Choosing the right glass doors for office partitions
Updated: Apr 21
Glass partitioning provides a wide range of internal glass doors, including hinged glass doors, sliding doors, pivot doors and more. This means there are doors to suit most tastes, functional needs and budgets. Choosing the right type of glass doors to use on an internal partitioning project is essential. As a result, we have put together this guide, with explanatory images, to provide helpful information on popular types of glass doors available, their features and uses.
Sliding glass doors
Sliding doors are a neat and practical space saver. Sliding glass doors run in a "sliding" motion along a horizontal rail or track using rollers. There are a variety of options available. The most popular being top hung sliding doors with fixtures hidden in the top track (these are also known as "Trojan" sliding doors) and, sliding doors with the top rail and fixtures exposed (also called "Manet" sliding doors). Usually sliding door with the top track exposed require an overhead panel above the door, so this system would suit areas with higher ceilings. They also tend to be more expensive than Trojan style doors. You can find out more about cost in: Part 1: Glass Partitioning Cost Guide - Materials and Part 2: Glass Partitioning Cost Guide - Installation Costs
Other types of sliding doors include pocket glass doors and concertina glass door; both require a sliding track to function. Pocket glass doors when pushed opened, slide into a cavity or "pocket", neatly hiding the door inside the wall. Concertina doors are mainly used externally (particularly for patios and courtyards). They have also become increasingly popular in internal partitions, especially where a space has various purposes, needs to be versatile and change from a small, private space to an open and accommodating area.
Sliding door systems can come with a soft close or self-closing mechanism; these stop the door from being slammed too hard. Sliding doors can be framed or frameless. Frameless doors are usually cheaper than framed doors. As there are no metal frames, these integrate better with the look of the surrounding glass partition walls. Framed sliding doors offer better noise insulation.
Some sliding door systems require a bottom track. This means the floor has to be cut in so this track can be installed level with the floor surface. Before work commences, it's vital to check that the floor can be cut or drilled, as there may be a significant amount of dust and noise as a result of cutting into the floor. Also check there are no electric cables, pipes and underfloor heating that may be damaged during installation.
Hinged glass doors
Internal hinged glass doors are also very common, regular hinged doors open inwards at 90 degrees. Swing doors also use hinges; these allow doors to open inwards and outwards, or 180 degrees. Some hinges can be set to automatically close a door (usually using a hydraulic system) and also be set to hold open (eliminating the use of doorstops). Sometimes more than two hinges are required, the number of hinges used on a door can depend on the system, as well as the height and the weight of a door (heavier doors may require additional hinges for safety).
As with sliding doors, hinged doors can be framed or frameless. Hinges fixed to frameless glass doors will require special cutouts to be manufactured on the glass so the hinges can be fixed and clamped to the glass. While in the case of framed glass doors, hinges are attached to the frame that holds the glass. As previously mentioned, framed glass doors offer better acoustics than frameless doors.
Pivot glass doors
Pivot doors rotate on spindles (one on the base and the other at the top) which create an axis or centre point of rotation for the door. Although they operate in a similar way to doors with hinges, hinged doors have their centre point on the edge of the door, flush with the wall where the hinge is positioned. With pivot doors, the axis is further away from the edge.
Most pivot glass doors are centre hung pivot doors, which means they have their pivot centre in line with the centre of the doors thickness. Centre hung pivot doors can be set to swing both ways. Offset pivot glass doors have the centre line at a distance or "offset" from the centre of the doors thickness.
Pivot doors can be frameless, for example, doors on rails and pivot patches, or framed. Most pivot door systems are particularly useful for heavier doors (especially door rail systems). Heavy doors installed with hinges can create tension and weight stress on the glazing frames and walls. Hinges have more of a chance of pulling out due to weight over time and with use.
There are many hold open and self-closing options available for pivot doors too, including floor springs (both mechanical spring operated and hydraulic systems) and hydraulic patch fitting. Floor springs require cutting into the floor to install a coffin box which houses the door floor spring hidden below the floor. This may be costly and time-consuming, especially if the floor is solid concrete. Also, there are risks of damaging tubes, cables or underfloor heating, which is why many people opt for hydraulic patch fittings. Hydraulic patch fittings don't require cutting into the floor and eliminate the need for overhead closures.
Once you have decided on the right type of door or doors for your installation, you will need to consider other features such as door locks, handles and other door furniture. You may also have additional requirements, some of these may include:
Fire-resistant glass doors (see our guide to fire-resistant glass)
Safe route and access doors
Emergency exit glass doors
Security features such as magnetic locks
Sound and thermal insulation
Privacy glass and more
There are many other types of internal glass doors not covered in this guide. It is essential you speak to your potential suppliers and installation team early on in your project to ensure your glass doors and partitioning system will achieve the desired look, functional needs and be within budget. We always recommend using qualified, experienced fitters to install your partitioning project and internal glass doors. They will be able to guide you through the installation process and help you find the right doors for your glazing project.
If you need assistance find the right door and glass partitioning system, estimates, measuring, supply or fitting, we can help. We also offer maintenance services. Call us on +44 (0)208 947 8428 (office hours are Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm), or write to us via our contact page.
About the writer: Paulo Ferreira has extensive experience in project management and worked at Prism Glass for two years, where he managed glass installation projects and day to day operations. He also has extensive experience in financial services. His skills include graphic design, branding, content marketing and blogging.