In every segment of every product category, there is an 800-pound gorilla. In the folding or bi-folding door market that product would be NanaWall. I can’t tell you how many times I talk to savvy architects and contractors that tell me about their “NanaWall” only to find out that what they are considering or even have already used is a folding door from another manufacturer. This must drive the owner of NanaWall nuts that the door function that he popularized in the U.S. is using his brand name as a generic term.
This happens in all kinds of markets for products like Kleenex which is a facial tissue generically, but we gladly accept one made by Scott Paper or even a store brand. I had a young programmer working for me from Texas who called all soft drinks “Coke”. To him, it was an orange coke, root beer coke, and even a Pepsi coke. How insulting to the company who build the product type awareness.
I discovered folding doors over 10 years ago at the Fensterbau in Germany which is probably the largest window and door industry trade show in the world. It fascinated me and I inquired, but the product distribution rights had already been contracted to NanaWall. The best window and door technology, like tilt & turn windows and lift/slide doors, all seem to come from Germany, and still today, Nana imports many of these products.
Two excellent Australian hardware companies, with an inter-connected past, found their way to the U.S. market. Both Centor and Brio make terrific stainless steel hardware. Their distribution model has made folding door technology available to many different door manufacturers. Fabricators learned that all they had to do was make some accommodations to the sash and frame components, and with the help of their careful hardware directions, they too were in the bi-folding door business.
Today almost every major player in the window and door industry offers a bi-folding door in their product mix. When your sales guy is trying to sell a large estate window/door package and the architect is nuts about including a “NanaWall” in the living room, you don’t want to have to say, “Sorry, you’ll have to buy that from NanaWall”. Not many of these same companies promote their bi-folds, but they feel they need it in their mix to be complete.
The thing about all of these newcomers to the market is that they are not bringing anything new to the category. They are taking their old-school way of building door sashes out of wood, aluminum or vinyl and adding nifty hardware, but the elements are much the same from company-to-company. And, all the new players have created a fragmented market by taking gnat-like bites out of old granddaddy NanaWall.
2Fold® is a folding door that was created to bring a creative and inventive twist to this old tune. Instead of just adding some hardware to old door building techniques, 2Fold® was built, from the ground up, just to be a bi-folding door company — well, actually, to be the best bi-folding door in the world.
The 2Fold® goal was to provide unparalleled frame thinness and create the best-looking window wall in the open position and the closed position. My experience taught me that the only way to enhance the view through the closed door panels was to maximize glass and minimize frame. I knew that steel could make that happen, but I also knew the steel option created a thermal challenge; Enter Accoya® — the world’s most environmentally friendly and stable wood, with terrific insulating properties. The 2Fold® unique design could now offer the best of all possible worlds.
The new solution led to the next problem. We needed to invent a new multi-point locking system that would operate within a super small 3/8” hardware slot within the 1” wide sash profile. The result was clever and slick enough to warrant a patent application which is currently pending. It covers the hardware solution in conjunction with framing material combination. For the hinge and track system, we chose Brio because in my experience it offers superior function and adjustability.
Ok, so you want a NanaWall, who gets some of their doors completely fabricated in Europe? How long do you think it would take for it to be made in Germany and shipped to you here in the U.S? Well, many people have discovered that the wait is just too long and that overseas manufacturing offers many other risks and uncertainties. That is why 2Fold® is made right here in the good ole’ U.S of A. in Brewster, New York. Americans engineer it, Americans build it, and Americans can get it to you quickly – within 6-8 weeks. If you are in even more of a hurry, we should talk. We can also talk about the exact way you want it put together for your special project. Fixed window walls; awning and casement windows; single and french doors; all are being introduced using the same technology and all will be built right here, in America. Yes, there are lots of alternatives to NanaWall, but there is only one 2Fold®.