Pivot Doors - Ultimate Guide

Choosing the right door for you can be complicated, whether it's a front door, closet door, or shower door.

On the one hand, you can go the safe route, using a traditional door. They come in several styles and colors to fit any home. They're also more affordable, so if you're on a budget, you can't go wrong with the safe route of an average, run-of-the-mill door.

However, if you want to bring a modern elegance to your entryway, you consider a pivot door. Pivot doors are often bigger, wider, and heavier than traditional doors. They use a rotating spindle off-set from the middle to open and close. The wider the door, the further the spindle will be from the door frame. This spindle replaces traditional hinges, and when you open the door, there will be an additional space along the side that opens. This space can be a hazard for small children or animals.

Pivot doors are cool options for most doors in your home, as long as you have a wide enough space. This is just the beginning of all things pivot doors, and here's all you need to know before choosing the right pivot door for you.

Types of Pivot Doors

Pivot doors typically come in four different types: front door, closet door, shower door, and patio door, though there can be more uses.

They are used for both internal and external entryways, and you'll want to choose durable material if you're considering a pivot door for outdoor use. Anywhere a traditional door is used, a pivot door could be placed as long as you have the space and budget.

A single pivot door is typically about 48 inches (121.9 cm) wide. This is slightly bigger than a traditional door, which is usually about 36 inches (91.4 cm) wide. If you're looking for a double pivot door, you'll need an opening of about 96 inches (243.8 cm). Again, this is larger than a traditional double door setup, which is 72 inches (182.9 cm) wide.

If you have enough space available, there's a pivot door for you, and let's explore the four most common use case scenarios to help you decide what's right for you.

Front Door

Pivot doors are still relatively uncommon, but you'll typically see them the most in front doors. They are single pane doors, though they are often wider than traditional doors. They can swing both ways, giving you interior and exterior access, so they make great outside doors. You can get a solid material front door or a mix of materials to bring a different look and feel. Glass can help you see out. However, a full glass door is not recommended as a front door for privacy's sake.

Closet Door

Credit: Brandner Design

If you have walk-in closets in your home, you may want to consider pivot doors. While they take up more space than traditional folding doors, pivot doors bring new life to your space. You can have a single panel or double panel closet door, though these are the least popular use for pivot doors. Closet doors are typically wood, matched to the room's trim.

Shower Door

Pivot doors can also be used as shower doors, helping to accommodate larger openings in spacious bathrooms. They're often made of glass, which is easy to clean. The glass can be completely see-through or have a film that provides more privacy. The hinges blend perfectly with the other metalwork on the door, making it seem almost magical to open.

Patio Door

Credit: Solar Innovations

Just as you can use a pivot door to enter the home, you could have one as a patio entryway. Ensure you have enough space and consult with a professional about your options. Dual-panel patio doors may require two pivot doors, so you'll need about 96 inches (243.8 cm) to achieve this look. Patio doors are typically a mix of wood and glass, much like traditional French or sliding patio doors.

Pivot Door Materials

Pivot doors are typically made of wood, steel, and glass – or any combination of the two. The materials are graded for use, so make sure to pick a sturdy material if it will be exposed to the elements. All glass doors are typically reserved for shower pivot doors. However, glass panels make a functional and aesthetically pleasing addition to wood and steel doors. Some films can make them hard to see in for privacy's sake.

Pivot doors are mounted on a track, like a traditional door frame. The hinge uses a spindle, allowing it to move freely inside and outside. It uses one single hinge, mounted on top, rather than the three that traditional doors have located on their side. Pivot doors are intended to look like magic, so their hinges are discrete. They work best when you can't see them so as not to disturb the illusion.

Downsides of Pivot Doors

Pivot doors can be more dangerous than traditional doors, especially if you have animals or small children. Because of the opening along the side, limbs can get stuck. They're also heavier than traditional doors, so they could hurt if accidentally hit with one. Pivot doors are heavier, so they can be difficult to open at times.

Pivot doors look cool, but they can be more expensive because they're not widely used. Depending on the type of pivot door, you may pay between 30 to 50 percent more for this type of door over a more traditional door. This may go up based on the size of the opening and the material used.

Bottom Line on Pivot Doors

Pivot doors, while expensive, can help elevate your home, beginning with your front door. It's worth checking out if it fits in your budget. These doors are often more complex to install, so you'll want to consult with a professional to help you with the process.

While they're most typically used as front doors, you can also find pivot doors in your closets, showers, and patio doorway. They are great to use if they fit your budget.

Posted by Melissa Jackson

Melissa is passionate about all things home and garden, helping others to fashion their dream home one space at a time. An avid reader, when she’s not writing, you can find her nose deep in a book, cuddling with her two dogs.