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door system for large opening

by Jim Meehan last modified Jul 04, 2006 07:37 PM
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door system for large opening

Posted by Jim Meehan at March 28. 2006


Hi all,

We're in the middle of construction on our new home in Oakland, CA. We have a large opening from our living/dining/kitchen room onto our patio. About 6'6 wide and close to 10' tall. Originally we had planned to use custom barn-style doors here, hung on a track above the opening. I've attached a partial floorplan so you can see what I'm talking about.

After much discussion, our contractor has told us that they feel the barn doors are not appropriate for the site, and they'll only proceed with them if we sign a waiver of warranty for the doors and issues related to water/air ingress around them. To be honest, I don't think the contractor is being unreasonable. Our home site is at the very top of the Oakland hills (1400 ft elevation), and the conditions during a winter rain storm can be fierce. Hurricane force winds, horizontal rain, etc. A neighbor accidentally left a casement window unlatched during a recent storm, and it was torn right off its hinges and carried 200 feet down the hill.

So I think we've been swayed on the barn doors, and the question now is what to do instead. A sliding glass door unit is out I think, because it would only allow us to have half of the opening actually open to the outside. French doors are a possibility, but I feel like they're quite a few steps down from the barn doors in terms of being modern and unique.

I've looked at NanaWall's web site, and their products would definitely fit the bill, but it looks like that would be at least twice the $3000 that was budgeted for the barn doors.

Anyone have suggestions on other options I could explore?


Jim Meehan
Oakland, CA


Re: door system for large opening

Posted by Mark Meyer at March 28. 2006


Fleetwood makes sliding glass doors that slip into a pocket and therefore open up completely. Assuming the opening you are talking about is the one at the bottom of your plan, you could make that work, although you'd have to do some structural tweaking to make it happen if that wall is already built. The Fleetwoods are $$ but not as $$ as the Nanawalls. They also have wind rated units to suit most applications.

Mark Meyer

Re: door system for large opening

Posted by Jim Meehan at March 28. 2006

Thanks for the suggestion on the Fleetwood doors. I will definitely check those out. However, the wall is already framed, and to make things even more complicated, the walls on both sides of the opening are shearwalls. So a pocket door would require the pockets to be exterior bulges, which would look weird, or else we'd have to make the whole wall thick enough to accomodate both the shearwall components and the door pockets.

Re: door system for large opening

Posted by Allison Ashcroft at March 29. 2006

Check out Eclipse, much like the nanawall though I think a little cooler still. Eclipse creates the hardware and a local door dealer will prehang doors and do install. No pocket door bulge, all folding door system and can go around corners too, but price climbs when you do that.
Price seems to vary, when I first inquired a couple of years ago, I was quoted near $10K CDN for 14 ft opening. Talked to someone else the other day who said price has decreased substantially. Worth checking out, you may find better prices in the US or maybe the affiliated door company dealer near you can provide a similar, but cheaper alternative which is where/how I think the cheaper alternative I heard of arose from.

good luck and let me know what you find out as I'm set to order for install in next month or so.

Re: door system for large opening

Posted by Allison Reak at April 10. 2006

Have you considered a pivoting door? You see these commonly in commercial applications, like store fronts and building lobbies, but they're also available for residences. It's a very clean, modern look, with a big wow factor when you open the door. With a center-hung pivot, you can set it in a variety of locations on the door, depending on how you want to frame the door opening and control the door swing. I just had a center-hung pivot door (4X8 feet) installed in my entryway, after much effort and complaining by my contractor, who was unfamiliar with the mechanics of the hinge. Weatherstripping can be a bit complicated, depending on the look you want, so be sure to work that out with your contractor before the door is installed. Rixson ( carries a series of pivot door hinges for small to giant applications.

Re: door system for large opening

Posted by jennifer jenkins at July 04. 2006

I am building a house that has 3 sets of sliders out to the back that are 12 ft wide each (2 on one floor and 1 on another). I am currently planning on using sliding glass doors, but would LOVE to use something where the doors can fold back and open the whole area up. I have looked at the different companies before, but after realizing that each of my sliders are going to cost about $4500 each, I am thinking that if prices have come down a bit on the eclipse, perhaps there is some way to make that work, which would be a much better look for the space.

One big question I have (and hope someone can answer for me) is that the sliders are a type where the bottom frame will be recessed so that the top will be flush with the tile. I will be continuing the inside tile outside onto the patios for a continuous look (and because part of the space is to be wheelchair accessible). It looks like from the pictures on the Eclipse page that the aluminum doors might be able to be recessed so the top is flushed, but I am not sure. Anyone know if this is possible??


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