Big Openings,  
Big Challenges  
B Y T R E Y B A R R I N E A U  
liding glass doors. Folding walls. dows is expected to grow seven per- that want to make their own unique  
Bi-fold doors. Moveable walls. Op- cent each year through 2017.  
erable walls. So what do installers need to know  
These big, showy entrance systems about these products? USGlass checked place in Europe, so that anybody who  
carry different names, but they all have in with experts in the industry to find out. is developing or refurbishing a house  
some traits in common—merging the  
door systems.  
“These doors are now common-  
knows they’ve got an automatic af-  
fordable choice of a bi-folding door,”  
outdoors with the interior living space Know Your Types  
and surrounding those inside with  
spectacular views.  
From bi-fold to sliding doors, there he says. “But nearly all of them are  
are big differences in the hardware and bottom-running. In America, they’re  
They’re generally high-end products tracks for these big products.  
top-running, which affects developers  
with price tags to match. For example, “Hinged folding units are mildly in their construction. We do see the  
LaCantina, a manufacturer in this easier to build than a bi-folding track trend in the U.S. catching up with the  
niche, lists prices for its products on its unit because of the balance and ad- Europeans — that the doors are going  
website that range from $511 per foot justment time needed in the pre-hang to bottom-running and it’s going to be  
to $667 per foot, excluding taxes, deliv- phase during production,”says Joshua a readily available market where there  
ery and installation.  
The steep cost hasn’t kept demand tems in West Palm Beach, Fla.  
down, though.According to a July 2015  
forecast from Principia Consulting, the according to Graham Fawthrop of  
Boyarsky of Florida Impact Door Sys- are many, many fabricators out there  
who are going to be making the  
Debar, which currently supplies 14  
Those differences span continents, doors.”  
light commercial patio doors and win- folding door hardware for companies open a manufacturing facility near At-  
8.3 billion market for residential and Debar, a British manufacturer of bi- countries with its products, plans to  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | June 2016  
Weiland’s doors are known for  
their flush bottom track,  
which sets it apart from most  
U.S. manufacturers.  
Top-running doors:  
U.S. leads the way in these designs.  
Bottom-running doors:  
Europe’s top choice.  
lanta to serve the growing U.S. market.  
“Unfortunately, in the interest of  
“We always tell builders there are  
Local codes, particularly in places flush thresholds or larger door panels, three things in life you can’t avoid:  
such as Florida, also play a role, Bo- clients often (unnecessarily) sacrifice death, taxes and deflection,” she says.  
yarsky says.  
air and water performance,” she says. “Regardless of the type of door, large,  
“My product lines are all high-veloc- “Installers and builders should pay at- clear openings demand a properly en-  
ity hurricane-zone compliant with cur- tention to these factors when selecting gineered header. It’s also important for  
rent codes here in the state of Florida,” a door or they will, at some point, be the roof to be fully loaded before in-  
he says. “This means that the tested held responsible.”  
stallation, when possible, to allow for  
any initial deflection. Folding doors  
make this an even bigger challenge as  
These high-end products require most are top hung,requiring the header  
product cannot be built in a way that  
will violate the tested approvals on file Jobsite Considerations  
with the state. One-off custom doors  
are always a challenge to build not only great care before installation,especially to carry even more weight.”  
to satisfy the design concept of the during the design stage. Installers also must exercise care,  
“The hardware and the design of both during and after the job.  
client, but having them built in a way  
that they will pass an inspection is al- the system really should be created at  
ways a tango.”  
“Outside of the obvious, such as  
the same time,” Fawthrop says. “The transporting and the manpower for a  
And weatherproofing is also a big profiles, the hinges and the rollers are clean install, my experience is that  
concern—one that shouldn’t be designed to a specification to suit each unit will require a final adjust-  
skimped on, says Sue Weiland of Wei- each system.”  
ment after install,” Boyarsky says.  
land Sliding Doors and Windows in  
Oceanside, Calif.  
Weiland says a well-installed header  
is especially vital.  
continued on page 54  
June 2016 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
Big Openings,  
Big Challenges  
continued from page 53  
“Normally, four weeks is a good time  
to wait before adjustment. Each condi-  
tion is different, but adjusting tensions  
on the roller catches and tightening  
the hinge screws is paramount to a  
successfully installed unit lasting over  
the course of time. And, of course,  
maintenance. The success of any wood  
door, exterior or interior, is the main-  
tenance program. If you maintain the  
wood, it will last forever.”  
The size of the doors also affects in-  
stallation, says Debar’s Fawthrop.  
The really big doors need lots of  
support, the whole structure,” he says. Sue Weiland of Weiland Sliding Doors says huge products like the one shown  
That’s the biggest challenge for the above require enough workers to ensure a safe install.  
actual doors. Of course, this depends  
on location when it comes to wind- say 45 millimeters. That will only products becoming more accessible to  
loads. The bigger the door, the deeper carry a small weight, but the profile the masses.  
the sections have to be to withstand won’t be able to withstand the wind-  
“The current trend is it’s like an  
the windloads for different areas. So load. Larger systems can go up to 5 ‘elitist-type’ product,” he says.“But the  
you may get a system that’s very thin, inches deep. So you get a range of trend of living inside and outside of  
hardware with a range of profiles to these doors is actually being taken up  
suit each particular application.”  
And of course, safety is always a ily available for a wider audience. Be-  
major consideration. cause more products are coming on  
Adequate personnel and equip- the marketplace, the price is becom-  
by the middle market, where it’s read-  
ment (both on the jobsite and in the ing more affordable. And a higher  
plant) are an absolute requirement number of developers will include it  
when handling individual door pan- as either a standard or an option for  
els that can weigh more than 1,000 the units they’re building for the end  
pounds and be as tall as 16 feet,”Wei- customer. That applies to bi-folding  
land says.  
doors and multi-track sliding doors  
as well.”  
Trends in Styles  
Look for more color options as well,  
Sleek, modern looks are frequently an area where Europe is far ahead of the  
the default style for these huge prod- U.S.  
ucts, but Boyarsky says builders in  
Florida often demand a wide range of colors,” he says. “Right now, the color  
designs. Flexibility is key. range in America seems to very limited  
Some builders stay within classic in general. The color range for the end  
“There are going to be many more  
designs, whereas a Miami or urban users is going to play a bigger part in  
project will be modern,” he says. “We the future.” s  
allow our vendors to drive the de-  
sign concept for us. For us, it’s hard  
to track swings in design, but I will  
tell you that more and more clients  
U.K.-based Debar makes hardware are gravitating back to solid core  
that’s used by manufacturers who wood units for the warmth over a  
are looking to produce their own cold aluminum unit.”  
T r e y B a r r i n e a u is a  
contributing editor of USGlass  
sliding doors.  
Fawthrop sees these high-end  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | June 2016