Detering Guide to Ordering Doors

There are many steps involved in ordering a door. Here are some of the basics you need to know to complete your new construction or remodel job.

Determining Door Size

A door in a framed opening
Picture of a door in a framed opening allowing 3-1/2″ at the top and 1-1/4″ on each side for a total of 2-1/2″

The first step is to determine the size of the door you need. While there are some standard sizes, depending on when your house was built, you may or may not have a “standard” size door. In the industry, doors are referred to by width and height. For example, a common front door may be 3’0″ wide by 6’8″ tall and therefore would be called a 3-0 x 6-8 door.

If you are replacing a door, you can simply measure the existing door for size needed. If you are framing in a new door or replacing the door and jamb, we recommend leaving several inches for adjusting and shimming the door in the opening. A good guideline is to add 2-1/2″ to the width of the door and 3-1/2″ to the height. Of course, this is just a general rule, and may change depending on specifics, such as if you have wood floors or a tall threshold.

Door thickness is fairly easy to determine unless you have a special application. Normally exterior doors are 1-3/4″ thick and interior doors are 1-3/8″ thick. Exterior doors are usually solid core, as opposed to hollow, and the extra thickness allows for better insulation. Our custom shop can make thicker doors by request.

Jamb Thickness

Jamb Thickness

Jamb thickness is probably the most confusing part of ordering and installing doors. Jamb thickness is the thickness of the wall that the door and jamb will be fitting into, including sheetrock (one or both sides) and any siding, or sheathing on the outside. It is not the width of the door or the opening.

You need to know jamb thickness both for new construction and when replacing a door. The red arrows below show the measurement needed. In this example, the sheetrock on the left is 1/2″ thick, the 2×4 is 3-1/2″ thick, and the siding is 1/2″ thick giving us 4-1/2″ thick. We then add 1/8″ to make sure it covers completely, giving us a 4-5/8″ jamb. This jamb size is one of Detering’s standard jambs, and is the most common due to 2x4s being commonly used with 1/2″ sheetrock. You should also consider using Detering’s Frame Saver exterior doorframe. It will not wick or rot, is resistant to insect damage, and has a lifetime warranty against rot.

Determining the Swing of the Door

The next thing we need to determine is the swing of the door. This can often be confusing both for customers and contractors. Below are some steps to help you determine your door swing, though the most reliable way to determine this is by using a picture.

1. Open the door.
2. Stand with your back against the open door.
3. One shoulder will be on the hinge side.
4. One shoulder will be on the “open” (non-hinged) side.
5. Your hand of the “open” side is the door hand.

Door Hand Demonstration

When looking at a double door, the hand is determined by the door that will open first. As you can see in the picture, this is a right hand unit because the operable door is a right hand door.

Door Swings

Right Hand Swing

Choosing the Right Door Bore

The door bore is another item needed. Single bore doors allow for a doorknob only, while double bore doors allow for an additional deadbolt. Most interior doors are single bore, while most exterior doors are double bore. You may want to select door hardware prior to ordering your doors since some high-end handle sets use uncommon bore sizes.

Door Bore

Conclusion

You now know the basics needed to order a door. There may be special circumstances though, so be sure to discuss your project with a qualified sales person. Any special jamb requirements, special flooring, or special door sizes should be discussed prior to placing your order.

If you have any questions or are looking to place an order, contact us today.

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