What are wooden door frames?

Wooden door frames are manufactured items out of various timbers that are built into the openings of walls in buildings.

They allow the door to be hung in such a way that the door can open and close easily and they help seal the room once the door is in a closed position.

What are the different types of wooden door frames?

Wooden door frames generally fall into 3 different categories: Interior door frames, exterior door frames and door jambs.

Almost all door frames can be used for both inside (interior) and outside (exterior) doors.

However depending on how the external door frames are being built in it may be necessary to make use of a cill.

Cills are used to prevent the elements from entering the house under the door by allowing the door to sit flush against the rebate on the cill.

There is no real difference between interior door frames and exterior door frames other than if a cill is required to be used.

Door jambs are also a type of door frame, but are slightly different.

Door jambs, otherwise known as jamb liners are most often used for interior doors.

Door jambs are considerably wider than even the biggest door frames. They are generally available in two widths 130mm for single brick walls and 250mm for double brick walls.

When using door jambs you have the additional option of finishing off the installation by using architraves around the frame.

Architraves are basically a continuation of the skirting’s that boarder a room. It finishes off the door frame beautifully as it borders the installation giving it a much fuller appearance.

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How are wooden door frames constructed?

Wooden door frames are made up out of the following components.

The uprights or vertical pieces are called door frame styles, the top horizontal piece is call the door frame head and on occasion when an external door frame is used on the outside you would use a cill on the bottom.

The two horizontal short pieces that extent beyond the styles are called the horns.

Together they allow the door to be hung in such a way that the door can open and close easily and they help seal the room once the door is in a closed position.

What timbers are wooden door frames made out of?

Most commercially available wooden door frames that are manufactured in South Africa are made out of three different timber species.

Hardwood door frames are manufactured out of either Meranti or Eucalyptus, and are used primarily for exterior door frames due to their superior strength.

Eucalyptus hardwood door frames are primarily available in 2 sub species: Saligna which is locally grown in South Africa, or Grandus that is imported from South America.

Softwood door frames are primarily manufactured out of Pine. These are most commonly used for interior door frames.

Hardwood door frames are far more durable than the Pine softwood door frames against the elements.

The most important factor in the preparation of all door frame material is that it needs to be kiln dried to about 13% moisture content. This stabilises the timber so that it stays straight and doesn’t warp after the doors are hung on the frame, and after exposure to the elements in the case of exterior door frames.

What types of wooden doorframe profiles are available?

A wooden door frame profile is the width and thickness of each of the components that make up the door frame.

In South Africa there are no set standards according to SABS however some sizes are more recognised than other e.g. 42mm x 65 and 42mm x 86 as well as 52mm x 86mm.

Generally speaking the thinner the timber door frame profile the cheaper the door frame.

The cheapest hardwood door frame sections that you can but are a 44mm x 60mm Meranti Door frame or a 35mm x 76mm Grandus Door Frame.

The absolute cheapest timber door frame is a Pine door frame but we wouldn’t advocate pine door frames as they are softwood which is generally unstable.

What are the standard sizes of wooden door frames that are available?

In South Africa there are standard door frame sizes that fit off the shelf doors.

These sizes are as follows:


762 mm x 2032 mm
813 mm x 2032 mm
900 mm x 2032 mm
1200 mm x 2032 mm
1530 mm x 2032 mm
1630 mm x 2032 mm


813 mm x 2320 mm
900 mm x 2320 mm
1200 mm x 2320 mm
1530 mm x 2320 mm
1630 mm x 2320 mm

Can wooden door frames be custom made?

Other than standard height door frames it is possible to have bespoke door frames or custom made door frames that are made according to the daylight opening size that the doors need to be fitted into.

This is part of bespoke joinery that Doors Online can offer.

How do you install wooden door frames?

Often when door frames are supplied they come with two horns. The purpose of these horns is to be built into the wet-work in order to hold the door frames firmly in position.

Should the doorway have been plastered already these horns would need to be cut off prior to installation.

Often door frames are supplied where the styles are about 50mm longer than the door height they are manufactured for.

The reason for this is to allow the bottom of the frame to sunken into the screed in order to secure the door frame into position. Should you install this taller frame into position without trimming it down the appropriate size it would leave a large gap on either the top side or bottom side once the door has been installed.

We often see doors which have had to be excessively trimmed to fit into a door frame. The reason for this is normally that the contractor has not taken the final floor levels into consideration when building in the door frame, and he has buried the door frame into the screed and then tiled or laid carpets on top of this.

Whatever the original height of the door frame was, it is now effectively a lot smaller, because the door frame is now sunken into the floor, by sometimes as much as 75mm.

The only way to now fit the door is to trim the door by this amount. This excessive trimming of the door reduces the structural integrity of the door.

It is essential to remember that door frames are not meant to be weight bearing and as such one still needs to use lintels in order to carry the weight of the bricks above the frame.

Failure to do this will result in the head carrying the load and will begin sagging over time.

How do you treat wooden door frames?

All wooden door frames are supplied raw or untreated in order to allow the client to finish the frames off to their desired finish.

There are a number of different options when it comes to the possible ways to finish your door and door frames that include the following:

  1. Finish off with a clear deep penetrating oil to enhance the natural colour of the timber.
  2. Use a variety of different stains to get the door finished off to you particular required shade.
  3. You could prime the wood and then finish it off to the colour of your choice.
  4. Lastly, it is not advised that you us varnish on either the door or the door frame as varnish does not penetrate deep enough and over time it begins to flake and to peel which means the entire frame needs to be sanded down first before being refinished.

What are door frame kits?

Our door frames are supplied unassembled for ease of transport over long distances.

Transporting doorframes that are assembled cost more due to the volumetric space that they take up.

However, all come with full assembly instructions, and we can be contacted by phone or email if you have any questions regarding the fitting of your door frame.

What are low cost door frames?

When it comes to low cost housing projects in order to save costs developers usually use cheaper door frames.

These door frames are usually the lighter or smaller profiles like 40mm x 60mm or a 38mm x 70mm.

These are the most cost effective door frames but still serve the purpose provided they are installed correctly.

What problems can occur with wooden door frames?

Over time, buildings often move on their foundations. While this movement may be very slight, it can be enough to mean that a door jamb is no longer vertical. This means it will no longer be holding the weight of the door evenly all the way along its height.

If you fail to address this, you could eventually find that your doors will start to stick at either the top or the bottom. If this problem is left unchecked, your door could eventually start to stick in the frame.

In turn, having to push increasingly hard on a door to get it to open will put more stress on the door itself, and so could force it too out of shape.

So when you start finding it more difficult to open or close a door fully, the problem may lie with your door frame or door jamb no longer being square.

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