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KNOCK KNOCK! Everything You Need To Know About Doors

October 4, 2017 0 Comments

Most buildings have a door, and we all know what they do. You open it, you close it — it’s that simple. But do you know the various parts that comprise this essential piece of every building? Let’s walk through it (pardon the pun!).

Door in a Modern Australian Home

There’s much more to ‘door furniture’ than just a hinge and frame!


This is the part you actually walk beneath. It’s usually made of a timber such as solid pine, teak or oak and measures about 40 x 105mm.


The threshold is also known as the door sill. Most of us know this as the part of the door a groom traditionally carries his bride across. The threshold is beneath the frame, on the floor. It is usually made of hardwood and sometimes features a protective aluminium strip.


This most vital of door parts is usually made of pine or oak. The standard width of a door frame is 34 inches, or just over 86 centimetres.


The hinge is also known as a butt or mortise hinge. The hinge is inset (mortised) into the frame and allows the door to swing open and closed. Hinges are usually made from steel, brass or stainless steel to prevent corrosion.


The lock is an essential part of any door as it provides safety. Locks have been used on doors for thousands of years and they have been discovered on doors more than 4,000 years old! They were used by Ancient Egyptians and made of wooden bolts. The keyed lock is slightly more modern and has been found dated to 740 BC. With the concerns of security and as a method for reduction in insurance premiums, deadbolts have become a popular locking mechanism.

Do you ever wonder how a door lock actually works? Here’s the deal:

  • The correct key inserts into a pin-and-tumbler lock
  • The teeth on the key allow the pins to move into place, lining up with the shear line
  • Once the pins line up with the shear line, the cylinder turns
  • Click! The lock opens!


The door handle allows you to manually open or close a door. Door handles with a round shape are known as door knobs. It is believed the door knob was invented in 1878 by a man named Osbourn Dorsey, who suggested a door closing device to the US Patent Office.


A door jamb (or doorjamb) is the upright part of the frame onto which the door is secured.


Most doors are protected with a moisture-resistant HDF board. Those manufactured from oak, pine or teak are covered with a glued veneer.


The panel, which forms the main body of the door (the door itself that swings open and close), is held in place by vertical and horizontal crosspieces. The vertical cross pieces are called stiles; the horizontal crosspieces are called rails. A panel can swing, rotate on hinges, or slide.

Fixed panel

This is the part of a pair of doors that does not open or close.

Door sweep

At the bottom of many doors you’ll find a strip between the sill and the frame. This is the sweep. It is weather resistant and increases the energy efficiency of your dwelling.

Fun Door Facts

  • If you ever hear the term “door furniture”, the speaker or document is referring to all of the parts and accessories pertaining to a door.
  • Door hinges have been excavated by archeologists dating back to 2000 BCE.
  • January could be deemed ‘Door Month’. It is named after the Roman god Janus, who was the god of doors (among other things).
  • Dreaming of doors could be prophetic. Dreams of an open door means new opportunities are on the way. Dreams of a closed door means opportunities lost. Dreaming of actually being a door… well… the jury is still out on that one!
  • The revolving door was invented by a man named Theophilus Van Kannel in 1888 in Philadelphia, USA.
  • The largest door ever constructed was at the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida. NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building boasted doors 456 feet tall. They took 45 minutes to open or close!
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