How to choose Doors for your House.

How to choose Doors for your House.

entrance door

There are many kinds of doors each for a specific purpose. Careful selection of door type is very important in determining how effective the door will be in serving its purpose. The average door height is 2.1 meters and the average width is 900mm. This can be smaller-unto 800mm especially for toilets and bathrooms or larger-1.2m to 5m for main door entrances and gates .

All these doors come with door frames that match i.e. hardwood doors come with hardwood frames and steel doors come with steel door frames.
The frames can come in various sizes in width [usually between 100mm and 250mm] of which the frames can be grooves to different patterns according to one’s taste.

Determine if the door is internal or external.

External doors are made to withstand the harsh climatic conditions that are associated with the outdoors.
Wooden external doors made of solid wood as opposed to wooden internal doors which are made of hollow or solid block board. The average internal door is usually 45mm in thickness and the block board can be finished with mahogany veneer to British Standards and lipped with solid wood all round on the outside.
External hardwood doors can be designed in various patterns, the most common being in hardwood mahogany panels.


Determine the design that you like.

There are many door designs available in the market.
MDF skins are usually stuck on top of a normal block board door to come up with a close resemblance of a hardwood door.
The MDF doors have various grooved patterns on their skins. You can also request your contractor to have the door skin grooved to your taste. MDF doors also come in different skin finishes-you can choose peach, mahogany or any other natural wood color and texture that you may wish.

Doors can also be designed to a customer’s specific logo. This is desirable especially for corporate offices.

designer door
designer door

For hotels, doors can be creatively cladded with unfinished wood such as the one below in a popular 5 star hotel in Kenya-Mount Kenya Safari Club at the foot of Mount Kenya.
door creatively cladded with timber off cut at the prestigious 5 star Mount Kenya Hotel
door creatively cladded with timber off cut at the prestigious 5 star Mount Kenya Hotel

This creates the desired natural feel that brings about relaxation especially in leisure related businesses such as hotels.
Doors can also be hand curved into works of art from hardwood such as the Swahili doors at the Kenyan coastal towns.
swahili hand curved door
swahili hand curved door

Imported Steel doors cladded in hardwood come in numerous designs and colours that you can choose from.


Determine your budget.

Doors come in various prices. The cheapest external doors being the T&G doors that retail for around 1200KES and the most expensive being the hardwood and steel security doors that retail for an average of 15000KES each.

The cheapest internal doors are hollow core flush doors that retail fro around 1500KES each and the most expensive internal doors are hardwood doors for 15000KES each.
The T&G doors are not as appealing as the hardwood doors hence the big difference in pricing. The T&G doors are usually painted to a specific color while the hardwood doors are usually varnished so as to bring out the natural hardwood beauty.


Security level

Security is a crucial factor in determining the door type.
For rooms that require very high security level such as bank strong rooms, the doors are usually made of steel and have a very complex combination lock. The walling around the strong room is also done specially with reinforced concrete to prevent any attempted breakage.
For most residential houses, solid wood doors are used as main entrance doors since as much as they are weather proof, they are also not easy to break. These doors can also be reinforced with steel doors which can be designed as steel panel doors or steel grill doors.

steel security door cladded with mdf mahogany vineer
steel security door cladded with mdf mahogany vineer

Door locks also determine the security level.
2 Lever mortise door locks are mainly used in internal doors such as bedroom doors which don’t require a very high level of security. 3 to 7 lever doors are mainly used on the main entrance external doors since their keys can not be easily forged unlike 2 lever locks.
As the name suggests, mortise locks are concealed locks mortised into the door. They have varying levels of security from two levers up to seven levers.
The number of levers (of which there are commonly seven variations) fitted at random in the lock, generate the number of possible key differs. Put simply, a two lever lock has potentially 49 key options (7 x 7). A seven lever lock has 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 or 823,543 potential key differs. Hence you can see the greater number of levers there are, the less likely it is that someone else will be holding the same key as you.

Combination locks are most common in corporate offices and strong rooms.
Fingerprint technology whereby the doors are programmed to open upon recognition of a specific thumb print or eye pupil is already here with us.

Frank Gichuhi.

Francis Gichuhi (692 Posts)

Architect Francis Gichuhi . B.Arch. University of Nairobi. Registered Architect, Kenya. Member, Architectural Association of Kenya. Contacts. email Telephone +254721410684


  5 comments for “How to choose Doors for your House.

  1. January 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Hello frank

    In your earlier post, you observed that the houses in Rongai have one monotonous design, and I agree. I am planning to put up a house, then sell in Rongai, and this monotony is on thing I would want to avoid. Can I fit a 3 bedroom hse in a 40X80ft plot and leave enough space for 2 car parks plus soak pit, and yet avoid monotony. Will appreciate your comments.

    otherwise, I have enjoyed the posts you’ve made, here and in


  2. admin
    January 7, 2010 at 5:42 am

    Yes its possible. The Size of the plot does not limit design so if the house is designed well, it will look unique.

  3. June 19, 2010 at 7:53 am

    I like your commentary because of the unique quality of content and commenters you will find here. Besides I do not come across useless and grammatically wrong sentences such as “yo”, “hey” and “lol” type of comments which in my opinion are whack, less thought out and filler material that is and of little use to other readers. The content on the blog is respectful and well-prepared which is not the case with other niche blogs in the blogosphere. Indeed, I am willing to invest relevant time towards sharing my knowledge and thoughts with other bloggers.

  4. swaleh shariff
    July 1, 2015 at 7:39 am

    hi frank, i
    am looking for a place to buy imported doors in mombasa. contact me on 0722709060

  5. William
    August 18, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Good article, where can I buy the hardwood doors in Nairobi?

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