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Pivot Door vs French Door: Which Is Better?

Key Takeaways

  • Pivot doors offer a modern, sleek look with a rotating mechanism that allows for large, impressive entryways.
  • French doors feature a classic, timeless design that provides an abundance of natural light and easy access to outdoor spaces.
  • While pivot doors are great for making a bold statement, French doors are ideal for creating an airy, open feel in a home.
  • Choosing between pivot and French doors depends on your personal style, the architectural design of your home, and your specific needs for functionality and space.
  • Panda Windows & Doors can customize both pivot and French doors to fit any entrance size and design preference, ensuring you get exactly what you’re looking for.

What are Pivot Doors

Imagine a door that swings open not from the traditional side hinges, but from a point located at the top and bottom of the door itself. That’s a pivot door. 

This unique mechanism allows the door to swing in a sweeping motion, creating an entrance that’s functional and is a piece of art. Pivot doors are known for their ability to support heavier, wider doors with ease, without the risk of sagging over time. The pivot mechanism also requires less frame support, which results in a cleaner look with more glass and less visible hardware.

All this makes them a favorite for modern and contemporary homes.

Pivot Door S.21 residential custom

Residential pivot doors by Panda Windows & Doors.

Advantages of Pivot Doors

The advantages of pivot doors are numerous. 

  • They offer a level of design flexibility that can’t be matched by standard doors. With the ability to support larger and heavier panels, pivot doors can create a grand entrance that makes a statement. Their modern design and seamless operation add a touch of luxury to any space.
  • A pivot door is not just a functional element; it’s a statement piece. The moment you see a pivot door, you know you’re about to enter a space that values design and innovation. The door itself becomes a focal point, drawing the eye and setting the tone for the rest of the home.
  • One might think that a larger door would take up more space, but pivot doors can actually be a space-saving solution. Because they rotate within their own axis, they require less clearance than a traditional swinging door. This means you have more flexibility in furniture placement and room layout.

Disadvantages of Pivot Doors

While pivot doors have many benefits, they may not be for everyone. 

  • They generally come with a higher price tag due to their custom nature and the engineering required to support their weight. 
  • If you live in an area that experiences harsh weather conditions, consider the weather resistance of your doors. Pivot doors have a weatherproofing challenge due to their unique operation and design. However, with the right materials and installation, they can still provide a level of weather resistance that is suitable for many climates.
  • Pivot doors are best suited for modern architecture, where their clean lines and minimalist aesthetic can truly shine. They may not be the right fit for a traditional home where a more classic style is in order. Additionally, the size and weight of pivot doors require a strong structural support, which may not be available in all buildings.

    Established in 1991 in Las Vegas, Panda Windows & Doors crafts state-of-the-art custom, functional glass wall systems for both residential and commercial spaces. With over 30 years of innovation, we offer more than 80 unique high-quality systems including pivot doors, french doors, folding doors, lift & slides, multi-slides, horizontal sliding walls, and operable windows. 

    Our bespoke glass solutions feature the fastest industry lead times, delivering in just 6-10 weeks to customers all over the U.S. and the Caribbean. Trusted by architects globally, Panda transforms spaces with exceptional design and functionality.

    Explore Custom Solutions from Panda Windows & Doors Today

    What are French Doors

    French doors consist of two doors that swing open from the center. They have multiple glass panes or ‘lights’ extending for most of their length. The doors are usually equipped with a latch or locking system and may open inwards or outwards depending on the design and are hinged at the sides. 

    The beauty of French doors lies in their traditional craftsmanship and the effortless charm they bring to any home. Because they are primarily made of glass, they allow for a seamless view of the outdoors and invite a significant amount of natural light into your home.

    All Aluminum Thermally Broken - FTS.30 Panda Select French Door

    Residential French doors by Panda Windows & Doors.

    Advantages of French Doors

    The advantages of French doors are clear. 

    • One of the most loved features of French doors is their ability to let in a flood of natural light. They can turn a dim room into a sunlit space that feels alive and connected to nature. And when you want a breath of fresh air, simply open them up to enjoy a gentle breeze and improved air circulation throughout your home.
    • French doors can transform a wall into a gateway to the outdoors, creating a sense of spaciousness and freedom. Imagine enjoying a morning cup of coffee while the sunlight streams through the glass panes, or hosting a dinner party with the doors open to a cool evening breeze. It’s about bringing the outdoors in and expanding your living space.
    • French doors can provide an easy escape route in case of an emergency. They’re also perfect for moving large items in and out of your home. French doors have a good combination of beauty and functionality.
    • French doors have stood the test of time for a reason. They have a timeless elegance that can complement any home style, from Victorian to modern minimalism. The symmetrical design and delicate framework speak to a craftsmanship that adds character and value to your property.

    Disadvantages of French Doors

    However, French doors do have their drawbacks. 

    • While the glass in French doors is a plus for natural light, it can be a minus for privacy. You may need to invest in curtains or blinds to keep prying eyes out. 
    • Security is another consideration; glass is less secure than a solid door, so you’ll want to ensure your French doors have robust locks and possibly even a security system. But modern French doors often come with double or triple glazed glass to enhance security and energy efficiency. And with the right window treatments, you can enjoy both privacy and style.
    • They also require space to swing open, which might not be ideal for smaller rooms or for homes with limited outdoor space.
    • Installing French doors can be more straightforward than pivot doors, but it still requires precision and expertise to ensure they swing smoothly and seal properly. 
    • Maintenance is also a key factor; the frames and the threshold need to be kept in good condition to prevent drafts and water ingress.

    Pivot Doors vs French Doors

    Choosing between pivot and French doors is not just a matter of taste; it’s about understanding the unique benefits and limitations of each. Consider the architectural style of your home, your personal design preferences, and how you plan to use the space around the doors.

    Let’s break down the differences to help you make an informed decision:

    Aesthetic Comparison

    Pivot doors make a bold statement and can turn any entrance into a grand focal point. French doors, on the other hand, exude classic elegance and can enhance the traditional charm of a home. Your choice here will depend on whether you want your home to make a contemporary or classic architectural statement.

    Functional Comparison

    Pivot doors rotate on a central hinge, creating a wide and elegant opening. They have a limited opening angle of 90 degrees, offering less openness compared to other door types like bifold or multi-slide doors. Pivot doors are weather-resistant, low maintenance, and suitable for exposed areas. That said, pivot doors can support heavier materials, such as thick glass or solid wood, due to their unique pivoting mechanism. 

    French doors offer excellent ventilation, natural light, and flexibility for both internal and external use. They are also more about accessibility and connection to the outdoors, making them ideal for patios, balconies, or any space where you’d like to merge indoor and outdoor living.

    Cost Comparison

    Pivot doors tend to have higher costs due to their custom nature and the engineering required for installation. French doors can be more cost-effective, especially if you’re replacing existing patio doors or if the opening already fits standard sizes.

    Investing in quality doors is not just about the initial cost—it’s about the value they add to your home over time. High-quality doors can improve energy efficiency, increase security, and enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your property, which can be priceless.

    Ideal Uses for Each Door Type

    Both pivot and French doors have their ideal uses and settings where they shine the brightest. Let’s learn where each type of door fits best:

    Best Situations for Pivot Doors

    Pivot doors are perfect for making a bold architectural statement. They’re ideal for:

    • Grand entrances where you want to impress guests
    • Modern homes with minimalist designs
    • Spaces that require a door to function as a statement piece


    A sample of our pivot door from our premium Voyage Select line. This particular door name is Sequoia.

    Modern and contemporary spaces are defined by clean lines, open floor plans, and a seamless flow between indoors and outdoors. Pivot doors fit this aesthetic perfectly. Their ability to support large, unobstructed panes of glass allows for maximum light and a visual connection to the outside world.

    Best Situations for French Doors

    French doors, conversely, are perfect for classic and traditional homes. They bring an old-world charm that can soften even the most modern architecture. They’re suited for:

    • Traditional homes that benefit from a touch of elegance
    • Spaces that require easy access to outdoor areas like gardens and patios
    • Rooms where maximizing natural light is a priority

    Picture a charming country home where the connection between home and garden is seamless. French doors open to a sunlit patio where family and friends gather, blending the comfort of the indoors with the beauty of the outdoors.

    Panda All Aluminum Thermally Broken (66 mm) TS.68 French

    A sample of our Residential All Aluminum TS.68 French System.

    Characteristics Pivot Door French Door
    Aesthetics Modern, elegant, and sophisticated; offers flexibility in design and customization Timeless, airy, and elegant; classic appearance with a focus on natural light and views
    Function Has a wide opening, excellent ventilation, and a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor spaces; suitable for grand entrances and areas with more room to spare Provides a fluid connection between indoor and outdoor spaces; excellent ventilation and natural light; suitable for homes with gardens, patios, or balconies
    Cost Generally more expensive due to customization options and unique design Can be more expensive depending on materials, size, and customization; however, standard sizes are often more affordable
    When to Use Ideal for grand entrances, areas with more room to spare, and spaces that require wheelchair or furniture access; suitable for modern and contemporary architecture Suitable for homes with gardens, patios, or balconies; ideal for connecting living spaces, especially in open-plan layouts; suitable for traditional, contemporary, eclectic, and many other architectural styles

    Comparison table between pivot doors and French doors.

    Making the Right Choice with Panda Windows & Doors

    Choosing the right doors for your home is a significant decision, and it’s one that Panda Windows & Doors doesn’t take lightly. With over three decades of experience, we understand the impact that a well-crafted door can have on a home. We’re here to guide you through the process, ensuring that you find a door that meets your aesthetic and functional needs, and inspires transformation in your home.

    We believe that every home is unique, and so should be its doors. That’s why we offer a range of customization options for both pivot and French doors. Whether it’s the material, finish, or size, we work with you to create a door that’s customized to your needs. With our expertise, you can rest assured that your doors will be a perfect fit for your home.

    The Panda Process

    1. Design: Share your vision, and we’ll help you choose from our 80+ luxury glass door options to meet your design and performance needs. Customize materials like all aluminum or premium wood, sizes, and premium features like automation. We guide you through the process, and once you approve the sales order, we create detailed plans for final approval before manufacturing.

    2. Manufacturing: Our project manager ensures all necessary components are ready, ordering any unique materials needed. CNC machines precisely mill and cut extrusions to exact specifications. Extrusions are then thoroughly cleaned and powder-coated for durability, with specialized finishes handled by expert vendors. Finally, skilled technicians meticulously assemble your custom glass doors, ensuring perfect installation of all components.

    3. Quality Control: Assembled products undergo rigorous testing to ensure smooth functionality and quality. We provide photos and videos of your products before packaging.

    4. Packaging & Shipping: Products are wrapped in protective materials and placed in custom-built crates for safe transit. We ensure your order arrives intact, whether shipping domestically or internationally.

    5. Delivery & Warranty: Inspect your order upon arrival and register the product to activate the Limited Warranty. Apply a high-quality finish to wood surfaces within 7 days to prevent damage.

    6. Care & Maintenance: Follow our care and maintenance guide to keep your Panda products in top condition. Regular cleaning and maintenance ensure a lifetime of use and beauty.

    Contact us to learn more about our pivot and French doors for both residential and commercial purposes. 

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Can Pivot Doors Be Customized for Any Entrance Size?

    Absolutely! One of the advantages of pivot doors is their versatility. They can be customized to fit any entrance size, making them a great option for both standard and non-standard openings. Our team at Panda Windows & Doors can help you design a pivot door that perfectly fits your space and style.

    Are French Doors More Affordable Than Pivot Doors?

    • Generally, French doors can be more cost-effective, especially for standard-sized openings.
    • Pivot doors are often more expensive due to their custom nature and the engineering required.
    • However, the long-term value of any door should also consider its durability, energy efficiency, and impact on your home’s aesthetics and functionality.

    When considering cost, think about the long-term investment in your home. A well-chosen door can enhance your living experience and even increase your property’s value.

    How Do I Maintain My Pivot or French Doors?

    Maintenance is key to ensuring your doors last for years to come. For pivot doors, regular cleaning of the pivot mechanism and occasional lubrication will keep them swinging smoothly. For French doors, keeping the glass clean and the seals intact will ensure they continue to look great and function properly. It’s also important to inspect the hardware and locking mechanisms periodically to ensure everything is secure.

    For example, to maintain the pristine condition of your pivot door, use a soft cloth and a mild detergent to wipe down the door and its frame. Avoid abrasive cleaners that can scratch the glass or damage the finish. For French doors, regularly check the weather stripping and adjust the hinges if you notice any air leaks or drafts.

    Are There Energy-Efficient Options for Both Pivot and French Doors?

    Energy efficiency is a top priority for many homeowners, and it’s a priority for us too. Both pivot and French doors can be designed with energy efficiency in mind. This includes options like double or triple glazing, low-E coatings, and thermal breaks. These features help to keep your home comfortable year-round while reducing energy costs.

    Can I Install a Pivot or French Door in a Load-Bearing Wall?

    Installing a door in a load-bearing wall is a complex process that requires careful consideration. It’s possible with both pivot and French doors, but it must be done by a professional who can ensure the structural integrity of your home is maintained. While we don’t offer installation, there is a marketplace of third-party installers nationwide that rely on installing products like ours for their business.

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