1. Inside or Out
Interior doors differ to exterior doors by two main factors. The first being the door thickness. Exterior doors are thicker than interior doors typically 1 ¾” 44mm or more depending on style and security requirements, while interior doors tend to range from 1 3/8″ 35mm to 1 5/8 40mm.
Another differentiating factor is the type of glue used to bond the door’s joints and panelling. Exterior doors are bonded with exterior grade adhesive, which offers greater resistance to moisture and temperature variations.
2. Door Sizes
Doors are manufactured in a range of standardized sizes (see list below). Most doors will permit the sizing down of no more than ½” (12mm) from each side, so choosing the correct size is essential as excessive sizing down of panelled doors will greatly affect their durability and limit lock choices.
– 1981mm (6ft 6in) x 762mm (2ft 6in)
– 1981mm (6ft 6in) x 838mm (2ft 9in)
– 2032mm (6ft 8in) x 813mm (2ft 8in)
– 2057mm (6ft 9in) x 838mm (2ft 9in)
– 2083mm (6ft 10in) x 863mm (2ft 10in)
– 2134mm (7ft) x 914mm (3ft)
3. Security Considerations
Consider the level of security required and the type of locks you intend using and choose your door accordingly. If you intend using a mortise lock in a panelled door then make sure the door-styles (the upright timber on the outer edges) are wide enough to accommodate the chosen lock. Note: a common mistake is to locate a deep mortise lock at the door’s center rail point, which may result in the cutting away of the entire mortise and tenon joint which holds the two door parts together, thus significantly weakening the doors structure. Also consider the amount of glass and position in relation to lock/bolt locations i.e. how accessible are locks/bolts if the glass is broken by a potential intruder.
4. Fire Protection
Is there a fire regulation in place requiring that the door in question meets specified fire resistance standards? In the UK this is especially relevant if the property is to be rented out. You may wish to give your home additional protection from fire, in which case, discuss it with your door supplier who can inform you of the available options. Fire rated doors are categorized by the length of time they are able to maintain integrity in the event of fire. They come with specific fitting instructions which must be followed in order to insure maximum performance.
5. French Doors
When choosing French doors bear in mind that one door will be the ‘Active’ door (the door opened normally without having to undo the concealed bolts in the edge of the door style). This door will be used regularly, so when ordering, a choice has to be made as to whether it will be positioned left or right and opened inwards or outwards. You will need to purchase locks designed specifically for this type of door arrangement.
6. Lock Position
Some doors are designed for the lock to be placed on one side only. This is especially relevant in prefabricated hollow doors where a block of solid wood has been placed in the lock region. The top edge of the door will have some indication as to which side this block is positioned.
7. Marking-Out The New Door
As old door frames are seldom perfectly square the new door will most likely require some shaping. It can be useful to use the existing door as a template. Before removing the old door carefully observe the fit as it may be necessary to compensate for any inaccuracies when marking out the new door.. Place the old door on the new door insuring that its outermost parts fall within the outline of the new door. Using a sharp pencil; mark around the door. Make any necessary adjustments based on your observations of the original door’s fit. Compare the door opening size with your markings. The gaps around the sides and top should be about 2mm.
8. Fitting Adjustments
Once your hinges are fitted to the door, fix it to the frame using one screw in each hinge. This will allow you to make minor adjustments to the door position before making the other screw-holes.
9. Drilling The Mortise
When drilling the mortise for a mortise lock, measure the lock depth against the drill bit and rap a piece of tape around the bit to mark the distance. This will allow you to gauge the depth in order to avoid drilling to deep and weakening/damaging the door.
10. Protecting The Door Edges
The top and bottom edges of exterior doors should be sealed with paint or varnish to prevent moisture penetration which often results in expansion and rot.