Bi-folding doors are perfect if you want to fully open up your room and expand your living room space during those warm, sunny days. Well maintained and looked-after can brighten up your home flooding it with plenty of natural light.
Here are a few tips that help you enjoy them for many years to come and take the headache out of cleaning and maintaining your bi-folding doors.
The frequency of cleaning depends in part on the standard of appearance that is required and also the requirements to remove deposits that could, during prolonged contact with either the powder film or the metal substrate, cause damage.
Let’s first start with few maintenance tips.
How to maintain your aluminium bi-folding doors
CLEANING THE TRACKS AND SEALS OF BI-FOLDING DOORS
All moving parts are virtually maintenance free but will benefit from a simple maintenance routine every few months, with obvious steps – like checking for any larger debris bits every time as you’re closing your doors. Here’s what’s best to do:
1. Applying a small amount of acid-free grease or oil usually helps maintaining the smooth running of the mechanics and ensures ease of use over a long period. Only a light application is necessary and to prevent dirt accumulating, remove all excess lubricant.
2. It is important that you ensure that the tracks at the bottom of the doors are clean and free from stones and any seasonal debris (leaves, accumulation of dirt), as they can impede the smooth running of your doors and potentially cause damage. Use a small brush to loosen any debris from the track, pick up any bigger bits, and vacuum all the dirt out that has collected inside by running the a thin nozzle cleaning attachment along the tracks. (This should be carried out weekly when in regular use or when any debris is present). DO NOT allow any debris to build up in the track as this will affect the operation of the doors.
3. Clear any blocked drainage slots or holes.
4. To clean the seals, gently run across them with a light, soapy solution and non-abrasive cloth. Avoid using solvent based cleaning products on the seals. It is also recommended that silicone spray is applied to the seals twice a year.
5. To maintain the suppleness and weather performance of the gaskets, rub them with a grease stick or vaseline. The gaskets are fitted to the perimeter frame and the door leaves. Check also for any damage to the gaskets and contact your installer if they need replacing.
6. If your house is located in a marine environment, coastal areas, the external surface of the doors should be washed down with fresh water on a weekly basis as salt deposits can build up.
CLEANING AND MAINTAINING THE FRAMES
In the majority of cases, cleaning the frames of your bi-fold doors will not require more than a quick wipe with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge soaked in warm soapy water, but here’s what to remember:
1. Avoid using any type of heavy-duty household cleaner, as you could cause damage to the aluminium frames or powder coat finish. Paraffin based cleaning solutions and non-abrasive liquid cream cleaners are perfectly fine for getting rid of more stubborn stains. If not sure – seek advice from your door supplier first.
2. If you encounter any stubborn stains, that won’t shift with washing, try using an ink rubber to lift the mark. Don’t rub too much though! You will know straight away if it’s going to work.
3. Make sure you won’t use any of the following items for cleaning: tools with sharp edges (like knives, metal scrapers, steel wool etc), as they will damage surfaces. DO NOT USE an abrasive cloth such as a scouring pad as the aluminium product has a powder coated paint finish which can be scratched. Aggressive cleaning fluids or solvents e.g. cellulose thinners, nail polish remover etc., will also cause irreversible damage to the door frame surface, so don’t use any solvent based cleaning products.
4. When cleaning, check for damage or wear penetrating the surface finish/ flaking powder-coat.
CLEANING THE GLASS PANELS
Regardless of what cleaning product you’re using, the most important thing to get streak free windows is to use the right tools to apply it. Many of us make the mistake of using paper kitchen towels, however, they will leave streaks on the glass if you aren’t careful. Use a microfiber cloths and squeegees are great for a streak free finish.
A crumpled-up newspaper sheet still works miracles, leaving streak-free surfaces. Rest assured, the print ink doesn’t stain the glass, as glass does not absorb ink. Though avoid rubbing newspaper on the window frames.
When cleaning the glass, ensure wherever possible, that the solution doesn’t run onto the frames too much. Also, don’t forget to remove all jewellery rings and watches as they can easily leave scratches on the glass.
A homemade cleaning solution of one part white vinegar and four parts water can be very effective, though it will leave a vinegary smell for a while. Soap and water is still a very popular option, however, go easy on the soaps as they can leave behind a streaky residue if you’re not careful.
For the best, streak- free finish follow the following routine:
Rub the glass surface in a circular motion to remove all the spots. Next, wipe with vertical strokes, followed by horizontal swipes to make the glass clean and shiny. Clean the corners and edges with a cotton swab or a soft toothbrush.Finish off with a quick buff using newspaper, or an old cotton t-shirt/cloth diapers to polish the glass.
Also check for defects or damaged glass/ signs of moisture inside the cavity.
MAINTENANCE OF THE THE LOCKS AND HARDWARE
1. Applying a small amount of light lubricating oil to the lock and key will ensure that the locking mechanism is dust free and not prone to sticking. Lightly oil both the lock and key and then insert and remove the key a few times to ensure easy operation.
2. The bolt and latch should be also lubricated as necessary.
3. Schuco recommends to use graphite powder for lubrication of the locking cylinder.
4. The Schuco door system contains mechanical moving parts that require lubrication every 3 months. These parts include the multipoint locking systems and the handles.
We would also recommend that you keep a record of cleaning activity, just in case they are needed for guarantee purposes.
Operating your bifolding doors
Once your doors are installed, it’s important you know how to operate them properly so you can enjoy all the benefits they bring without any hassle. There are two main types of door systems, systems with a lead door and systems without a lead door.
UNITS WITH AN EVEN NUMBER OF STACKING LEAVES:
1. Unlock by turning the key
2. Unlock the folding unit locking points by turning the lever handle upwards
3. Open leaf by pushing the handles
4. Open leaf.
1. Pull the leaves into the perimeter frame using the door pulls.
2. Lock the folding unit locking points by turning the lever handle downwards.
3. Lock by turning key in the lock.
Note: during opening and closing do not touch the units at the folds
UNITS WITH AN ODD NUMBER OF STACKING LEAVES:
1. Open access leaf.
2. Engage the catch on the adjacent leaf.
3. Unlock the folding unit locking points by turning the lever handle upwards.
4. Push the handle up.
5. Slide the folding unit open.
Note: during opening and closing do not touch the units at the folds
1. Pull the sliding units shut using the door pulls.
2. Lock the folding units.
3. Close the access door.
If you have bi-folding doors with a lead door function, you can use this door to get in and out of your home without folding back all the other panels.
Systems without a lead door can be split into two in the middle, so both sets of doors open outwards from the middle, and the central set of doors can act as access doors.
Final Helpful Tips
☞ Always remove the key from the lock to prevent damage occurring to the lock and adjacent doors as warranties don’t usually cover this.
☞ The lead door is always the first door to open and the last to close.
☞ The lead door must remain attached to the magnetic keep, when the doors are open and in operation.
☞ Slave handles should not be used to pull the doors along the track into the closed position.