What are the Different Types of Pivot Doors?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Pivot doors operate differently than traditional doors whichfeature hinges mounted to the side of the door and the door frame. Center pivot doors, for example, feature a pivot in the center of the top of the door and the center of the bottom of the door, which means the door will swing on a center axis rather than at the side. Other pivot models feature hinges at the top and bottom edge of the door to allow easier use of heavy doors and frameless doors. Frameless glass doors are quite common in bathroom applications, while framed doors are more common for multipurpose applications.

Glass pivot doors can be framed or frameless, though in bathroom applications, they are commonly frameless for aesthetic appeal and functionality. A lack of a framing material such as metal or wood means less risk of rot or other damage due to constant moisture exposure; the aesthetic created by the frameless glass is visually appealing for such purposes. The hinges on these pivot doors are usually mounted at the edge of the door on the top and bottom, and they must be installed correctly since glass doors tend to be heavy and can cause significant injury or damage should the hinge fail.

Very large, heavy doors are often hung using a pivot design as opposed to traditional hinges because pivot doors transfer much of the door's weight to the ground rather than to the door frame that can otherwise become warped or damaged due to the strain from the door's heaviness. Doors that are wider than typical doorways are likely to feature pivots; hidden doorways, such as bookshelf or wall doorways, are commonly pivoted for structural integrity as well as a smooth aesthetic that essentially hides the pivot points.

Framed pivot doors are often used as patio access in lieu of sliding glass doors and screens. The pivoted door models allow for greater access to a patio space as well as greater air flow into and out of the home. It is not uncommon to see patio doors with center pivots, though such doors will require more room, as the door will swing into a room as well as out onto the patio. The brackets used to mount the door will vary according to the door's weight as well as the materials used in constructing the door; the hardware will also vary according to whether the door is framed or frameless.

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