Sometimes a door is just a door. But a door can also be a statement about who you are. Either way, there’s more to a door than meets the eye. Let’s take a closer look.
At its simplest, a door can be a single piece or a combination of materials—wood, vinyl, aluminum or glass—with a handle and hinges to open and close it. You can add beauty and complexity by incorporating design elements such as a transom, sidelights, rails, panels, mullions, stiles and brickmould.
This chart details various elements of an exterior front door:
Here’s some door terminology:
- Door system – a door slab & frame assembly, with slab pre-hung in the frame
- Frame – an assembly of structural parts used to fasten a door to a structure
- Keyway – the slot in a lock in which the key is inserted
- Lite – a framed piece of glass within a door slab, sidelight or transom
- Rail – the horizontal pieces of a door slab
- Sidelight – fixed, usually rectangular, decorative glass on either or both sides of a door system
- Slab – the operating part of a door system
- Stile – the vertical pieces of a door slab
- Sweep – flexible seal material attached to the bottom of a door slab
- Threshold – bottom component of a door system
- Transom – decorative glass above a door system
This is basic Door Anatomy 101, but it helps to know the component names when you’re talking about doors, shopping for a new one, replacing an old one, or even thinking of building something yourself.