Graphical Construction Glossary >> doors. >> door types >> Pivoting doors

Pivoting Doors
This type of door uses pivot type hinges that are fixed at the top and the bottom of the door. Examples are seen on refrigerators and commercial shop front doors.
Centre Pivot
Pivot door layout and hardware that is on the centreline of the thickness of the door.
Offset Pivot
Pivot door layout or hardware that has either the mounting point of the pivoting point offset from the centreline of the width of the door.

a pivot hinged door
a pivot hinged door

A very ancient type of door that is still being used today. The Ancient Greeks had huge temple doors that used this very simple system. In the sketch and in the three photos below the pivot points are located on the centreline of the door width so they are classed as centre pivots.

  • This type of door sits firmly on some type of pivoting hinge, so that the weight of the door can be transferred directly to the floor. This direct support allows for very heavy doors to be handled with ease.
  • Because of the strength and simplicity of the pivot system they are also very suitable for for high traffic doors. Shop doors are often of this
  • One more obvious advantage is the fact that if it is required these doors can be opened both ways, that is they can swing through more than 180 degrees, as shown in the sketch on the right..
  • Not really a drawback but it has to be considered is the fact that unlike the doors of the previous page a pivot door does not deliver as much free opening space. So a 1000 wide door may only have a 900 or so actual opening.
pivot hinge for a showerscreen door
bottom pivot hinge
Pivoting doors: A sheet of toughened glass and two simple hinges make a door to a shower.
a large timber gate with pivot hinges
Pivoting doors: The top of a large timber gate at the Citadel complex in Hue, Vietnam
the bottom of a pivoting door
Pivoting doors: The bottom of another door, also in Hue's Citadel.

In my travels around S.E. Asia I have come across many doors like the one above. Some simply let the hanging stiles just extend and when rounded off they form the pivot that slips into holes in the frame and threshold. The doors above date to the middle of the 19th century and they use steel or iron pins and sockets. What could be simpler, the top hole and the pin that fits into it is long enough so that the door can be pushed up higher than the finished position to allow the bottom pin to drop into it's hole.

The doors shown here are fairly heavy but the fact the doors are in effect sitting on the ground there is no problem.

In the old town of Hoi An in Vietnam I have seen doors that would possibly be 500 years old that are sill in excellent working condition. I guess that from time to time the bearing washer that the doors sit on are renewed.

Again there is no need for a timber door frame with gates like these.

aluminium glass door
Pivoting doors: An aluminium and glass door showing the bottom pivot
offset pivot door
Pivoting doors: A steel door with offset pivots.

The door above is a little tired and worn. The door is holding in the open position on it's own. Normally in good condition the spring mechanism that is built into the bottom pivot box would bring the door to a close when someone lets go of it.

Now for something different, on the right not door that we want to be passing through.

It is in fact a cell door that was last used in anger in the 1950's. One of the old doors at the now open to tourists, Fannie Bay Gaol, in my home town of Darwin, NT.

The door is a sheet of 16mm thick steel plate, so it is very heavy for it's size and consequently the pivot hinges are fairly sturdy as well. As they are bolted onto the face of the door they fall into the category of being offset pivot hinges.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
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