25th March 2021

External Timber Doors – A Video Guide

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Video Transcription:

Hi everybody, my name’s Rob from Thames Valley Windows and today we’re going to look at a selection of external timber doors.

So, in another video, I’ve talked about the underlying principles of our timber windows and doors which are that they are very good at managing maintenance and very good at being flexible in terms of colour so anything from Farrow and Ball that you like we can do in and out so very flexible.

Now, another thing is, have a look at this Dixie. This is a classic Victorian style timber front door and you’ll notice it has a nice chunky mid-rail, a nice chunky mullion and a nice tall kick plate at the bottom and that lifts the door.

It makes it much more typical of the wooden front door you might expect to see in your mind’s eye if you’re driving around London, it’s a proper, decent, chunky style door. Hardwood jambs at the bottom to avoid rot and hardwood sills as well.

Now in this particular case we’ve got lots of different door furniture, we’ve got an architectural letter plate. We’ve got a nice finger pull and a chrome ring pull. The locking mechanisms on the doors are German, they’re made by a company called Winkhaus.

Very robust, it’s a solid steel strip that comes around the edge, multi-point locking, solid steel strip. Multi-point where the lock comes out and hits another steel keep on the frame side of the door, extremely strong.

Another thing to note, you’ll notice the English panel, sometimes people will know this as a raised and fielded panel. Sometimes, it’s called an English panel but it is a classic feature of English timber doors and it’s simply a moulded edge with a sort of field in the middle that pops up. It’s incredibly popular, it’s very beautiful and it’s entirely reliant on a spindle moulder.

You can’t make these out of extruded products so it’s difficult for the PVC and the composite front door industry to copy these features.

It’s one of the things that makes them very elegant, very original to external timber doors and if you look at it over here there’s a similar one with a three English panel, English door panel style.

I call this the Sherlock Holmes door and it’s very much a sort of 10 Downing Street Front door, beautiful and elegant.

We can make our double glazed external timber doors as wide as people like so they can have a metre wide doors or even 1100 millimetre instead of just the normal 900, so they can be big gravitas statement front doors.

This one’s called the Jennifer door combined with a dome knob in the middle, sometimes these are umbrella-shaped as well but they’re a classic statement piece for a door of that style.

Most residential front doors open into the room or into the hall. French doors on the other hand typically open out into the garden so you’ve got space saved inside the room. French doors they can open in or out. This particular pair of French doors open in. They do usually open out to allow more room in the garden.

They have something called a floating mullion and if you look at this there’s little catches top and bottom so you can open this door and then this will open as well and this bit, there’s normally a fixed piece of tin here or another piece of material.

This bit here is called a floating mullion. It floats out with a door or a flying mullion. So you get a nice big space. They can have double handles if people prefer. In this particular case, we’ve specified it with a catch top and bottom so it’s a slightly more minimalist approach. And that’s French doors.

So, exterior doors in general have a glazed field or a timber field and they’re either made of wood or they’re made of bits of glass. It doesn’t really matter what you want to put in that field. You can put English panels, you can put Georgian bars, you can put obscure glass, you can put leaded glass, you can put tongue and groove panels like in this solid oak door.

It doesn’t really matter what you want to put in them. The choice is down to you, it’s just a design feature.

So thresholds of the external timber doors another really important part. Old traditional style doors, homeowners and guests are always tripping over the thresholds, the upstands are too high.

Modern thresholds on well-made external timber doors are low and if you see here on this external oak door it’s about 15 millimetres of upstand, it’s almost flush, a normal threshold, an aluminium threshold. You can also get a Part M compliant which is essentially a disabled access threshold. On this door over here, the Dixie, which has a little metal ramp and the threshold is even lower.

For door furniture, there’s a fairly big choice, and generally of course people will want to match the letter plates, if there’s a knocker, whether it’s a ring knocker or a dome knob and the escutcheon if it’s a slam shut door, I’ll come onto locking in a minute. So here’s an escutcheon with a matching letter plate of satin chrome, and they come in all the usual colours of black, gold, bronze, shiny chrome and aluminium type chrome.

As well as the normal door furniture on the front of the door you also get the hinges.

The hinges are an important component of the door set that’s hidden for most of the time but when they are exposed isn’t it nice to have something that’s extremely robust, you know it’s never going to deviate from the normal opening position.

In our case we’ve got three hinges, in this case, it’s chrome and they’re all with torques fixing so they’re incredibly strong, thick gauge steel, they’re never ever going to fail.

So handles and locking mechanisms, there are two basic types, you can have what most people associate with a front door which we call a slam shut.

And in this case, you pull the door to and it’s locked and then you need a key to open it, but you also get handle type locks like with these French doors, and most people will be familiar with this mechanism where you shut the door, you lift the handle and that’s sent the shoot bolts up but it doesn’t lock until you lock it with a key.

That means you can be in your garden and get back into the house without needing a key. When you come to actually lock the door you pop the shoot bolts up and lock it with a key and then it’s locked for good.

So with a slam shut lock, it’s different to the ones in the French door style, in this case, you open the door when you pull it shut it is locked and then you need a key to reopen the door. It is in fact a more traditional style of front door locking.

So there’s no doubt that external timber doors bring a certain gravitas, a certain warmth and a quintessentially English feel, the wow factor to a home. They light up the elevation and they just give it something that’s quintessentially English.

I think it quite fair to say they do appeal to a more discerning buyer. I would strongly encourage people to visit our Bracknell Showroom and see our softwood and hardwood external door range for themselves, I’ve talked about the nice bits and the different bits that make Thames Valley Timber different and unique but you’ve got to see them!

You can’t judge a front door based on images you find on the internet, you must come and see our wide range of external timber doors personally, feel them, open them, mess around with the locking mechanisms and you’ll see the differences and it’s worth doing that I would suggest.


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