What is a double hung door?

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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open dutch door
The top of the double hung door swings open independently of the bottom for ease of communication and the safety of children
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How a closed door can let some air in

Double-hung doors, or Dutch doors, are somewhat of a rarity anymore. Dutch doors are like a standard door that is cut in half horizontally at its center so that the top and bottom swing open or closed independently of each other. They are common in nurseries or day-care centers where communication with parents and the security of the children are top priorities.

Two Ways to get a Double-Hung Door

  • Buy a Dutch door from a retailer. This is the simple way to go, especially if you do not know how to hang a double-hung door. These doors come pre-hung and can be installed similarly to standard doors, although twice the effort will have to be made to ensure a proper swing. Most home improvement stores do not stock double-hung doors, so they will need to be special ordered. 

  • Make your own double-hung door by cutting a standard door in half. This is actually a common way to create double-hung doors. Essentially, the door is carefully cut in two and drilled for lock sets and hinges. It is common to cut doors down to fit openings, so this is nothing to risque. However, many doors are hollow-core and will need something to strengthen them after being cut. You also want to be careful in the cutting process because hollow-core doors are prone to cracking or splintering. Overcome these setbacks by purchasing a solid wood door from a local retailer. Manufacturing a double-hung door from a standard door is a rather difficult process. It is usually limited to interior door situations and done by professionals who can build them quickly and know how to install double-hung doors.

Pros and Cons of Double-hung Doors

  • Pros

    • Double-hung doors make for a classic, Dutch-style front door. They allow easy air flow without leaving the front door open for children and pets to scramble out. They are designed as plain or ornate as you like and provide a clear view.

  • Cons

    • Conversely, double-hung doors may allow too much air flow. In other words, with two doors built into one there is twice the opportunity for air to seep through. Also, while Dutch doors serve to keep children and pets in the house, they don't necessarily keep people out either. The doors just aren't as strong as standard doors and often have problems locking over time.

Double hung doors can be tricky to hang and it is best to hire a professional to do the work. If you decide to do it yourself, don't go it alone. It is vital to get the hinges for both top and bottom aligned correctly so that the door will swing well and last longer. Again, it is unlikely that a local retailer will stock this type of door. Just remember that a Dutch door is what you are looking for and browse online for some styles that suit you before ordering a door.

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