Wooden Doors

by Scott Edwards

The huge range of wooden doors on the market means that almost every conceivable design is readily available. Despite this, there are still a number of issues that should be carefully considered before installing new doors.

All modern houses and commercial premises are built with “stock size” internal door casings, so the expense of made-to-measure doors for every room is not a concern. Nevertheless, prices can vary a great deal depending upon the level of quality and finish. Quality can often be judged by the weight of a door. Heavier doors are generally constructed from a more substantial material, whereas cheaper doors are lightweight and hollow. This is reflected in their price difference. The different
Finish levels will also affect price, but the initial outlay of purchasing pre-finished stock doors can also be a cost saver in the future. Pre-finishing means the cost of varnish and arduous labour to apply it are removed entirely. Internal stock doors are normally 35mm thick, although when fireproof doors are required this size increases to 44mm. The advantages of stock doors are that they’re cheaper than made-to-measure solid doors, and won’t twist or warp due to the internal temperature changes.

Although stock doors are perfectly fine for internal use, and where the opening sizes suit, they’re nowhere near as durable for outside use, and can be very expensive to have them made to non-standard sizes. When this is the case, solid timber doors are the best option. Although there are stock doors available for external use, manufacturer’s guidelines often state that they require a location away from direct sunlight and weather elements. In other words, you need a porch or canopy to shield the door from the worst of the weather, or it could literally begin to fall apart. Always check the literature and guarantees on engineered or stock doors that you intend using on external aspects of your property.

Real wooden doors can be made to accommodate door openings of non standard sizes and all external aspects. Made-to-measure also affords unlimited input on design, material and finish. For many properties, there is no other option due to extremely large door openings, which is common in large traditional buildings.

External wooden doors should be well protected with a micro-porous coating that allows the timber to “breathe” (Expand and contract). A non micro-porous covering will crack with any expansion or contraction. Internal wooden doors are less susceptible to twisting and warping when the section is increased from 35mm to 44mm, although it’s still advisable to stack new wooden doors in the property they will occupy for a few weeks to allow them to acclimatize and thoroughly release any remaining moisture content. Taking delivery of real wooden doors from a cold, damp factory in the middle of winter and immediately hanging them in a warm dry house can result in a lot of undesired movement.

Although oak doors are amongst the most popular of natural wooden doors, they’re also among the most expensive and most likely to twist, warp and discolour when they’re not coated properly or left open to the elements.

Your supplier should advise and help you choose the right door to meet your requirements. The most expensive option is not always the best one in the long term.

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