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Parts of a door explained

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Doors form a vital part of the make-up of any property. Most homes and buildings will feature multiple entrances and internal doorways, using a range of different doors that are carrying out a variety of functions.  

While they have an important practical function to fulfil, the design and style of doors can influence the overall character of a property - and the design options are endless. From the size and choice of material, to how they open and move, the finish, mouldings and the hardware used.

The body of any door is essentially made of three main parts: the stiles, rails and panels but there are many more elements. To help explain the most common terminology, here we have put together an illustration of a standard door and door frame, with the component parts highlighted.


Parts of a door – glossary of terms

  • Top rail – The top rail is the horizontal piece that sits across the very top of the door.
  • Freeze rail - Similar to the top rail, except it sits horizontally across the next divide down between the panels on the door. This is often at eye height and not all doors have a cross rail. This is sometimes known as cross rail.
  • Middle rail – Sits horizontally across the middle of the door. Not all doors have a middle rail.
  • Bottom rail – Sits horizontally across the very bottom of the door.
  • Stiles – This is the collective name for the vertical components that sit on the outside edge of a door.
  • Lock stile – This is the vertical edge of the door which sits on the opposite side of the door to the hinges, and contains the lock or latch.
  • Panel – The panels, which may be timber or glass, are what fill the frame formed by the stiles and rails of a door.
  • Top mullion - This is the vertical element of the door that forms a division between different panels at the very top of a door. This is sometimes known as first mullion.
  • Mid mullion - This is the vertical element that forms a division between panels in the area directly below the top mullion.This is sometimes known as second mullion.
  • Lower mullion - This is the vertical element that forms a division between panels in the area directly below the mid mullion. This is sometimes known as third mullion.
  • Moulding – This is decorative detailing that can be used around the edge of the door stiles, rails and mullions. It may be simple or highly decorative, such as crown moulding.
  • Frame or lining – The door frame (external) or lining (internal) is what the door fits within and which covers the walls.

Parts of a door frame in detail

  • Head – The head is the part of the door frame that sits horizontally to form the top of the frame.
  • Legs/Jambs – These are the terms commonly used to refer to the vertical components that form the sides of the door frame.
  • Stops – The stops are what the door rests against when closed, and are an integral part of the frame. In the case of door linings these are thin strips of wood that are mounted along the length of the jambs and head, to serve the same purpose.
  • Architrave - This refers to the decorative moulding on the outer most edge of the door frame or lining.
  • Cill or threshold – This is the bottom portion of an exterior door frame, and is used internally when transitioning from one floor covering to another.

For more information about external timber doors or internal doors, call our customer services team on 01722 337040 or download our product guide below.

Salisbury Joinery Product Range Guide