Pivot Doors

vjrntsNovember 27, 2013

Our house originally had a swinging (pivot) door between the kitchen and the dining room. A previous owner took it out and replaced it with a cheap folding louvered door. I kind of understand the impulse, because I can see the swinging door being kind of in the way, but I still want to put it back. Sadly, the original door apparently ended up on the curb, because we haven't found it in the stack of other interior doors in the basement.

At a local salvage place we have located a swinging door (with an oval window, which makes me swoon!) that looks like it would go with our interior very nicely, once I get the paint stripped. The measurements on its tag say 29.5 in X 82.5 in. Our door opening is 30 in X 84 in. I don't know what kind of vertical clearance a swinging door needs for the pivot hinge assembly, which attaches to the top face and bottom face, nor the horizontal clearance it needs to swing properly. (The edge is already rounded.) Would this door look comically short in this opening? I'm assuming that the pivot assembly will hold the door up off the floor by some amount, but other than that I'm clueless. The door is a "steal," real nice solid wood with that fantastic window. I hope someone knowledgeable about there can give me some good news. Can this door work?

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I'll just try to cheer you up. How's that?

We had a door like that between the dining room and kitchen. It had a gizmo you could push down with your foot with a rubber cup so it grub the floor to keep it open.

It has to swing both ways and takes a special hinge for that. You've got only 3/4" clearance top and bottom, about the thickness of your thumb- should be perfect. You've got only 1/2 " clearance on the side and with the hinges it should be just right, The hinges can be set into the frame if they are too thick.

Double check the stated dimensions and ask if you an lug it home to eyeball it in place. A pic of the hinges would help.

This post was edited by mxyplx on Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 18:53

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 6:45PM
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Hi mxyplx, and Happy Thanksgiving! (Assuming you're in the US; if not, have a great day anyway!)

I don't have hinges yet, although the old floor plate is still in place. I'm assuming that we'll pick up the hardware if/when we decide to do the door, so we have leeway in that area.

It sounds as if you're saying the dimensions are just about right, eh? That DOES cheer me up, thanks! I'd really love to have that door back, and the oval window really makes it perfect. I believe that our original door had a diamond-shaped window in it, judging by other swinging doors in our neighborhood, and the recollections of a woman who grew up in my house. I kind of like the oval window better, I think!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 9:01AM
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I just measured my swinging door between DR & Kitchen. I have 7 1/2' ceilings so my doors are slightly shorter. My door is about 1" shorter than the opening so I think that the size is perfect for you. Unless you spend a lot of time laying on the floor to see the little bit of extra space (who am I to judge?), it will work. Have fun and post pics when it's done.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 9:48AM
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BTW, you can see that I've been thinking about this for a long time.

Here is a link that might be useful: How long ago was this??

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 10:24AM
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I just now Googled >swinging doorsI don't recall how ours were but must have been pinned. 29 years since I was in that house. I would favor the pins- seems to me they'd be quieter.

I grew up with that door and played with it a lot but never really payed attention. It had the stopper and I do believe I used to swing with the door somehow - rather vague - maybe just tried to. Great toy that swinging door. :-)
Oh! Just remembered. Had to edit. Couldn't even finish my coffee.

Something else to check. Do you have a rug in the DR? We did. None in the kitchen. If so the door will have to clear that rug. There was about a foot between the rug edge and the wall. So only part of the door had to clear.

There were stops on the floor so it wouldn't hit the radiator in the DR or the flour bin in the kitchen. Does you house have a flour bin? How bout a sugar bin? I didn't think so, :-)


This post was edited by mxyplx on Thu, Nov 28, 13 at 11:16

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 10:30AM
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I'm familiar with three types; double acting, top pin bottom hdw, and top pin with a bottom eccentric.

Of the three, the top pin bottom hdw. had the greatest durability.

The top pivot bracket was attached to the header with three or four brass screws and the bottom bracket was set in the floor and had a square, rectangle or hex receiver.

These can be elevated to make up for door lengths.

Within the bottom mounted door hdw, was an adjustable spring, which could be adjusted to eliminate swing through.

Introducing this type of door is a form of re-gendrification.

Good for you.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 3:52PM
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If the door needs laminations to get to size, if they're done properly, they're highly inconspicuous.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 10:39PM
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I think the size would be pretty close.
If yours has the hardware mounted _in_ the floor (covered by a big brass plate), you might have a hard time fixing that up, AFAIK that kind is no longer made. The kind where the mechanism is mounted in a good-sized notch cut out of the bottom corner of the door-- those are still made, and I installed several of them years back.
To convert to that style you'd have to fill in the hole in your floor so the pivot plate could mount, and the door would need sound wood there so the notch could be made and the mounting screws would take into good wood.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 7:58AM
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When removing paint from our kitchen/DR door jam I found a metal plate in the top piece. It was held in with four screws and has a big center depression. Now I finally know what it is for! We painted it black and reinstalled it. Looks somehow fitting in the shellaced frame. Thanks all. I don't think we'll look for a door, the cat would have a fit getting to his food.....

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 8:49AM
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Hi vjrnts,

We live in a 1925 Bungalow with craftsman details.
we've lived in our home 22 years. When we ripped up our wall to wall carpet in the dining room we found evidence on the hardwood that there used to be a butler door/ swinging door between the kitchen and dining room. We always wanted to put one back in but never got around to it.

We are at the tail end of a total kitchen remodel, to bring our 1950's kitchen back to a look that it would have had in the 1920's, we decided to add the butler door back.

Since all the swinging doors we have seen in our neighborhood are mostly solid, we wanted one that would have glass in it. We checked at a local rebuilding center and all they had were solid ones and could n't find one that was our size. Our opening was 31 3/4 inches. So we bought a 10 light wood door from HD and bought the hardware from another place. We asked our millwork craftsman to install it for us. He had to cut, trim and round the door to fit the butler door style. Our cabinet painters then painted it white to match our cabinets. As you can see there is ample space around the door frame. I recently went over to my next door neighbor and they have a 15 light butler door original to the house and it has the same space around the frame as well.

We were able to buy some beveled glass push plates at the rebuilding center to be installed on the door when it is finally finished.

I just love the look that it will give the kitchen. My husband and I think this may well be the favorite part of our kitchen remodel!

Why the hell did people take these things out, I will never know, except that I do prefer ones with glass in them. Saves you from bonking someone in the head while opening the door! :)

Here is a picture of our door in the painting stage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pivot door hardware/ Bultler door hardware

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 4:36AM
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I can guess why they took them out. Our house has hinges on almost all of the interior doorframes, and I can't imagine what kinds of mayhem went on with dueling doors. With some of them, if you left one open, you wouldn't have room to open a different door, and that would get crazy-making. Previous owners took down a lot of our interior doors, and I have no plans to put them back up. But the pivot door... I like the idea of that.

Thanks for the link to the hardware!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 8:18AM
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I have to jump in this conversation!

I just ran across a gorgeous pivot door while hunting at the salvage yard, and even though we aren't working on the kitchen, and I was hunting for a bathroom pocket door, and it's much newer than my original doors (single panel art deco vs 4 panel victorian), I couldn't resist buying it!!!

We know our house originally had a pivot door at the kitchen, and had been debating adding one again, but the debate was swinging against it because we can't seem to work out a kitchen/dining room layout that doesn't have the door swinging into open space on one side, and although I happen to think one of the advantages of a door on the kitchen is no one can see if you've forgotten to do the dishes (since we don't have an "Alice"), I was also thinking about the safety issue and hadn't seen a door with a window in it that didn't look like it belonged in a restaurant.

But this door won me over, totally original pivot, no window, wood is lovely, very heavy and has the rounded back edge already and a piece of hardware at the base, but I haven't looked to see if it's just the pivot pin.

I've already changed other doors on the main floor (well there were only 2, one between the LR and the front hall, and one on the room I made the library) , swapping two of the 4 panel hinged doors for 15 light glass because its nice to be able to close them to zone the heat, but still feel open and let light flow in the house, and we added/plan to add matching pairs of 10 light pocket doors (replacing a missing pocket door some evil previous home owner ripped out and destroyed the pocket, but the evidence was there (darned "Modernizers aka remuddlers) plus add a matching set to finish & separate the dining room from the entry hall. So I can justify the shift in door style at the kitchen, besides, I think most of kitchen doors looked a bit different/simpler. (In case you wondered, the removed 4 panels were used elsewhere in the house where we added a closet and a bathroom.

I'm excited about it. Of course it means I still need to go back to the salvage yards and find the doors I was supposed to find for the bathroom in the basement!! ;-)

Oh and hello, I'm Hunzi, and I am the caretaker/obsessed owner of a 1884 Victorian brick vernacular farmhouse. We call it the wealthy farmer's house but it's now smack in the middle of the city.

Always ;-)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Hunzi, FWIW, the pin kind doesn't have a plate visible, it's simply screwed into the bottom and the edge of the door so almost nothing shows.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:06AM
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Oh then perhaps this is different -it has a wrap around plate at the bottom hinge side and a small plate that screws into the floor the whole thing pivots upon and it has a spring assembly routed in the bottom of the door, so it must intend to close automatically. The top has the basic pin receiver bracket.

It looks like an older version of this: http://www.houseofantiquehardware.com/pivot-door-hinge-spring-brass-covers

Here is a link that might be useful: hinge

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:34AM
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