Barn Door Hardware – Door Anatomy

Doors come in all shapes, sizes, and weights. They are made of different materials, are intended for different uses, and move using different movement systems. One of the more interesting of the movement systems happens to be a current growing trend called barn door hardware, also known as flat track hardware. Even though that is this author’s preferred style of door hardware, that is neither here nor there. The design of this article is to address the construction of doors and their subsequent anatomy.

As stated previously, doors can come in all shapes and sizes. Here we’ll talk about the make-up of a standard 3’x7′ door, the door most commonly used in most homes. This description will be given as though one were looking at a door in the closed position.

Starting off, there are two long vertical pieces that run the length of the door on both the left and right side. These are called the stiles. On the top and bottom there are two horizontal pieces that lock into the vertical stiles; these are called the top and bottom rail. There are also two other horizontal rails, one towards the top, and another that sits at the height of the door knob or handle. The one near the top is called the intermediate or cross rail, and the one near the center is called the lock rail. Running vertically in the center of the door you have what are called mullions. These parallel the side stiles and lock into the horizontal rails just described.

Between all of these rails, stiles, and mullions you’ll notice that there are six panels- four large and two small. The two smaller ones are almost square and sit at the top of the door. The four longer ones are rectangular and take up the rest of the space of the door.

That is the basic anatomy of a standard door found in most homes.

How to Install Exterior Handle Sets on a New Door

Handle sets can dress up your home and add security from intruders. They’re available in a number of different styles and finishes to go perfectly with your personal style and existing décor. You can have handle sets installed professionally but you can also do it yourself. When installing a handle set onto a new door you’ll need to cut out the holes where the hardware will be installed. It’s important to get the measurements exact or it will not close properly and it can be annoying if the handles are too low or too high.

Basic instructions on how to install handle sets on a new door:

· The first step is to gather up all of your tools. You’ll need a screwdriver, tape measure, chisel, square, marker, drill, coarse file and a round saw drill bit for cutting holes.

· Support the door on its side and secure it in place. You don’t want the door moving around while you’re trying to drill holes.

· The average door is eighty inches high and the handle set is placed forty-six inches from the top and thirty-six inches from the bottom. This places the handle where it’s convenient for the average size person to use. It can be adjusted according to your personal preference.

· After determining where the handle set will be placed use the template and mark the center part of the latch hole. Now drill a hole approximately three inches into the door.

· Use the template to mark the center of the hole that will be used for the lock body. Be sure and align it with the latch hole perfectly. Use the round saw drill bit the size of the template to cut out the hole for the handles.

· Use the file to sand and smooth the edges of the hole and use the chisel to cut out the recess where the latch plate goes and then use the screws to attach the latch to the door.

· Hang the door and secure with the hinges and you’re ready to install the hardware.

· Use the latch plate to mark the location of the strike plate, chisel out the hole and install the strike plate with screws.

· Insert the interior handle and line up the shaft with the opening in the latch and then slide the outer handle through the hole and into place while coupling it onto the shaft.

· Line up all the pieces and use screws to secure them together.

· Move the handles up and down and open and close the door a few times to make sure everything is working correctly. If there is a problem you’ll need to loosen the screws and adjust the pieces then retighten. Repeat until the handles work correctly.