You may have come across a word or two in your door buying process that needed clarification or explanation. Our A – Z glossary provides a list of Common Entry Door Terms and specialized terminology.
A ½ lite (or Half-lite) is a single (or dual insulated) glass pane that spans ½ height of the door
A ¾ Lite is a glass insert that spans ¾ height of the door
Traditionally 4 lite doors came with 4 separate glass panels. These are known as True Divided lites (TDL).
Contemporary 4 lite doors come with a dual insulated glass sheet divided into 4 Simulated Divided Lites (SDL). Muntins and spacer bars are used aesthetically to to create the illusion of True Divided Lites.
A 9 Lite is a door with 9 separate True Divided lite (TDL) glass panels or a dual pane Simulated Divided Lite (SDL) glass insert divided into 9 panels using spacer and muntin bars to create the illusion of True Divided Lites.
Active refers to an operable unit. This can be a door (active door leaf), sidelight or hardware. Also refer ‘Inactive’.
Active Hardware is a functioning hardware set with locking mechanism – also refer inactive hardware and dummy cylinder.
Antiqued is an intense form of distressing to make a door look not only aged and worn, but also display an ‘antique’ appearance. Extreme distressing includes hammering.
Vertical bar that acts as a seal between two doors.
The distance from the edge of the door to center of the bore hole. The bore hole is where the knob/ lever is installed.
Brick Mould (Brickmold or Brick-mold) is a casing used to fit a door into a home or building with a brick exterior.
Caming is the process of binding pieces of glass together to make a larger glazing panel, for purely decorative purposes.
Came is typically made of lead, brass, copper or zinc and usually comes in Black (Patina), Silver or Bronze colors.
Caulking is the process of sealing joints between door frame and wall.
Classic Doors are traditional styled doors with clean and simple lines having rectangular, square-box or arched patterns.
60″x80″ Plastpro DRS60 Fiberglass Double door in 5 Ft entrance. Nouveau glass with Patina caming. Smooth skin, factory painted Cranberry. Copper Creek Heritage hardware in Tuscan Bronze. Installed in La Verne, CA.
Clavos are over-sized nail heads used on rustic style doors for decorative purposes. Clavos generally come in square, round and pyramid shapes.
Colonial style is a square type house with the entry door in the front middle of the house. Two windows are placed on either side of the door. The design is associated with the colonial period of the United States.
Composites are made of different materials (compared to wood). Doors, Frames, Jambs & Trim are now made of composites. Also see ‘Fiberglass’
Contemporary Doors are also known as ‘Modern Doors’, ‘Minimalist Doors’ & ‘Clean Doors’. Contemporary Doors usually painted flush or with long horizontal panels with clean minimalist design.
A Cottage is a small, modest cozy old-fashioned house (usually maintained as a holiday home) – typically in a rural area.
Craftsman Doors are single piece doors with clean sharp edges and a dentil shelf. Craftsman doors are also known as Cottage doors, Bungalow doors, Cabin style doors & Arts and Craft doors.
A deadbolt is a locking mechanism that can be operated by a key from outside and a thumb turn from inside. Some deadbolts need a key to operate on both sides. A Deadbolt is usually a secondary locking device in addition to the latch bolt. (Also see ‘Double Bore’ & ‘Latch’).
Decorative Wrought Iron Doors are entry doors with unique designs created using wrought iron (decorative grille) and decorative glass.
Decorative Glass refer to glass with unique colors, patterns and designs – made from stained, beveled and textured glass, bonded with caming.
A Dentil Shelf is a horizontal profile that incorporates square ‘teeth’. Usually applied to the upper intermediate rail of a Craftsman style door. Also known as ‘Dentil Mould’.
Distressed (also known as the ‘Weathered Look’) is a refinishing technique to make a door look aged, weathered and worn. Heavy Distressing includes hand hewing, chiseling & wormholes.
Door Configuration means the arrangements of different components of a door system within an entryway. Configuration includes door leaves, sidelites and transom.
A Door Frame is created using the top and side borders of an entryway that supports the door (Jamb) together with the Threshold.
Door Height refers to the distance from top to bottom of door. The standard door height is 6′-8″. However, you can find come 7′-0″ and 8 foot tall doors as well.
Door jamb refer to the side posts and top horizontal frame member of the door. The Jamb along with the Threshold, make up the door frame.
A Door Overhang is the structure that extends over and protects an entryway.
The outside edge (frame profile), stiles and rails profile (sticking) and panels profile – together form the Door Profile.
Door Skin is the outer layer (usually in fiberglass doors) that cover the frame and door slab.
The Door Slab is a rectangular slab of wood or fiberglass (without frame, hinges or lockset). Also see ‘Pre-hung door’.
Door style refers to a particular form, appearance or character of a door.
A Double Bore is the second hole above the latch handle to house the deadbolt.
Double Glazed (also known as ‘Dual Glazed’ or ‘Insulated Glazing’) are two glass panes with a space between them filled with a gas, to reduce heat transfer. Also see ‘Low-E Glass’ and ‘Triple Glazed’ glass.
A Dummy Cylinder (also known as a ‘Blank Mortise’) is a non-hollow, flat top cylinder to block key access to a mortise lockset.
See ‘Inactive Hardware’, “Dummy Cylinder’
A Dutch Door (also known as a ‘Half Door’) refers to type of door split horizontally where the top can be opened independent of the bottom half.
A Dutch Door Bolt is a slide bolt to hold both leaves of the Dutch door firmly in place. Dutch Door Bolts usually include some wriggle room to avoid binding.
An Electronic Lock is a battery powered lockset which can be operated using a keypad.
An Entry Set (also known as ‘Lock Set’) comprise the access and locking mechanism of a door. Components of an Entry Set include door handles, knobs or levers (both in and outside), latch bolt, deadbolt, strike plate, thumb turn & push button. It may also comprise of Electronic, Smart locks and other trim.
Fiberglass is a type of reinforced glass fiber commonly woven into a mat.
Read our Definitive Guide to Fiberglass Entry Doors, here.
The protective layer applied to the surface of the door is called a ‘Finish’. The Finish can either be a stain or paint.
A transition strip that creates a smooth changeover between exterior threshold and interior floor. Trim is typically fashioned from wood. Also known as Floor Trim.
A Flush Bolt is a recessed bolts prepped into the edge at the top and bottom of inactive leaf in a double door, to hold it close.
A Flush Door is a door with a flat and plain surface on both sides.
See ‘Door Frame’.
A French Door is a hinged Patio Door with transparent panels.
A Full Lite is a single glass pane that spans the entire height of a door
Grain is the direction, texture and pattern of fiber in different wood species.
Grids are a network of long, thin, flat pieces of wood or other material that cross each other to form a series of squares or rectangles.
See ‘Decorative’ Door
A Halflite (or Half-lite) is a single glass pane that spans 1/2 height of the door
Hand (or Handing) describes the swing of the door and where the hinges are placed. The two handing are – Left hand & right hand and determines the type of door hardware set. Also see ‘Swing’.
See ‘Entry Set’.
Hanging refers to installing the door and jamb.
Hardware is the collective term used for Door Knobs, Levers, Locksets and hinges
Also Vanishing Screens. See Retractable Screen Doors.
Hinges are bearings that holds the door to the jamb and allows a limited angle of rotation.
Inactive refers to a non-operable unit. This can be a door, sidelight or hardware (dummy hardware). Also see ‘Active’.
Insulated’ means the insulation value of either dual glazed glass or that of a fiberglass door
See ‘Door Jamb’.
See ‘Electronic locks’.
Knotty Alder is an evenly colored, wood species with uniform texture and pronounced grain. The wood is lightweight and moderately durable. Fiberglass Doors come with a Knotty Alder skin option that closely mimics its wood counterpart.
A Latch-bolt is a spring-loaded bolt with an angled edge – typically part of a lock set.
Leaded Glass is lead infused glass used as decorative inserts in doors. Also see ‘Decorative Glass’.
A Leaf is an individual door in a pair or multiple arrangement of doors.
A level is a device and method used to measure the horizontal plane when installing a door
Lite (also known as ‘Light’) is a single (double or triple insulated) glass pane inserted in a door. It describes the amount of glass covering in a door. Related terms are Full Lite, 3/4 Lite, Half Lite, Top Lite & 9 Lite. Also see ‘Muntin’.
See ‘Entry Set’.
Low-E Glass is a glazing option made with either a special coating or in combination with a gas fill meant to reduce energy transmission through the glazing modules. Also see ‘Double-Glazed’.
LVL is a composite wood product fabricated using multiple layers of thin wood .
Mahogany is a straight grained, reddish-brown wood species.
See ‘Rustic Doors’.
See ‘Contemporary Doors’.
A Mortise is a square hole or trough cut into a rail or stile meant to receive a tenon (locking tongue) for a mortise-and-tenon joint.
A Mull Post is a sidepiece between the side-lite and door
A Mullion is the vertical element that forms a division between door panels.
Multi-point Hardware are a factory installed lock set that usually has 3 to 5 points of locking when engaged.
A panel is typically thin rectangular piece of wood or glass inserted into a door between the stiles and rails. Also see ‘Raised Panel’.
Patina is the green, brown or black film formed on the surface of bronze or similar metals due to oxidization.
A Patio Door is a sliding door usually of glass that opens onto the patio, deck or garden. Also known as ‘Sliding Door’.
Plumb is a method of measuring a door’s vertical alignment
A Prehung door is a door already hung within its frame. Also see ‘Door Slab’.
A retractable screen door is a type of screen door where the screen withdraws into the recess of the frame.
Safety Glass are glass with additional safety features to make them less likely to break or cause injury.
SDL is a method of creating multiple grid patterns on full sized glass panes to simulate the appearance of true divided lites.
Shaker Style is a flat panel design with little to no detail – traditionally used in craftsman doors.
A Shelf is a flat piece of protruding wood used typically seen on Dutch Doors or Craftsman Doors.
Sidelights are slim vertical windows that flank the entry door used for aesthetics as well as to let in extra light.
A Single Bore is a circular hole bored in a door to place a single latch that is contained within the handle-set and houses the lock.
See ‘Door Skin’.
Smart Locks are a type of electronic locks that can be operated using a smart phone, tablet or Bluetooth key ring.
A Speakeasy is a door viewer that can be looked through to identify visitors, before opening the door. Speakeasies are typically installed in Rustic Style doors..
A Square is a tool or method used to measure level & plumbing when installing a door
Stain is a dye or pigment used for coloring wood.
See ‘Tubular Locks’.
See ‘Screen Door’.
Swing is the direction door a opens. The swing types are ‘In-swing’ and ‘out-swing’. Also see ‘Handing’.
Threshold is a cross piece at the bottom exterior of an entry way – literally meaning to tread or trample upon. Also known as Bottom Plate, Door Sill or Door Sole.
A Transom is a window placed above an entry door.
Triple Glazed is a panel with 3 layers of glass. A gas is filled between the layers and outer panels coated with low-e. Most leaded glass doors come triple glazed as standard. Also see ‘Double layer’ and ‘Low-e Glass’.
Warranty is a promise by one party to another that specific facts or conditions are true or will happen.
Wrought Iron is a tough malleable, iron alloy used for ornamental purposes. Wrought Iron is typically used in Decorative Grille Doors.