Comparing hinged and pivoting bifolding doors

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Nick Dardalis

The UK home improvement market and the commercial market has now embraced the advantages that commercial doors can bring. Bifolding doors are predominantly fitted in the home but more and more they are being used commercially as well.

bifolding doors come in two popular opening styles. which is best?
Bifolding doors come in two popular opening styles. Which is best?

Cafés, Restaurants and Bars who wish to provide some form of al fresco environment to their customers are choosing bifolding doors as one way to achieve this.

Consider also that many of our leisure businesses are situated inside large retail parks and shopping centres. With these shops and restaurants being indoors and not being exposed to the weather the bifolding door is one way of achieving an open-plan environment.

With bifolding doors now popular amongst homes and businesses, what is the best method for opening the doors? Presently there are two possible ways.  In this article we are comparing hinged and pivoting bifolding doors:

Opening options on bifolding doors.

There are presently only two ways bifolding doors can open and close. There is no “best” method of opening as the various systems available differ in aesthetics and overall design as well as how they open.

There are few differences when the doors are open or closed visually other than what is explained below. The preferred method of operation is down to individual preference as well.

Here we explain the two ways bifolding doors can open and close.

Hinged bifolding doors.

eden windows provide complete home improvement solutions for kent and the surrounding areas.
A hinged bifolding door by Origin. The hinged door when opening will take up space across the entire aperture.

The hinged bifolding door such as these excellent market leading doors by Origin is by far the most popular arrangement. Whether the doors are top hung or bottom hung, they are all connected by hinges and are designed to slide and fold.

Visually these doors have a zig zag effect when partially open or in mid operation. Once the lead leaf and intermediate panels are unlocked, the doors will slide along their respective head and tracks and all stack to one side together.

Should these bifolding doors have an access leaf, (typically with three and five pane folding doors), the access leaf will swing open like a normal hinged door. This will be positioned either on the frame side as an independent door or connected to the folding leaves as the customer chooses.

Sliding and Pivoting Doors

the pivoting doors by frameless glass curtains. notice how each panel moves independently creating an open aperture if needed.
The pivoting doors by Frameless Glass Curtains. Notice how each panel moves independently creating an open aperture if needed.

This is a more recent development in bifolding doors were each panel slides along as an individual panel and then folded either in or out at the end of its track. Frameless Glass Curtains Ltd and New Wave Doors are two examples of doors that operate in this way.

These types of products have not been in the market as long as a typical slide and fold door. The main difference between these slide and the hinged bifolding door is just that – no hinges. Hinged bifolding doors have all the leaves connected by door hinges. Pivot doors are stand alone leaves that operate individually and independently.

What is best? Hinged or Pivoting bifolding doors?

one main advantage of pivoting doors is that they take up far less space when fully opened.
One main advantage of pivoting doors is that they take up far less space when fully opened.

Each door type operates differently and the preferred door is really down to personal preference. Some people do not like pivoting doors as it is perceived as having more operations to get your bifolding doors fully open. Others do not see this as an issue at all.

The other argument is that pivoting doors by nature of not having any door hinges results in much slimmer doors as the aluminium profile does not need to be thick enough to accommodate the hinges. This results in a much slimmer door and is reinforced by the Frameless Glass Curtains example that only have aluminium frame at the top and bottom of each door and around the perimeter frame itself.

Another advantage of the slimmer profiles used is that when the pivoting doors are stacked back they take up far less space than a hinged door. For some people this is a desired feature.

A four pane bifolding door will require all leaves to be opened at the same time and cannot be fitted with an access door.

Another consideration is the individual property that doors are being installed into. Space constraints may make a pivoting door more desirable as they only take up space on the one side only when fully opened rather than needing to fold out across the entire aperture as is the case with hinged doors.

Another advantage of pivoting doors is that they create an individual opening that hinged doors cant. For example you can slide one panel along and fold it open leaving a clear opening for ventilation. This too is possible on hinged doors with an access leaf but impossible on a two and four pane configuration where all the doors must be slid back together.

If you would like further information on the pivoting bifolding doors or the standard hinged bifodling doors explained in this article, please contact us.