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If you are installing built-in sliding wardrobe doors from wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling and the opening aperture for the installation is not true, plumb and straight or the walls and ceiling are not suitable for direct installation, then we would recommend first installing a frame using either soft wood or one of our melamine-faced chipboard (MFC) framing kits, when ordering your doors.
Although a wardrobe frame can be created from soft wood / planed timber and then painted, stained or varnished, we recommend using our specially designed wardrobe framing kits made from melamine panels, as these enable a smart, colour co-ordinated and professional finish to be achieved relatively simply and quickly. Our framing kits, comprising strike plates, liners and end panels are all made of melamine-faced chipboard (MFC) and are available in a variety of colours. To understand more about MFC, please refer to our article What is melamine-faced chipboard?
Within these kits the strike plates and liners are:
The framing kits are available in two different widths – 2800mm and 5600mm – to accommodate wider aperture openings. The 5600mm kit includes two 2800mm lengths and these will need to be cut to equal size so that they fit your overall aperture width and then butt-jointed together. Please see the section below How to join melamine panels.
Our sliding wardrobe door installation and framing kit guides describes broadly the process of how to construct a frame using a framing kit; however, this article will discuss in greater depth the different methods possible and offer some handy tips and tricks that may make the installation process easier.
If you are installing a framing kit we recommend that you choose a melamine colour that matches or coordinates with your existing skirting boards, door frames and / or coving. As these are often white we would recommend a white framing kit. However, you could also choose to match the panel material of the doors or even the colour of the metal frame.
If your sliding door wardrobe is not going to be installed from wall-to-wall, eg. across the entire side of a room or across an alcove, then an end panel will be required. Two kit options are available: a wall-to-end panel framing kit and an end panel-to-end panel framing kit.
End panels are available in the following dimensions:
Width: 640mm / 900mm
You may find this article useful: How to install a wardrobe end panel between a floor and ceiling.
As mentioned above, our wall-to-wall framing kits consist of strike plates and liners. The strike plates should be attached vertically to the walls at each end of the run of doors and, when installed correctly, will provide a completely vertical surface for the wardrobe doors to close against. Strike plates offer a ‘buffer’ between the door and the wall – so preventing the door coming into direct contact with the wall and causing damage to the plaster, paint or wallpapering, or indeed, to the stile / metal frame of the door itself.
The liners should be attached horizontally to the floor and ceiling and again, when installed correctly, provide a completely level surface on which to fix the running tracks to ensure the doors run smoothly and effortlessly.
Note: If you do add a wardrobe framing kit (strike plates and liners) to your order we will automatically deduct 2 x 18mm from both the width and height dimensions you have provided us with for your overall aperture measurements, to allow for the thickness of these items. Therefore, if you do add them to your order you will need to use them! Please refer to our measuring guide for more information on how to provide accurate measurements to us.
There are two main methods to attach the strike plates to the walls and these are described step-by-step below. The first is to drill both the strike plate and wall and then screw the strike plate to the wall (using rawlplugs), making use of packers where necessary between the wall and the strike plate to ensure the strike plate is true, plumb and straight. Using this method does leave screw heads visible in the face of the strike plate which can then be dealt with by using plastic cover caps or round adhesive decor caps. However, if these are in the same plane as the doors, then the edge of the door will close against the cover caps and not the face of the strike plate itself.
If you prefer no holes to be visible at all then the strike plates can be fixed to the walls using a strong silicon-based ‘grab’ adhesive (eg. Sticks Like Sh*t by Unibond) which dries to a rubbery consistency. White coloured adhesives such as this are also a good colour match to our white strike plates and liners and so can also be used as a gap filler if necessary.
If you need to remove a section of skirting board and / or ceiling coving (see Fig 4) in order to install the strike plate flush against the wall you may find this article helpful: How to remove part of a skirting board or coving to install a wardrobe frame.
It is possible to install the strike plates for your sliding wardrobe without the need to remove sections of existing skirting board or ceiling coving. Two such methods are described below and whilst both of these will work, they will involve a certain amount of careful finishing, filling or patching to achieve a satisfactory finished outcome.
Whilst this method offers possibly the quickest solution it is not necessarily the most effective, or attractive. To consider using this method, the skirting board itself needs to be of equivalent depth away from the wall to the strike plate when fitted (ie. 18mm), for an effective contact buffer to be created – see Fig 5. Any depth mismatch will result in either the strike plate being deeper than the skirting (thus creating an unsightly gap between the skirting and the bottom corner of the door when closed); or the skirting being deeper than the strike plate, meaning that the leading edge of the door will not contact the strike plate at all, and a gap will remain all the way up the height of the door and the strike plate. Even if the two relative depths are compatible the top edge of the skirting board may include a moulding detail (eg. torus, ogee, lamb’s tongue) making it difficult to butt-up neatly the bottom edge of the strike plate against it without some kind of gap being noticeable.
This method can be relatively involved to achieve a satisfactory result, as it requires the transference of an accurate template of the profile of the skirting board to the bottom edge of the strike plate and then cutting out a section of the strike plate so that a matching fillet remains. If the profile of the skirting board is, for example, a simple chamfer, then this method is relatively straightforward – see Fig 6 (a). However, if the skirting has a more traditional ogee or lamb’s tongue profile then creating an accurate template to cut away from the strike plate could be more problematic – see Fig 6 (b). In either scenario, this method is only really worth considering if the depth of the strike plate is equal or greater than the depth of the skirting board so that enough material of the strike plate remains after some of the bottom portion of it has been cut away in order to completely cover the existing skirting board – see Fig 6 (c).
If this method is used it is good practice to scribe the whole length of the strike plate along its long edge as the wall itself may not be plumb or flat. You can read more about this process in our article How to install sliding wardrobe doors when your walls are not plumb and straight.
Although not the focus of this particular article, an end panel (or interior divider panel) can also be fitted using this same method, whereby the profile shape of the skirting (or cornice) can be removed from the bottom (or top) corner of the panel so that it matches the profile when butted up against it.
As the liners are also 18mm thick MFC they enable an equal thickness of frame to be constructed on all sides of the aperture. For details of how to install a floor liner please see this article: How to install a bottom liner onto a sloping floor.
To install a ceiling liner you will find it easier if someone helps you as it is likely you will need two pairs of hands to hold the liner in place while drilling and screwing! If it is not possible to detect where ceiling joists may be, or the ceiling is constructed from wooden laths and plaster then we recommend glueing the top liner to the ceiling with a strong grab adhesive, in preference to screwing it to the ceiling. Prior to fixing the top liner in place, check with a spirit level that the ceiling is completely level across the width of the aperture but, if necessary, use plastic or slim wooden packers to make up any differences in level. The liner will ultimately have the top track screwed to its underside so you do not need to worry too much about screw heads showing.
If your ceiling is not level then you may want to consider building a ‘bulkhead’ – a lightweight partition constructed from liners and infill panels – to effectively drop the height of the opening to make any imperfections in the line of the ceiling less obvious. Please refer to this article for further details: How to fill the space between the top of your wardrobe and the ceiling.
The single framing kit will come with two liners, one for the ceiling and one for the floor. However, if your aperture is wider than 2800mm you will receive two floor liners and two ceiling liners which you will need to butt join together. The method for achieving this is described below:
If your walls are completely out of plumb or the wall surfaces are so irregular that even caulking or filling would not work then we would recommend you create either an L-shaped or a T-shaped fillet frame. We go into more detail of how to achieve this in the following article: How to fit sliding wardrobes doors to uneven walls.
The framing of the sliding wardrobe doors can be created to be a distinct feature of the overall wardrobe installation itself. Please see this article for further information: Frame design ideas to complete the look of your wardrobe doors.
If you have any queries in relation to this article please contact our Design Team 0800 035 1730.
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