A-Z of common door terms

A home’s doors provide a distinctive opportunity to add a personal touch, enhance curb appeal and make a statement to all who enter. But where do you start when it comes to choosing the right doors for you? Sorting through the infinite options can seem overwhelming and time consuming. This piece helps sort through the terminology, styles and alternatives available in doors.

Glossary of terms

  • Active panel — With a double door, this is the door panel that routinely opens.
  • AdvantagePlus™ — Pella’s exclusive system that delivers a durable, low-maintenance frame and brick mould solution.
  • Beveled  — Clear glass, with edges that have been ground and polished to an angle. Bevels act as prisms in the sunlight creating sparkle and highlighting the glass design.
  • Brick Mould — A trim applied to the exterior edge of the frame and fascia concealing the shim space.
  • Caming — Decorative metal strips placed between glass pieces to create a design.
  • Casing — Molding that trims edges of doors and affixes to surrounding walls. 
  • Cladding — Aluminum that covers the exterior of the door frame to protect it from the elements.
  • Clavos/hinge straps — Decorative nail heads added to doors to give style and character.
  • Dentil Shelf — Decorative shelf added to doors for a distinctive look.
  • Frame — Parts to which the door panel is attached with hinges. Also referred to as jambs. For example, vertical frame pieces are called "side jambs," the top horizontal piece is the "head jamb" and the bottom horizontal piece is the "threshold."
  • Glazing — A term used to describe the glass, used in a door panel. An energy-saving glazing option is low-emmisivity (Low-E) with argon-insulating glass which reduces fading caused by the sun. Low-E glazing helps keep the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer by reflecting selected ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Grille — Feature that divides the panes of glass. A wide variety of materials and styles are available. Can be attached directly to the glass, installed between the panes of glass or be removable.
  • Hinging — The direction from which the door swings on its hinges. Determined from the exterior view of a home.
  • Inactive panel — With a double door, this is the door panel that usually remains closed, but can be opened by disengaging special hardware on the door.
  •  In-swing — A door that opens into the structure.
  • Jamb  — A vertical frame part of a door system.
  • Left-hinging — A door’s hinges that are located on the left side of the door from the exterior view of a home.
  • Light — A pane of glass in a door. Available as clear or numerous decorative styles.
  • Moulding  — A relatively narrow strip of wood used to conceal a joint or to emphasize the ornamentation of a structure.
  • Multi-point lock — A locking system that latches and locks into the door frame at three points: top, middle and bottom
  • Out-swing — A door that opens to the outside of the structure. 
  • Passive panel — With a double door, the door that usually remains closed and fixed by bolts at top and bottom.   
  • Pre-assembled or pre-hung unit — All components of the entry, including doors and sidelites, are precisely sized and assembled at the factory to allow for maximum ease of installation.
  • Right-hinging — Door’s hinges are located on the right side of the door from the exterior view of a home.
  • Rough opening — An unfinished opening where a window or door will be installed. For example, rough openings are lined by wood pieces; the top is the "header" and the sides are the "trimmers."
  • Shims — Wedge shaped material used between the frame and rough opening to adjust and stabilize a door or window system.
  • Sidelight — A panel containing glass that flanks or adjoins a door. Available on one or both sides of a door.
  • Speakeasy — A small "door within a door" that allows you to identify visitors before opening the door. 
  • Stop —Trim which prevents a door from moving inside the jamb. It is applied to one side of an interior door frame and the interior side of a transom and sidelight jambs.
  • Tempered glass — Glass that has been heat-treated to withstand higher than normal forces on its surface. When it breaks, it shatters into small pieces for greater safety. Typically used in doors and other applications as required by building codes.
  • Threshold — Another term for sill. The horizontal part of a door assembly, fixed under the door panel and bearing on the floor.
  • Transom — A pane of glass in a frame installed above a door.
  • Weatherstrip — A strip of material that covers the contact point between the door and the door jamb. It is designed to help prevent water and air leakage.