A handful of door manufacturers in the niche market of disappearing doors is upping the ante in the battle to win customers. New flush track options, larger sizes and more design options are now available for designers and architects to push design limits.
Some people have the misconception that these doors can only be used on the beaches of California or in the deserts of Arizona. Not true. “[The doors are found] anywhere people have a beautiful view, whether it is the Colorado mountains, or rolling hills of Kentucky. People want to bring the outdoor and indoor living environments together,” says Elizabeth Souders, product marketing manager for doors, Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors.
The doors can be found as far north as Canada and everything in between. “California and Florida are strong partially because of their climates. But it’s not just in the Sunbelt states; we do sell in states like Wisconsin,” says Matt Power, president, La Cantina Doors.
Weather resistance must be part of these doors to meet the demands of colder regions. “[NanaWall Systems] are just as energy-efficient and weather-tight as regular windows. We have five systems that are Energy Star-rated,” says Ebrahim Nana, president, NanaWall Systems.
In areas where bugs can be an issue, some manufacturers offer screens or partner with third-party screen manufacturers; La Cantina Doors recently launched a screen product. NanaWall also offers a screen product. “There’s a whole part of the country where you wouldn’t have a large opening wall without a screen,” Nana says.
Weiland Sliding Doors and Windows offers screens for its lift and slide doors. “Pocketing is available with the screens. We use third-party screen companies for our folding doors,” says Steve Donner, general manager, Weiland Sliding Doors and Windows.
Material options range from wood, aluminum, aluminum clad with wood interior, or fiberglass depending on the manufacturer. “Architects like our [aluminum clad] folding system because of the low maintenance on the outside and the warmth of wood on the inside, and it’s Energy Star-rated,” Nana says.
Jeld-Wen offers its doors in wood, aluminum clad and fiberglass. “There is a variety of wood species that we can offer from pine to mahogany, plus tons of finishes. The aluminum clad has a ton of different choices to match a window package,” Souders says.
Size, aesthetics matter
New products hitting the market range in size and material. Weiland is making advances in size offerings with its new 16-ft. lift and slide. “We introduced an impact, hurricane-rated lift and slide door, an AAMA-rated 16-ft. lift and slide, and our bifold doors are currently 13½ ft. tall,” Donner says.
La Cantina Doors is expanding its offerings to meet the needs of the market, Power adds. “We started with wood doors, then aluminum clad doors, and now an all-aluminum door that is more contemporary and has more glass,” he says. “Other new products include hurricane-rated doors. We also have a new flush threshold option. It’s a zero-step sill — a floor channel option that allows for a flush, seamless transition from outside to inside with an effective seal at the bottom of the doors. Everyone wants a flush transition — it’s a key design feature, especially for custom homes.”
Flush track options are also available from NanaWall. “Our new product is a single-track, multipanel slider. Normally sliders have multiple tracks. We eliminated the issues of multitracks. Now we have a single-track top-hung slider and the bottom track is a guide,” Nana says.
Jeld-Wen folding doors are available with two to 16 panels depending on the configuration. “We can even do a 90-degree corner to open up adjoining walls,” Souders adds.
Loewen’s bifold doors meet designer demand for contemporary and traditional styles. “The profiles of our bifold system allow these products to be placed in both contemporary and traditional styles of architecture. Traditionalists may opt for a grille pattern or doors with panels, while modernists typically lean toward minimal profiles and maximum glass,” says Jon Sawatzky, product marketing manager, Loewen.