There was a time when large and elegant glass patio doors were available only as part of the ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’. But that was a long time back, while today, thanks to modern ‘state of the art’ manufacturing techniques, such doors can be installed relatively easily in almost all types of homes.
The ‘pivot door’ as the term applies, pivots back and forth on its pivots. In operation it is somewhat similar to a hinged door since it too, is capable of swinging in and/or out. But this is where the similarity ends, because the pivot door is based on the pivot mechanism enclosed in their own pivot boxes. It is a pretty ingenious contraption really, because it allows the whole weight of the door to be focused all over the center of the door rather than its edges. Thanks to its pivoting structure, the door can be built really big, even with a single pane of glass, since the stress of the structure is evenly distributed.
However, unlike its sliding and inward opening counterparts, it is difficult to be used in spaces where screening is necessary.
Sliding Patio Doors
Almost all sliding patio doors have two panels with one being stationary while the other traverses on rollers or tracks. The advantages of this set up are that there is no fear of doors that have not been secured and therefore such doors are not susceptible to banging and shattering and neither do they get in the way. Since they have small frame to glass ratios, such doors are perfect if you want a panoramic view of the great outdoors.
Swinging Patio Doors
Unlike pivot doors, swinging patio doors function by virtue of the swing mechanism present in the hinges. A typical ‘swing patio door’ consists of two panes that are suspended on hinges in the center of the pane, effectively allowing the door to swing backwards and forwards as and when required.
The ubiquitous French door is generally engineered to swing inwards and as such occupies a lot of free space. On the positive side though, it’s the most elegant patio door design out there. French doors usually have multiple square panes embedded in the main frame. In size they range from 4.5 to 6 feet since overly large doors are not only bulky but also difficult to open and close.
Bi-Fold Patio Doors
This is a unique class of patio door, separate and distinct from all the other types available. A Bi-fold patio door operates like a musical accordion and its ‘manifold’ (pun intended) panes neatly fold away for full opening and closing without any worry about unnecessary occupation of space. Such doors are perfect for cluttered spaces where furnishings and carpets do not allow easy operation of in-swinging doors.