door is stuck because the guide provides too much friction, apply a thin layer of wax or silicone spray to the guide. Then test the door. If it opens and shuts easily, you're all set.

5. Tighten the Brackets and Replace Worn Screws

If you suspect you have a loose bracket problem on your hands, inspect the screws in both brackets. You might only need to retighten the screws. But if your screws are stripped, missing, or broken, you'll need to remove the door and replace the bracket screws with new ones. 

After retightening or replacing the screws, test the door. If it still sticks, you might need to adjust the top pivot bracket so that the door is properly aligned with the frame. Once it's in alignment, your door shouldn't stick anymore. 

6. Raise the Door to Adjust Bifold Doors 

Bifold doors can stick to the carpet below them if the door doesn't have enough distance from the carpet to open and shut smoothly. In this case, you'll need to raise or trim the door.

Raising the door is a lot simpler than trimming it, so try raising it slightly before you tackle trimming. If you have notched brackets, raise the bottom pivot to a higher notch. If you don't have notches, loosen the bottom bracket screws and move the bracket to a slightly higher position. 

7. Trim the Door to Avoid Sticking to Carpet

If you couldn’t fix the problem by raising the door, you'll likely need to trim it. To start, remove the door. The door will be easier to remove if it's fully open. Once it's open, lift the door to compress the top pivot spring and slide the bottom out from its bracket. Then slide the top part of the door out of its bracket. 

Place the door face down on a work surface. Use a straightedge and a pencil to draw a straight line on the back of the door where you plan to cut it—you likely won't need to cut off more than an inch or so. 

Next, use a utility knife to create a shallow cut along the entire length of the cutting line you drew. This step will help prevent splintering when you make the cut. Then clamp a cutting guide to the door so it's flush with your cutting line to prevent you from cutting too far. 

Finally, use a circular saw with a crosscut blade to cut the length of the door. Then use a sanding block and 100-grit sandpaper to smooth out any sharp edges. You can also add a coat of sealer to any raw edges, which helps prevent swelling. Then remount the door.

8. Fix a Cracked Bifold Door Corner

In addition to being unsightly, cracks on the corner of your bifold door can cause it to fall off its track. The best option to fix a cracked corner is to use a corner brace kit, which you can purchase at most hardware stores. Corner braces cover cracks and gaps in the door's corners so it can properly slide open and closed. 

Take one of the braces from your corner brace kit and put it on the corner in question, with the triangular part flush with the back of the door. Then use a pencil to mark the pivot hole locations on the brace, and screw the top of the brace into the top of the door. Then drill a hole through the pivot hole locations you marked. Finally, tap in the pivot pins that came with your kit before using one more screw to secure the jamb-side of the brace to the door. 

DIY Sliding Closet Door Repairs vs. Hiring a Pro

You can save money by repairing a bifold door yourself rather than hiring a local handyperson. The cost to hire a handyperson typically ranges from $60 to $120 per hour, not including materials. Bifold doors often take one to three hours to complete. 

Tackling the repairs yourself means you can skip these costs altogether, only paying for the materials and tools required for your repair. However, if you're not comfortable with any or all of the repair steps needed, it's always a good idea to enlist a pro to help

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