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What are Bypass Closet Doors?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Bypass closet doors are two sliding panels that cover storage or utility openings. They move in tracks installed in a door frame on clothes, hall or linen closets as well as small laundry room or water heater and furnace spaces. Used in basements as well as on main floors, bypass closet doors are unique from other sliding styles as they move in at least double tracks rather than only a single one. The two panels are then able to bypass, or overlap, one other because each panel runs on a separate metal door frame track.

Contrastingly, a pair of bi-fold closet doors runs on one track. When one bi-fold door of the pair is opened, the center part of it, which is hinged, points outward to access half of the closet space. Bypass closet doors are also made to slide open to allow access of one side of the closet. Whereas bi-fold doors are typically slatted with small wood planks angled to leave openings of air for ventilation, bypass door styles often feature solid panels. Some bypass closet doors are metal with patterned holes designed for ventilation purposes.

In addition to metal and wood, bypass closet door styles are available in glass or mirrored versions. Mirrored bypass door styles can work especially well, as each panel is one piece so there are no divisions to distort the image being reflected. In this way, having a double-wide, full-length mirror is a bonus when choosing bypass closet doors. They can be especially useful in small rooms where another type of mirror won't fit. Also, mirrored closet doors can make the space appear larger.

In addition to frameless, mirrored bypass door panels, glass inserts with wood or metal frames are other panel types. These kinds of bypass closet doors can look modern and elegant. The glass may be clear, frosted or textured. Popular wood frames for glass bypass doors for closets include pine, cherry and oak. The frames can match furniture wood such as kitchen cabinets for a pantry or a chest of drawers for a bedroom closet.

In order to slide smoothly in double, or sometimes triple, metal tracks installed around the closet door frame, bypass doors have small roller brackets on the top. The rollers fit into the tracks and move along them when the bypass closet doors are slid open and then re-closed. Most bypass door panels also have metal guiding mechanisms on the bottom to help keep the rollers moving smoothly within the tracks.

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Discussion Comments
By Spotiche5 — On Oct 09, 2014

@rundocuri- I think that you are smart to get the same type of closet door since you will save money this way. To remove the tracks and change your hardware, you would be looking at a lot more money to transition to a different type of closet door.

That being said, I know that bypass closet doors can be frustrating when they don't operate properly. The best thing that you can do is make sure that all of the hardware is correctly installed in the tracts and on the doors. Once it is, keeping it clean and free of debris should keep your doors opening and closing with ease.

You also should never slam bypass closet doors. This could mess up the track, and cause them to start to run roughly. As long as you take good care of them and use them gently, your new bypass closet doors should work properly for years.

By Rundocuri — On Oct 08, 2014

What is the best way to keep bypass closet doors operating smoothly? I need to replace mine because they are always off the track. Though I would like to get a different type of closet door, these are the most affordable, especially since I already have tracks installed.

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