If you’re reading this, then you’re either an architect looking for a beautiful design configuration for their next high-end house or you’re a homeowner trying to find a creative way to redesign or renovate their space. Either way, you’re in luck- because today, we’ll be reviewing two of the most popular folding door manufacturers on the market.
La Cantina is a young company based out of Southern California where large folding and sliding doors with a panoramic oceanside view are more common. Western Windows Systems, on the other hand, is a larger company based out of Arizona that focuses on designing window and door solutions that are as beautiful as they are durable.
La Cantina Folding Doors: Overview
If you’ve ever seen the Spanish Riviera, then you’ll immediately recognize the style of these doors. La Cantina is focused on selling a product and lifestyle that’s as efficient as it is stylish. Based on their rapid success and highly-rated consumer reviews, we’d say that they’re doing a pretty great job. One of the best things about La Cantina doors is the sheer amount of options that you’ll have in terms of overall appearance and door frame materials.
Let’s take a look at their bi-fold door options.
La Cantina is one of the few modern door companies that offer multiple folding door options. Most of their competitors only offer one or two choices when it comes to the frame material, but this company takes pride in offering their clients every option in the book.
If you’re looking for the authentic Spanish Riviera style doorway, then you can’t go wrong with La Cantina’s custom hardwood doors. The most commonly purchased woods they provide are Douglas Fir and Mahogany. Both are highly recommended in terms of durability, weight, and overall performance. However, if you’d like your door customized with a hardwood species of your choice, La Cantina is happy to oblige! You’ll just need to pay a little extra and give them a bit more time for production.
Vinyl never looked so attractive! Something about the way La Cantina designs their vinyl doors makes them unlike any of their competitors on the market. They feature a low-profile stile design, sleek edges, and a sturdy feel. There’s nothing cheap about these vinyl doors. They’re low-maintenance, keep their color for the life of the door, and are durable enough to stand up to your average rainstorm. The only drawback is that they have a maximum height of 8-feet, but this is usually the perfect height for most residential doorways.
If you want a larger, more heavy-duty style of door, then you can’t go wrong with La Cantina’s aluminum doors. They can be custom-built as tall as 10-feet, custom painted with over 200 custom RGBV colors, and have an excellent strength to weight ratio.
La Cantina offers two options for their bi-fold doors:
- Standard Aluminum (good for interior doors or moderate climates)
- Thermally-Broken Aluminum (better for energy-efficiency in hot/cold climates)
Aside from their beautiful doors, La Cantina also has several other features that make them the industry leader that they are.
As attractive as folding doors and glass houses are, when they’re not built right, they can become a real pain in the backside. In order to save money, some contractors and homeowners go with cheaper, Chinese-built doors and windows, and are then left with no answers or refund when the system fails.
La Cantina is American-made right here in California, and while they are a bit more expensive than Chinese folding doors, they’re super high-quality and come with an industry-leading warranty. Parts and glass are warrantied for up to 20 years depending on the model of bi-fold door that you go with, meaning that you’ll never have to worry about manufacturer defects posing a problem.
La Cantina provides all of the 3D CAD files, architectural sketches, and building instructions free of charge to anybody who visits their site. If you’re working with an architect to build your new home, then you can rest easy knowing that your planner will have access to all of the tools and materials that they need to design and finish the perfect folding glass wall in your new home.
In addition to this, they also host an annual competition for architects to design homes and floorplans using their products. Winners are featured on their site and receive a small claim to fame. In an industry that’s flooded with less-than-average products, it’s nice to see that there are still a few manufacturers who design high-quality products designed for architects and high-end engineers.
La Cantina is one of the few folding door companies on the market that offers actual commercial solutions. Hypothetically, you could install any folding door in your business. However, it’s very unlikely that it would be able to stand up to commercial safety standards.
La Cantina provides ADA-compliant (American Disability Act) door thresholds that are not only weatherproof but also allow wheelchairs and mobility devices to easily move across them. For those who need to please their local fire inspector, La Cantina even offers several panic door options. These allow your customers (or employees) to easily push open a door in the event of a fire without the need for twisting a traditional handle that can often be searing hot in a life-threatening situation. Of course, you’ll have to pay a little extra for the commercial add-ons, but it’s nice to know the company can cater to commercial contractors.
Pros And Cons
- Every type of door frame available including wood, vinyl, and aluminum
- Solutions for commercial spaces like restaurants and retail stores
- Excellent warranty
- Low-profile attractive designs
- Reports of poor customer service department from some consumers
- High price point
Western Window Systems Folding Doors: Overview
If La Cantina holds the title for the most stylish doors, then Western Windows Systems’ folding doors hold the title for the most hardcore bi-fold door systems on the market. While we haven’t had a chance to test them in an actual hurricane ourselves, the company assures its consumers that their doors are built to withstand almost anything that nature throws at them.
Western Window Systems focuses solely on aluminum doors and has two product lines depending on what the homeowner is looking for.
9500 Bi-Fold Door (Classic)
The most common option is their classic line, otherwise known as the 9500 model. This bi-fold features an all-aluminum door frame that’s engineered with polyamide breaks between the panels of metal. While aluminum isn’t a great thermal insulator itself, this thin polymer break (often called a “thermal break”) helps to prevent hot or cold air from transferring to the other side of the door. This makes the 9500 series an energy-efficient solution for any climate.
In addition to this, Western Window Systems includes dual glazed Low-E Argon glass in all 9500 models in order to improve efficiency.
7950 Bi-fold Door (Performance)
This is an especially important consideration if you live in a coastal area. At the time of writing this review in 2020, the United States has undergone one of the worst hurricane seasons (in terms of the number of storms that have formed) in recorded history. Scientists suspect that as global warming continues and water levels rise, our storms will only get more violent. If you’re building a home now, then you want to make sure that it can withstand the storms of the future.
The 7950 performance door by Western Window Systems has a design pressure rating of 50, is engineered with reinforced aluminum, and features thick impact-resistant glass. This model can be customized to look just as pretty as the classic line and the tracking system can hold doors that are up to 12-feet tall, making it a great option for homes with large doorways.
Here are some of the primary features that make Western Window Systems folding doors a cutting-edge competitor.
Multiple Options For Glass
Unlike La Cantina’s folding doors, Western Windows Systems gives their customers plenty of options when it comes to customizing their glass. If you’re looking for sound-proof glass, super-high-efficiency glass, or even privacy glass, then they can work with you to create a customized solution.
If you opt for the 7950 performance line, you’ll even be able to add-on extras like glare-proof tints, triple glazed glass, and even winter enhanced glass to prevent fogging and frosting in the cold winter months.
Hurricane Proof Doors Available
As we mentioned, hurricanes are only going to get worse as time goes on and global warming progresses. If you’re building a beach house or live in a coastal area like the Gulf of Mexico or Miami, then Western Window Systems’ 7950 folding doors could quite literally save your life. Their triple-paned, impact-resistant windows and door frames are currently undergoing advanced testing to ensure that they’re able to withstand Category 5 storms. That’s the safety that you can count on to keep your family and home safe.
Pros And Cons
- High-energy-efficient designs compliant with the strictest regulations
- Hurricane-proof doors available
- Options for customizing glass
- Sound-proof folding doors available to order
- Low-maintenance design
- No vinyl or wood options for doors
La Cantina and Western Window Systems are two great companies that produce incredibly high-quality folding door systems. The main difference between the two companies lies in their marketing and the purpose behind their doors.
La Cantina is focused on building the most stylish door on the market. Their multiple options, involvement in the architectural community, and their low-profile designs make them an excellent choice for anybody who’s looking to build a truly unique home. They also offer commercial options for restaurants and retail establishments, making them a great choice for business owners (who doesn’t like a good tax write-off?).
Western Window Systems, on the other hand, is primarily focused on designing high-efficiency systems that are designed to withstand a wide range of inclement weather. From simple rainstorms to category 4 and 5 hurricanes, WWS aims to keep build the safest solution for your home. While they can provide commercial-grade doors, they don’t offer the same panic hardware or ADA-compliant doorways that La Cantina provides.