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Last edited 02 Jun 2023
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.
 The history of doors
The earliest known doors were simple pieces of wood or stone that were used to cover openings in primitive dwellings. They were often small and low, primarily serving as a means of protection from the elements and animals.
In the ancient Egyptian civilization, doors became more refined and were decorated with intricate carvings and other adornments. The Egyptians also developed the pivoting door, which operated on a central pivot point and allowed for larger, more grand doorways.
The Greeks and Romans further developed door technology by introducing hinged doors, allowing for easier opening and closing. They were commonly made from wood and sometimes featured metal embellishments.
During the Middle Ages, doors became larger and more ornate. They were often made from heavy wood and featured iron hardware for added security. Castle doors, in particular, were designed to be thick and sturdy, serving as a defensive barrier against invaders.
In the Renaissance and Baroque periods, doors underwent a transformation in design and craftsmanship. Elaborate carvings, moldings, and decorative elements became more common, reflecting the artistic styles of the time. They were often made from expensive woods and were status symbols for wealthy individuals.
In the 20th century, advances in materials and technology revolutionised door manufacturing. Steel, glass, and aluminium became popular choices, allowing for greater versatility in design and increased durability. Automatic doors and electronic access systems were developed, offering convenience and improved accessibility.
Today, doors come in a wide variety of styles, materials, and functionalities, ranging from traditional wooden doors to high-tech automatic sliding doors. They serve not only as functional barriers but also as architectural elements that contribute to the overall aesthetics of buildings.
There are a very wide variety of door types:
- Internal / external.
- 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.
- 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.
|306 x 1981||1’ x 6’ 6”|
|381 x 1981||1’3” x 6’ 6”|
|457 x 1981||1’6” x 6’ 6”|
|533 x 1981||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"|
|813 x 2032||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’|
|926 x 2040|
|1026 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.
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.'
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.
‘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 3 mm.
- Automatic release mechanism.
- Controlled fitting.
- Door clear opening width.
- Door closer.
- Door energy rating.
- Door restrictors.
- Door terminology.
- External doors.
- Fire compartment.
- Fire door.
- Fire Door Inspection Scheme.
- Fire resistance.
- Following edge.
- How the substrate affects external timber doors.
- Leading edge.
- Mortice lock.
- Pocket door.
- Smoke control door.
- Types of door.
- Types of lock.
- Width of doors stairs and escape routes.
- Window and door schedules.
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