Doors are openable barriers at the entrance to buildings, rooms or other spaces such as cupboards that allow people, vehicles or goods to enter and leave. They most commonly swing on hinges and include furniture or ironmongery that allows them to open, close, stay closed and sometimes to lock.
There are a very wide variety of door types:
- Interior / exterior.
- Fire rated / escape.
- Integral frame / separate frame or frameless.
- Solid, transparent or translucent, either in part (such as vision panels) or in their entirety. Transparent doors may include manifestation as required by part k of the building regulations.
- Manually operated or powered.
- One leaf or two leaf.
- Hinged inwards, outward or both, or revolving, rolling or sliding.
- Energy rated.
- Timber (hollow or solid core), aluminium, steel, UPVC, glass and so on.
 Construction, ironmongery and other door furniture
Typically the opening for a door is formed by a penetration through a wall , with a lintel over the opening to transfer the structural load to the side walls. The door is then secured to a door lining or casing which is then concealed behind a door surround or architrave.
In order to allow proper operation and durability, doors may include:
- Locks, bars, release mechanisms and entry systems.
- Closers (although these may disadvantage people with limited upper body strength).
- Pull handles, push plates and kicker plates.
- Door stops, latches, chains and hooks.
- Vision panels and manifestation.
- Peep holes.
- Letter boxes.
- Numbers and names.
- Draught excluders.
- Intumescent strips and fire protection.
 Standard sizes
Standard sizes for single leaf doors include:
|306x1981||1’ x 6’ 6”|
|381x1981||1’3” x 6’ 6”|
|457x1981||1’6” x 6’ 6”|
|533x1981||1’9” x 6’ 6”|
|610 x 1981||2’ x 6’ 6”|
|686 x 1981||2’3” x 6’6”|
|762 x 1981||2'6" x 6'6"|
|813x2032||2'8" x 6’10”|
|826 x 2040|
|838 x 1981||2'9" x 6'6"|
|864 x 1981||2'10" x 6'6"|
|864 x 2083||2’10” x 6’10”|
|914 x 1981||3' x 6'6"|
|914 x 2134||3’ x 7’|
|1026mm x 2040|
|1067 x 1981||3’6” x 6’10”|
Custom sizes are also available.
However, the building regulations require a clear open width rather than a door leaf dimension. The clear open width will depend on the size of the door leaf, the width of the door leaf, the width of the frame stop, the hinge throw and the width of any door furniture on the facing side, such as the door handle. See accessibility below for more information.
Approved Document M – Access to and Use of Buildings, states that, ‘Since doors are potential barriers, their use should be avoided whenever appropriate’.
In new buildings, and where practical in the refurbishment of existing buildings, doors should be designed to allow access by people with disabilities, including wheelchair users and their carers. This requires a level threshold, that suitable space is provided to allow access to and beyond doors, that doors are easy to operate, and that a minimum clear width is provided by the door opening itself.
According to approved document M, the effective clear width of a door ‘…is the width of the opening measured at right angles to the wall in which the door is situated from the outside of the door stop on the door closing side to any obstruction on the hinge side, whether this be projecting door opening furniture, a weather board, the door or the door stop.
See Door clear opening width for more information.
Unless a door is powered, there must be a 300mm clear width beyond the door on the handle side to allow wheelchair users to properly access the handle.
Doors should not exceed the maximum permissible opening force, and on manually operated doors, door furniture should be easy to operate by people with limited manual dexterity, and be readily apparent against the background of the door. To some extent, these requirements can conflict with other requirements of the buildings regulations and other regulations, for example for the provision of privacy, safety and acoustic separation.
Doors, whether open or closed, should be apparent to visually impaired people through the choice of colour and material for the door and its surroundings.
It defines a fire door as:
‘A door or shutter, provided for the passage of persons, air or objects, which, together with its frame and furniture as installed in a building, is intended (when closed) to resist the passage of fire and/or gaseous products of combustion and is capable of meeting specified performance criteria to those ends. (It may have one or more leaves and the term includes a cover or other form of protection to an opening in a fire-resisting wall or floor, or in a structure surrounding a protected shaft.)’
Article 17 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that a maintenance regime is established to ensure equipment such as fire doors are kept in an efficient state. Article 18 requires that the responsible person appoints competent person(s) to assist in undertaking preventive and protective measures. This includes ensuring fire resisting doors and escape doors are correctly installed and maintained, with inspections carried out every 6 months.
In 2015, on their third anniversary, the FDIS reported that 61% of fire doors inspected had problems with fire or smoke seals, nearly a quarter had unsuitable hinges and many fire doors had bigger gaps between the door and frame than the required 3mm.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Approved documents.
- Automatic release mechanism.
- Controlled fitting.
- Door clear opening width.
- Door energy rating.
- Door terminology.
- Escape route.
- Fire compartment.
- Fire door.
- Fire Door Inspection Scheme.
- Fire resistance.
- How the substrate affects external timber doors.
- Inner room.
- Means of escape.
- Protected escape route.
Featured articles and news
Apple's new HQ opened to employees this week, and has been touted as 'the best office building in the world'.
The risk of moisture in hard-to-treat buildings.
Find out about the intricate art of pyrography.
Have a look at this newly-opened linear park on an elevated highway in Seoul.
The charity for the blind wants to encourage greater collaboration with built environment planners.
Read our review of a new book examining methods used to observe how sustainable buildings work in occupation.
BRE and Loughborough University announce plans for a 'dementia-friendly' demonstration home.
CIOB launch new toolkit tackling the poor image construction still suffers among pupils in the 14-19 age group and their teachers.
Find out about adjudication in construction contracts with our introductory article.
BRE publish a new information paper: Understanding the factors affecting flashover of a fire in modern buildings.
London churches in the age of Wren, Hooke, Hawksmoor and Gibbs - Book review.
Our interview with Tom Dyckhoff about his new book 'The Age of Spectacle', starchitects, microhousing, the building he would demolish, and more...