Types of door

Doors are made in standard modules. The height of a standard door is 6 ft 6 in. (1.98 m). Front doors are in general approximately 2 ft 9 in. (83 cm) wide, dining and bedroom doors approximately 2 ft 6 in. (76 cm) wide: doors on toilets and bathrooms are usually only 2 fit 3 in. (68 cm) wide.

Timber doors are usually constructed using haunched mortise-and-tenon joints for standard doors. Flush doors are generally tongued-and-grooved jointed. Some doors of both types may have dowelled joints.

Solid door. The solid door is usually made of oak or teak. This type of door may be varnished or oiled, painted or stained to make a feature of the timber graining and colour. Modern polyurethane clear varnishes have a translucent quality which brings out features of the timber. Sometimes, a solid door may have a glazed panel or light set into the upper section. Ornamental bottle glass looks effective in an old-style door. Solid doors may also be panelled or studded to produce an antique effect.

Cruciform. One of the most common types, a cruciform door has uprights (or muntins) and crosspieces, forming together a cross, which gives the door its name. Panels are recessed into the muntins. A cruciform door may be glazed in the top section.


Flush. This type is now largely standard for internal use but the framing inside is often very light and the solid block within the panel, for mounting and housing the door furniture, is cut to a minimum, limiting each fitting to one position only. When choosing a flush door, ensure that its strength and fixing blocks are adequate for your needs.

Stable or Dutch. Here the door is separated into two pieces across its width, enabling one half to be opened independently of the other. This sort of door looks best in a cottage home. Where the door is external, there is the advantage that you can open the top half to gain light and ventilation. Usually, bolts are fitted to both top and bottom sections, so that these can be individually secured.

Ledged and braced. This type of timber door is also traditionally used in a cottage setting. The boarding may be tongued and grooved, which makes the type suitable as external doors. This pattern of door usualht has a top, bottom and centre ledge with two cross braces between the ledges, forming a letter z.

Framed. Framed doors have a middle or lock rail. Top or bottom sections may be timber framed or glazed. One type has no centre rail and may be fully panelled or fully glazed.

Glazed. A glass door may be glazed with opaque, patterned, coloured or textured glass the full length or half the length of the door. This type of door complements home décor schemes and allows a high level of light to enter. Where such a door is exposed to high winds on the outside, or is in danger of swinging and banging, it is advisable to use toughened or wired glass. Privacy can be ensured by use of opaque decorative glass.

Full or half-glazed doors may be double-glazed to reduce the cold zone usually found near glass areas, which cause convection of air and draughts. Folding. Folding doors can be used where space is at a premium or to provide a form of portable room divider. They are suspended on a metal head track, fixed to the ceiling, or small wheels or rollers screwed into the top rail of the doors. The doors, hinged together in short sections, fold back in concertina fashion flush against the wall. Usually this type of door is louvred, but lightweight flush panels may be used. There are a variety of proprietary makes of head track. Some also have a floor-anchor pivot point at one end.

Folding doors made of glass-fibre, vinyl and other plastic materials operate on a similar principle to wooden folding doors. Sliding. Sliding doors are similarly suspended on a head track. Double or multiple doors have two sections of track which are fitted parallel with each other. The doors hang on these and slide behind each other. Door pulls are set into the door faces as standard door furniture would present an obstruction. Like folding doors, sliding doors save space.

French. These may be made of timber, aluminium or steel. Timber doors open conventionally on hinges, while aluminium doors may slide in a top and bottom track in a similar way to timber sliding doors. French doors may have intermediate glazing bars, so that two or three panes of glass can be used.

Steel doors are now less frequently used, since maintenance has to be carried out far more regularly than with timber doors. Rusted frames can warp and be impossible to correct. When a door warps, the glass may be cracked by the movement.

Siting and Space

  • Often, the existing position of doors offers little possibility of rearrangement but ideally the number of doors opening into an area should be limited, as the space taken up by a door is wasted.
  • In the kitchen, utilization of all available space is most important, particularly as many kitchens are small. Whatever the shape or dimensions of the kitchen, there should be as much continuous working surface as possible. Door openings that interfere with this continuity are a nuisance. One solution is to rehang the doors so that they open out of the kitchen area.
  • Another is to replace conventional hanging doors with sliding or folding ones.
  • Doors sited opposite each other may cause draughts and tend to create a corridor. This may prove particularly hazardous in a kitchen area. Cookers should not be positioned near doors, especially external doors.
  • As space-savers, sliding or folding doors are also useful in small bedrooms when used on fitted wardrobes. The wardrobe doors may be flush, panelled or louvred.
  • Louvred folding doors make ideal room dividers. A large family living area can be simply and quickly divided into two areas when the doors are closed.
  • A feeling of space and extra light are gained by replacing solid timber or panelled doors with glazed interior doors. Many types of plain, textured, patterned and coloured glass are available.

Door linings

  • The main part of a door frame — the part carrying the weight of the door — is the casing or lining. The simplest type is called a plain casing and is usually made of 4 in. by 3 in. (10 by 7.5 cm) timber, but may be even more substantial for outside doors.
  • The top part of the lining is called the soffit casing and often extends into the brickwork on either side above the upright sections (or jamb pieces). There must always be a lintel above the casing: the latter should never bear any part of the load or weight of the house.
  • A rebate may be cut in the casing, particularly where very wide timber is used, to act as a door stop. Generally, however, a thin piece of timber.is pinned to the lining to provide a door stop.
  • It is better to mitre door stops rather than cut them square. Do not pin them too near the corners or they may split. Fix stops about in. (or 2 mm) from the face of the door.
  • Heavier doors, such as front doors, may be supplied complete with a door sill section.
  • Plain casings may be screwed to small pieces of hardwood, inserted between brick joints (called pallets), flat timber pieces the thickness of the mortar joint or simple wood plugs. An architrave is fitted to mask the area where the wood abutts the walls. This should be mitred at corners at an angle of 45 deg to provide a neat finish.

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