What are the things to look out for when getting yourself a new front door?
Well, make sure you get an external quality door and one that has the correct fire rating. This post only addresses single occupancy / family dwellings. Houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) have extra fire regulations for the landlord, etc. to satisfy. We see plenty of conversions where the flats’ final exit doors are really internal doors.
Get a solid door. It should be heavy! If it’s not heavy , it’s hollow. If it’s not heavy but doesn’t sound hollow, it’s probably got a honeycomb paper fill.
Don’t get a door with pretty panels - glass or wood. You can make it look as though it’s panelled by sticking strips of molding on.
If it’s a solid door it will probably be too heavy for two hinges and will need three. Don’t let your carpenter get away with anything less than a decent quality, properly sized screw in every single hinge hole. I went to yet another door yesterday with fully half the hinge screws missing. Not only will the door sag eventually if the hinges aren’t done properly, it will be easier to kick it in at the hinge side.
If, despite all this, you still end up with a hollow door, ensure the lockblock is on the correct side. The lockblock should be marked. It’s an extra-wide piece of wood that’s thick enough to accept the latch lock and a mortice deadlock. And don’t let your carpenter put the mortice lock where the horizontal crosspiece meets the vertical (the stile). All they are doing is breaking an important joint and weakening the door.
The latch lock will typically go about one third of the way down from the top and the mortice lock about one third of the way up from the bottom. Although there is something to be said for putting the mortice lock in as the upper lock, as it is harder to kick in if it’s up there.
Obviously you want the correct size of door. I was at a door yesterday with a 2 cm gap at the top and 1 cm gaps at both sides!
A solid door that’s correctly sized and thick enough will tend to bang the frame as it shuts, so proper doors have a bevelled edge to deal with this. Naturally the bevel should be on the same side as the lock block. And you want the face with the lesser width to arrive at the frame first when closing.
If anyone thinks of anything else, why not put up a comment and I’ll extend the post.