Some information – mostly useful, some fun – about doors.

Q1. Do I need to reduce my door to suit the opening I have, how much can I take off the door?

On external doors we recommend that no more than 12mm be removed from any side, top or bottom. Sometimes door openings are a non standard size e.g. 31 1/2″ x 78″.
We would advise that you purchase an 80″ x 32″ door and reduce the height rather than the width, as there is more width to the bottom rail than the door stiles. However removing more than 1″ from either the height or width will invalidate the guarantee.

Q2. I have broken a piece of glass, can you supply a replacement piece?

These doors are of cassette construction therefore they are built around the glass and there are no loose beads. We do not have replacement glass. If the customer wants to re-glaze, they would need to router the mould off one side of the glazing aperture, remove the broken glass, put new glass in and acquire a new loose beading to re-glaze the door ( probably as cheap to buy a new door).

Q3. The label on the door states that I cannot use wax, teak oil or varnish. Why not?

When we manufacture a door it has a controlled moisture content, the above mentioned treatments will not seal the moisture content into the door, therefore allowing moisture ingress or loss to occur causing the door to either swell or shrink. Only a fully paint finish (primer, undercoat, gloss) or high performance wood stain should be used.

Q4. What is the U-Value of a specific external door?

Certified U-Values are available for the majority of Best4Doors Doorsets. These U-Values have been determined by Chiltern Dynamics, an independent UKAS accredited testing laboratory. External doors sold separately are available with indicative U-Values only. These indicative U-Values are based upon information from BRE 443 2006 Edition: Conventions for U-Value Calculations, produced by the Building Research Establishment Limited.

Q5. The glazing bars on my doors are out of line, not square, what can I do?

The vertical and horizontal glazing bars can be tapped back into position. If the customer does not want to attempt this and is not happy they need to raise a complaint with the store where they purchased the door from and we will send an inspector to look at the problem.

The glazing bars are usually out of line due to the movement in transit.

Q6. Can you tell what the fire rating is for my door?

Other than the specific fire doors sold by Best 4 Doors, none of our internal or external doors have a fire rating.

The fire doors sold by Best 4 Doors all have a 1/2 hour fire rating.

Summer’s over and the nights are drawing in, so that must mean it’s just about time for Halloween. Love it or hate it – it’s caught on in the UK and established itself firmly as regular feature in our calendar of festivities.

So, while it’s here we might as well enjoy it and have a bit of fun. Why not decorate your front door to be a spooky welcome ( or maybe a deterrent) for the the local children.

This video gives some good ideas.

Front Door Decorations for Halloween

Snap A Site

A new front door can add a real touch of class to your home, not to mention improved security!

Nothing beats the warmth and feeling of strength and solidness of a wooden door. Wooden external doors are available in such a wide range of styles and prices, there is almost certainly one to suit your personality and your pocket!

Once you have gone to the trouble and expense of buying a new front or back door, you need to be sure it’s installed correctly. Unless you are an experienced joiner or handyman, we highly recommend getting an expert to do it for you.

However, if you want to go ahead and install your own external hardwood door, then we have the following practical advice for you.

Measure, measure and measure again!
If you are ordering a bespoke wooden door, you need to absolutely sure that you have the size right. Any inaccuracies could result in some rather expensive firewood!

  • Measure the width of the frame at the top, and again in the middle, and at the bottom. Use the widest measurement for ordering your door. If the difference between the widest and narrowest part of the frame is more than 15-20mm, then you may need to consider a whole new frame. Bear in mind that you will need to trim the door where necessary to fit the narrowest part.
  • Measure the height of the door frame from the floor to the bottom edge of the door frame or lintel.
  • Measure the thickness of the current door, and if you cannot find an exact match then you will need to order a slightly thinner door –this should be barely noticeable once the door has been fitted. Measuring for a new frameIf you are ordering a new frame as well as a new door, then you will need to have the outside measurements of the frame, as well as the inside measurements of the frame. If ordering ready-made frames and the exact size is not available, then order the closest size smaller frame. It is easier to adjust the opening to accommodate a smaller frame than a larger one.

Installing your new door.
Make sure you have given yourself plenty of time to get the new door on – you don’t want a gaping hole in your home for too long!
Firstly, make sure you have all the tools and materials you need before you start,also allow a couple of days to coat the door or doors with at least 3 coats of Sikkens or paint, see our technical section re: application information. It might also be a good idea to have another pair of strong arms to help out, as wooden doors can be heavy and awkward to keep in place on your own.
Try to get your door a few days before you plan to install it so that the timber has time to accclimatise. It is best to lay the door flat, as leaning it on a wall may cause it to become bowed. Solid timber doors can usually be trimmed by about 20mm (3/4 inch), but obviously this is best avoided if possible.

  • Place the door against the frame, and if there is any overlap, then position the door so that the overlap is evenly distributed and mark with a pencil where any trimming needs to be done. You should leave a 2-3mm gap on either side and at the top and bottom of the door.
  • Starting nearest the corner, carefully plane the overlap to the marked measurements. If there are fairly large adjustments to be made, it is possible to use a saw. Be careful, as it is impossible to put bits back if you take too much off.
  • You may be able to use the existing hinge recesses in the doorframe, or you may need to chisel new ones. If at all possible try to use the existing ones, as chiseling a new one can be tricky and time-consuming. If chiselling new recesses, ensure that the doors are hinged between 125-150mm (5-6 inches) from the top and 175-230mm (7-9 inches) from the bottom, with a third hinge in the centre. Brass hinges are usually best, and always ensure that they fit the flush into the recess.
  • Mark the position of the hinges on the door, taking time to ensure that they are perfectly accurate. Attach the door by using just one screw per hinge until you have checked that the position of the door allows it to open and shut perfectly.  Once the door is in the correct position then the remaining screws can be put in and tightened.

That’s it, all done! Now lock that door and put your feet up – you’ve earned a rest

Doorway components

Sometimes what seems perfectly clear to someone who works with doors all day, may be confusing to those of us who only open and close them.

Hopefully this information will help make doors and door frames a little easier to understand.

First of all, let’s understand the doorframe:

• Lintel – the horizontal beam above the door that supports the wall above it. Usually wood but can be concrete or stone, particularly in older properties.

• Jambs – the two vertical posts either side of the door, that together with the lintel form the door frame

• Sill – the horizontal beam below the door that supports the frame. Internal doors don’t usually have sills.

• Doorstop – this is the thin, often overlooked strip on one inside edge of the frame to prevent the door opening right thorough to the other side of the frame.• Architrave – a decorative moulding found on a door frame

Now for the door itself:

• Stiles – the vertical boards that make up the outside (left and right) edges of the door. The side with the hinges on is called the hanging stile, and the side with the lock and door handle is the latch stile.

• Rails – the horizontal boards at the top, bottom, and sometimes the middle of a door. Rails join the stiles, and can divide the door into panels.

• Mullions – small vertical boards that divide the door into a number of columns, and is more often used in reference to windows.

• Panels – large boards used to fill the space between the stiles, rails, and mullions. Panels can be smooth or have a variety of raised designs.

• Lights – as the name suggests, these are glass panes used in place of some panels to allow light to enter a room

Lastly, there is door furniture which is a hardware term that refers to the whole range of items that can be attached to a door; items such as locks, hinges and door handles.

Types Of Door

Doors come in a variety of different shapes and sizes depending on their purpose
A few of the different types are:

• Single leaf door – the most common type of door; a single panel that fits in a doorway.

• Stable Doors – also known as Dutch doors or half doors, these were originally
designed to allow animals to feed without allowing them to leave their stable. They have been adapted for our homes, and were very popular at one point.

• Saloon doors – straight out of cowboys films, these doors swing in either direction, and are usually only between knee and chest height to create some privacy

• Blind Doors – Not very common, these doors are designed to blend into the wall, totally disguising the door.

• French Doors – sometimes called a French window, this is traditionally a door size casement window with multiple panes. More recently though French doors usually means a set of double glass-paned doors opening onto the garden.

• Louvered door – a door with angled slats that may be moveable. They are usually found in wardrobe doors as they provide good ventilation.

• Composite door – a single leaf door usually filled with high density foam.

• Flush Door – single leaf door made from plywood or MDF, usually used for interior doors. Flush doors have a smooth finish.

• Moulded Door – very similar to a flush door, with a moulded MDF finish. Also used mostly as internal doors.

• Ledge and Brace door – a row of vertical planks held together by 2 horizontal planks – the ledges – at the top and bottom, and a diagonal plank – the brace. An old-fashioned back door or kitchen door is a good example.

• Bifold Doors – Until recently most commonly used for wardrobes and cupboards where space is a problem. More recently they have become popular as patio doors and as dividers between rooms.

• Sliding Doors – A door which slides along a track, also more commonly found as a glass door leading to a garden or patio.

Do you know what kind of lock you have on your door? Is there a better one? The most important reason, if not the only reason, for having a lock is to prevent people getting into your home without your permission! You need a good lock to protect your family and your possessions. If, despite your best efforts, your home is broken into, you will need to satisfy the insurance company that you took all the precautions you could!
Here is an outline of how to tell what you’ve got, and how to know if it’s enough
British Standard Locks
These are locks made to British Standard 3621. Most insurance companies will insist on a lock that conforms to this standard, and may not pay out in cases where a burglary occurs and the locks were not BS 3621.

Where to buy Locks

A qualified locksmith is probably the safest place to buy locks and bolts. They will give you advice on what is best for your personal needs, and also provide assurance that your locks conform to any insurance standards. Large hardware shops carry a wide range of locks, and if you know what you are looking for, can often save you money.

Types of Locks

There are two basic types of lock – a mortice lock which fits into the door, and a rim lock which fits onto the door.

Mortice Locks – A mortice lock is one that requires a pocket or mortice to be cut into the door where the lock is to be fitted. A mortice lock is extremely secure. Mortice locks are usually either deadlocks (a single rectangular bolt), or sash locks (a second spring loaded bolt). A sash lock is often used with an ordinary door handle to keep the door shut even when it is not locked. The best mortice locks should have at least 5 levers or, for a cylinder lock, 6 pins.

Nightlatch or Rim Locks – A rim lock fits on the face of the door. Most rim locks are either cylinder locks or night latches. Although possibly less secure than a mortice lock, a rim lock is far easier and more convenient to install, making it the most widely used front door lock. Most modern cylinder rim locks can be deadlocked, to stop the bolt from being pushed back by inserting a credit card etc. into the door edge.

There is all sorts of jargon relating to locks that can confuse and bewilder. Here is a brief list of the terms and their meanings:

Backset -The measurement used on a night latch or mortice lock.

Bathroom Lock – A mortice lock with a thumb turn handle to enable the door to be locked from the inside.

Deadbolt – Found in the centre of a multi-point lock to improve security. Usually rectangular but sometimes hook shaped.

Deadlock – A mortice deadlock has a bolt which is operated by key rather than a latch. Some nightlatches have extra security by turning the key twice to engage the deadlock function.

Door Chain or Limiter – A chain that limits the opening of the door.

Dummy Mullion – A bar fixed onto the side of patio door to secure the door in a locking position.

Espagnolette – A type of multi-locking point usually used for patio and sliding doors.

Faceplate – The plate of a mortice lock that is visible in the side of a door.

Follower – Sometimes called a rower it is the square hole in the backset of a mortice lock that the spindle passes through in order to operate the handle.

Door Keep – Sometimes called a receiver or striker, a door keep is the small metal plate that fits onto the door frame to receive the bolt or latch of a door in order to lock it.

Levers – Levers are often used in mortice locks and padlocks. The more levers a lock contains, the higher the level of security it offers.

Locking Point – The point where the multi-point lock enters the outer frame of the door, using either a hook or a rectangular shaped bar.

Master Key – A single key that operates a variety of locks that all have their own different keys.

Nightlatch – A type of rim lock mounted onto the surface of a door, a nightlatch has a latch that can usually be deadlocked into position.

Snib – A button on a nightlatch that holds the latch down, so that the door won’t lock if accidentally slammed shut.

Spindle – A square metal bar that passes through the door and connects the door handles on either side. When the door handles are turned the spindle is rotated, moving the latch and allowing the door to open.

Thumbturn Cylinder – A knob fitted to one end of a cylinder allowing the door to be locked or unlocked without using a key.

Hopefully this makes your door locks slightly easier to understand, and helps you know what the experts mean when they talk about locks

To write an all encompassing article on the history of doors, you’d probably need volumes and volumes. So summing up the history of one of the most useful inventions man has ever invented in a short article such as this one is no easy task. However, despite the myriad different types of door which have evolved in different ways in different cultures from the same initial concept, there are many factors that all doors still share.

Compare a late Tudor door design with a Japanese Shoji sliding door, and you’ll probably notice a whole bunch of differences. Clearly there has been enough time since the invention of the first door for designs to vary as much as these do. In the west, doors are mainly hinge based barriers, as opposed to the sliding design so popular in the far east.

Doors were almost certainly first invented for safety. Whether it was laying a few rocks in front of a cave or covering the opening of a hut with a large slab of lumber, doors are primarily practical, and it is only since we have eliminated most of our natural predators that doors have become a vent of culture as well. Although most doors are still used for protection, they are also used for aesthetic purposes, especially in grand buildings with elaborate architecture.

Now as we progress deeper into a new millennium, automatic sliding doors are becoming more commonplace, revolving doors have long since stopped being a novelty, and household doors are more sturdy and better at protecting their occupants than ever before. As architecture and technology continue to intertwine, how will doors be affected? No doubt we can expect increasing amounts of efficiency, but what about the cultural, aesthetic sides? When all the world’s buildings are fitted with the exact same, automatic yet highly secure doors, they might have increased in efficiency, but any cultural implications will be left to doors of past years.

If you’ve always wanted a letterbox in your door, and have been thinking about getting someone professional to install one for you, think again, as it is a fairly simple task which can be performed by even those with minimal knowledge of DIY.

Making a Hole

If you’ve got an existing letterbox and are planning to install a new one, removing the old one is as easy as unscrewing the screws holding it in. There are usually two screws, one on each side, but some letterbox designs might feature more. Be aware that the hole in your door might have been the perfect size for the letterbox you’ve just removed, but you should measure the hole up against the new letterbox you are planning to install in case their sizes don’t match.
If you are installing a letter box into a door that does not currently have one, you will have to cut a hole into your door. The size of the hole can be determined by simply holding up your letterbox to the door and drawing a template around it. Thickness of the door isn’t a major issue, as most doors are easily thick enough to contain even the largest of letterboxes.
The process of actually cutting out the wood is as simple as following the template you have drawn with a jigsaw or padsaw, or widening the existing hole if need be.

Attaching the Letterbox

It’s worth marking the points that will be attaching your letterbox to your door. If your letterbox is using fixing bolts, mark the points where the holes will be and drill holes in those places. Holding a block of wood against the back of whatever you are drilling prevents splintering the wood of the thing you are drilling. Doing this with your door will keep it looking immaculate.
Sand any rough edges that you find, and should the bolt or screw protrude through the other side of the door, you might have to cut the ends off, but this is an issue which can be easily tackled. Many screws designed for holding letterboxes actually have bits of thread missing in them so they are easier to shorten.

Many letterboxes come in two parts – a front and a back – and this means that you might have to repeat the process twice, but either side is as easy as the other, and once you have followed these instructions and finished one side, simply repeat again to the other side and you will have a perfect, functional letterbox that you have installed yourself.

The wooden doors in your house are probably one of the last things you’ll think about when giving your house ‘the big clean’. People have somehow developed the assumption that doors just don’t get dirty. This belief has become so strong in some people that they might not even notice the growing amount of grime and dirt collecting on their wooden doors. But you will certainly notice the difference once you have given your wooden door a clean by following the simple instructions below.

Rather than just running a wet rag over the dirtiest looking bits, you can be sure of total cleanliness for both varnished doors and painted doors by following the specific methods below. These methods will ensure that your doors are as clean as can be and will stay that way for a fair while.

  1. Remove Dust.
    All this part of the process requires is a dry cloth or duster. You don’t just want to be smearing dust around your door when it actually comes to cleaning it, so removing the dust is a good idea.
  2. Clean Door.
    Take a soft rag or cloth and moisten it with a small amount of oil soap. You might want to use different products depending on manufacturer guidelines, but oil soap always works well with varnished doors. Rub gently along the grain until you have covered the entire door.
    Painted: Take a sponge sprayed with all purpose cleaner and apply to the door, working with the grain.
  3. Buff Door.
    Take a dry cloth and buff the door, again following the grain.
  4. Clean Handles.
    Take a soft cloth or rag and apply a small amount of brass polish. Proceed to buff the handles gently with the cloth.
    Other: Spray a soft rag or cloth with all purpose cleaner and gently rub down the handles. Take a dry cloth and wipe off any leftover cleaner.
  5. Clean Glass.
    Obviously if your wooden door has glass panels these will need to be cleaned with a glass cleaner. It is probably best to leave cleaning the glass until the last. To get a really streak free shine on your glass and windows; polish them with a bit of old newspaper. Wear gloves, because it will make your hands rather grubby, but the window panes will look fantastic.

It goes without saying that keeping your wooden doors clean – particularly external doors – will extend the life of the door for many years, and reduce the need to repaint too often.

If your door is beginning to look a little worse for wear, or you are about to install a brand new door, it must be properly treated. External wooden doors are exposed to damage from the elements – sun, wind, rain and extreme temperature changes – and must be treated to prevent this damage. Untreated doors can become swollen, warped or cracked, which not only make the doors unsightly, but also can cause it to stop functioning properly. Painting or sealing a door can be a simple task but must be done correctly.

Here are some tips on making the process as easy and effective as possible:

Whether you are painting, sealing or varnishing your door, there are a few basic rules. Ensure that all cracks and holes have been filled and sanded smooth. Existing doors should have all the door furniture – handles, locks etc – removed if possible. The door should be detached from the frame and place in a well ventilated area for working on.


  • Make sure your door is smooth. Peeling flakes of paint can cause imperfections in the second layer of paint you apply. If there are any lumps or flakes, sand them down before you set about applying your new coat of paint.
  • If you are painting a wooden door, you should apply primer to the woodwork before you begin applying paint, giving the primer or sealant plenty of time to dry too.
  • If you are happy that your door is properly sealed and dried, you can begin painting. You ought to apply an undercoat if you are painting directly over old paintwork. This will prevent discolouration. Apply as many layers as suggested by the paint manufacturers.

Sealant or Varnish

  • If you choose to stain your wooden door, then this must be done prior to applying any sealant. Stain alone will not offer protection, and a good quality varnish or sealant must be used once the stain has dried. If you are applying sealant, you must apply it directly to the wood. This means that if you are changing your door from painted to natural wood, you must remove all the paint before you apply the sealant.
  • It is best to use a lighter finish for doors that will be directly exposed to regular sunlight. Dark colours absorb more heat, and damage can be caused to the door after a lengthy exposure to sunlight.
  • Apply as many coats as recommended by manufacturer, but leave ample time for each coat to dry before applying the next layer. The same applies to paints.
  • Once the sealant has dried, you should notice a slight rough feel of the door. This is just a sign that the sealant has worked effectively, and any noticeably uneven areas can be sanded down.

Painting or sealing your door can add years to the life of the door, and if done thoroughly with a good quality paint or varnish it will last for many years.

The appeal of wooden doors is should never be overlooked. Many people tend to opt for PVC over wooden doors, without carefully considering the benefits of having wooden doors. Wooden doors, when installed properly, are durable, attractive and can give you years of reliability.

Wood is a sturdy, yet warm material that is a natural choice for external doors. Their sturdiness makes wooden doors great for protection against extreme weather conditions. If you are inside while a storm rages on outside, you might be thankful for having a wooden door, as they provide excellent heat insulation. They also provide great protection against noise pollution. A flimsy PVC door will let a lot more cold and noise through, especially in extreme weather conditions.

Wooden doors, particularly external doors, are available in a wide range of styles, and a wooden door will reflect the personality of your home so much better than any other material. While most wooden doors will be external, there is always the option to install internal wooden doors too, and these also offer a varied range, making the scope of individual preference huge. Wooden French doors and patio doors are the perfect way to bring the outdoors in, and they add a sense of elegance to your home that simply cannot be achieved with other materials.

There is a natural warmth to wood that that PVC and other materials lack. The natural grain of wood ensures that every door is individual, helping to make your home feel less impersonal, more warm and friendly. Wooden doors are particularly attractive in more traditional style homes, although the right style can be just as effective in homes with a more modern feel.

The benefits of installing wooden doors not only offer better protection and insulation, but also add value to your property too. Therefore wooden doors and should be considered not only an attractive option in the short-term, but also a long term investment.