What Is a Door? A Wood Moulding Guide

What Is a Door?

A door is an integral part of most buildings and doors have special significance in a home; crossing that threshold signifies arriving at your personal space. People often feel more relaxed and safer as soon as they enter their hall and close the front door behind them. Internal doors offer many functions too, in addition to security – giving privacy, retaining heat, muffling sound and delaying the spread of fire should one break out. Of course, doors can also add aesthetic punch – the style and design of doors can influence the character of a property.

It might seem obvious that a door is made up of three main parts: stiles, rails and panels. However, you might not be aware of the many other elements that are essential to make a door function properly. If you are doing a DIY project that involves doors, you’ll find it handy to become familiar with these elements and the terminology we use to describe them. Here’s a quick low-down…



Door Frames

You already know that a door frame is a three-sided solid structure fitted to a rough opening such as a doorway. But what about jambs and heads? The frame (sometimes called a jamb) is made up of two vertical frames (side jambs) and one horizontal jamb (head jamb).


The stile is the name of the vertical pieces of wood that surround the panels on a door. The Lock Stile is the name given to the vertical edge of a door that is opposite the hinge, containing the latch or lock.


On a door, the horizontal flat pieces of wood that surround the panels each have its own name; Top Rail, Frieze Rail, Middle Rail and Bottom Rail.


The panels are what fill the frame formed by the stiles and rails of the door.


Stops are the thin piece of wood that the door rests against when closed and are an integral part of the door frame. They prevent a door from flying off its hinges when closed quickly, in cartoon saloon-door fashion! Window stops are used for similar purposes in window frames; these wooden slips insure the closed window locks together neatly against the frame.

Saddles and Thresholds

Door saddles, or saddle thresholds, sit on the floor underneath a closed interior or exterior door and help transition from one floor to another. They serve several other valuable purposes. Saddles help to prevent draughts and air flow beneath a door, keeping out the cold and saving energy costs. Saddles also help prevent sound transmission between two rooms, aiding privacy. In the event of fire, saddles can help to slow the smoke travelling underneath doors.


Architrave is the decorative moulding on the outer edges of door frames and linings. It is like skirting although it is generally a narrower board. It is primarily used to conceal joints between the wall and the door but is often made a feature of to add extra depth to the design of a room. In more traditional homes is often used to frame the windows as well.

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