Architectural wood doors are an essential design element of every commercial building. Properly specified wood doors can go a long way in achieving the aesthetic, performance, functionality and safety requirements that enhance the look and durability of a space. But selecting and specifying wood doors can be a time-consuming process. This article will serve as a guide to help architects, builders and remodelers to properly select and specify architectural wood doors.
Construction of Architectural Wood Doors
Every architectural wood door has specific components. From core, to stiles, rails and face materials, all of these elements have a specific purpose to ensure that the door complies with the standards of performance established by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). WDMA standards cover the aesthetics, performance, testing requirements, construction, and finishing expectations for a door. To achieve durability and performance, architects, builders and remodelers should select doors that are in accordance with either the ANSI/WDMA I.S.1A Industry Specification for Architectural Wood Flush Doors or the ANSI/WDMA I.S.6A Industry Specification for Architectural Wood Stile and Rail Doors.
It’s also helpful for architects, builders and remodelers to familiarize themselves with industry speak. In the architectural wood door industry for example, the term “ply” is used to identify wood door components. The number of plies represents the number of layers of material in the door, which may be 3, 5, 7 or 11. For architectural applications, such as hospitals, full-service hotels, and class A offices, five-ply wood door construction is the most commonly used method. Seven-ply wood doors, which include a core, backer materials, crossbands, and thinner face materials, are commonly used for commercial applications.
Aesthetic of Architectural Wood Doors
A key method to ensure the aesthetics of an architectural wood door is to focus on matching individual veneer pieces within a door face. Veneers are manufactured to exact sizes, and the clipping and matching is based on the blueprints of the project’s specific needs. In fact, the way in which the individual cuts are placed next to each other during the fabrication of the veneer face affects the appearance and aesthetic of a door. Leaf matching and assembly matching must be considered, as well as the matching of pairs of doors, sets of doors, and doors with transoms.
Finishing Options for Architectural Wood Doors
The finishes for architectural wood doors are vital, as they help protect wood from moisture, handling damage and harsh chemicals. Finishes can be applied in the field, or in factory. Factory finishing is usually preferred, since they are applied in a controlled and clean environment, thus reducing on-site VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions and ensuring consistent results. When it comes to finishes, WDMA requires that sealer and top coats be UV cured, to make sure the product is low-emitting and safe for building occupants.
Bringing it back around, architects, builders and remodelers should make sure that whatever doors they are choosing, the doors meet the design and performance requirements established by WDMA’s architectural wood door standards. That’s the best and easiest way to assure their expectations for high quality performance, code compliance and consistent appearance of their order will be met. If you want to learn more about these standards and how they are essential to identify and specify high-quality and durable architectural wood doors, register for our free webinar on “Understanding and Specifying with WDMA’s Architectural Door Standards”.
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