As customers, we always know what we want our door to look like. We know that we like our neighbor’s red craftsman door with 6 windows in it or that we like the dark stained oak grand entrance with the fancy door handle on our mother’s front porch. The problem is in communicating that knowledge. You need to know the correct door vocabulary to define door parts not only for replacing a new front door but also for repairing damaged doors.
When you are repairing a door is the most frustrating time to struggle to communicate. You know exactly where the break is and everything about how it prevents your doors from functioning. A photo really does help a lot in this case. However, from just a photo, it’s still sometimes hard to tell what’s broken or missing. That’s where some good door vocabulary comes in. That way, you can better communicate with the salesperson what is wrong.
Door Vocabulary Terms
The plastic or rubber portion you step on when you walk through the door. In an interior door, this is called a transition strip. Transition strips are usually kept by flooring rather than near doors in the hardware store. Thresholds are usually simple to replace if broken or damaged.
The portion of the framing that supports the threshold. This is usually made of 2×4 framing pieces that are a kiln dried wood. For doors that are more likely to see weather, the sill can be made of pressure treated wood. When installing a new door, it is vital that the sill is level.
The decorative wood around a door. Trim really serves a purpose only as decoration and finishing since it just covers the gap between the wall surface and the door jamb. Interior trim is usually called “casing” while exterior trim is frequently a profile commonly called “brickmould,”
The portion that the door hangs off of, closes against, and is screwed into the wall framing. The jamb is made to fit the wall and they come in multiple sizes, or widths. For a 2×4 wall with 1/2″ drywall on either side, you’ll need a jamb that measures 4-9/16″ in order to fit your wall appropriately. The other common sizes are a 6-9/16″ for a 2×6 wall and 5-1/4″ for a lath and plaster wall. Make sure to measure the thickness of your wall before buying a door.
The part of the jamb that stops the door from swinging past its closed point. The best stop is one that is called a “double rabbet” meaning that the stop and the jamb are one piece. Another type is called a “stop applied” where the stop is a separate piece of wood that is nailed onto the jamb. This type is not as resistant to…slamming… door damage.
This is a strip of vinyl or rubber that is attached to an exterior door to make it weather resistant to both water and air. These strips can be glued, taped, or nailed on depending on your type of door. The best option is actually one that presses into a groove just inside the door stop since it provides the best weather seal in the most permanent manner.
This is the main holes for the door knob, consisting of the large hole where the knob goes and the small hole on the side of the door where the latch goes. There can be a single bore, one hole, or a double bore, two holes. For door bores there is a normal but no standard. If yours may be different from normal, either in the distance from the edge of the door or in the spacing between the bores, it is important to provide that information. Always measure from the center of the hole.
The hardware that the door swings on. There is no standard placement, shape, or size for door hinges so if you want to replace just the slab, or actual door, you will need these measurements from the top of the door to the top of each hinge. You will also need to know the height of each hinge and the radius of the corners. There are three major styles, square edge, 1/4″ radius, and the most common, 5/8″ radius.
There is no standard sizing or measurements for any of these aspects. For your door to be perfect, you need to know what you want or have for each of these aspects. If you need help figuring these things out, don’t hesitate to ask for help from the salespeople.
You also need to know the swing of the door if you are going to buy a door. The swing is determined the easiest from the outside of the room or home. If you look at the chart, it’s a good starting point in determining this. Just remember that door swing is typically viewed from the outside of the room or the house.
You need to know how wide and how tall the door is including the jamb, not just the door slab itself. If you want the perfect fit, you should bring in the rough opening size, the measurements between the studs of the opening, both for height and width.
There are many pieces and parts to a door since the door has become more complicated than the cloth hung in the opening to a cave. A door is a complex unit and each piece needs to work together for it to function appropriately. With the correct door vocabulary, you can communicate your issues with a broken door easier and you can buy a new beautiful entrance easier. Double check your information and have everything figured out before heading to the hardware store to buy a door for the easiest trip. The salespeople will be happy to help you if you have questions and some photos though. When you’ve got your door repaired or replaced, check out how to install a door knob so that you have the best fit through and through.