Sternfenster’s technical sales manager, Kev Wallis, offers up his top tips to toe-and-heel a bi-fold door – and explains that while you might be an experienced installer, a little refresher goes a long way…
In my first column for Total Installer, I made a point of saying that fitters could quite often make their lives a whole lot easier if they were just prepared to read the manual.
It’s not something that comes naturally to many of us, but it can save huge amounts of wasted time and money by preventing silly mistakes. This column follows up on that advice but with an alternative suggestion for those that are still unwilling to swallow their pride and study the instructions – you can watch YouTube instead!
Don’t get too excited, I’m not saying you should waste precious time on site, glued to your smartphone watching football highlights, when you should be concentrating on fitting Mr & Mrs Jones’ new windows and doors – I’m suggesting that you take advantage of the comprehensive range of tutorial videos that we have produced at Sternfenster.
These cover everything from how to correctly fit a cill, why it’s important to take your time to adjust door heights and hinges and the right way to install an aluminium bi-fold.
I know many of you reading this will be thinking, ‘what do I need to do that for, I’ve been fitting windows and doors for years’. That might be the case, but as I said in my last column, I’ve had calls from installers with years of experience, claiming they have got an issue with one of our products when in fact the problem has been caused by a simple oversight that could have been avoided altogether if they’d spent a few minutes to remind themselves on proper procedure.
You could think of it a bit like passing your driving test. Most of us will have spent hours with an instructor learning how to parallel park or reverse around a corner, but I guarantee that most of that tuition will go out the window once you’ve been given your licence. Nobody likes to be told that they are a bad driver, but we all pick up bad habits over time and the longer you’ve been on the road, the harder it will be to shake them.
The moral of the story is, there’s no harm in occasionally treating yourself to a little extra tuition. However, if you’re still not convinced, then don’t forget that our videos can also be used to help less experienced members of your team. You can find simply by searching for Sternfenster on YouTube or you can download them from Sternfenster Plus – an online portal that also allows you to access technical documents, marketing material, information on your quotes, contracts and deliveries and even a live production capacity feed from our PVC and aluminium factories.
How to toe and heel a bi-fold door
My top tip this month is make sure you know how to properly toe and heel and door. This is a vital part of the installation no matter the style or material of the door you are fitting, but it’s especially important on bi-folds in order to ensure the full function and smooth operation of the door.
If you don’t do it properly, then the doors won’t work as they should and you will most likely end up pulling the gaskets out.
We have produced a video explaining exactly how to do it properly, so there should be no excuses! Alternatively, you can follow these simple pointers:
- Before installing the glass carefully remove the beading, remove any dust from frame and drainage holes. And don’t mix the beads up as they need to go back in the same position.
- The glass units will all be the same width unless there is a master traffic door, so remember the unit for that will be 6mm narrower so it does not interfere with the door lock.
- Starting with the first leaf, insert a glazing packer on the bridging packer that will come pre-fitted.
- Place the glass onto this packer. You will notice that there is a gap between the edge of the glass and the bridging packers. This is to enable you to insert glazing packers in the bottom corner of the hinge side and the top of the D handle side to secure the glass in place.
- This is the toe and heel process and when done correctly it transfers the weight of the glass to the hinges and allows the top hinge to hold the sash in place.
- Once you’ve positioned the packers in the right location, secure them with silicone.
- Once the unit is in square and the sash is parallel in the outer frame, re-fit the beads in the sash
- You can then move onto leaf two, repeating the process
Kev Wallis is technical sales manager at Lincoln-based fabricator, Sternfenster, where he has been an integral part of the team for 40 years. Kev works across all areas of Sternfenster’s operations, from customer services to manufacturing, and spends a significant part of his day working side-by-side with customers to solve technical and training issues.