AG MILLWORKS BLOG
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Tuesday, December 10 2019
If you recently installed a handcrafted bi-fold door into your home, it is important that you follow a regular maintenance schedule to preserve your door system’s quality, beauty, and functionality. See below for a complete cleaning and maintenance guide that will keep your bi-fold doors looking and operating at their best.
How Often to Clean Bi-Fold Doors
Proper maintenance of your bi-fold doors is crucial to ensure they remain in good condition and appearance. You should be cleaning/maintaining your door system at least every three months.
Harsher, more corrosive environments, like coastal areas, require more frequent maintenance—in these environments, doors should be maintained monthly, or more often if necessary.
If your home is within 3 miles of any body of saltwater, you are considered a coastal environment and should follow the monthly maintenance schedule.
How to Clean the Wood Surfaces on Bi-Fold Doors
The wood surfaces on your bi-fold doors should be cleaned with care. You want to treat your door systems as you would a fine piece of furniture, and never use abrasive cleaners. Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe down all wood surfaces to remove any dust, dirt, debris, and other particles that have settled on your door system. Without regular cleaning, the dirt and dust can scratch the wood surface and create a dull/dirty appearance.
How to Clean the Clad Surfaces
Exterior clad surfaces require regular cleaning as well. To clean the clad exterior of your bi-folds, use non-abrasive, mild detergent soap and water to wash the panels, followed by rinsing with clear water, and drying with a soft cloth. Regular cleaning will help protect your doors from the elements and the buildup of dust and dirt.
How to Clean the Glass on Bi-Fold Doors
You should only use gentle cleaning solutions when cleaning the glass on your doors. It is important to wipe away any excess cleaning solution that collects on gaskets, sealants, frames, and finishes as this could cause damage. It is also recommended to avoid cleaning glass while it is exposed to direct sunlight. Never use scrapers or razor blades to clean your glass as scratching is very likely to occur.
How to Clean Bi-Fold Door Handle Sets
To clean standard hardware finishes and surfaces, use water and a soft cloth. Do now use abrasive cleansers, household cleaners, or steel wool.
Oil rubbed brass/Oil rubbed bronze should only be cleaned if necessary, and can be cleaned by rinsing the handle set with water; extra care should be taken as oil rubbed brass and bronze are intended to change color and rigorous cleaning or use of a cloth may alter the surface appearance.
Stainless steel handle sets should be washed with clean water and mild detergent and rinsed with more water. If any surface staining does occur, use only a stainless steel cleaner to remove the staining.
How to Clean and Maintain Retractable Accordion Screens
Dust and debris can collect in the guide channels over time. Keep screen channels at head and sill free of pet hair, fur, dust, sand and other debris at all times. Removal of such build-up is important to the screen’s continued smooth movement.
While the screen is retracted, remove any debris from the channel with a soft cloth, or low suction vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment, being careful not to disturb any tensioning cords. Dusty or coastal environments will require frequent cleaning.
The screen mesh should be lightly dusted to maintain an unobstructed view and airflow. While the screen is extended, remove any build-up with a light suction vacuum cleaner with a very soft brush attachment; exceptional care should be taken not to tear or rip the mesh or disturb the horizontal tensioning cords.
How to Maintain the Wood Surfaces
Immediately wipe dry any water that contacts wood surfaces, including the top and bottom edges of doors or sashes, where water absorption is most likely to occur. Wood surfaces are NOT designed to be exposed directly to water.
Every six months check the wood surfaces, and especially look at the top and bottom edges of doors and window sashes. It is imperative that these critical edges be fully protected with topcoats that are free from cracks or scrapes in the surface of the clear finish.
Any void in the topcoats on any surface will allow moisture to get into the wood and may cause cracks, splits and warping. The same is true of painted surfaces. If needed, sand lightly with 280-grit sandpaper, wipe clean and recoat with exterior grade topcoat/paint.
How to Clean the Bi-Fold Track
Keeping the track clean and free of dirt, debris, and pet hair is important for smooth operation of your bi-fold door. To clean the track of your bi-fold, use a damp cloth with mild detergent, then wipe dry.
How to Clean the Weep System in Raised Sills
Keeping the drainage holes (weep system) in the raised sill free of dirt and debris is important because it allows water to easily exit the channels to keep water from building up and entering the house in heavy rain.
A pipe cleaner or small bottle brush works well for this purpose, or you can use a can of compressed air with a narrow tube attachment to force dirt and debris through the tubes and out of the holes at the front of the sill. See this video guide “How to Free Debris from Weep Holes.”
Don't Neglect the Hardware in Your Bi-Fold Maintenance Routine
Hardware is subject to deterioration from everyday use and from its environment. It is important that routine maintenance be carried out in all environments, and with greater frequency in harsh coastal environments and commercial and/or industrial applications.
Inspect all screws for tightness every six months. Using a low torque setting, tighten screws if necessary, taking care not to strip screw heads. Routinely check parts for wear and if excessively worn, replace the part.
To help prevent surface corrosion, we recommend washing regularly; Stainless steel finishes in coastal environments may show signs of surface corrosion, even if washed regularly. Wash with soap or mild detergent and warm water followed by rinsing with clean cold water and wipe dry.
As a guide, if a window or door requires washing then wash the hardware, however AG Millworks recommends for seacoast/saltwater and industrial environments washing hardware a minimum of every month, and for less corrosive environments washing every three months.
In seacoast/saltwater environments (three miles or less from the coast) we recommend applying a light application of corrosion preventative such as Boeshield T-9, CRC Marine 66, or Inox® for Marine to all hardware surfaces and using a dry cloth to remove excess. When using lubricant or corrosion protection compounds, be careful to avoid the adjacent surfaces and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. DO NOT allow Boeshield or other corrosion preventatives to contact wood surfaces or other surfaces that tend to absorb oils, as staining may occur.
How to Maintain and Adjust Hangers and Pivots
All hangers are fitted with lubricated ball bearings or plain bearings, requiring no greasing. If the doors ‘settle’ and door clearance is reduced causing friction, raise the door by the hanger adjustment nuts. View our “How to adjust” videos here to learn the steps to properly adjust your door.
How to Clean Bi-Fold Rollers
All sill guide tracks and header channels must be free from obstruction and excessive dirt and water. Clean visible surfaces using a damp cloth and mild detergent, then wipe dry. All rollers are fitted with sealed precision bearings requiring no maintenance, but clean exterior surfaces and protect as recommended above.
How to Clean Bi-Fold Hinges
Clean visible surfaces using a damp cloth and mild detergent, then wipe dry.
Surface Mounted Locking Mechanisms
It is recommended to spray WD40 to the sliding pin inside the drop bolt and to the lock cylinder (if applicable). There are access holes or slots on all drop bolts at the top and bottom of door panels so that this can be completed without removing the locks from the doors. Wipe away any excess lubricant. Clean visible surfaces using a damp cloth and mild detergent, then wipe dry.
At AG Millworks, we build high-quality, handcrafted Bi-Fold door systems for luxury outdoor living. Our precise and detailed craftsmanship is the reason our doors are easy to maintain and have less maintenance-related issues. Click here to learn more about creating a luxury outdoor lifestyle with Bi-Fold doors. You can also download and print a free complete Bi-Fold Door Maintenance Guide here.