Thinking about buying an antique door?
Well no wonder. Whether it’s your main entrance or an interior door, they are one of those architectural features that can add real personality to a home. All of our reclaimed doors have a pretty interesting story to tell too.
But we don’t want you to get your fingers burned. Before you find yourself too far down the purchasing journey, we’ve created an antique buying guide that will give you all the tips and tricks you need so you find the perfect vintage door for your project.
Before you choose a door, we recommend considering:
If you’re designing a living space around a certain style, it’s important that you find an antique door to match. You may be interested to learn the period it was created. Is it Victorian or Edwardian? What is the panel configuration? Is it glazed or solid? These are all major considerations that will help you find the path to the right door.
Size matters, especially when it comes to doors!
You should try to find a door that will fit into the space without the need for too much adjusting. Although doors can be trimmed slightly, in most circumstances taking large amounts off will not be possible. There generally isn’t much scope to reduce widths, however there is more flexibility when it comes to height reduction. This will vary from door to door. For peace of mind, we are happy to check if a particular door will reduce to your required size before you buy.
Top tip: Remember to allow enough space for the frame if you are making a new opening!
Repairs and upgrades
Many modern doors are designed and built with insulation in mind. The same can’t be said for antique doors. So if you’re thinking about inserting double glazing, rebates may need to be made deeper, or conservation glazing may need to be fitted. We will be able to give advice on the best solution. If your project requires building inspector approval, we advise checking that any glazed doors will comply with building regulations before purchasing.
It’s also important to consider the finish you are aiming to achieve. Will you be painting, staining or waxing your door, or are you aiming for a natural wood finish? Our top tip is to buy the door with an appearance as you wish to use it. Don’t assume a painted door will strip to a pleasing finish as it’s possible a reclaimed door will have been altered and repaired many times in its life. Paint or other finishes can mask these.
Door health is a key consideration before any purchasing decision can be made. We would never recommend buying a door with cement asbestos type panels that are attached to or sandwiched between the panels. These doors will often carry fire door signage and removing these panels can be hazardous.
We also recommend checking for woodworm. A small amount can sometimes be expected, but excessive amounts will probably render the door unusable. Rest assured if we find any we will treat the door and check its useability before it is sold.
It’s also advisable to check for twisting or warping. Reclaimed doors have a long history of use and are therefore rarely 100% straight, but anything other than minor twisting will make the door hard to use. Any we find are clearly described.
That said, if an antique door has some of the defects listed above, therefore rendering them of no use as doors, there’s no need to write them off completely. On many occasions, we’ve seen some lovely, rare doors used in other interesting ways, from mirror panels to headboards, or even coffee tables!
And that’s it. You’re ready to choose your vintage door
OK, so our guide is complete and you are now ready to choose your vintage door.
At UK Heritage, we specialise in the unique, rare and unusual. You’re guaranteed to find a door with a good story to tell! Our current stock even includes sets of doors from the Palace of Westminster, Wimbledon and many other historic English country houses. Just imagine the important figures who once walked through these doors!
Another set we are particularly fond of is our 20th century copper light doors. These are usually of wonderful quality and will compliment a stylish contemporary interior. We currently have a number of sets salvaged from Liberty’s department store, and twenty sets from an Art Deco apartment block. Some of these have found homes as far away as the USA!
See if we can help you find your perfect antique door. Use our new search tools to find the right style for your project.