Everything You Need to Know About Pivot Doors

From their history to modern design tips, learn more about custom pivot doors before designing your own.

Smooth, Sleek & Statement-Worthy

There are few door styles that are as unique or striking as a custom pivot door. Perhaps the most compelling feature that attracts clients to this option is how much larger they can make your entryway look. In fact, a pivot door allows you to build a much larger door than a standard swinging single door — not to mention, the eye-catching pivot point creates a conversation piece among guests, family, and friends. Interested in designing your own? Follow along to learn more about their history, anatomy, and benefits.

What is a Pivot Door?

To provide a basic definition, a pivot door is a swinging door that rotates on a vertical axis, or a spindle. Meanwhile, regular hinged doors are attached to the side of a door adjacent to the wall. Check out the visual comparison below to see how a traditional hinged door differs from a pivot door.

A custom iron double door featuring large glass window panels and two sidelights.
A modern pivot door opening halfway.

The History of Pivot Doors

Although modern pivot doors seem to be a contemporary trend, the technology dates back centuries. According to FritsJurgens®, an example of an early pivot door can be found in the ancient city of Persepolis in modern-day Iran. Additionally, there are several indications of this door style found in the Gate of All Nations, a grand hall that was built between 486 and 465 B.C.

The Anatomy of a Pivot Door

Essentially, a pivot door is a pivoting panel that can take on any type of custom design or measurement. Its basic elements include:

  • The door panel
  • A pivot system
  • A top pivot
  • A floor plate
  • A ceiling plate

Unlike ancient examples, modern pivot doors don’t rotate on an extension of the vertical axis. Instead, they leverage a pivot hinge system and a top pivot that are both invisible on the finished door. Where the pivot is located depends on personal preference and the width of the door. Typically, it’s about 15” from the end, but that may change if the designer or homeowner needs a bigger or smaller opening to walk through.

A woman walking through a modern pivot door to greet her child in the foyer.

4 Benefits of Modern Pivot Doors

Whether you’re looking for an elevated style or a smoother entryway system—our pivot doors have both. Check out a few of their top advantages.

1. They expand your entryway.

The beauty of the pivot is that you can build a much larger door than a standard swinging single door. To give you an idea, we often see modern pivot doors measure at about 10 ft. and over 50” wide.

2. They make a statement.

Most clients who want a pivot door installed in their home are looking to make a statement. These doors are visually different from the average hinged doors, and they feature a very elegant door movement that captivates those who enter.

3. They’re extremely smooth.

Our pivot doors boast a very smooth operating system, and help create a seamless transition from one area to another. We often hear clients who visit our design studios say that they are “wowed” by their beauty and effortless functionality.

4. They can be completely customized.

Whether you prefer modern, ornate, or traditional styles, our experts and artisans can work closely with you to design a custom pivot door that suits your taste. Plus, choose from a range of glass styles and finishes that complement your exterior. Feeling inspired and want to design your own custom pivot door? Check out our blog article, “How to Design a Custom Door” to learn more about the process. Then, be sure to schedule a consultation at one of our design studios — we have a few pivot doors showcased on-site, so it’s a great opportunity to get a taste for their look and feel. Finally, if you’re on the fence about which type of door to install in your home, check out these six reasons to choose an iron door.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pivot Doors

Are pivot doors secure?

  Yes, Clark Hall’s pivot doors are extremely secure, offering clients peace of mind. Our doors are certified to meet some of the strictest wind ratings and Florida building codes, and they’re equipped with 14-gauge steel door panels and steel barrel hinges. Plus, all of the hardware is custom made with security and durability in mind. If you’re concerned about privacy with a pivot door that features a large glass window panel, we recommend choosing a textured glass option that slightly obscures an onlooker’s view of the inside of your home—Rain, Cotswold, and Reeded textures are some of the most popular options.

What is the advantage of a pivot door?

Pivot doors offer many advantages, but the biggest one is that they easily expand your entryway. These entrances give you the opportunity to build a much larger door than a standard swinging single door—for example, many of our pivot doors measure at about 10 ft. and over 50” wide. Other advantages include their statement-worthy craftsmanship, extremely smooth operating system, and complete customizability. What is the difference between a pivot and hinged door? A pivot door is a swinging door that rotates on a vertical axis, or spindle. On the other hand, regular hinged doors are attached to the side of a door adjacent to the wall.

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