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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

Understanding the Door Code Language

I sometimes wonder if the people who develop door nomenclatures and terminology ever wrote top secrete codes for the military. The number one reason why doors are ordered incorrectly is the terminology misunderstandings between the customer, contractor, and supplier. If you do not understand door code talk, then you will probably make a huge mistake when ordering doors.

In this column, I am going to attempt to break the door code terminology to ensure you eliminate errors when ordering your next door.

Size errors frequently occur because of how doors are sized by homeowners and how they are sized by door professionals. Did you know a door which measure 36 inches wide and 80 inches tall is sized by door professionals as 3068 door? 3068 is a professional door nomenclature which goes with the width size first and height size next, and it stands for three feet and no inches wide by six feet and eight inches tall. The problem occurs when an experienced contractor employee or homeowner orders a 3068 door in inches which is all wrong. It happens daily. Double check your size and understand the actual nomenclatures are being used.

Did you know a door has a hand? Not like a hand at the end of your arm, but a hand as it refers to swing. It can be either right or left hand. There are two ways to determine the hand, the Butt method or the Swing To method. The Butt to Butt means to put your actual butt or behind on the hinge side of the jamb and whichever hand the door swings to determines the handing. I prefer the Swing To method which means get to the side of the door which swings toward you and then wherever the doorknob is- that is your hand. If facing the door on the side that swings to you and the knob is on the right, then it is a righthand door. Easy right? Handing mistakes happen daily- double check.

The door size and the roof opening are not the same thing- did you know that? Huge mistakes are made daily, especially in Florida because of the code requirements for bucking. Bucking is the treated substrate material that the door unit is fastened. For example, a 3068 Therma-Tru Fiberglass Door unit that swings in the rough opening sized in 38 1/8 inches wide by 82 ½ inches tall, but an outswing door, the heights of the rough opening drops to 81 inches because of the threshold. Are you confused yet?

Plus, there is nothing standard for manufacturers.

I might as well get your really confused by pointing out that if you use a 1-by treated buck, you must use full masonry anchors on the door while a 2-by buck required masonry anchors on the 2-by and wood screws to attach the door.

Then you have to understand if you want an adjustable, standard or ADA threshold and the door sweep will vary with the threshold. Door weatherstrip will generally slide into a kerf jamb, but different thickness of the weatherstrip is used for the hinge and lock side.

The point I am making about doors is simple- it is not as easy to buy and install a door properly as your think and many retail consumers by the wrong doors for their openings because they do not understand all the variable. This why when you go to many homes the front door will drag or sag when you use it.

If you need a new front door and you’ve never ordered or installed one before- get a professional. Plus, in the state of Florida, a door and frame that is replaced must be permitted and meet Florida’s building code and product approval. If you don’t understand door code, there is little doubt your will buy the wrong door and be dissatisfied.

Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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