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10 Steps to Success When Specifying Wood Doors

10 Steps to Success When Specifying Wood Doors


The processes used in writing a wood door specification can be fraught with frustration or it can be a fairly simple undertaking that can be completed within minutes. Many specification writers attempt to write specifications in detailed minutia instructing the door manufacturer what components to use and how to use them. If current standards are met, the warranty is adequate and the end result provides the desired aesthetics. The components used should not be the overriding part of the specification. For maximum impact, the specifier should spend his energies determining what the final appearance will be and what standards the door should meet and then write the specification to reflect this desire. This article is to assist the specifier in identifying the top 10 areas they should be concerned with, and how to construct the specification to best reflect those areas. An important point to remember is that manufacturers construct doors to meet specifications, not perception.

These 10 items follow the WDMA guide specifications. Items 1-5 deal with product preference, 6-7 determine the aesthetics and 8-10 deal with performance.

1. Related Sections, Standards,and Regulatory Requirements and Quality Assurance:
A. WDMA - Window & Door Manufacturers Association
B. AWI - Architectural Woodwork Institute
C. WIC - Woodwork Institute of California

2. Delivery Storage:
Comply with manufacturer¹s instructions for on-site storage and handling or refer to WDMA instructions.

3. Door Construction:
A. 5 ply hot press.
B. 7 ply cold press.
C. Stile and Rail Doors.

4. Door Elevations/Details:
A. Flush
B. Window or louver cut outs
C. Potential conflicts with the window and lock
D. Need for special hardware blocking in mineral core doors - "Innerblocking as required" does not guarantee proper or adequate blocking. Preferred wording "Innerblocking for all surface applied hardware."

5. Door Core:
A. PC or FD 20 - Non-rated & 20-minute rated particleboard
B. SCL or SCL 20 - Non-rated and 20-minute rated composite lumber
C. FD - Mineral Core Fire Doors 45, 60 or 90minute

6. Face Veneers:
A. Species - choose the appropriate species for the project
B. Color - applicable in Birch, Ash and Maple. For an all white face, White Birch, White Ash or White Maple must be specified. Specifying Birch, Ash or Maple will result in the use of a natural veneer.
C. Grade - Premium, Custom or Economy. Care in the use of premium is recommended. AWI Premium Grade is a different than WDMA Premium Grade. (WDMA Premium and AWI Custom are similar.) AWI Premium should be used only for special areas within a project or for very special projects. There are cost considerations when specifying AWI Premium Grade.
D. Cut - choose from available cuts in the specified species.
E. Match - Book or Slip match. The use of slip match eliminates the potential for "barber pole" but may result in the face having a "leaning" effect. Book match provides symmetry but may result in "barber pole".
F. Assembly of spliced veneer on the face - Running Match, Balance Match or Center Match - there are cost ramifications in this selections.

7. Finish:
A. All doors to be factory finished. It makes little difference what type of veneer is selected or how it is cut or matched if the finish is "slip shod." Factory finishing is a cost effective, higher quality alternative to jobsite finishing. Hassles involving finishing are eliminated. Install factory finished doors just prior to substantial completion.
B. Job site finishing may be a viable alternative if there is a minimal number of doors or if there is extensive millwork that must match the doors.

8. Job-Site Conditions:
A. Jambs must be plumb and level (doors will not perform properly in a jamb that is not square and plumb). The problem should be corrected prior to handling the door.
B. Ambient humidity must meet standards. The project should be closed in and the HVAC system operating.

9. Sample Requirements:
If samples are requested, sizes will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

10. Warranty Requirements:
Lifetime warranties should include reasonable costs for the hanging and finishing of replacement doors.
Specifiers should acquaint themselves with the interactive tools now available to assist in writing a proper door specification.

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