Pivot doors explained
A pivot door is a swinging door that rotates on a vertical axis, a spindle. This is different from regular hinged doors, where the hinges are attached to the side of the door and the adjacent wall.
The difference between a pivot door and a regular hinged door.
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Origin of the pivot door
The technology of the pivot door is simple and goes back many centuries. An example of very early pivot doors can be found in the ancient city of Persepolis, in modern Iran. Various indications of pivot doors were found in the Gate of All Nations, a grand hall which build was ordered by Achaemenid king Xerxes I, between 486 and 465 BC.
One of the sockets that were found in the ancient city of Persepolis, modern Iran, was used for the bottom pivot of an ancient pivoting portal.
These early pivot doors were hung by pivots that rotated in holes in the sill and lintel. A great example is the stone doors in Hampi, India.
Two massive stone pivot doors in Hampi, India, where the spindles are still clearly visible. Image courtesy of Shriram Swaminathan
An old pivot door where the vertical axis in the sill and lintel are clearly visible
What components make up a pivot door?
A pivot door is basically a pivoting panel that can take any type of design and measurement. It exists of the door, a pivot system, a top pivot, a floor plate, and a ceiling plate.
Contrary to the ancient pivot doors, modern-day pivot doors do not rotate on an extension of the vertical axis but a pivot hinge system and a top pivot. The pivot hinge system is mortised inside the bottom of the door, and the top pivot is mortised inside the top of the door. Both are invisible on the finished door.
These pivot hinges are placed at any desired position in the door. This determines the location of the vertical axis – the spindle – on which the door pivots.
The components of a pivot hinge
What’s the advantage of a pivot door?
A pivot door is visually very different from a regular hinged door. When the hinge is placed 4“ from the side of the door, these 4“ create the pivot door’s ‘tail.’ This tail will swing inward for an outward swinging door and outward for an inward swinging door. This allows for beautiful, elegant door movement.
The unique closing movement of a pivot door
A pivot door can deviate from the measurements of regular doors. A pivot door can simply be much larger. They allow for higher but also wider doors than traditional hinged doors. There are examples of pivot doors over 13 feet wide and 23 feet tall. It’s all possible with the right, high-quality pivot hinge.
6-meter-tall entrance pivot door with FritsJurgens System M pivot hinge – Designed by Gavin Maddock
Pivot doors can take any type of measurement, but with the proper pivot hinge, these doors can also become very heavy without any issues. This means you have the design freedom to design your dream door without worrying about the execution.
With a regular hinged door, all the door’s weight is ‘hanging’ from the door frame. Thanks to its spindle, a pivot door can easily carry much larger weights which it disposes of through the floor. With the right hinge, your pivot door can weigh up to 1100 lbs.
When applying the correct type of pivot hinge, the hinges are invisible on the finished door, contrary to the hinges of a regular hinged door. This means there are no distractions, and the focus remains on the door’s design.
Close up of a FritsJurgens floor plate
A pivot door can be made from any type of material. The only requirement is that the hinges can be mortised inside the door, which is possible for almost any thinkable material, from wood to glass and steel and from marble to copper.
Marble pivot door in a marble bathroom – Designed by Exceptis Interior Design
A pivot door is suitable for countless types of placements for both interior, and exterior situations. From grand entrances to bathroom doors, pivoting walls, double doors, cupboard doors, even windows.
A pivot door with the proper pivot hinges is very easy to install in new and existing situations. When the hinges are integrated into the door, there is barely any work left to do on-site. Only the floor- and ceiling plates must be mortised. Then the door can simply be lifted into place.
Installing a pivot door with FritsJurgens pivot hinges can be done quickly and easily
Pivot doors can be frameless. Because of the pivot hardware placement inside the door, there is no need for door frames. This makes it possible for a pivot door to submerge in the interior or exterior.