Everything You Need To Know About Pivot Doors

Can pivot doors improve your home renovation?

Example of a pivot door mechanism

Pivot doors are growing in popularity and indeed, they have a lot to offer the aesthetics of a home. More often than not used for patio or back doors into a garden, pivots offer a great focal point with uninterrupted views outside, a great opportunity for natural light flow and an enhanced connection with outdoor space. However, these fittings are still a relatively new concept in the UK and so you may struggle to find a great deal about them online. Fear not: Refresh Renovations is here to give you all the info you need in order to make an informed decision about fitting pivot doors in your home! Read on for the basics.

How do Pivot Doors work?

Rather than hinges set on one side of the door to open outwards, pivot doors instead rotate on a pivot system at the top and bottom of the door leaf. This means they rotate open rather than swing to one side. 
The pivots are inset from the side which done mean that at some point along the aperture, the space is divided. The door opens both inwards and outwards but do need enough space to do so and so may not be suitable for smaller areas.

What’s the ideal size for a Pivot Door?

With pivot doors, it’s important that the opening is wide enough to fit through it what you need – and it should be considered that this may include pushchairs, wheelchairs or large bags/objects rather than just people. It’s always recommended that the pivots should be offset in by a third of the door leaf width, so that the door opens the other two thirds.
Of course, as only two thirds of the door’s width opens, they are generally much larger than standard hinged options both widthways and in height. You may find that a custom-made door works best for your home, but if retrofitting or looking for a more standardised size, you can easily purchase a range of off-the-shelf doors at 626mm, 726mm, 826mm and 926mm; but it’s not uncommon to find options available up to 1,500mm wide and 3,000mm tall.

Why should I choose a Pivot Door?

Pivot doors have many benefits, including:
- They’re readily available in larger-than-standard sizes, which make them ideal for bigger spaces
- Their novel opening mechanism and oversized feature make them aesthetically striking
- The door’s opening, secured at the head and base, is more stable than standardised hinges
- Pivot doors with glass panes can provide uninterrupted views of the outside; vastly different compared to the mullions and bars of steel-framed doors and the thick frames of traditional sliding and bifold doors
- They are available in a variety of timbers and polyester powder-coated aluminium materials and finishes.

Why might I choose not to have a Pivot Door?

Pivot doors don’t suit all properties, and you need to consider:
- The large sizing of pivot doors means they are rarely effective in smaller space
- It can be easy to catch your fingers if specialist finger grooves aren’t included, which can be an issue for families with young children
- Large openings or doors installed in an area exposed to wind may need a stay-open door catch installed to prevent freefall swinging
- If installed on a flush threshold, careful detailing will need to be included to ensure proper drainage.

How much do Pivot Doors cost?

As with any property fixture or fitting, the exact cost of pivot doors is dependent on many variables: including the size, frame material and supplier. 
Generally speaking, a large timber frame pivot door could cost around £500 to install, whereas an aluminium door could cost anything from £1,200 per m², and steel framed doors from £3,000+ per m². It’s always best to gather several quotes before committing to buy.
Pivot front doors do tend to cost considerably more than those for the back of a property, for security reasons. You can expect these options to begin from £3,500 plus VAT plus installation with a painted finish.

Do Building Regulations apply to the installation of Pivot Doors?

There are some circumstances under which the installation of pivot doors will need to adhere to the legal Building Regulations. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Where a pivot door is being installed as an entrance to the home, it must meet Part Q (see Appendix B, which holds relevant information on bespoke door fitting)
- The minimum clear opening of a pivot door for an entrance must be 775mm under Approved Document Part M
- If being installed as an internal door, a pivot door may need to be fire rated
- If being installed as an external door, further accessories or finishes may need to be considered to protect against material finish and weather-tightness.

Is Planning Permission required for Pivot Doors?

In the majority of cases, the installation of a pivot door can be completed, but there are instances where it may be required. For example, if your property holds listed status or is situated in an AONB or conservation area, you may need external permission before installing a new door type. If you’re unsure, it may be best to seek a Lawful Development Certificate from the Local Planning Authority to confirm that the installation of a pivot door is covered in the event of any future enquiries.

Which material is best for Pivot Doors?

Pivot doors are available in a variety of materials, each of which have a different finish, durability, cost and maintenance requirement.
Timber doors look great combined with similar materials on windows and other doors, but does require treatment and maintenance to avoid weathering; and such treatments do often change the shade of the wood. Painted timber doors, too, will require regular maintenance.
Aluminium pivot doors are typically more expensive to purchase up front but require little to no maintenance, and can be coated in polyester powder to match any RAL colour or metallic shades.
Which type of pivot door is right for you and your home is entirely up to you and the requirements you hold for it. Seek advice and explore your options – this may be a fairly new door type for most British homes, but the possibilities are endless!

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