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Everything You Need To Know About Doors


When it comes to choosing your ideal door, there are many options and elements to consider. At Keim, we’re here to walk you through all the details of a new door, whether you’re working on new construction or a remodel, selecting for interior or exterior, or thinking custom or stock.

As a fourth-generation, family-owned business, Keim has spent years getting to know the best quality doors on the market. We love the way a gorgeous doorway invites you into a home or defines the feeling of an interior space. At Keim Home Center, you can create a hand-crafted, custom door, or choose from an unmatched selection of pre-hanging door options.

In this guide, you can find the answers to the most frequently asked door questions. Then discuss your individual needs with our knowledgeable in-house staff, located in the Doors and Windows Department on the first floor. Our team of experts can help walk you through our displays and find the perfect choice for your space from door choice to hardware to finish.

Know Your Space 

How do I measure for a door?
Keim maintains an unmatched selection of doors in standard sizes. Doors are measured by width and height, so a standard door may be 3’0” wide and 6’8” tall, also called a 3-0 x 6-8 door. Depending on when your house was built, you may need a custom size, so careful early measurements will save you time and hassle down the road. 

When replacing a door, it’s easiest to measure the current one. On the other hand, if you are framing a new door or replacing a door and jamb, you’ll need to add a number of inches to allow for adjustments and shimming, say 3-½” at the top and 1-¼” on either side. Remember that if your doorway has a unique threshold or flooring material, this also needs to be calculated.

For door thickness, we consider the jamb thickness. This is the width of all the material surrounding the door. For instance for an exterior door, it may be sheetrock plus a 2x4 stud plus the siding; then add another ⅛” to ensure the new door covers the entire width. 

What is the “Swing” of a door? 
It is helpful to consider which way you would like your door to open. If there is an obstruction on one side or the other, you should place the hinges on that side of the door. This will allow it to open against a wall so there’s plenty of walking space. Taking the time to get this right is worth it because a door that does not swing gracefully can quickly become a pain. 

Swing Direction:
1.    Step into the doorway.
2.    Standing sideways in the doorway, face the jamb where the door latches.
3.    If the open doorknob is on your RIGHT, the door is RIGHT-handed.
4.    If the open doorknob is on your LEFT, the door is LEFT-handed. 

Swing Space: 
1.    Put the end of your measure tape at the hinge side door frame. 
2.    Lock your tape at the width of your door.
3.    Swing your tape out the same direction the door will swing to 45 degrees.
4.    Mark the measurement. 
5.    Repeat marking the distance of the swing halfway between the 0-degree mark and your mark at 45-degrees, until you determine the space of the swing.

This will ensure the door you choose will have enough space to open freely and move smoothly within your space. Let’s look at the next important aspect.

Choosing the Right Door for You 

Choosing Between Stock or Custom
At Keim, we offer a wide variety of exterior and interior doors in-stock, as well as custom interior options. Our in-stock options give the benefit of quality and speed (if you’re local, we’ll deliver it the next day). Our custom doors come with a high level of craftsmanship, tailored directly to your size and design specifications, and made to blend seamlessly with your build. 

At Keim, we have such a wide range of possibilities with both our stock and custom doors, you’re sure to find an excellent fit for your project.

Materials of Every Kind
Both interior and exterior doors come in many different materials, each with their own pros and cons. But here are the basics:

Wood is classic, durable and stately. It can be used for either exterior or interior, but be sure to repaint or refinish regularly, as it takes some upkeep. At Keim, you can find in-stock, custom, and special-order interior wooden doors.

Engineered wood is usually seen in interior door options. These doors offer good quality and make a solid, affordable choice.

Steel is a better choice for an exterior door, rather than interior, because it’s considered quite energy efficient and can be much less expensive than exterior doors made of other materials. However, these doors do tend to show when they’ve been well-loved, allowing scratches and dents to appear. 

Fiberglass, is an energy-efficient option for exterior doors, and has become more popular in recent years. With less weight and maintenance than other materials, it’s a quality choice. 

Pro Tip: Consider installing both a storm door and an exterior door, to benefit from added insultation and make your home more energy efficient. 

Glass is of course a common material, as well. Full glass is sometimes utilized for exterior doors, like sliders, or storm doors, while panels appear alongside other materials in many design settings. Beyond ensuring that the glass will not compromise efficiency, there are a number of aspects to weigh. Let’s take a closer look. 

Windows: Bright and Beneficial
• Windows within a door are both practical and beautiful. Artfully done, they provide the home with light, airflow, grace, and style. 

• With an exterior door, consider if privacy is an issue and how to resolve it, perhaps using frosted glass, stained glass, drapes or blinds, or simply keeping the window section contained to the upper portion of the door.  

• We have great options for storm doors with slide down screen windows to let in airflow.
• Glass sliding doors to a backyard offer a beautiful way to connect to a patio and nature. 

• Interior doors to a four-season porch or family room and French Doors are both popular and add a special design touch. 

Pay attention to the direction your door faces to determine when the sun will be brightest. Then spend some time watching the light in your space to determine how introducing glass could enhance or complicate your design.

Door Safety    

Fire-Rated Doors
Also called fire-resistant doors, some doors are specifically designed to slow the spread of a fire and smoke. Constructed with fire-resistant materials, like steel, fiberglass, or fire-rated glass, sometimes combined with wood, they can withstand more heat but will eventually burn. Generally, these doors are more common in commercial buildings or multi-family homes because they are very heavy. Our onsite mill manufactures a wide variety of doors and frames with 20 through 90-minute fire ratings to meet any of your safety needs.

Pro Safety Tip: Closing any door to a room will slow heat and smoke from entering the room and injuring occupants or destroying additional property within. 

Locks, Doorknobs, and Door Bores
We find it’s useful to plan and decide your door hardware prior to the door itself as many handle sets require less common bore sizes, which is the hole in which your door hardware is installed. Most people utilize single door bores for interior doors, allowing for a single doorknob. On the other hand, you’ll need double door bores for exterior doors with a deadbolt.

Choosing the Right Style 

The hardware finish, handle shape, and lock system are a personal choice. A stroll through the aisles at Keim Home Center will help you to choose the right hardware for your door. It’s helpful to think about your needs: are you looking for a door that is easy to open with an arm-full of groceries or a door that is easy to baby proof? Our friendly sales staff are ready to help. 

As you think about finish options, consider the other fixtures in the space. Are you usually drawn to a sleek and modern metal or something with an antique finish? Remember, that a consistent style and finish will help give your home look well-planned. 

Color Matching
When it comes to interior doors, these should traditionally match or complement the other interior colors, including the frame of the door itself. This creates a seamless experience. 

Exterior doors may bring more color variation. A bright front door can stand out and make a bold statement if that’s what you’re going for. The trim of an exterior door should be the same color as the home, but some people opt to use complementary or contrasting colors for extra “wow.” For example, you might see white trim with black doors or white trim with wood doors. We’ve seen it all, so it’s up to you to make your personality shine through your home!

We hope this guide answers some of your questions when considering replacing or building a doorway. 

Review our brochure to see the variety of options. If you don’t see what you are looking for, visit the Millwork Specialty Department in our store. If we don’t have it in-stock, we’ll gladly create it for you! Keim is here to help! We love supporting our customers’ building dreams and seeing what makes your home unique.  

Located on 50 acres in the rolling hills of Holmes County, Keim is the destination and trusted source for your home, building, and woodworking needs. Founded in 1911, our fourth-generation family business is dedicated to caring for your project like we care for our own.