Your Complete Guide to Pivot Hinges

Your Complete Guide to Pivot Hinges

Posted by Amanda On 8th Nov 2021

Your Complete Guide to Pivot Hinges

Pivot hinges have a variety of uses, but before you install them there are things you need to know. Learn more with our guide.

You've labored to make your home or business a warm and welcoming place. You've thought through finishes, color schemes, and floor layout. Do not overlook the power of a pivot door to provide the perfect finishing touch to your space.

By utilizing pivot hinges, you can incorporate doors that elevate design and create functional statement pieces. Whether it's a saloon door, grand door, or pivoting entrance door, you'll need pivot hinges to get it swinging.

If you've never heard about pivot hinges, you're not alone. By the end of this article, you'll learn everything you need to know to choose a stylish and operable door.

What is a Pivot Hinge?

Pivot hinges are door hardware that allows your door to swing from a center axis. Contrary to traditional butt hinges that give a door around 90-degrees range of motion, pivot hinges enable doors to swing from a single pivot point. These pivot hinges can also be hidden, recessed, or installed to the top and bottom of your door.

While a traditional door only opens in one direction, a door hung on pivot hinges utilizes a swinging motion and double action hinges can open and close in either direction. First decide how you need the door to work to determine the best pivot hinge for your application.

How Do Pivot Hinges Work?

A pivot is a central point on which something turns. Pivot hinges allow a door to swivel from the same axis at both the top and bottom of the door.

Traditional butt hinges connect to the door and the frame by a pin that locks the two sides together. Pivot hinges move more like a joint. One side of the hinge locks into the other one and can rotate freely around it.

What are the Benefits of Pivot Hinges?

Pivot hinges are ideal for:

  • areas of high-traffic
  • heavier, wider doors

Heavy doors create high amounts of stress on a door frame and can cause sagging. Pivot hinges combat that problem because, on large doors, they attach to the floor and the top of the unit instead of the door frame.

Imagine a busy restaurant. Servers often come and go from the kitchen with their arms full of heavy trays. Pivot hinges create a door set-up that is easy to push open even when your hands are full, and will automatically return to center.

Besides high traffic areas and heavy doors, pivot hinges can be used on smaller, stylized doors such as saloon doors and louvered doors. Saloon door can vary from from modern to farmhouse style doors, making pivot doors an option for nearly any home style and budget. Adding a grand door design allow the door to go from floor to ceiling, pivot hinge are perfect for this door design the hidden hinge will allow for the door design to speak for itself. Because the hinges are at the top and bottom of the door, they can be easily hidden and increase the aesthetic appeal of the door. Hidden pivot hinge offer the best full height option but do not automatically return the doors to center. 

Self-Closing Hinge Options

Pivot hinges offer the benefit of being self-closing. They achieve this in two main ways:

  • spring pivot hinges
  • gravity pivot hinges

Spring hinges employ the use of an adjustable spring. This spring can set how hard the door closes and how fast it closes. An added benefit is that some spring pivot hinges have "hold open" features to allow you to keep the door open when desired.

Gravity pivot hinges use the weight of the door to pull it closed. While some do have the "hold open" feature, it only works when the door is open to the full 90 degrees. Because gravity pivot hinges do not have a spring, they are sturdier and less likely to wear down over time.

Pivot hinges are a great durable hinge for your door design.

Single Action Pivot Hinge vs. Double Action Pivot Hinge

There are some pivot hinges that act in a different manner than those described above. While most pivot hinges serve the purpose of allowing a door to swing in both directions, single action hinges only swing in one direction.

A traditional pivot hinge is ideal when a door is heavy and could use the extra support of a pivot hinge but should only open in one direction. A single action hinge would be the right choice if there is not enough room on both sides of the door to allow for swinging in both directions. Take care while shopping for your pivot hinge and door that you purchase the correct type of hinge.

How to Install a Pivot Hinge

The first step of installing a pivot door is to consider a center-hung pivot versus an off-set pivot. A center-hung pivot is installed into the center of the door opening, so the door will swing in the middle of the door opening, allowing for an opening on the right and left. One door opening width will be much wider than the other opening.

Off-set pivots are installed on the side of the door, similar to traditional hinges, and allow the door to clear impeding trim.

After measuring the precise location of where the hinge will attach to the top of the door jamb and the floor, you'll need to drill holes that the hinge bracket will sit in. Install the top and bottom pivot components into your pre-drilled holes. Some pivot hinges will need to be recessed into the door itself or into the jamb/floor.

Where Can You Buy Pivot Hinges?

You've learned all the basics of pivot hinges. Now that you have this new knowledge, you're ready to pick out the right door and hardware. You might be wondering, where do I start?

With the help of a professional, you can choose fully-customized pivot doors with perfectly complementary pivot hinges that elevate and increase the functionality of your space.

Contact us with any of your pivot hinge or swinging door needs!