USA: Folding Doors: Folding Door Manufacturers
ABOUT FOLDING DOORS
Folding doors may be made of wood, molded wood, fiberglass, steel, or glass. They range in size from the largest glass folding doors, which open the whole side of a room to the outside, to small folding doors for closets, laundries, and storage areas. Specialist types of folding door include acoustic doors, multifold doors, glass doors, interior doors, exterior doors, and accordion doors. Accordion folding doors are made of narrow vertical panels, requiring less space for storage when folded.
CHOOSING THE BEST TYPE
Choosing internal doors
Internal folding doors are mostly used for bedroom closets, or for kitchen storage areas. They have the advantage over normal hinged doors that they take up less space within the room. They have the advantage over sliding doors that the whole opening can be opened at once; by contrast with sliding doors less than half the opening can be opened at once. The panels may be made of solid timber, or medium density fiberboard. The timber may be stained or painted, and the medium density fiberboard may be painted or finished in wood veneer. We would advise keeping the design of the door simple, either with a plain flat surface or with a simple Shaker-style framing. Complicated decorative grooves are liable to look very fussy.
Another type, sometimes used between rooms, is the accordion door. Accordion doors are made up of rigid vertical slats, connected together to form pleated structure covered in a flexible vinyl material. They are so called because they resemble the folding body of an accordion musical instrument. Their advantage is that they take up very little space when opened, and require more effort to open or close compared to a conventional hinged door. Their sound insulation and draught protection is poor.
Choosing external doors
External folding doors, which may be half or fully glazed, provide openings between living rooms and the yard or patio. They are made up of vertical panels which are hinged together in concertina fashion. They can open inward or outward. You should base your choice of inward our outward opening on where there is most space to accommodate the opened doors. The great advantage of these doors compared to sliding doors is that they enable the whole opening to be opened at one time. This allows the space and air to flow freely between the room and the outside. By contrast sliding doors normally only allow half the opening to the opened at any time.
The four main materials used for external doors are timber, vinyl, aluminum and aluminum-faced timber. Timber looks attractive, but requires external maintenance, and is liable to warp or twist, particularly with changes in temperature or humidity. Vinyl is practical, but requires rather thick frames and can look rather cheap. White vinyl is liable to yellow over time, which is an argument for using wood-look vinyl. Aluminum is a very practical material for external folding doors. It looks rather cheap if left in its bare form, but it is available in a very wide range of power-coated colors. These are very long lasting and do not require maintenance.
A very attractive option, although it is relatively expensive, is aluminum-clad wood. The external face is in aluminum, available in a very wide range of powder-coated colors; the internal face is natural wood, giving a warm and attractive internal appearance.
LEADING USA MANUFACTURERS
The leading manufacturers, described below, have comprehensive websites, with information on all aspects, including online catalogs, specifications, colours and materials, and care and maintenance.
Points of difference between manufacturers include the materials from which the doors are made, and the methods of construction. Completely separate ranges are available for internal doors (which are made from a wide variety of woods and are often used for closets) and external doors (which are normally made of aluminium or wood and are fully glazed). Internal doors may be smooth faced or louvered in appearance.
Craftmaster. Craftmaster, which is part of CMI and is based in Chicago, Illinois, manufactures a range of wooden and molded folding doors. The wood doors are available in Pine and Louver designs. Craftmaster Pine Doors are available in 4-panel and 6-panel designs. The construction is of solid pine, with a door thickness of one and an eighth inches. Doors are available in standard 6ft 8 inch height. Craftmaster molded bifold doors are available in four forms. Smooth Doors, Textured, Pre-Stained and Pre-finished, and Tall. The CMI group was founded in 1968. It now markets three product lines for the residential, commercial, and industrial markets: CraftMaster Interior Doors, MiraTEC Treated Exterior Composite Trim, and Extira Treated Exterior Panels. It has manufacturing facilities for folding doors in Towanda Pennsylvania, Christiansburg Virginia, Ozark Alabama, and Garland, Texas.
Interior Doors Direct. Interior Doors Direct is an online retailer of doors, based in Burghill, Ohio. It supplies several folding doors, suitable for use in closets, pantries, and to provide division between rooms. The doors normally consist of either two or four sections. Multifold doors and multifold hardware are available for a larger numbers of panels, and for custom door systems. The following types of door are supplied: Raised Panel, Arts & Crafts or Mission Style, French Doors with Clear Tempered Glass, and French Doors with Clear Tempered Beveled Glass. Available wood types include: Clear Alder, Ash, Cherry, Hickory, Mahogany, Maple, Poplar, Red Oak, Walnut, White Oak, Birch, and European Beech. The company specialises in doors made to order, in any size and shape, in quantities of one to one hundred.
Kestrel. Kestrel, based in Stowe, Pennsylvania, has been manufacturing interior and exterior shutters and doors, including folding doors, since 1989. Their wood shutters, doors, and folding screen room dividers are made to order in the factory in Stowe. Kestrel doors are made from hardwood, joined with deep pocket mortise and tenon joints, which are pegged for greater durability. Product categories in the Kestrel website include: Exterior Shutters, Interior Shutters, Folding Closet Doors, Louvered Folding Doors, Board & Batten Shutters, Folding Screens, Plantation Shutters, Bifold Doors and Sliding Closet Doors. Kestrel doors are hand built to custom size in premium hardwoods including Basswood, Spanish Cedar, and Mahogany. Styles include louvered doors, raised, flat and recessed panels, mirrors, glass, fabric, beadboard, tongue and groove, and board and batten doors.
Luxbaum. Luxbaum is based in West Palm Beach, Florida. It offers a line of custom doors and windows, including folding doors. The windows and doors are handcrafted from Merbau timber. The product range aims to achieve outstanding performance in terms of impact resistance, termite resistance, security, and noise insulation. Luxbaum doors feature a multi-point locking system, concealed in the sashes, and European-style overlay sashes. The doors are designed to achieve strength and durability, and meet the Miami Dade Protocol for impact testing. Luxbaum doors are available with between three and sixteen panels. Corner units are available; they do not require a structural permanent mullion at the corner.
NanaWall Systems. NanaWall Systems, based in Mill Valley, California, manufactures folding glass doors, described as Opening Glass Walls. The NanaWall website is organised into the following main product sections: Glazed Folding Systems, Glazed Individual Panel Systems, Screen Accessories, Matching French Doors, Tilt Systems, and All Glass Window Walls. NanaWall folding glass doors are available in three materials: wood, aluminium clad wood, and aluminium. The aluminium system is available in a Dade County Hurricane Approved version. The NanaWall company was established to address the unmet need for flexible solutions to large architectural openings. They delivered their first wood-framed, opening glass folding door wall in 1986. In 1996 NanaWall entered into a partnership of Solarlux of Germany, one of the world leaders in operable glass wall technology. NanaWall is now the leading supplier of opening glass walls and folding glass doors in North America.
Woodfold. Woodford, of Forest Grove, Oregon, specialises in the manufacture of custom folding doors of accordion design. Accordion doors are made up of narrow vertical panels, which fold back into a small space. The doors are available in single-wall and dual-wall acoustic versions, for applications which acoustic control is important. Doors are available in a range of vinyl, natural hardwood veneers, and custom finishes, with a perimeter seal to minimize heat loss. The choice of veneers is: Birch, Maple, Oak, Cherry, Mahogany, and Walnut. Woodfold offers an unusual Bookcase Door. What appears to be a furniture-quality hardwood bookcase folds back to reveal a closet, pantry, wall safe, or even a private retreat room. The Bookcase Door is able to support up to 500 pounds using a heavy-duty roller system. It is available finished in hardwood veneers, paint grade medium density fiberboard, and vinyl laminates.
OTHER RELATED PRODUCTS
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