When it comes to all of the different parts of a door, we know there can be a lot of terminology that can quickly get confusing – but no need to worry! The experts at LaForce have laid out the parts of a door descriptions for a typical commercial opening, along with diagrams for both single and double doors, to help you understand some of the most important terms.
Commercial Opening: Single Door
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Commercial Opening: Double Door
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Parts of a Door
A door opening is the area within a frame into which the door(s) are installed. Door openings can have a single door or a pair of doors. Doors can be made of a variety of materials including wood, hollow metal, stainless steel, aluminum, and more. LaForce can also provide specialty doors such as double acting, bullet resistant, fire rated, hurricane resistant, sound resistant, and more. We can even manufacture custom doors and frames in-house! Check out our linecard for our full list of door offerings.
In a pair of doors, the active leaf (aka active doors) is the leaf that opens first. It is also typically the door onto which the main operating hardware (lock, latch, etc.) is installed.
In a pair of doors, the inactive leaf is the door that opens after the active leaf and it does not contain a lock. Instead, the inactive leaf contains a strike to receive the lock/latchbolt of the active door. The inactive leaf also typically has surface bolts (on the door face) or flushbolts (in the meeting edge of the door) that keep it secured in place.
The frame is the material that surrounds the door on three sides. The frame is anchored to the wall and can come in a variety of materials with special features, similar to the door options. Door frames also come in multiple different elevations that allow glass or panels to be added beside or above the door. The facilities at LaForce even allow us to manufacture, design, and modify custom frames to fit the needs of the building. Check out our linecard to see all our frame options.
Head (Of Frame)
The head of the frame is the horizontal portion of the frame located above the door.
Jamb (Of Frame)
A jamb is the vertical frame component of the frame located on either side of the door opening. These along with the head form the perimeter of the frame.
Hinges are the most common piece of hardware that allows the door to swing. They are made of two metal plates joined together with a pin. They are then attached to the door and the frame to support and hang the door. There are many different types of hinges including mortise, continuous, and spring.
Lock or Lock Set
A lock or lock set is the complete latch assembly for a door. It is what allows the door to stay closed and secured. The lock includes the latch mechanism, cylinders, keys, and trim such levers with escutcheons or roses.
Also known as a keeper, a strike is the metal plate or box that receives the bolt or latch of the lock to keep the door shut. Strikes can also be electric, meaning they use electricity to release the latch and allow the door to open. An electric strike can be operated by a remote control or special access control equipment, like a card reader.
A door closer is a device attached to the top of the door that regulates and controls the door’s swing, but ultimately assures the door closes automatically. Door closers can be mechanical or electromagnetic. Mechanical door closers combine a spring and a compression chamber into which fluid slowly moves through the chambers. The fluid and compression chamber regulate the spring, which controls the movement of the door. Electromagnetic closers use electricity to keep a door open. They are primarily used on fire rated doors in combination with a fire alarm system to close the door when a fire is detected or there is a power failure. Check out our blog if you need help ensuring your door closers are working properly and ADA compliant.
Lites, also known as vision panels, are glazed openings in a door or frame that allow light to pass through. Where a lite is located in relation to the door opening determines whether it is called a door lite, a sidelite, or a transom lite. Lites create a sense of space and increase the safety of a door, allowing users traveling in opposite directions to see each other.
A lite kit keeps the door lite glass securely in place. They can be metal, wood, or veneered.
Thresholds consist of a strip of material fastened to the floor beneath the door. They are used to close the gap between the door and the floor and help with smooth flooring transitions, sound transmission, and keeping the elements out of your building.
A sweep is a piece of material, usually vinyl, that attaches to the bottom of the door. When the door is closed, the sweep seals the space between the door and the threshold to keep out cold air and other elements.
An astragal is a strip of material that is used to close or cover the gaps between a pair of doors. Overlapping astragals often need a coordinator to ensure the inactive leaf closes before the active leaf in a pair of doors.
Gasketing is used to seal the perimeter of the door opening. Material is applied around the door opening to help with a variety of issues including environmental control, sound control, light filtration, and smoke/fire control.
Exit devices, also known as panic devices or panic hardware, are designed to provide fast and easy egress for building occupants in case of an emergency. These door-locking or door-latching devices grant egress by pressing on a horizontal crossbar or push pad to release the latch. An exit device used on a fire rated door must be labeled as fire exit hardware in order to maintain the door’s fire rating.
A series of slats or blades located at the bottom of the door is called a louver. They allow for air to safely pass through a door opening. They can be made from metal or wood.
Metal plates located at the bottom of doors help protect the door from wear and tear, which is why they are called protection plates. The size and location of the plate determines the technical name. A Kick Plate is usually 8-16 inches in height and applied to the push side of a door. Mop Plates are only 4-6 inches tall and applied to the pull side of a door. Armor Plates extend between 18-48 inches tall and can be on either side of the door. Stretcher Plates are similar in size to Kick Plates, but they are mounted higher up to protect the door from gurneys and hospital beds.
Whether you’re in need of a replacement lock, door closer maintenance, or an entirely new opening, the experts at LaForce are here to help. We are one of the nation’s largest solutions providers for doors, frames, hardware, building specialties, electronic security systems, and more with over 65 years of industry experience. Contact one of our experts today and learn about how we can help you on your next project.