Your Helpful Guide to All Things Door Frames

Your Helpful Guide to All Things Door Frames

Doors
Decoration and Design
By Alex Mikayelyan November 10, 2021

Let’s take a minute and consider just how important doors are in our lives. They may seem like any other mundane item that we interact with on a daily basis, but there is far more to doors than meets the eye. The same goes for door frames. You may not think much of them, but put a little extra consideration into your door casings and you will see improved security, insulation, noise reduction, and longevity.

If not for their style and design, then it is through their insulation and heat retention that good quality door frames are so important. There is quite a lot to unpack when it comes to door casings, but when you do, choosing one that will fit your stylistic and practical needs will be a breeze.

Types of Door Frames

Types of Door Frames You Should Know About

Types of Door Frames You Should Know About

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of door frame materials and design options, it is important to understand how door frames can be structured. The type of door frame that you purchase will be a major determinant in how your door looks, functions, as well as what materials it is designed with.

Mitered

The Simple Beauty of Mitered Door Casings

The Simple Beauty of Mitered Door Casings

The mitered door frame is a very common choice. All three-door jambs of the casing are made to look the same, creating one squared shape all around the door itself. Mitered casing commonly comes with unique door frame trim and carvings, depending on its design, though it can also have minimal to no ornamentation to suit contemporary interiors. 

Butted

Some Added Elegance With More Traditional Door Frames

Some Added Elegance With More Traditional Door Frames

Unlike the mitered door frame, where all the pieces are made to look similar, the butted door has one unique variation: the head jamb of a butted door frame is a flat piece made to look like a pseudo shelf. This was a more common luxurious door frame design in older interiors that favored ornamentation. The shelf-like wider head jamb of butted door frames fit in homes with higher ceilings, where vertical ornamentation is more noticeable and the eyes have more breathing room when looking up. 

Pre-Hung vs. Slab

The Difference Between Common Door and Frame Types

The Difference Between Common Door and Frame Types

While the terms “pre-hung” and “slab” refer to the doors themselves, this is still important terminology to be aware of when picking door casings as well. Most manufacturers produce pre-hung doors, which are essentially doors that come with the frame and are already hanging off of it. All you will need to do is install the door frame and the door falls into place quite easily.

Slab doors are a more cost-effective option but come with the extra task of building or purchasing the door frame separately. If you are looking for more creative freedom in your door frame and wish to choose the frame design yourself, then a slab door would be a more fitting option for you. On the other hand, if you don’t have much time or DIY practice to install the door frame separately, then a pre-hung door should be more convenient. 

Best Material Choices for Door Casings

How Important Door Frame Materials Are

How Important Door Frame Materials Are

When it comes to the longevity and durability of your door frame, the materials you choose will determine how often the door frame will require maintenance and how long it will serve you. 

Natural or Solid Wood

Why Old-School Natural Wood Is Still So Common

Why Old-School Natural Wood Is Still So Common

A classic material that’s been used in construction for millennia, wood is a great option for your door frames. With more modern and convenient materials on the market, wood is not as common as it used to be. However, to this day, wood still holds its own and is a very reliable material. First and foremost: it looks gorgeous. The earthy veins, rich colors, and grainy texture of natural wood are what attract so many buyers.

But it’s not mere aesthetics that have made wood a staple of door frame materials. Door frames are not simply there to look good. There is a practical application to doors and getting the material right is super important if you’re looking to insulate your home well. Wood is one of the best, if not the best, material out there for insulating your home. The natural, thick fibers on the inside of the wooden boards don’t allow for the warm air indoors to escape, keeping the interior warmer better than other materials. And while wood does require regular maintenance as well as quality finish to last a long time, there are plenty of clever solutions and workarounds to help you overcome these issues quite easily. Certain types of wood finish, for example, will protect it from water damage, those being varnish and lacquer. To protect your door frames from warping and misshaping you can use door oil. If you need help picking out which sealer or finish to use for your doorframes, ask the DIY store sales representative to give you their recommendations on brands and types to purchase. 

Vinyl

Modern Conveniences Thanks to Vinyl Door Frames

Modern Conveniences Thanks to Vinyl Door Frames

There are many reasons why vinyl is one of the best materials for door frames. The material itself is used for a variety of construction applications, from foundational support to flooring. This is mostly thanks to how the material is engineered to be durable, long-lasting, waterproof, insect-repellent. This makes vinyl a great pick for door frames as all of these factors can be directly advantageous to use on both interior and exterior door casings.

For exterior doors, vinyl works great as it is water-resistant. Since it’s made of engineered plastic, it is not as susceptible to bending and warping as natural wood or other wood-based materials, making it the perfect option for individuals living in areas with a lot of rain. The low maintenance cost of vinyl is also worth mentioning. Since the material is the same color all the way through, you won’t have to worry about repainting and refacing it as often, since damage such as chips and scratches are not as visible.  

Fiberglass

Super Advanced and Stylishly Sleek Fiberglass Door Casings

Super Advanced and Stylishly Sleek Fiberglass Door Casings

A mixture of resin and glass fiber makes fiberglass one of the sturdiest materials around. It’s also low maintenance thanks to how it naturally contracts with changes in temperature, keeping it from bending and warping like other materials are prone to.

Fiberglass is also low maintenance thanks to the factory paint being resistant to chips and peeling off. As a result, you will spend less time and money on having them refaced and refinished seasonally, which lowers your maintenance costs in the long run. Thanks to fiberglass’ high level of insulation, it can also help you save on utility bills as it has great heat retention. 

Aluminum

Aluminum Door Frames and the Art of Personalized Thresholds

Aluminum Door Frames and the Art of Personalized Thresholds

If you’re looking for something that is versatile in design, look no further than aluminum. This material is great to work with if you’re looking to create unique door designs. You can use aluminum to support a stacked glass door frame for a more sleek and contemporary aesthetic. However, even if you are looking for something more ordinary, aluminum can be stylized to fit more traditional styles as well.

Additionally, aluminum door frames are also very energy efficient as they have good heat retention. Add to that some highly heat-retentive glass panes and around the door frame and you can make your home significantly more sustainable. Easy to work with, highly customizable, durable, and heat-retentive — these are just a few of the advantages that come with using aluminum door frames, making them one of the best options on the market. 

Designs

The Large Variety of Door Frame Designs to Choose From

The Large Variety of Door Frame Designs to Choose From

As with any other interior or exterior addition you make to your home, you need options and lots of them. Everyone has their own stylistic preferences, so carpenters, craftspeople, and manufacturers provide many options for homeowners looking to personalize their doorways. 

Colonial Molding and Windowed Frame

Colonial Doorways That Make You Feel Truly Welcome

Colonial Doorways That Make You Feel Truly Welcome

Why not start things off with something a little grandiose. Now, not all colonial designs are associated with ornate or complex design features. If you look at French-American Colonial interiors, you will find plenty of door frames that have an old-school charm but can also fit in modern aesthetics. A wide front door with a butted jamb, surrounded by glass panes of various shapes is not an uncommon sight in French and British-American Colonial homes.

The glass panes around the door casing will brighten up the entryway, accompanying your guests with a little ray of sunshine as they make their way in. The wider door frames also allow for the placement of a bigger, heavier door, which tends to be more durable and in some cases, even safer. 

Ripple Effect for Transitional Interiors

How Door Frame Design Impacts Interior Aesthetics

How Door Frame Design Impacts Interior Aesthetics

The ripple molding on some transitional style door frames can have a very unique look. While you can find plenty of door frame molding in other more classic interior designs, such as Victorian or Gothic, these tend to have far more complex ornamentation. Transitional combines the molding of traditional designs but brings it into a more modern age by keeping it minimal.

But even minimal internal door lining can produce quite an interesting effect. Looking at a door frame with ripple molding, especially if there is another door in the line of sight, you can achieve a cool visual that creates depth and continuity. So, this is another interesting factor to consider when picking your interior door casing: how is your door going to look from a distance or another room? Do the two-door frames complement each other or butt heads and don’t look good together at all?

Simple and Charming Mitered Casing

The Charm of Simple Miltered Wooden Casing

The Charm of Simple Miltered Wooden Casing

It’s always the Scandinavian interiors that remind us just how beautiful simple design options can be. The simple mitered case without any molding on the jambs is a perfect example of how less can truly be more.

If you are looking for a contemporary but cozy interior vibe, then simple, wooden mitered door casings should get the job done. Sound is also quite important when it comes to picking door frames. The sound of impact from vinyl doors and door casings is going to be considerably different than what you hear from a wooden door frame. So, if you really want to nail that modern-rustic, cozy, and in this case, Scandinavian aesthetic, opt for wooden interior doors

Sleek and Modern Aluminum Door Frame

A More Modern Take On Exterior Door Frames

A More Modern Take On Exterior Door Frames

On the other hand, modern design trends focus on minimal detail, little to no ornamentation, and making good use of geometric shapes. Add to that some sleek textures and angular forms and you have yourself a contemporary metal door frame. An aluminum exterior door frame is a great option for homeowners looking for a modern, minimal, and practical design.

The ease of working with aluminum allows homeowners to create unique designs for their front door frames. There’s a reason why aluminum is considered to be a modern material — it is not only modern in terms of practicality, but it also looks the part.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan