As a general rule the threshold between inside and outside is treated with great reverence in the design of buildings around the world. Not only as a method of ingress and egress but often as a way of introducing light into the interior. The door is universal. Just how as an architectural element it is treated depends on a number of considerations. Where the door is located and what is its function. From the ceremonial doors of the great gothic cathedrals to the humble emergency exit; doors connect the inside with the outside.
External doors in the home
Normally the design of front door is concerned with security and privacy but even here the fitting of a glass panel can transform an entrance hall. While the back door that opens onto the garden or patio is less formal and more concerned with connecting the living areas of the home to outdoors. For apartment residents with a balcony the right door can make all the difference between a stuffy enclosed living space and one that is more connected with nature. Even if it’s just a Juliet balcony.
The most important consideration for any external door is that it keeps the elements out, in other words is water tight and doesn’t allow draughts through. Normally a door saddle or some other method to make sure that water does not make its way under the threshold should be included. The amount of glass in an external door should be considered from provision of light and the security point of view. Below a certain height safety glass (laminated) is obligatory. The door swing should also be considered, whether a door opens inwards or outwards.
The most common types of door
There are myriad types of external doors, the most common styles however in the home include single leaf, double leaf, French doors, half doors, sliding doors and bi-folding door with multiple leafs.
Accordion style doors
All have their advantages and disadvantages. For living areas overlooking large gardens, space permitting, a bi-folding glass door can completely erase the barrier between the indoors and the outdoors. Generally when open these doors collapse accordion style and allow for a complete void between inside and outside. They are usually provided with tracks on the head and the base of the door because of their weight. Even in the closed position they provide abundant natural day light and views.
Double sliding doors are perhaps the most popular garden doors, when open one panel slides across the other. Like the accordion style door the double door is most effective when fully glazed. Generally the width of the opening is dictated by the weight of the door leaf.
The right place for a door
Because every home is different it’s important to take orientation (where the sun rises and sets in relation to the room), prevailing winds, room layout and garden layout into consideration before deciding on the most suitable type of external door and where it should be located. How is the room used? Where are the best views? etc. With the right door however your home and its relationship with the outside will be transformed.