27 Jul 2016

A guide to specifying internal doors


Here, i-build provides all you need to know about specifying internal doors for your property.

The perfect fit

Andy Purcell from Solid Wooden Doors (SWD) discusses proportions when it comes to specifying your internal doors.

How tall should I have my doors and what are the correct proportions? This is quite an interesting question that often gets overlooked. People may indeed notice if a door is quite tall, but not give much thought about the proportions of the height up against the ceiling. My first question would be "how tall are your ceilings?" since this is key to determining the ideal door height. My calculations are usually based on the ceiling height minus the cornicing (if they have this detail), minus the width of architrave, then minus 200-300mm of wall left between the architrave and the cornice or ceiling. What is left over is a good idea of how tall the doors should be.

I've supplied and fitted many large residential houses with much taller ceilings – typically 2900mm on ground, 2600mm on first and on upper floors often standard heights of 2400mm. In this scenario we would often recommend bespoke height doors as follows:


Ground floor
2900mm ceiling height minus 200mm cornice, 120mm architrave, 300mm wall = 2280mm.

In this instance a 2300mm height door would work well, and possibly 2400mm if cornicing were smaller or there was no cornicing.

Second floor
2600mm minus 150mm cornice, 90mm architrave and 200mm wall = 2160mm.

Top floor
2400mm ceiling height would use a standard height door of 1981mm.

When you work it out like this and take into account some of the elements like cornicing, you need to think about how sometimes the doors do not need to be as tall as you originally think. We often have enquiries that initially say they want 2700mm high doors, but after working out the calculation, the final actual door size will come down to around 2400mm.

Door proportions
Certain door designs – especially classic panelled doors – can look different depending on the size and width. I personally believe that a good proportion for a door is height 2.5-3 times the width. If you come away from these proportions too much and the door is 2:1 or 4:1, the door can look quite odd!

When interior panelled doors are changed in height, the other dimensions of the frame or set do not necessarily change either. What will remain constant sizes are the top rail side stiles and bottom rail and also the mid rail on a two or four-panel door for example.



Flexible living

Fergus Pickard, Product Development Director at P C Henderson, highlights the growing demand for flexible living spaces as household demographics and family lifestyles change. “Internal folding and sliding door hardware can help to create versatile spaces in a home, offering both privacy and open areas to suit the needs of those who occupy them. Design and functionality are two of the most important elements when choosing internal door systems. Consideration must be placed not only on a door’s desired look, but also its purpose and frequency of use, to establish the correct hardware application. Folding doors are ideal for large internal areas or open-plan spaces. They only use up a fraction of room when fully opened, as door leaves can be stacked neatly against an adjacent wall.”



Down to the core

Chris Miller, Doors Product Manager at JELD-WEN, comments: “Price is often the primary factor when choosing a door, but as with most purchases in life, failing to look further than the cost can impact the performance. Ultimately, consider how features, such as the door core, can improve durability and offer a better long-term investment. The most common choice is still the standard or light weight door core, which is often filled with a multi-cell or spacer pad. These doors have the benefit of being light and affordable, but don’t always provide the best sound insulation. It’s also worth thinking about the intended use of the room. For example, will the room be a home office where privacy is needed or a noisy laundry room? If so, it might be worth choosing a door with a medium or heavy weight core to improve the acoustic performance. Opting for a semi-solid or middle weight core will not only improve the durability, acoustics, and insulation, but give a general feeling of sturdiness and lasting quality. This core type provides a far greater surface area for a lock and latch, resulting in a more secure and satisfying clunk on closure. A solid or heavy weight door core will deliver the greatest protection against damage and impact. When combined with a high-quality timber such as white oak or real wood veneer, it also creates a high-end and more luxurious finish.”



Open to ideas?

Despite there being an increasing trend for open-plan living, there will always be a need for sectioning off areas within the home. Whatever your budget, style or requirements, there are a whole host of internal doors on the market. Here, JB Kind offers some tips on choosing the perfect doors for your self-build.

First, decide how many solid and glazed doors you need. Secondly, narrow down the type of doors you prefer that fit with your interior design theme. For a contemporary look you could choose a shaker or flush style, or opt for a traditional panelled or cottage-style design.

Naturals are in this season and this makes wood veneers popular, with choices ranging from cottage-style oak to innovative rich walnut and gorgeous grey painted finishes. You can also co-ordinate with your colour scheme and buy unfinished doors that are ready for a top coat.

Remember to budget for door furniture, like hinges, latches and handles.

Be safe:
Your architect will confirm if and where you are required to install fire doors. Fire doors come in all designs and sizes, including attractive glazed options too.

The process of opening a door takes up part of your room and prevents making the best use of your space. Consider fitting a pocket door system – the doors slide into the wall cavity and disappear altogether!


You will have a budget in mind, but what’s more important is value for money. Don’t be tempted by the cheapest doors, the chances of them lasting a long time are pretty slim. Instead look for quality at the best price. They’ll be worth it in the long run.

Often the door design your heart desires can be made in special sizes or in different veneers – so find a door firm that can work around your needs.

Don’t leave it until the last minute to think about your doors, make them part of the planning stages of your self-build.


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