Anatomy of a Door

By July 29, 2011 Doors, Understanding your home

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 20 seconds

Q: When is a door not a door? A: When it’s a jar.

Not much thought is given to doors these days but they are a vital component to every structure we build. I have used a number of companies to provide them and have been involved in many of the buying decisions made by my clients. Doors come in all sizes and materials, to categorize them is a bit of a challenge. Looks and energy efficiency are hot topics these days.

Lets look at Exterior vs. Interior Doors.

Exterior Doors are meant for weather tight and security purposes. They are usually solid core and may have a window that is tempered or security glass of some sort. They have beefier locks and hinges that are pinned on the inside or have some sort of mechanism to prevent tampering. Common materials for our region include Wood, Fiberglass, and Metal. They can be fairly simple or very elaborate. The doors almost always are hinged to the inside and often include windows at the sides and/or at the top. They also have a substantial threshold and a system of foam based seals to keep the weather out. Older systems of weather tight seals include interlocking metal flanges.

Interior door types

Interior Doors. Come in all shapes and sizes too, they also operate in a bunch of different ways (I think they meant to say French Doors in this drawing). The bottom line is that they operate differently and they are designed to suit the needs of the space. This is in no way a complete list of interior doors. There are Barn doors and Patio doors, just to name a few. Materials of doors include a press board called Masonite and any wood is possible. Many come pre-finished or primed and ready for paint. Panel doors come in a myriad of panel designs so you don’t have to rely on the recycled building material store to have what you are looking for.

Door parts

Anatomy of a door will help to explain what you are talking about when you are describing things. Understanding the terminology is harder than it looks. Some old timers have different names for the components but this diagram has the most complete and accurate terminology I could find. I use these terms regularly without embarrassing myself.

The final humiliation is determining the swing of a door. This story reminds me how tricky it can be, fortunately I have devised a fool proof method to use I will share in a moment.

I recall interviewing for a spot at Stanford Paramedic School. My oral test question was to describe an orange to a person from another planet over the phone. The assumption was that they had never seen anything like it nor understood colors. The purpose was to see if I had the talent to be the eyes and ears of the emergency room physician. Needless to say I passed. I was able to do it by describing the shape in relation to other common things in the universe that they were familiar with.

Door Handing

Door handing is the same deal. Trying to explain which handed the door is will inevitably end up having mistakes made. Simply disregard what the person on the other end of the phone is saying, tell them this. ” With my back to the hinges, it swings to the ______________. ” Let them translate which hand it is. Turns out, for some strange reason commercial and residential door folks call door swings differently. This system has never failed me!

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, email me directly or visit our contact page.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

Leave a Reply