Basics Of Timber Doors

Continuing on from my previous post about the Basics of Door hardware, this post is a quick overview of Timber doors on a Australian Commercial Project, I will not include information about Windows or Glazed doors here as I have not much experience with them. This information is a simple guide and is not fully detailed, if you require more information regarding Timber doors i suggest seek professional advise from a Doors Consultant.

Introduction – Types of Timber doors

What are the different types of Timber doors? on a Commercial Project, Like a Apartment complex or even a Hospital project, there are some common doors types available in the market, that are suited for each of these different types of dwellings. The Jargon again will be specific to Australian industry standards (Doors, Frames and Hardware Industry). These are 3 most general descriptions of doors used in the Industry are (A) Hollow core, (B) Solid core and (C)-Fire doors.

A-Hollow Core Door

Also known as “Honey Comb Door”, is a door manufactured with Timber rails, with honey comb designed core made from high density board, finished either with a flush face or decorative face panel.

Where are Hollow core doors used? Generally the Hollow core door is used in residential Apartment Internals, such as bathrooms, bedrooms ect. As hollow core doors are lighter and easier to install, these doors are fit for light duty usage, being also more cost effective then solid core or fire doors, especially in light duty commercial apartment buildings where there may be a large quantity of internal doors required. Hollow core doors do not provide much security or acoustics, and the door hardware is limited to basic items such as hinges, tubular locks and levers. Door closer and other heavy duty hardware will require hollow core doors to be made with additional timber rails to accommodate the non standard hardware.

Hollow core doors will not be suitable for heavy commercial areas or locations where more security is required, nor are Hollow core doors Fire tested. Hollow core doors are easier to get Damaged due to weather and vandalism and therefore are almost exclusively used for internal doors in a apartment where replacement is easy.

B-Solid core door

A solid core door is similar construction to a Hollow core door with the exception of the Core being either Compressed Particle board, Flax or Block board. The facing on sold core doors are also many and available in Flush finishes or panelled.

Where are solid core door used? generally solid core doors are used in Medium duty commercial areas, such as public toilets, plant and common rooms in commercial units and corridor or lobby services cupboards and rooms where no fire rated doors are required. Solid core Timber doors are more expensive and provide more security then Hollow core doors. Solid core timber doors can be fitted with almost any type of door hardware to suit the location the door leads into. As the door core is “solid”, hardware requirements will not require any special rails inside the doors, unless special panic hardware is required then some solid core doors may need additional blocks for fixing the hardware. A solid core Timber door with Particle Board or Block board core is not tested as a fire door.

As Solid core doors are Non fire rated, there is not much restriction on the sizes, thickness or facings that can be used. Some companies also provide Solid core doors that meet FSC Green star requirements.

Solid core doors can provide minimum acoustic RW ratings to a maximum of RW30 with the right type of door seals.

C-Fire Rated Doors

Fire doors are the most important component of the Doors, Frames and Hardware industry, fire doors are more tricky to specify as there are many factors and codes that need to be taken into consideration. Fire door construction is similar to that of a solid core door but the Core must be a tested mineral core, the door facings must also be tested on the door type, the sizes and thickness available are also limited plus fire door ratings need to be considered as well. Here i will only discuss the General aspects of fire rated doors, there is too much details involved and a basic understanding of fire rated doors is actually not possible at all.

What Makes a Door a Fire door? A door tested to Australian standards in a laboratory setting with certificates issued by a reputable and recognised testing facility will only be considered as a “fire rated door”, there must be evidence provided of the door core, sizes, door facings, frame and hardware all tested as a complete system with the walls that these doors and frames will be installed into to achieve a specific fire rating level (FRL).

The core of a fire rated door is the most important bit and is the basis of designating a door as fire rated. I will discuss two most prevalent fire door core systems in brief, these are most widely used and are available through door manufacturing companies like Corinthian Doors and Hume doors and Timber.

Pyropanel Core Doors – Pyropanel is a manufacturer of the Pyrocore system of fire doors, Pyropanel doors can be sourced from Corinthian Doors, more information is available on their website, but in summery:

“The Pyropanel® products and systems, are tested at accredited independent laboratories such as the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) and EOXVA Warrington Fire Australia, which are NATA and TELARC registered fire testing laboratories. All Pyropanel® fire rated products are tested and approved in accordance with Australian Standard 1530, Part 4 and British Standard 476, Part 22. To our clients that means absolute confidence that the products and systems will perform precisely to specification. Doorsets are available in a wide variety of configurations, to provide flexibility of design together with the secure knowledge of performance under fire conditions.”

Pyropanel® fire doors are less dense than many other doors available on the market and especially durable, with most having the ability to be trimmed on site to ensure a perfect fit without compromising the fire rating. And now, recent Pyropanel designs and certifications have enabled FSC Certified Pyropanel Licensees to manufacture fire doors in accordance with the FSC certification, and so are approved for ‘Greenstar’ projects!

Pyropanel .com

TVC Core Doors – TVC core is similar to Pyropanel, but they have done their own testings and have different requirements to Pyropanel. TVC core fire doors are available from Fire core which also supplies Hume doors and Timber.

From Fire cores Website in summery:

Firecore Pty Ltd is the only one company to supply the world renown: TVC-Core – Fire resistance core board in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

TVC-Core is extremely fire resistant and durable. Under the temperature of around 1200 degree Celsius, TVC-Core does not produce any poisonous or heath threatening substances, making it a great natural “green” material for making firedoors.
Hume doors and Timber
Image from Hume doors and Timber Website


This is a vary limited and basic introduction to doors in general. If you need more information i suggest to talk to a local consultant. Doors and Hardware need to be taken into consideration as a working system that is fit for purpose, Door frames are not that complicated but we need to be aware of the door and hardware requirements to correctly specify a door frame. Door frames are in the next Post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s