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How To Look After External Bi Folding Doors

Protecting the look and finish and preserving the original design of your external bifold doors is a good enough reason to undertake regular maintenance. A routine of care and cleaning will ensure the maximum lifespan for the significant investment made in high quality doors and will also result in smooth operation every time.

Exterior Finish & Glazing

Exposed to the elements year in, year out, your doors are designed to withstand the worst the
weather can throw at them. The seals operate at optimum efficiency when clean and the doors are
correctly aligned, able to drain rainwater away and keep draughts at bay. Regularly clean the glazing
with appropriate products, taking care not to use abrasive cleaners on moisture-repelling and solar
control windows. Cleaning the glazed panels is also the ideal time to check the condition of rubber
seals for shrinking or damage from squeegees or frost. During winter, it’s advisable to use an
appropriate rubber treatment such as gummi pfledge to keep seals supple and prevent
tearing or sticking during extreme frosts. If a door is reluctant to open in icy conditions, use an
approved chemical de-icer - not hot water - to free the doors.

Locking Mechanism

door lock

For smooth operation and optimum security, clean the sliding locks regularly and check for
obstructions before they become a problem. A crevice tool on a vacuum cleaner can be used to
remove dust and grit. Check sill drain holes are clear before using water to rinse channels, also
ensure the drains are clear routinely for correct protection against water ingress. Following any deep
cleaning of the runners and latch mechanisms relubricate all bearing surfaces and moving parts.
Internal components should be lubricated for life, though maintaining the external mechanisms will
naturally reduce wear on internal components.

In Autumn and Winter, check the runners, slides and frame for dirt, leaves and snow. Tracked in
salt-laden snow can corrode fixing and components if left unattended, particularly if lubrication has been neglected, and dirt buildup can affect not only the smooth operation of the doors, it can place
additional loading on bearings and internal mechanisms, resulting in additional wear shortening the
life of door components.

Seasons present different challenges for door maintenance, and it’s particularly important to keep
leaves and debris out of the runners in Autumn and Winter. In Spring, check for hibernating insects
and clean any spider webs or dead insects from the frames and mechanism, as the organic material
can attack plastic and rubber components if left unattended. If you have climbers and similar plants
growing near your exterior doors, don’t forget to remove any invasive growth and as with insects,
the marks left by suckers on clematis and other tenacious species, which can damage the finish if not
cleaned in a timely manner. As with the glazing, cleaning with warm water and mild detergent will
be sufficient.

Aluminium doors generally require less maintenance than oak, where the final treatment is vital for
protecting the underlying wood. However, for all materials, any damage to the finish should not be
neglected, and on engineered wood doors it is vital to maintain the integrity of the external veneer.

Hinges & Folding Systems

Operate your doors fully to check the hinges and runners are not sticking or reluctant at any point in
their travel. Depending on the design of your bifold doors, hinges between panels may be accessible
from outside or protected by gaskets. As technology between door systems varies, ask about
maintenance for your system on delivery or installation. In all cases, check that any additional struts
move freely to ensure even operation of the door without uneven loading.

Frame & Surrounds

On installation, great care will have been taken to ensure the aperture for the door is flat, aligned
and flush fitting. To preserve the long-term operation of bifold doors it is recommended to avoid
dragging or rolling items over the sill and runners; if larger items of furniture or appliances need to
be brought into the home through the conveniently large openings that bifold doors provide, then
use load bearing ramps with appropriate clearance. Check lintels and steps for distortion, as any
warp or variation in the frame can be rectified without replacing major door components if caught in
good time. Check around the building for the deterioration of plasterwork and brickwork that might lead to water ingress or distortion of the aperture. On new builds, pay particular attention for settling
and subsidence, as again, catching any issues in time can reduce the cost of repair.

Engineered Wooden Doors

Our wooden bifold door systems use engineered wood for strength and stability in all weather
conditions. Exterior doors should be checked periodically for damage to the finishing, and any
weathered areas attended to with thoroughly cleaned and dry woodwork. We use high quality hi
build exterior paints on finished doors, and if you are doing self-installation you may already have
bought appropriate paints for touch up of any marks during installation. Allowing water to penetrate
the doors long term will lead to warping and damage to the oak veneer.

Accidental Damage

broken glass door

Photo by Echo Grid on Unsplash

Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable, and should the glazing of your doors be damaged, it’s vital to
get professional advice for replacing the double glazed modules. Laminated panels will hold their
structure when broken, whereas toughened glass will shatter into compact pieces designed to avoid
forming dangerous shards. In all cases, after cleaning up the loose glass, applying a clear protective
adhesive film will prevent further movement of the glass until a replacement can be arranged.

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