The Anatomy Of A Door

Gather ’round children, it’s time for an anatomy lesson! Don’t worry, you haven’t clicked onto the wrong site, and we won’t be dissecting anything today. Instead, were going to be taking one of the most common yet underrated elements in your home, and breaking it down into parts. Everyone’s got one (even you), and yet most people don’t ever think about how they work. Today, we’re going to tell you all about the anatomy of your front door.

The Door Panel

Let’s start easy with the main part of your door -the door panel. This is what makes your door frame complete and connects everything together. It’s made by slotting smaller panels into the stiles, raises and millions to form a complete panel. This is the part of your door that swings back and forth, and will usually be made of wood, glass or uPVC.

The Rail

This makes up the horizontal parts of your door panel. All doors have a top rail and a bottom rail, and most will have a mid-rail as well. Except for sliding doors and glass doors, which will have solid panes instead. The rails of your door will span the whole width of your door.

The Stile

The stile is the narrow vertical section on either side of the door panel. There are two panels on both vertical edges of a door frame – the lock style and the hinge stile. The type your door has will impact the kind of hardware you can install, so it’s always worth checking.

The Hinge Margin

This is the space between the door panel and the door frame. You might think that space is bad, but this gap is usually around 416″ of an inch, although that will vary depending on the type of door you have. The Hinge This is an element most people are familiar with. Made from various types of metal, the hinges are what allow your doors to swing open and shut. Standard sized doors will have 3 hinges, while longer doors (like a front door) will have more. There are a few different styles available, but the most common are pivot hinges (used on sliding or high traffic doorways) and barrel hinges, which are easier to conceal.

The Lock Set

This is the name for all of the hardware that allows your door to latch and lock. It includes:

  • Door handles
  • Locks
  • Latches
  • Mortise Strike plates

All of this stops forced entry into your home and keeps things secure. They are installed into both the door panel and the lock rail (which is that middle rail) so that they connect properly. These are easy to replace, and there are a wide variety of styles to choose from.

The Mullion

This part of the door is similar to the stile, but it serves a different purpose. The mullion is the vertical component separating two panels in the middle of the front door, right between the rails. It can be a nixed panel or a detachable frame component, depending on the type of door you have. In patio doors, glass sections or panelled areas, millions are used to divide the door vertically, intersecting the lock rail.

Door Sweep

Also known as a door sill, this is the small strip that goes from the bottom of the door frame to the top. These are also found on windows, and they’re pretty important since they keep air, water and creepy cronies out of your home.


This is a flexible material that holds your door in place and stops them from swinging through the door frame. Because doors have open gaps on the outside edge, molding stops light from escaping in and out of rooms. They’re functional and decorative!

That’s all of the essential elements of your door! Remember that not all doors come with things like letterboxes, peepholes and other decorative elements. In our next instalment we’re going to talk about the anatomy of a door frame-there’s more to it than you think! In the meantime, if you have any questions about doors or locks, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.

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