Today, we’re going to be taking a look at two of the best-selling brands on the market. If you go on Google and type in folding doors, bi-fold doors, or accordion doors, these two competitors are very likely to appear on the first page. Suffice to say- they’ve got some really great marketing.
The main difference between the two companies is the way that they market their folding door products.
La Cantina tries to sell a lifestyle. They’ve even dubbed their own term- “Live the La Cantina Lifestyle.” Aside from their beautiful photo gallery and desire-inducing marketing, they’ve also got some pretty great products. They not only sell folding doors, but they also sell a wide range of sliding doors, and even swinging/pivot doors as well. This makes them a great option for a new construction project as they can put doors and windows in your entire home.
Panoramic Doors, on the other hand, don’t have the prettiest marketing gimmicks. However, they don’t need to impress you with fancy photos and catchphrases because they have one thing that no other folding door company on the market has. They have the only independent door system available. Their patented invention and technology is their main selling point- and we have to say it’s pretty impressive.
So, now that we’ve given you a proper introduction to today’s competitors, let’s get into our brand comparison. Both brands have excellent ratings, but depending on your individual taste and style one may appeal to you more than the other.
La Cantina: Overview
Compared to many of the other major brands on the market, La Cantina is relatively young. They were originally founded in 2003 and have focused on branding themselves as one of the most aesthetic design companies in Southern California.
One really cool thing that they’ve done to push their product is to offer an annual La Cantina Architectural Contest. They encourage architects from all over the world to design 3D model homes incorporating their folding and sliding door systems. Not only does this make them more relevant in the design space, but it gives up-and-coming architects a chance to prove themselves.
One of the best selling points of La Cantina is how many options they offer. This means that no matter what type of home you have, what type of material you want, and no matter where you live, they’ll likely have something that suits your needs. They’re also known for being one of the more affordable brands on the market as well! Here are the options you’ll be able to choose from as far as their folding doors go.
Aluminum Folding Doors
If you want an ultra-low-profile design and you live in a moderate climate, then La Cantina’s standard aluminum folding doors are an excellent option. They’re also a great choice if you’re looking for an interior folding door to divide rooms in your home. Since the aluminum stile is only 2 ¾- inch thick, it’s not the most energy-efficient door. So, if you live in an extremely hot or cold area of the country, this door wouldn’t be the best option.
However, if you do live in more inclement conditions, you can always opt for the company’s thermally-controlled aluminum doors. These doors are about ¼- inch thicker than the standard aluminum doors and they also include thermal-breaking technology. While this term sounds pretty technical, it’s really a simple process.
Thermal-breaking just involves coating the interior of the doors with a thin layer of synthetic polymer that’s resistant to heat change. So even though aluminum itself absorbs and transfers heat (and cold for that matter) quite readily, the polymer break prevents the temperature from transferring to the other side of the door.
Wood Folding Doors
If you’re the type of person who appreciates the timeless look of authentic hardwood, then La Cantina’s hand-crafted hardwood doors are an excellent option. The company keeps Mahogany and Douglas Fir in-stock at all times. However, if there’s a specific hardwood that you’d like to use for your doors, they can custom order it and design it to your specifications (as long as you’re willing to wait a little bit longer for production time).
Wood doors are a good bit thicker than aluminum doors and stiles are 3 ⅝- inch thick. This means that they’ll be a bit heavier, but they’re also excellent at thermal insulation. Fun fact- wood is 1,700 times better for insulation than aluminum. However, it is a bit more expensive and it does require a lot of maintenance and upkeep as you’ll have to clean the wood at least once a year and reapply stain and seal every couple of years.
The contemporary-clad is La Cantina’s version of a standard wood-clad folding door. The door frame itself is crafted from high-quality aluminum. The exterior of the door retains the aluminum plating, but the interior side features authentic hardwood. A contemporary-clad folding door is a great option for those who enjoy the appearance of wood but don’t want to deal with all of the required upkeep.
The aluminum exterior is virtually maintenance-free, and you won’t have to do much to keep it looking brand new. The wood interior will still need to be stained and sealed, but since it won’t be exposed to the harsh exterior climate (rain, snow, wind, UV rays), the surface won’t break down as quickly and you’ll only need to clean and reapply stain periodically.
La Cantina’s aluminum-wood folding door is pretty much the same concept as the contemporary-clad door. It features the same hybrid design with an aluminum exterior and wood interior. However, this particular model is meant for larger doorways and the tracking system can accommodate taller heavier doors.
Vinyl Folding Doors
If you want a folding door that doesn’t require any maintenance or upkeep, then vinyl is an excellent option. One of the main reasons why people choose vinyl over aluminum or wood doors is that they retain their color forever.
Since factory colors are bonded to the surface of the vinyl, you’ll never have to worry about re-painting (as long as you use the natural white or beige color).The only drawback of vinyl is that it’s not the strongest material and won’t stand up very well against hurricane-force winds.
La Cantina has some really beautiful options, but let’s take a look at what really sells most customers on the brand itself.
Every Option On The Market
One of the best things about La Cantina is how many options they have for customizing their doors. You’ll be able to custom order everything from the material of the door itself to the handles and even the color of the door. Most folding door companies only specialize in one or two different door materials, but you’ll be able to order any material you want with La Cantina.
Commitment To Being Green
Another great reason to choose La Cantina is that they’re committed to being green. All of La Cantina’s aluminum doors are made from 100% recycled aluminum. One of the biggest problems in the country in regards to littering is the sheer amount of single-use plastic and aluminum that end up in landfills. In California, where the company is based, there is a strong “recycling” culture which means they have access to plenty of high-quality recycled materials.
In addition to this, La Cantina designs all of its doors to exceed energy-efficiency ratings. All glass is dual glazed and tempered to prevent heat transfer between the two sides of the glass. This can save a lot of power that’s wasted powering A/C units and furnaces.
Pros And Cons
If you’re one of the people who skip the heavy reading and just skim over the Cliff Notes instead, we’ve put together a simple list of pros and cons about La Cantina’s folding doors.
- An eco-friendly company that focuses on green design
- Tons of different materials for you to customize your door with
- One of the few companies that manufacture extra-large wood folding doors
- La Cantina is known for being one of the more expensive brands on the market
Panoramic Doors: Overview
Next, we’re going to take a look at the Panoramic Door company. Like we mentioned earlier, they’re one of the only companies that have truly made some ground-breaking innovation with their product. They’re based out of Southern California, just like La Cantina. However, they’ve since expanded into the UK market as well.
The main thing that separates Panoramic Doors from any other folding door system on the market is the fact that all each door panel in the system operates independently from the next. Traditional folding doors follow a bi-fold model which involves connecting two panels together at the hinges.
The independent operation of each panel means that they take up a lot less space when they’re folded to the side. Since doors can operate independently of one another, homeowners can slide, shift, and fold any door in the system. This means that there are literally countless different configurations for these doors to be positioned in. You can open up an entire room with ease, or you can choose to slide one or two panels to the side (keeping the rest on-track) and have a unique ventilation pattern.
Although Panoramic Doors makes one of the coolest systems on the market, they don’t yet have a whole lot of options for materials and door types. You’ll be able to choose between two simple materials- aluminum and vinyl. The reason for this is that these are the two lightest door materials which means that they won’t put extra strain on the tracking system. Panoramic Doors aims to keep their doors as easy to slide as possible, and this is only possible with aluminum and vinyl materials.
Aluminum Folding Doors
Aluminum Panoramic Doors are the best option to go with if you want larger doors. You’ll be able to get your doors custom-made with panels that are 10-feet-tall. Depending on how many panels that you add to your system, you’ll be able to get panels that are as thin as 26-inches (in the case of single-panel doors) or as wide as 234-inches (if you opt for a larger 6-panel setup). Configurations can be stacked for a total system width of up to 50-feet.
All aluminum used contains the company’s patented eeCore thermal breaking system to maximize energy efficiency. You can select from white, bronze, or clear anodized finishes or one of 200 different colors.
Vinyl Folding Doors
Vinyl doors are even lighter than aluminum and require less maintenance. The one drawback of this is that you’ll only be able to order doors with a maximum height of 8-feet and a total system width of 20 feet. Although vinyl will never have to be repainted (one key benefit), you won’t have as many options for custom colors. You’ll be able to select from white or beige (vinyl’s natural color) or choose between four different laminate colors.
Now that you know a little bit more about product options, let’s review a couple of the main selling points of this brand.
Tongue-and-Groove Independent Operating System
What allows Panoramic Doors door panels to operate independently of one another is their patented tongue-and-groove interlocking hinge system. Whereas most companies use an exterior hinge system to link doors together, these guys use small interlocking pins so that your doors can be connected together like a traditional hinge system or completely separated and operated individually.
Create Large Open Spaces
Since each door in the system doesn’t have to be connected to the one beside it, the tracking system doesn’t experience as much strain from sheering forces (remember that term from physics class?). The result is that homeowners will be able to create a glass wall system that’s far wider than other companies offer their customers.
Pros And Cons
Here’s the shortlist of the top pros and cons of owning a Panoramic Doors system.
- They make the only independently-tracked-panel door systems in the entire world
- All aluminum door panels are designed to be energy-efficient, so you don’t have to worry about ordering the wrong one
- Aluminum doors are available in 200 different colors, and they have more color options for laminating vinyl doors than most of the competitors
- There isn’t a great warranty (the website doesn’t even have one listed)
- There aren’t any options available for wood or wood-clad doors yet
Ultimately, when it comes down to choosing between Panoramic Doors and La Cantina folding doors, it depends on the style of door you want. While La Cantina does offer some of the more attractive and affordable bi-fold doors on the market, they’re not exactly “innovators” in the space. Panoramic Doors, on the other hand, have invented an entirely new version of the folding door- something that no other company on the market has managed to do.
So, if you’re looking for a classical Spanish Riviera style and aesthetics, La Cantina is a better option.
If you’re looking for a high-tech door system with a low-profile, Panoramic Doors can give you that “futuristic home” feel that La Cantina can’t.