Introduction: Securely Attach Static Door Handle to Bi-fold Door

Loose Handle? Have a bi-fold or other hollow core door with a loose static door handle?

Here's a solution: mount a small piece of lumber inside the hollow core so that your handle's mounting plate may be fastened to it instead of just a hardboard panel.

Required Tools and Materials

  • A 1" x 2" furring strip
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails (2)
  • Metal putty knife or a pry bar
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • A saw and miter box or a power miter saw
  • Pencil
  • Framing square
  • Speed square (optional, but is is easier to wield in some cases than the framing square)
  • Two saw horses or a large workbench

Step 1: Prepping the Door

If the door to be repaired is a bi-fold door on a track, push down on the roller and swing the door free of the track.

To gain access to the inside of the door, the back face of the door needs to be removed. To do this, wedge a metal putty knife or a pry bar between the door frame and the back face of the door.

Slide the putty knife around the frame of the door along the top, front and as much of the bottom as possible with the door still on the hinges to separate the back face from the frame.

Remove the door from the hinges.

Finish separating the back face from the frame. Once separated from the frame, set the back face aside.

Step 2: Finding the Location for the Crossbar

Support the door front face up on two saw horses or a large workbench.

Using a framing square and a pencil, mark a line horizontally (to the door face) through the center of where the handle shall be placed on the door face.

Using a speed square, continue your line around the door's edge from front to back.

Flip the door over on the saw horses so that the back (the now open side) of the door is facing up.

Line up your framing square with the line on the door's edge. Mark lines across the stiles (the vertical members of the door frame) along the framing square.

Later, you will center the support on the lines marked on the stiles.

Step 3: Measuring and Cutting the Support

Measure the void in the door (the space between the stiles). Place the end of your measuring tape so that it butts up against a stile. Try to keep the tape aligned with the marks on the stiles you made in the previous step when measuring.

On the material you will be using for the door, make a mark that corresponds to the width of the void. Furring strips make a low-effort choice for the support material. Dimensional lumber (e.g. a 2x4) would be two thick to fit in the void without being milled (planed) down.

Using a speed square, make a pencil line through the mark you just made.

Using a miter box (or a power miter saw if you have one). Cut the support to length. Err on the side of too long when making your cut.

Fit your support into the void centered on the lines. If at first the support is too long, file or sand the support down doing so in multiple passes taking only a little material off with each pass. After each sanding or filing pass, attempt to fit the support into the void. When sanding or filing, take care not to remove too much material. The support should fit snugly into the void without making the stiles bow out.

Step 4: Gluing and Fastening the Support.

Place a thin bead of a strong wood glue on the back of the support.

Place the support into the void centered on the marks on the stiles.

Temporarily clamp the support to the back of the front face of the door while fastening it in place.

Fasten the support to the stiles. I toe nailed it in place with finishing nails (they are what I had on hand).

Step 5: Gluing the Back Face to the Door.

Run a thin bead of a strong wood glue along the stiles and rails (horizontal members) of the door frame.

Lay the back face of the door unto the door. Make certain the back face is oriented properly. Hint: if there are small lights in the door (the rectangular designs in the door) face, they are probably supposed to be on the top half of the door. Make sure that the edges of the back face are lined up with the edges of the door.

Using multiple clamps, clamp the back face of the door to the door to allow the glue to dry.

Leave the glue to dry however long the curing time is according to the directions on the glue.

Step 6: Attach the Door Handle

Place the door handle mounting plate over the line you drew through the middle of the door.

Move the mounting plate to the location where you want to attach the door handle keeping the mounting holes for the screws over the line. Keeping the mounting holes over the line ensures that you will be screwing into the support instead of just hardboard.

Mark the location of the holes using a pencil. To do this, use a mechanical pencil (.75mm lead works best for this) and feed the lead out from the pencil. Feed out enough lead so that when placed through the mounting hole, the lead touches the door face. Then, keeping the pencil as perpendicular to the door face as possible, swirl the lead around in the mounting hole. Doing so should result in a small circle approximately the same size and shape as the mounting hole on the door face. Do this for both mounting holes. Check the marks on the door face. Ensure the marks are on or very near the line.

Drill pilot holes into the door face and the support at the marked locations.

Attach the mounting plate by screwing two screws into the pilot holes and through the mounting plate.

Attach the door handle to the mounting plate.

If there is a noticeable crack between the door and the back door face, it may be repainted if desired.

Enjoy having a securely mounted static door handle.