Challenges in Updating Interior Architectural Doors
If you’ve landed a design project to update a commercial building, one of many elements you will want to think about is retrofitting the doors and door frames. There are many design elements to consider, especially in buildings with a historic designation. Safety, preservation of character, and incorporating performance features are key. Here, we discuss the challenges of updating and developing interior architectural doors and door frames.
Updating Doors and Door Frames for Safety
Safety is a top priority when developing an existing building. It’s important that you balance creative design and aesthetic with the safety and security of the building’s occupants.
When bringing doors and door frames up to current building codes, you might start with using specific fire-rated doors. The existing doors are likely to be solid wood or hollow, depending on the age of the building. Fire-rated doors can protect against both fire and smoke, potentially saving lives, and reducing liability in the event of a fire.
Primary codes that address fire rating requirements include:
- International Building Code (IBC)
- International Fire Code (IFC)
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101
- NFPA 914, Code for the Protection of Historic Structures
Areas of a building where a fire is more likely to start, such as a kitchen in a nursing facility or hospital, will require fire-rated doors of a specific rating.
Attack Resistant Openings
Another type of commercial door to consider is an attack resistant opening. Unfortunately, there have been hundreds of gunfire incidents on schools and other public buildings in the United States over the past decade. Many commercial design clients today want attack resistant door openings that can mitigate the risk of violent incidents.
Thanks to several layers of protection and strong materials, attack resistant openings will remain intact, even if shot by bullets or physically struck. That strength can buy valuable time until help arrives.
Redeveloping a Historic Building
Historic buildings are noticed for their unique styles, building materials, and architectural design. While original doors can add character and charm to a history building, they can also be troublesome to update or replace.
The Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings have simple standards for updating original buildings while preserving their historicity. Generally, their guidelines suggest that you fix what can be fixed. If it can’t be fixed, find a replacement. If you can’t find a replacement, find a solution that looks similar to the original.
Replacement doors should replicate the original doors as closely as possible. Fortunately, interior wood doors can be customized to a wide range of styles and stained or painted to match other design elements. If a unique style can’t be duplicated exactly, then the replacement should be modern yet complementary, and speak to the unique character of the building.
Incorporating Newer Performance Features
Updating architectural doors in an existing structure allows you to incorporate new, modern features that can add to the building’s value, or improve quality of life for its occupants.
Noise control is often a concern for commercial buildings. Doors with high Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings absorb sound as it passes through it. With the right STC-rated doors, the noise level in bustling environments like office buildings, schools, and medical facilities can be kept to a minimum.
“Green” architectural design choices are rising in popularity as well. Sustainable doors rated by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program incorporate recycled content materials, saving energy and reducing impact on the environment.
Consider a Classic Stile and Rail Design
A stile and rail door looks like a single carved piece of wood, but it is assembled from a dozen or more pieces. Horizontal rails and vertical stiles with panels secured in between are combined to make a high-quality, precisely constructed door.
Because of its construction, stile and rail doors are sturdy and more resistant to sound transfer. They can also be customized to meet fire-rating specifications.
Flexible Design Options
Thanks to a detailed, multi-step construction process, stile and rail doors can be modified to suit any architectural style. Panels can be flat panel, mitered rim, or louvered. You may also choose to add hardware, or lites and archtops.
Furthermore, you can choose veneers, paint colors, stains, or wood species to complement the features and style of the existing building. Midcentury, art deco, contemporary, and more, stile and rail doors can be customized and used for virtually any commercial building redesign.
To learn more about the wide range of options available when you need to retrofit doors for a redevelopment project, browse our wood doors or contact your Masonite Architectural representative