Folding Doors – Exteriors and Outdoor Design (4) : Design trends for exterior spaces and four-season rooms

Folding doors can be used along a single track system and are constructed of multiple panels with up to 10 panels in one direction. The weight of a folding doors’ panels is carried along the header which allows for ease of operation, even with large groups of folding panels. Folding door specifications are as follows:

  • Maximum Panel Height: Up to 120″ and up to 144″ with a true divider.
  • Maximum Panel Width: Up to 42″.
  • Panel Weight: Approximately 6 to 8 lbs/sqft changing with the height and width of the panels.
  • Panel Capacity: Stainless steel carrier hinges rated up to 450 lbs. per panel with sealed bearing rollers allowing for effortless operation even on the largest sized panels.


Folding doors offer recessed U-Channel track options which provide a seamless transition from the interior to exterior spaces that is compliant with the ADA. They also utilize completely integrated locking and operation mechanisms which provide both security and a sleek aesthetic visual appeal that does not distract from the outdoor views. In addition, there is no limit as to the number of panels that can be designed for a system configuration.

The Folding Door’s Close Cousin:

Multiple panel door systems that operate along a single recessed channel track system are termed Horizontal Sliding Wall Systems. The tracking system uses many panels to span a large opening without having to stack the tracks.  This ability to span large openings without stacking the tracks eliminates a large jamb width requirement.

Horizontal Sliding Wall Systems allow the designer to create an “operable wall” system that can span oversized openings, while allowing the panel storage in the open position to be minimal. Configurations include independent-panels which all stack together when the system is open. They may also be connected similar to a bi-fold system, however, the hanging wheel sets are then in the center of the panels to more evenly distribute the weight of the panels.

The specifications for horizontal sliding wall systems include:

  • Maximum Panel Height: Up to 144 inches.
  • Maximum Panel Width: Up to 60 inches.
  • Panel Weight: Approximately 7 to 8 lbs/sqft depending on overall panel size. Able to easily accommodate panel weights in excess of 1,000 lbs.
  • Number of Panels: No limit as to number of panels as they operate individually.
  • Profiles: Wall system profiles are manufactured from 6063-T5 extruded aluminum with a wall thickness of up to 1/8″ allowing for oversized panels.

We hope you gleaned some valuable information from the fourth installment of our educational series and we also hope you tune in for the next installment focused on Lift & Slide Door systems. Lift and Slides are a multi-slide door system which incorporates a specially engineered design and hardware set that allows the user to “Lift and Slide” the door system with finger-tip effort.

Thank you again for going through our educational series titled:
This material is based on our AIA accredited CEU course offered both online and in live sessions during our lunch and learn presentations. If you would like to schedule a live CEU AIA accredited Lunch and Learn Course for your office simply email and indicate your interest in a specific date and we will contact you right away.

If you would like to take the official course for actual CEU learning credits CLICK HERE

Learning Objectives – After this course, you should be able to:

Discuss the key sustainability criteria (LEED and SITES) that apply to the design of exterior spaces and outdoor rooms.
Describe some of the various product systems that are available for designing exterior spaces and outdoor rooms, and understand each system’s compliance with sustainability criteria.
List design options for exterior deck spaces regarding railings and safety.
Explain the ways in which exterior spaces and outdoor rooms can help to meet LEED and SITES requirements of human health and well-being.



  • 1.5 AIA LU/HSW
  • 0.1 IACET CEU
  • AAA 1 Learning Hour
  • OAA 1 Learning Hour
  • May qualify for 1 AANB Learning Hour
  • SAA 1 Learning Hour
  • MAA 1 Learning Hour
  • AAPEI 1 Learning Hour
  • May qualify for 1 NSAA Learning Hour
  • AIBC 1 Learning Hour
  • NLAA 1 Learning Hour
  • NWTAA 1 Learning Hour