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What is a pivot door?

What is a pivot door?

A pivot door is a revolving door that rotates on a vertical axis, a spindle. This differs from regular hinged doors, where the hinges are attached to the side of the door and the adjacent wall.

The origins of the pivot door

The technology of the pivot door is simple and goes back many centuries. An example of very ancient pivot doors can be found in the ancient city of Persepolis, in modern Iran. Several indications of pivot doors were found in the Gate of All Nations, a large hall built between 486 and 465 BC by order of the Achaemenid king Xerxes I.

One of the structures found in the ancient city of Persepolis, modern Iran, was used for the lower pivot of an ancient pivot portal. These old pivot doors were hung on pivot hinges that pivoted in holes in the sill and lintel.

What parts does a pivot door consist of?

A pivot door is basically a hinged panel that can take on any type of design and size. It consists of the door, a pivot system, an upper spigot, a floor plate and a ceiling plate.

Unlike the old pivot doors, contemporary pivot doors do not run on an extension of the vertical axis but on a pivot hinge system and a top spring. The pivot hinge is incorporated into the bottom of the door and the top pivot into the top of the door. Both are invisible on the finished door.

These pivot hinges are placed in the door at any desired position. This determines the location of the vertical axis - the spindle - on which the door rotates.

What is the advantage of a pivot door?

A pivot door is visually very different from a regular hinged door. When placed 10 cm from the side of the door, the 10 cm creates the "tail" of the door. This tail will swing inward when a door opens outward, and outward when a door opens inward. This creates a beautiful, elegant door movement.


The unique closing motion of a pivot door

A pivot door may differ from the dimensions of standard doors. A pivot door can simply be much larger. They allow taller but also wider doors than normal hinged doors. There are examples of pivot doors that are more than four meters wide and seven meters high. It's all possible with the right high-quality pacing system.

Pivot doors can handle any size, but with the right pivot hinge, these doors can also become very heavy without any problems. This means you have the design freedom to design your dream door without worrying about the execution.

With an ordinary hinged door, all the weight of the door "hangs" on the frame. Thanks to the spindle, a pivot door can easily support much larger weights discharged through the floor. With the right hinge, your pivot door can weigh up to 500 kg.

When the right type of pivot hinge is used, the hinges are invisible on the finished door, unlike the hinges on a regular door. This way there are no distractions and the focus remains on the design of the door.

A pivot door can be made of any type of material. The only requirement is that the hinges can be incorporated into the door, which is possible with almost any material imaginable, from wood to glass and steel to marble to copper.

A pivot door is suitable for numerous types of applications, both indoors and outdoors. From grand entryways to bathroom doors, pivoting walls, double doors, closet doors, even windows.

A pivot door with proper pivot hinges is very easy to install in new and existing situations. When the hinges are integrated into the door, there is hardly any work left to do on site. Only the floor and ceiling tiles need to be installed. Then the door can be easily lifted into place.


Assembling a pivot door with FritsJurgens pivot hinges is quick and easy

Pivot doors can be frameless. The system's placement in the door eliminates the need for door frames. This makes it possible for a pivot door to blend into the interior as well as exterior design.

This pivot door disappears into the wall - Designed by Taouk Architects
This pivot door disappears into the wall - Designed by Taouk Architect

The frameless nature of pivot doors also allows you to place multiple pivot doors side by side to create double doors or even paired walls.

a living room with a large window
Pivoting wall at a resort in Jakarta - Designed by Linvisibile by Portarredo
Pivoting wall at a resort in Jakarta - Designed by Linvisibile by Portarredo

Pivot doors can be double-action. Depending on the placement of the door, the functionalities the door must have and whether or not door frames are used, pivot doors can rotate in one direction, in both directions and even 360°.

A pivot door is a "hands-free" type of door. Of course, you can choose to add a latch bolt and door handles, but this is not necessary. With the proper pivot hinge, the pivot door can be opened and closed with a finger, shoulder or hip. This makes the doors suitable for restaurants where waiters walk with trays, but it also makes them very hygienic because the doors can be used without touching them with hands.


A pivot door can be used without hands

What types of pivot doors are there?

Pivot doors come in all shapes and sizes. Pivot doors can be large or small and heavy or light and used both indoors and outdoors, or in ceiling-high doors. Another distinction that can be made are commercial versus residential pivot doors.

Outer-state doors

An exterior barred door is a great way to create a grand entrance. The entrance door is the first tangible element you encounter when you enter a building. With endless design possibilities, a pivoting entryway can really set the tone for the rest of the home.

Outer-shell doors can take any shape and size. There are countless materials to work with. Glass and steel, glass and aluminum, or a special type of wood are popular materials for entryways. In addition, copper-clad doors are also gaining popularity.

Copper entrance door with FritsJurgens System M pivot hinge - Designed by Porebski Architects, made by Cumberland Building, photographed by Peter Bennetts

There are also several ways to weatherproof this type of pivot door. Moisture and draft-resistant details such as drop sills ensure that the pivot door meets all requirements around design and comfort.

Interior-Tate Doors

Interior batten doors can be installed in any interior situation. In both new and existing situations, a pivot door can be easily applied. A pivot door is suitable for bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, study rooms, room dividers and many more indoor applications.

Pivot door made of steel and glass - Designed by Linox by Jens Lammers, photographed by Bert Demasure

When you choose a pivot door for your interior, the materials can range from glass and steel to wood, marble and any other type of application you can think of. The doors can be framed or unframed, single or double, large or small, light or heavy. Even pivoting bookcase and pivoting walls are possibilities.

Even pivoting bookcases are a possibility for pivot 'doors' - Designed by Standard Studio

Commercial pivot doors

Pivot doors are great not only for homes but also for commercial buildings. They can be applied in offices, spas, public buildings such as libraries, restaurants, stores, et cetera.

How do I install a pivot door?

First, install the pivot system and upper spigot in the top and bottom of the door. On site, install the floor and ceiling plate. Then lift the door into place and tune the placement and movement.

Installing the pivot system and upper spigot in the door is a process that depends on the door material you are working with. Proper shapes are milled from wood pivot doors according to a milling manual. When working with aluminum or steel, the systems are often mounted in profiles in the door.

On site, the floor plate and ceiling plate are assembled. The placement of these plates is calculated in advance.

Next, the door is lifted into place. The pin of the system at the bottom of the door is inserted into the floor plate and the pin in the top spigot is turned up into the ceiling plate to secure the door.

Part of the placement of the door is the adjustment of positioning that still allows you to move the door slightly to perfect its location.

The final part of pivot door installation is fine-tuning the movement of the door. High-quality pivot hinges offer several options for tuning the movement to your preference, from soft-close to opening damping and closing speed.

Our installation video below shows the process and ease of installation.


Fritsjurgens Installation video System M and System M+

Additional functions of the pivot door

Unlike ordinary pivot doors, the hinges in pivot doors can give the door several additional features that allow you to control the movement of the door.

Some of these features include:

  • Soft-close
  • Locking positions
  • Adjustable opening damping
  • Adjustable closing speed
  • Closure security

These characteristics depend on the brand of hinge and the type of hinge system you choose.

I want a pivot door, where should I start?

If you want to install a pivot door, it is important to think about the type of pivot door you want. Since almost anything is possible, it can be helpful to find an architect or interior designer with experience in pivot door design to help you.

There are also numerous professional pivot door manufacturers around the world. Many have their own specialties, such as wood doors or steel pivot doors. If you already know what type of pivot door you want, consider contacting a door manufacturer. If you are still unsure, it may be helpful to take a look at the many great pivot door projects that are already out there.

There are many brands of pivot door hardware available worldwide. It is helpful to remember that a pivot door is a design investment you are making for the long term. Therefore, it is vital that you choose high-quality hinges to avoid maintenance, or worse, failure. Especially since pivot doors are often large, heavy doors, safety must be considered.

If you need help or are looking for the right partner for your pivot door project, FritsJurgens can help. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

FritsJurgens also has an extensive network of trusted dealers and partners worldwide who can help you find the right pivot door manufacturer in your area.

View FritsJurgens' projects here

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