Locking a Bi-Fold door
January 13, 2013 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone think of a reliable, simple and compact way to lock a two part/bi-fold door?

For reasons of space, I want to replace our inward opening bathroom door with an inward opening bi-fold door ( this sort of thing ) but I can't think how to add a lock to it.

A lock across the middle hinge sounds like it would rip out in seconds; a normal latch on the door frame probably wouldn't hold; a bolt going upwards only works if you are tall; a hook and eye arrangement doesn't sound very strong...

There must be a way to make this thing lock in an aesthetically pleasing way - but I can't think how.

posted by sodium lights the horizon to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
A hook and latch on the side that opens? You can get them pretty heavy-duty, if you worry about it pulling out of the frame.
posted by pla at 9:31 AM on January 13, 2013

You just need something to keep the door from pulling away from the door frame. Why wouldn't a simple case latch work? Maybe a coffin latch?
posted by supercres at 9:32 AM on January 13, 2013

All my bedroom doors are like that except they open in the middle like French doors or saloon doors. We have hooks and eyes and a strip of wood on one side to fill up the gap. It's sort of stupid. A hook and eye wood probably work with yours. The lock is really to signal "hey there's someone in here" more than to actually keep someone out. If you have children, they will try to open the door locked with the hook and eye 400 times until you let them in and scream through the crack. Rattlerattlerattlerattle.

I sort of think a big sliding lock over the middle crack and a hook and eye would work.
posted by artychoke at 9:33 AM on January 13, 2013

How about this ?
posted by PorcineWithMe at 9:34 AM on January 13, 2013

Could you just buy that one you linked but when you assemble it (which I am assuming includes attaching the two panels together with hinges), flip the panel that has the knob on it around so the knob is on the outside of both doors instead of the inside? Then replace that knob with a regular door knob that locks.
posted by NoraCharles at 10:17 AM on January 13, 2013

Do you mean a security lock (the equivilent of padlocking it shut), simply something that will hold it closed, or one that's inbetween: a child-proof latch of some sort?
posted by easily confused at 10:18 AM on January 13, 2013

An actual strong lock would be a bar across the door on the inside-- it would hang on the inside, main hinge side of the doorframe, and then latch into something on the other side, with the metal or wood bar blocking the middle hinge in the process.

One thing to consider is that, for safety reasons, all locks on the bathroom should be beatable in an emergency situation. This often means damaging doors and doorframes if you are improvising the lock. In the case of the bar-lock, you may be able to remove the middle hinge from the door with tools. If not, well, you'll probably have to destroy something in that case. That's not a reason to not do it-- interior doors and doorframes are cheap to fix if you need to get in with a hearty kick.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:19 AM on January 13, 2013

Response by poster: Ah, no, nothing in the security sense like padlocking - just something that will hold up to an adult giving it a hefty shove thinking that the bathroom is unoccupied.

Space (and the existing door jam) mean that the door will have to fold inwards, so that it looks like the photo when you are inside the bathroom.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 10:25 AM on January 13, 2013

We use the bi-fold door locks that porcinewithme links to on some bi-fold closet doors in our house. As long as it's kept towards the center, it will stand up to a decent but not hefty adult push.
posted by puritycontrol at 10:28 AM on January 13, 2013

Well we use these child proof sliders over the bifold doors to keep the kid out and they work just fine. It is nearly impossible to open the the door when its engaged.
posted by saradarlin at 10:31 AM on January 13, 2013

a bolt going upwards only works if you are tall

Not so! Some of them have a pull-chain.

Alternatively, you could go with a surface-mounted bolt going downwards into the floor, using a mortise strike. We've a pair of doors with what I'd guess are two-foot long bolts, so you're not stooping to ground-level everytime you want to operate them. Here are some.

Of course, if the door opens inward, and the surface bolt is on the inside, then they may be too strong for safety's sake, in fact.
posted by mumkin at 10:55 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think all you really need is a cabin hook. It'll prevent the door from being pulled away from the door frame, and hence keep it fairly firmly closed. They're pretty strong, as long as you anchor them with decent screws.
posted by pipeski at 11:49 AM on January 13, 2013

I'd look at pocket door locks, as the initial motion for a pocket door is the same as for your door. Pocket doors are somewhat common on bathroom doors, so you should be able to get a privacy lock that can still be opened from the outside in an emergency.
posted by yuwtze at 12:00 PM on January 13, 2013

a hook and eye arrangement doesn't sound very strong...

I've seen hook and eyes on regular bathroom doors. I'm a little confused about what you mean by having it hold up to a hefty shove, are you worried about someone actually trying to break the door down?

If you want to have the bathroom double as a saferoom you could have a bar or two to go across the door in emergencies, and use an easier to operate lock the rest of the time.
posted by yohko at 10:10 PM on January 13, 2013

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