Whatever the scale, style or purpose of your development, doors are a vital feature of any building, important both aesthetically and functionally, and a significant consideration during the construction process too.
With such a range of choices, from the materials, to the ironmongery, to the finish, to the fire resistance, the potential combinations are virtually limitless, allowing you to select doors which perfectly fit your design goals and budget.
But underlying all these other considerations there are essentially two options – the traditionally hanging door or a ‘door set’.
There are pros and cons to each, so understanding the difference is crucial when deciding which is right for your project.
Put simply the traditionally hanging door is just the door ‘slab’ – the door set is the complete package, explains Richard Kowalski, Technical Manager for the door division at Stairways.
“With a traditionally hung door, a developer will need to install the frame and add all the other elements separately on site.
“A door set comprises a lining or frame that is already routed out for hinges, locks and other elements, and the door itself, which comes ready for installation, including ironmongery such as latches, bathroom locks and hinges.
“At Stairways, for example, we ask our clients to specify what they want ahead of time. On a front door for example, they may need drop-down seals, intumescent strips, locks, deadlocks and so on – all of which can be sorted for them in the factory, so the doors arrive ready to install.”
When it comes to a larger development, residential flats for example, which could include hundreds of doors – and ease of fitting matters more than ever, explains Richard: “We have supplied sites with upwards of 300 door sets, which represents a lot of work for the on-site team, so the easier we can make that process the better.
“With so many jobs handled in the production process by a specialist factory, it means fewer specialist skills are needed on site, which can help to reduce onsite costs and the opportunity for error.
“With a door set you’re sourcing every component from the same supplier too, which ensures compatibility and performance – you can avoid those last moment panics, that nightmare moment, for example, when you discover the doors are the wrong size for the frames – it happens!
“Very often our clients will also order stairs and skirting boards from us too, which makes for the most streamlined delivery and installation processes. It also means that they can be assured of a consistent finish throughout – those small details make a big difference to the overall look.”
Alongside the look of the finished door, there is also the potential for additional reliability and compliance, explains Richard: “Because door sets are manufactured, tested and installed as complete units, that helps to ensure fire and security performance, as well as dependability for users. Doors are subjected to particularly strict fire regulation which a door set meets entirely.”
Despite coming as a package, door sets needn’t be ‘standard’ or ‘boring.’ Many options are available on the market, and a good manufacturer will be able to work to specific design or function requirements.
“You are not confined to any one look or finish – with choices across different materials including different woods, finishes and glazing options too.
“Pocket door sets are an option too if there isn’t space for a standard swing door system, and pivoting door sets likewise.”
While some manufacturers will offer door sets with a different look and feel to traditionally hung doors, for example with different hinges, where the door is clipped on at the end, others, such as Stairways, put together door sets in much the same way as traditional doors, with high quality components and the same quality and finish, but with the advantage of a modern system of installation.
Adds Richard: “There are different price points in the market, but, as always, it tends to be that you get what you pay for. Doors are such a big part of any project. They can alter the look and feel of a room and will be a high-use element of any development, so quality and finish matters. It’s worth spending more to get what you want and avoid costly hassle down the line.”
Article as published in the March issue of Creative Build Magazine and the April issue of fc&a Magazine.
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