The demand for big doors continues to be driven by customers looking for that combination of size, style, performance and innovation. In the last few years, the indoor/outdoor living trend has become a must-have in many new builds and renovations. Homeowners are opting to add big doors to their homes to entertain more easily, create more living space and increase natural light. As these modern design trends continue to favor larger openings, it creates a blank canvas for architects to design.
Based on the project at hand, architects and builders can choose among a number of options, such as lift and slide, folding, and pivot doors. All these products showcase ultimate design flexibility, giving more room on the inside as well as the outside.
Understanding installation requirements (i.e. rough opening preparation) and strictly following manufacturers installation guidelines and methods is critical as these are in fact highly engineered doors that require specific movements to function. Depending on the installation, they could bind or fall out of alignment. That’s why when designing and installing big doors, custom has become standard. Due to this, it is important that architects understand how to effectively make the selection process.
When designing a large opening and choosing the appropriate door option, the main concern is to recognize the client’s needs and balance those requests with the constraints of the physical space. Big doors need to be designed with homeowners in mind, studying the way they live and want to live. While the inclination is often to find a product first, the key is to look at the entire design. This includes structural considerations, width and span of opening, headers, environmental concerns, performance, and visual aesthetics.
And from a jobsite perspective, there are other elements that architects and builders need to consider for the delivery and installation of these products. When installing big doors, it is important to evaluate the weight and size of the panels, identify the location of the opening, and determine ease of access with size in mind. It is also critical to account for the adequate number of people needed to support both installation and handling. Installers may need to rely on the use of big trucks and cranes depending on the panel size and weight, as well as access to the installation location.
When looking to incorporate big doors into homeowners’ remodeling and renovation projects, it is important to know that big doors are usually not going into an already existing opening. This means that installing these doors will require a “new construction within the renovation” in order to meet the structural and size requirements.
But if the construction allows it and homeowners are willing to undertake the project, big doors represent a way to let the home’s style and personality shine, as well as protecting what’s inside. As long as there is careful analysis behind selecting the right product and installation, big doors are truly able to remove the boundary between indoors and outdoors – creating a space for relaxing, entertaining, or just being.
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