I WANT NEW DOORS IN MY HOME BUT WHERE DO I START?

by lorraine hull


WHEN DECIDING ON NEW DOORS FOR YOUR HOME THERE’S A COUPLE OF KEY ELEMENTS TO THINK ABOUT. HERE'S A BIT OF A GUIDE TO ANSWER SOME OF YOUR QUESTIONS AND PUT YOUR MIND AT EASE...

 

This week I have attended a few homes to hang doors. I quite like turning up to the customers house and seeing the doors, handles, hinges and furniture there ready to go on. It can be disheartening for both parties (myself and the customer) when it turns out they have in fact bought the wrong size door, hinges or handles.

There are a few key elements when it comes to knowing which door to purchase. While I can’t speak for every carpenter out there I know that I am always happy to help you select the right size door for your frame. I don’t take too much particular notice to the kind of door (ie has it got nice panels, a glass pane, flush coat or some fancy detail) I’ll leave that up to you, but when it comes to door size it’s important to get it right first go. Having a door that doesn’t fit the frame means I lose work for the day and you (the customer) have to fork out more money for another door plus getting me back to hang it on another day.

 

DOOR SIZE:

When measuring your door size, do look at the existing door you have but don’t take this size as final measurement. Whoever hung that door would have made it fit to your frame, it’s not unusual to plane down sides and at times the tops or bottoms of doors to make them fit nicely into your frame (particularly in older homes where the frame is not square). When measuring up the door size you actually need to measure the frame that the door will be sitting in. Have a look at where your door is hanging at the moment and take those measurements, width and height. It is also very important to check the thickness of your frame. If your frame is only 35mm it is going to be very difficult to hang a 40mm thick door (it can be done if you have a timber frame, but it will take longer and not give you as nice a finish when complete, I would generally say it isn't recommended). As a general rule, a solid core front door is likely to be 40mm thick and internal doors/frames will be 35mm (always double check by measuring your frame and the existing door which is there now). 

Standard door sizes are as follows:

820 wide x 2040 high.

Pretty much all doors come as 2040mm high (always double check your frame to make sure it’s not unusually higher than this). In older homes you may find 720 and at times even 620 wide, especially in toilets and bathrooms. If you find you have these smaller door sizes you may need to order them in specially (keep this in mind when working out your time frame of needing the new door hung). Another option is to look at second hand doors in salvage yards (you can really save some money and save the environment too by re-using – always let your Carpenter know if the doors you require them to hang are new or second hand, you might save some money getting a second hand door but it could cost you more in labour if it takes a lot more work to hang it in your frame).

 

SOLID VS HOLLOW:

Doors are made either Solid Core or Hollow Core. Generally you will always want a solid core door for your external doors (ie front door, back door). It isn’t as necessary to have a solid core door on internal frames (bedrooms, bathroom etc). So save yourself some money and source hollow doors for internal frames.

If you are supplying hollow doors for your internal frames, make sure you do not remove any of the stickers along the edges of the doors. These indicate which side the lock block is situated and will make the job a lot easier for the person fitting the door if it’s left in place for him or her.

 

PRE PAINTING YOUR DOOR BEFORE IT’S HUNG:

Again, each Carpenter will have their own preferences. I have no problem with a customer giving the door a coat or two of paint before I come to hang it. Keep in mind however, that I may need to plane down the sides, top and sometimes the bottom too so you will need to re-paint these sides (particularly the top and bottom to make sure you don’t void your warranty). If you do choose to pre-paint the door be sure to note which side you have pulled any stickers off, as discussed in the last paragraph, this is important for locating the lock block.

 

HINGES / DOOR HANDLES / FURNITURE:

Check in with your Carpenter and see what’s included in the quote they’ve given you, do you need to supply hinges, handles, locks etc? Do they have a hinge brand they recommend? Do you need loose or fixed pin hinges? If you are unsure what to purchase, the best thing to do is just ask. I personally prefer my customers to supply their own handles but can guide them as to what they need (passenger set for a handle that doesn’t need to be locked, privacy for a handle that can be locked – used in bathrooms etc). I do usually carry my own hinges which I prefer to use. In my experience the hinges given to me by customers are either not really fit for purpose, too small, or there aren’t enough provided.

You walk into a hardware store and the amount of hinges alone can be overwhelming, leave it to the person who hangs doors all the time, chances are they can make purchases in bulk and save you a few dollars.

 

 

It can seem overwhelming to try and work all this out yourself, most if not all Carpenters will be more than happy to help you out if you get stuck. It can feel rewarding to be involved in the process and certainly will make your Carpenters job a lot easier if he/she knows you have all the right gear for them to get the job done. Staff in your local hardware store can be helpful at guiding you in the right direction at times too but the best person to ask is the person you will get to hang your doors.