Door design ideas, inspiration & pictures

What materials are used for doors?

Wood: mostly used for interior doors, wooden doors are suitable for both hot and cold weather (with teak wood being one of the more common timber varieties). As long as no exotic woods are used, the prices tend not to be too costly.

Steel: good for interior and exteriors, and weather resistance. Although these doors don’t have any problem with corrosion, they tend to be more expensive.

Fibreglass: better suited for outdoors (and used quite a lot for garage doors). Prices are relatively affordable and they tend to last longer than steel doors.

Glass: used mostly for interior doors; however, if adequate privacy and safety is set up in the front yard (like a strong security gate and high walls), then it’s not uncommon to see a modern front door flaunt lots of glass surfaces.

Aluminium: should only be used for interior doors. If well manufactured, they can last a long time and are quite affordable.

The different types of door locks in South Africa

There are different types of quality door locks available in South Africa, and it all depends on your specific needs. Spring latch type locks are usually very easy to install and can be quite affordable. They work by simply locking the doorknob, preventing a spring-loaded latch from releasing. Keep in mind that even though this product is fairly inexpensive, it might not be the best choice in terms of security.

More effective is a deadbolt lock. These locks have to be unlocked by manually moving them in and out of place with the key or the knob. There are usually three parts that form these locks, making them a bit more effective than other variations. They're usually made from solid steel.

If you have a door that contains glass panels, you might consider using a double cylinder deadbolt option. This will require a key from both sides to enter, reducing the possibility of burglars entering by simply breaking the glass. However, some buildings are not allowed to use this configuration, so confirm before you install it. A building inspector or locksmith can give you better advice on these specific installations.

The different types of mechanisms

Hinged doors: a hinged door works on a force being applied to the free, outer edge of the door pushing or pulling the door open, allowing it to swing on its hinges up to 180 degrees to create an opening and allowing people to pass through the doorway. This requires clearance space behind the door to allow it to swing open freely. Most hinged doors either swing either inwards or outwards, although hinges are available that allow them to swing both ways (for example, kitchen doors in restaurants). The side of the door that needs to be pushed or pulled in order to open the door is referred to as the 'handing' of the door.

Sliding doors: having a door slide along its track not only saves on floor space, but also adds a certain aesthetic that can work quite well with some interior styles, like Asian.  

Rotating doors: mostly used in the industrial sector (like shopping malls and corporate offices), a rotating/revolving door has several wings or leaves, generally four, radiating from a central shaft, forming compartments that rotate about a vertical axis. A revolving door allows people to pass in both directions without colliding, and forms an airlock maintaining a seal between inside and out.

A pivot door: instead of hinges, this door is supported on a bearing some distance away from the edge, creating a gap on the pivot side as well as the opening side. In some cases (sometimes with super contemporary or modern houses) the pivot is central, creating two equal openings.

Folding doors: these have multiple panels which fold upon one another when such doors are opened. These doors are often used to cover a broad space where a straight door’s swing would be cumbersome or restricted. Folding doors combine the actions of both hinged and slider doors, and use both end pivots and overhead tracks.

How long does it take to install a door?

Unless you are quite the accomplished DIYer, it is recommended to leave the installing of a door to the relevant professionals.

Depending on the size and material of the door, the location where it’s being installed, and the installers, it can take (on average) from 2.5 hours to 4 hours to install a standard single door.

Keep in mind that certain types of doors require extra effort and time due to their size and weight. For example, steel or rustic double doors can be extremely heavy and complicated to install compared to a lightweight wooden door. Any extra features added to the door (such as windows or glass decorations) can add to installation time.

How much does it cost to install a door?

This again can vary depending on numerous factors, like door size and style. Usually manufacturers and installers in South Africa have fixed prices and terms connected to their services, which are provided on their websites and/or quotations.