A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times


Well with the weekend upon us and all the builders merchants closed, it was obvious that not much was going to be done with respect to any plastering so it was decided that now would be a good time to tackle the re-hanging of the doors.

There are no real hard and fast rules as to how a door ought to be hung these days, it is more to do with personal preference than what tradition dictates (more on that later).

So for the purpose of this weekend’s assignment, we had three doors to re-hang which were the one to the living room off the hallway, the bathroom door and the door to the storage room.


The first two doors were easy enough, all we had to do was reposition the hinges to the opposite face of the door, turn the latching mechanisms round, hang the door and apply a few adjustments with a plane for a better fit to the frame.

The last door however (to the store room) was a different story altogether. Because it was to be hung to open outwards rather than inwards, it meant that the door (initially made to fit within the rebate of the frame) was now too big because the rebated side of the frame was now on the wrong side for it to work properly.

There are three solutions for this scenario which are as follows:

1. And probably the hardest with the most upheaval, is to remove the whole frame and turn it round. Or even fit a new one.


2. This would be to create a new rebate on the opposing face of the casing. Not an easy job while the frame is still in situ.



3. And the route I opted for, was to simply resize the door to fit the casing as is. This doorway was not a critical entrance to a major room as such, and the shelving immediately behind it meant that the full opening size of the door way was already restricted anyway.

So the door was resized. And just like the first two doors the door was then hinged differently and the latching mechanism (which needed to be re-drilled into the now slimmer door) turned to suit. And it was hung to the frame.

Job done you might think, but not quite. Because as there wasn’t a rebate for the door to sit neatly into, any undue force on the door in its closed position could strain the hinges to the extent of them being physically ripped away from the frame. So now we had to create a new rebate (Door stop).



Not a major job by an stretch of the imagination. It was merely a case of getting behind the closed door and pinning strips of wood (18mm x 30mm) to the door casing adjacent to the closed door.


And now for a few “doory stories”...

1. First off, there are no hard and fast rules as to where the hinges should be placed on the door although traditionally the top hinge starts at 7 inches from the top of the door while the bottom one is positioned 10 inches from the bottom of the door.

There is no reasoning for this other than pure aesthetics. It just looks right when viewing the door face on. This is due to parallax error, where perspectives come into play.

2. Another tradition for the good old door is that of modesty. In the good old days, it was standard practice (and even now to a large extent) to have a door shield the majority of the room from the prying eyes of oncoming traffic. Take a look at the following image...



Imagine you were in that bed acting somewhat inappropriately. That now opening door will buy you a few extra seconds to change your ways.

3. It is a hard and fast rule that all doors should open away from public areas. The easiest way to explain this is to show that in a house, that would dictate that doors open up into rooms and not hallways. External doors work in the same way too, opening into the house rather than the street, even if it does mean they are easier to kick in.

And in high traffic areas like shops, offices and even public washrooms, it is best practice to fit a window of some sort (even frosted) just so the person using the door can see any oncoming traffic.

4. In the UK, all doors are fire rated. This means they are tested to withstand fire for a specified number of minutes. In most private dwellings, doors have to withstand fire for a minimum of 20 minutes, whereas in communal buildings (offices, flats over two storeys and even houses over three storeys) the doors have to carry a minimum of a 1 hour fire rating.

The lower rated doors are normally 32mm thick and the higher rated ones 40mm thick and usually of a solid construction. So generally, when entering an existing property, the depth of the rebate (front to back) will usually reveal the required rating.

If you are concerned about the rating of your own doors but don’t particularly want to change them, there are some things you can do to improve this. A door closer of some description is always a good start, while other measures like increasing the depth (side to opening) of the rebate (using plant-on door stops), or fitting intumescent fire strips between the frame and the door (usually rebated into the frame rebate or the door edges) and even then, the application of draught excluders will also help.

The intumescent fire strips act by expanding in a fire situation and provide a seal or barrier against incoming fumes between the door and frame.

5. In the days of old, when the knights were bold, and toilets not invented... In some of the larger of the UK properties of the time, doorways were actually shaped to accommodate the large billowy dresses of the womenfolk. Thank heavens they stopped that practice.



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