Doors Resource: Door Fittings
We describe and illustrate here, in alphabetical order, the main categories of door fittings. They are: Automatic Doors, Door Bells, Door Bolts, Door Canopies, Door Chains, Door Closers, Door Crash Bars, Door Handles, Door Hinges, Door Holders, Door Knobs, Door Knockers, Door Letter Plates, Door Locks, Door Pivots, Door Plates, Door Stops, Door Viewers, Entry Control Systems, Finger Guards, Mailboxes, and Sliding Door Gear. Please see our separate sections for an explanation of the various types of Door Operation and Door Construction.
Automatic doors open and close automatically, either by the user pressing a button, or by a sensor detecting the approach of a user. The main use of automatic doors is in shops and other public buildings, to provide easy access for the public while retaining heat or cool within the building. Automatic doors also provide easy wheelchair access. Another type of automatic door is the automatic garage door, which can be remotely operated using a remote control unit in the car.
The most common
type of automatic door is the sliding door. Automatic equipment may also be
fitted to hinged doors, but this does present the risk of the opening door
colliding with someone approaching it.
There are three elements to door bells: the bell push, the sounder, and the system connecting the push to the sounder. Bell pushes are available in a wide range of styles, from simple rectangular bell pushes to reproductions of 19th century bell pushes, as shown on the right.
The simplest form of sounder is electronic, emitting a single or series of chimes. Some sounders contain chimes which can play a choice of tunes. Popular tunes for door chimes include: Happy Birthday, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Bizet's Carmen, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Fur Elise, and Auld Lang Syne. Some electronic sounders offer the option of downloading a tune of your choice from the internet. Alternatively the sounder can take the form of a traditional bell. Sounders are available which include a flashing light to alert the deaf.
are two ways of connecting the bell push to the sounder: wired and wireless.
Wired connection is the most reliable, and avoids the need for replacing
batteries in both the bell push and the sounder. The advantage of wireless
systems, particularly for replacing systems in existing buildings, is that they
do not require any wiring. Also there is great flexibility as to where the
sounder is place. Wireless systems can be fitted with more than one sounder, for
example one in the kitchen and one in an upstairs landing. An example of a
wireless door bell, with two bell pushes, is shown above.
bolts are a traditional way of securing an external door from the inside. Bolts
are also used to secure one leaf of a pair of french doors, so that the other
can be opened independently. For this purpose bolts may be inset, either into
the inside face or edge of the door. An example of an inset bolt is shown on the
specialist type of bolt, used on French doors and on pairs of casement windows,
is the Espagnolette bolt. This has a rotating handle, attached through a lever
action to long rods which run up and down the inside face of the door, at the
edge away from the hinge. This enables top and bottom bolts to be conveniently
extended or withdrawn, without bending down or reaching up, with one turn of the
handle. An example of an Expagnolette bolt is shown to the right.
canopies are porch-like roofs which can be fitted over an exterior door. They
provide shelter from the rain while standing at the door, and can also be used
as decorative feature. The roof of the door canopy may be covered with actual
tiles, or may be a glass reinforced polyester (GRP) surface simulating tiles.
The structure supporting the roofing is normally made of wood, and is usually
designed to be fixed directly to the wall, without any support from the ground.
Alternatively the whole structure may be made of GRP. Contemporary door
canopies, including door canopies made of curved sheets of glass, are available.
door chain is a security device, fitted to the inside of the door. It consists
of a strong chain with a catch on the end. For security, the catch is slid into
a retaining slide fixed to the door frame. With the door chain engaged in this
way, the door can be opened a few inches to allow conversation but to prevent an
intruder forcing their way into the house. The visitor having been indentified,
the chain can be release to permit entry. Door chains are particularly popular
with elderly and vulnerable people.
There are three
main types of manual door closer: overhead door closers, floor inset door
closers, and concealed door closers. There are also automatic door closers,
which are electrically powered.
Overhead Door Closers
door closers are attached to the top of the inside of the door, and to the top
of the inside of the door frame. A spring is used to store the energy used in
the opening of the door; this energy is then used to close the door. The
strength of the spring may be adjusted to produce a faster or slower closing.
Most overhead door closers use hydraulic oil-filled dampers to avoid the door
slamming. These dampers can be adjusted so that the door deccelerates and closes
Floor Inset Door Closers
similar spring and damper mechanism can be inset into the floor below the door.
This is a more expensive approach, in terms of cost of equipment and
installation, but avoids the unsightly appearance of an overhead door closer.
Floor Inset Door Closers are mainly used in commercial situations, such as the
entrances to office buildings, shops, and hotels.
Concealed Door Closers
door closers are cheap and simple devices fitted into the hinged edge of the
door and the hinged edge of the door frame. The door frame needs to be drilled
out to accommodate the spring mechanism (seen in blue in the image to the right)
and the door also needs a recess cut to accommodate the other part of the
mechanism. Concealed door closers contain a spring-loaded chain, similar to a
bicycle chain, which is extended when the door is opened, and springs back to
close the door. They are very neat in appearance, since nothing is visible when
the door is closed, and only a small chain is visible when the door is open.
However, they do not contain any damping mechanism, and therefore tend to close
the door rather abruptly.
Automatic Door Closers
closers are described in the Automatic Door Closers paragraph at the beginning
of this section.
DOOR CRASH BARS
crash bars, also known as panic bars or push bars, are a safety device, mainly
used on fire exits in public places such as theatres and cinemas. They are also
used in emergency exits of office buildings. They prevent entry from the
outside, but are designed so that a person or crowd pressing against the bar
from the inside will release catches which allow the door to open outward for
safe exit. Crash bars were developed in response to the Victoria Hall disaster
in Sunderland in 1883 in which 183 children between the age of 3 and 14 were
crushed to death trying to get out of an inward opening exit door. Crash bars
came into widespread use in the USA after the Iroquois Theatre fire in Chicago
in 1903, during which 602 people died.
There are two main types of door handle: lever door handles and fixed door handles. Lever door handles, as shown on the right, operate a door catch. They have the advantage over door knobs that they are easier to turn, particularly for the elderly and others with a weak grip. They are are available in stainless steel, aluminium, brass, and chromed brass. Other specialist finishes such as antique bronze and brushed nickel, are also available. Designs may be traditional or contemporary.
door handles do not operate a catch, and used simply for grasping the door in
order to open or close it. They may take the form of straight bars, held away
from the door with rods, or D-shaped handles. Fixed door handles are widely used
in commercial and public buildings. Small fixed door handles are used on kitchen
We describe here
the main types of door hinges, including Backflap Hinges, Butt Hinges, Concealed
Hinges, Continuous Hinges, Double Action Hinges, Flush Hinges, Friction Hinges,
Glass Door Hinges, Lift Off Butt Hinges, Loose Pin Butt Hinges, Parliament
Hinges, Rising Hinges, and Tee Hinges. We also provide advice on screws for use
backflap hinge is similar to a butt hinge, except that the flap of the hinge is
longer than it is wide. Backflap hinges can be used for outside work, such as
shed doors, where they can be mounted on the surface rather than (as with butt
hinges) on the edge of the door. Backflap hinges can also be used for cupboard
doors, with the flaps surface fixed to the back of the door and to the inside
surface of the cupboard. Backflap hinges are easy and quick to fit, and a
suitable for applications where appearance is not important.
butt hinge is the most common type of door hinge. It is designed to be inset
into the edge of the door, and into the door frame, so that it is invisible when
the door is closed. Butt hinges are available in steel, stainless steel, brass,
and chromed brass. The simplest form of butt hinge consists of two flaps (known
as knuckles), connected by a pin. Washers may be incorporated. More
sophisticated butt hinges incorporate ball bearings to take the weight of the
door; these are recommended for heavy doors. The image above is of a butt hinge
with ball bearings.
hinges, also known as Blum cabinet hinges, are widely used throughout Europe,
particularly for kitchen cabinet doors. The design originated with the
family-owned Austrian company Julius Blum Gmbh. The company was formed in 1952,
its first product being a horseshoe stud. It developed its first concealed hinge
in 1964. The original design of the Blum hinge has now been widely imitated, and
variations of the Blum hinge are now available from many manufacturers.
continuous hinge, sometimes known as a piano hinge, is a long narrow hinge, of
the kind traditionally used along the keyboard cover of a piano. Commonly made
of brass or aluminium, continuous hinges give a neat appearance and are often
used for doors in good quality furniture. They are fixed along their length with
frequent small screws. An advantage of a continuous hinge over several shorter
butt hinges is that no insetting (rebating) is needed.
Double Action Hinges
action hinges are used on swinging doors, which can swing in both directions.
They can incorporate a self closing spring, so that they are automatically
returned to the closed position. Swinging doors are widely used in restaurants
and hotels to separate kitchens from dining areas. Because the doors swing in
both directions and are self closing, staff can pass quickly through them in
both directions, even when carrying things in both hands.
Flush hinges are lightweight and are used on wardrobe and cupboard doors rather than interior or exterior house doors. They would not be capable of carrying the weight of an interior or exterior house door. Flush hinges are very easy to install compared to butt hinges, because they do not need to be inset into either the door or the door frame. They are available in steel, brass, and chromed brass finish.
An ingenious cut-out design means that both flaps close into each other to form a single thickness of metal. To keep the gap between the door and the frame narrow, the metal is thin; this restricts the amount of weight which it can carry.
strength a flush hinge can be cranked. The part fixed to the door is folded
through 90 degrees. This enables the door to be screwed into on its face as well
as its edge. An example of a cranked flush hinge is shown to the right.
hinges contain a hinged stay which is gripped tightly by a sliding mechanism.
This requires modest force to open or close the door, and retains the door,
through friction, in any position. Friction hinges are commonly used on UPVC
doors and windows, to avoid the need for a stay. Each manufacturer tends to use
their own design; it is important when replacing a friction hinge to replace it
with exactly the correct design.
Glass Door Hinges
hinges are needed for frameless glass doors. They clamp to each side of the
glass, using fixing bolts. The glass must be drilled to take the hinges,
handles, and locks. A neoprene gasket is inserted between the hinge and the
glass to provide a soft but firm grip. Special versions of glass door hinges are
available for fitting at the top and bottom of the glass door, rather than in
the normal intermediate positions. Other versions are designed for glass doors
which lie within glass screens.
Lift Off Butt Hinges
Lift off butt hinges are similar to normal butt hinges but are designed with just two interlocking sections. The pin is fixed permanently into the lower section, and the top section drops onto the pin. This enables the door to be easily lifted off.
This can be
convenient, for example for the laying of carpet or re-painting. Lift off butt
hinges are available in steel, stainless steel, brass, and chromed brass.
Loose Pin Butt Hinges
Loose pin butt hinges are designed exactly like normal butt hinges, but have a removable central pin. The loose pin can be lifted out, enabling the door to be easily removed, for example for painting or for carpet laying.
Loose pin butt
hinges are are available in the same materials as normal butt hinges: steel,
stainless steel, brass and chromed brass.
Parliament hinges are have extended flaps (known as knuckles) so that the door can be folded right back against the wall. They are widely used for interior pairs of doors connecting two rooms. When opened, and folded back against the walls, the doors become unobtrusive, and a clear opening between the rooms is created. A variant on the parliament hinge is the projection hinge; the only difference is that the flaps (or knuckles) of a projection hinge are rectangular, and are therefore more prominent than the cut-away flaps of a parliament hinge.
parliament hinges, which can open 180 degrees, are known as parliament doors, a
term originating in 1835.
Rising Butt Hinges
but hinges are similar to Lift Off Butt Hinges, in that they have just two
interlocking sections, with the pin fixed to the bottom section. The joint
between the two sections is at an angle, so that the door rises as it is opened.
This allows clearance for rugs or carpeting. It also provides a self-closing
feature, in that the door will close gently when it is released. Rising butt
hinges are available in clockwise and anti-clockwise form. Clockwise rising butt
hinges should be used when the hinges are on the right of the door and the door
opens towards you. Anti-clockwise rising butt hinges should be used when the
hinges are on the left and the door opens towards you.
hinges are a traditional type of hinge, normally used on rustic-style planked
doors. They are also used on outhouses, garden sheds, and garden gates, as they
are robust and easy to fit. The simplest tee hinges are made of galvanized or
black painted steel. For house doors, hand forged tee hinges are available;
these give an authentic period look.
Screws for Hinges
corrosion, as well as for reasons of appearance, it is important to use screws
of the same material (eg stainless steel, steel, or brass) as the hinge itself.
A common size of screw for 4 inch hinges is a 1.25 inch No.10 wood screw. A
common size for 3 inch hinges is a 1.25 inch No.8 wood screw.
are three main types of door holder: door hooks, pedal door holders, and
magnetic door holders. Door hooks, and example of which is shown on the right,
are simple iron or brass hooks, which can be used to hold a door open. They are
available in range of lengths.
Pedal Door Holders
door holders are used to keep a self closing door open. They consist of a
vertical spring loaded rod, with a rubber ferrule fitted to the bottom. The
fitting is fixed to the bottom of the door, at its edge away from the hinge. The
pedal door holder is activated by pressing down with a foot on the rod. It is
released by pressing down on a retaining catch. Pedal door holders are available
in brass, stainless steel, and chromed brass, to match the other door fittings.
Magnetic Door Holders
door holders are used to hold self-closing fire doors open. This provides ease
of access and movement in normal conditions. Magnetic door holder are in two
parts: a metal surface fitted to the door, and a unit containing an
electro-magnet which is fitted to the wall. In the event of a fire the
electro-magnet releases the door. For new build projects, magnetic door holders
are normally wired into the building's fire alarm system. For existing
buildings, wireless systems are available.
Door knobs are of two kinds: turning door knobs which operate a door catch, and fixed door knobs as sometimes fitted to the centre of a front door.
Turning door knobs were the common form of door handle used for internal doors throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. During the 20th century the lever door handle became more popular, particularly because it could be operated more easily by the elderly and frail. Turning door knobs are still widely used for internal doors, and many designs are available in wood, ceramic, and metal. Some door knobs have concentric grooves to assist the grip. Ceramic door knobs are available with a wide range of decorative designs glazed into the surface; these include floral and geometric patterns.
Fixed door knobs
are only used on front doors, are made of metal such as brass or bronze, and are
substantially larger than door knobs for internal doors. Because they are fitted
to the centre of front doors they are sometimes called a centre door knob. An
example is shown to the right.
Door knockers were originally fitted to front doors, before the days of door bells, for visitors to announce their arrival. They are now more frequently provided as a decorative feature. Traditional door knockers are produced in brass or cast iron. The knocker and the anvil against which it strikes can be fitted to the door as separate items, or can both be fitted onto a single plate, which is fixed to the door.
knockers are made by artist craftsmen with a wide range of themes. These
include: sailboat, bumblebee, scallop, acorn, horseshoe, and pineapple. An
example of a sailboat door knocker, designed and produced by Michael Healey, is
shown to the right.
DOOR LETTER PLATES
door letter plate is the front door plate containing a flap through which post
can be delivered. In the 19th century door letter plates would be decorative
items, in cast iron or cast brass, sometimes with the word 'Letters' embossed on
them. Contemporary door letter plates tend to be of simple flat design, made of
aluminium, stainless steel, or brass.
are two main types of door lock: mortice locks and rim locks. Those providing
higher security will have replaceable cylinder containing the key mechanism.
These can be round, oval or Euro (a combination of round and oval) in section. A
Euro cylinder is shown on the right. Additional security can be provided by
registration of the owners of keys, with additional keys being made and sold
only on proof of identity. Other specialist types of door lock include thumb
turns, digital code door locks, card operated door locks, and fingerprint door
mortice lock is the traditional type of door lock, so called because it is inset
into the edge of the door in a recess known as a mortice. Simple two-lever
mortice locks are suitable for internal doors. For external doors insurance
companies will require a stronger five-lever mortice lock. An example of a
mortice lock is shown to the right. The key mechanism may be either a simple key
(as shown on the right) or a more secure replaceable locking cylinder.
Rim locks are fixed to the inside face of the door, with only a shallow plate being inset into the edge of the door. They are available with a wide variation in the security offered. The least secure is the traditional Yale type lock, with a round locking cylinder. The most secure are fitted with a replaceable oval or Euro locking cylinder.
An example of a
secure rim lock, produced by Ingersoll, is shown to the right.
thumb turn is a privacy lock, widely used in bathrooms and toilets. It enables
the door to be locked from the inside. In case of emergency the door can be
easily opened from the outside with a screwdriver. Thumb turns are intended to
provide privacy not security. They are available in traditional and contemporary
designs in stainless steel, aluminium, brass, and chromed brass.
Digital Code Door Locks
A digital code lock has no key but a set of buttons. It requires the user to press specific buttons in a specific sequence to open the lock. They are widely used in commercial and industrial applications, and in schools.
Digital code locks
are less secure than conventional locks, because with many people aware of the
code it is quite likely that knowledge of the code will spread beyond authorised
users. However the code can be changed, and it is wise to do this quite
frequently. An example of a digital code lock is shown on the right.
Card Operated Door Locks
Card operated locks are widely used in commercial premises including offices and hotels. They form part of a general access control system, enabling specified users to have access to particular zones within the building. These systems are highly secure, because if a card is lost its code can be deleted. And access to each zone can be limited to those that specifically need entry. They are particularly useful in hotels, which have many different levels of access requirement for guests and staff.
An example of a
simple card operated door lock, suitable for hotel use, is shown to the right.
More sophisticated systems, for use in offices, provide quicker access by
allowing the card to be pressed onto the lock, or passed close to it, instead of
being inserted into the lock.
Fingerprint Door Locks
A fingerprint door lock recognises the fingerprint of authorised users. Like a card operated door lock, it can form part of an overall access control system, with different users being permitted access to certain zones within commercial, industrial, or educational premises.
fingerprint door locks, suitable for homes and small offices, will hold up to
100 fingerprints. Higher capacity systems for use in larger buildings can hold
up to 1000 fingerprints. Fingerprint door locks are battery powered, and are
capable of about 10,000 openings before the batteries need changing.
pivots are used instead of hinges on pivot doors. The bottom pivot takes the
full weight of the door, and the top pivot, which is similar in design, keeps
the top of the door in place. The bottom door pivot shown on the right is for a
timber door. Special door pivots are available for frameless glass doors.
Door plates are designed to protect doors from the wear and tear of being pressed with a hand or foot. In the case of industrial and hospital premises they can also protect against impact from trolleys and other wheeled furniture.
plates, also known as finger plates, were decorative items, often moulded from
brass or porcelain. Modern door plates are flat sheets of stainless steel, brass
or aluminium, drilled with screw fixings for attachment to the door.
A door stop limits the swing of a hinged door, to prevent the handle hitting an adjacent wall and causing damage to the wall finish. The most common form of door stop is a metal stud or bracket, firmly screwed to the floor, with a rubber part to buffer the impact of the door on the door stop. An example is shown to the right.
design is a horizontal rod (which may take the form of a spring), with a rubber
buffer on the end which is fixed to the skirting board. This avoids drilling
into the floor.
A door viewer is an optical device, like a very small telescope, which is fitted t eye level into a hole drilled in a front door. It is a security device whose purpose is to enable to occupant of the house to identify a caller before opening the door. Although the hole is very small (typically about 10mm in diameter) a fish eye lens on the outside of the viewer allows a wide (albeit distorted view) outside the house.
door viewers are also available, although they are very much more expensive that
optical door viewers. Digital door viewers come in two parts, the camera and the
viewer, which are battery powered and wirelessly connected. The advantages of a
digital door viewer are that the picture is undistorted, and the viewer unit can
be placed wherever convenient within the vicinity of the door.
ENTRY CONTROL SYSTEMS
systems are used in blocks of flats, where the security is at the front door on
the street. There are two types: audio entry control systems and video entry
Audio Entry Control Systems
entry control systems are sets of door bells for a block of flats, or a house
divided into flats, which allow the occupant to speak to the caller. Having
identified the caller, the occupant can remotely release the front door lock. It
is necessary to have a self closing front door to the block of flats, so that
security is maintained. Audio entry control systems comprise three elements: a
door panel, a handset for each flat, and a control system.
Video Entry Control Systems
Video entry control systems are similar to audio entry control systems, except that they allow the occupant to see as well as speak to the caller. This is achieved by incorporating a video camera in the door plate, and a small digital screen in each handset.
The door plates
for video entry control systems typically provide LED back-lighting of the names
of the flat occupants. Colour and black and white options are available for the
finger guard, also known as a finger protector or an anti-finger trapping
device, removes the risk of fingers being trapped within the hinge of a door.
They are used particularly in schools and nurseries. The finger guard consists
of an expanding strip which is fixed to the edge of the door and the door frame
on the face of the door away from the hinge pin. The expansion is achieved by
opening a folded strip (as shown on the right), by opening a narrow roller blind
mechanism, or by opening a concertina.
Mail box systems are used to provide secure individual mailboxes for occupants of blocks of flats. They may be mounted on an exterior wall, or in a front entrance lobby, and are typically made of steel or aluminium. Each mailbox has an individual key, held by the occupant.
In new build
projects, mail box systems can be mounted in an opening through the wall, so
that they are accessed from within the building.
SLIDING DOOR GEAR
Sliding door gear is widely used for hanging sliding wardrobe doors. The components of a typical sliding door gear, all made of zinc plated steel, are shown on the right. The weight of the doors is taken on the top track, with small retaining brackets keeping the bottoms of the doors in position.
In addition to simple 'bypass' sliding doors, special sliding door gear is available for 'bifold' sliding folding doors and for 'round the corner' tambour doors.
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