The vintage charm of a Dutch door has graced many homes throughout the world for centuries. With the innovative touch of modern craftsmanship, there are many reasons to purchase a new Dutch door for both your interior and exterior spaces.
Top Reasons to Install a Dutch Door in Your Home
- Let’s in light and fresh air
- Stylish alternative to baby and pet gates
- Adds an interesting and attractive design element
These doors can be used throughout your home according to your needs and design ideas. Whether you’re looking for an exterior Dutch entry door or an interior Dutch barn door, you are sure to find the perfect door at Rustica.
What is a Dutch Door?
A Dutch door, essentially, is a door divided in half horizontally. Over the years, this type of door has also been commonly referred to as a stable door, a split door, or a half door. The division creates separately hinged top and bottom doors that can swing open independently of each other. The top door contains a latch that can slide into the receiving end of a latch on the bottom door, allowing a homeowner to easily move between traditional and split door functions when desired. The history of this door goes all the way back to 17th-century Holland, where families wanted to be able to maintain privacy but also be able to open up their homes to fresh air, light, and neighbors.
The design made its way to America and became widely popular in the New Jersey and New York area during the Colonial Era. Today, craftsmen offer a wide variety of Dutch doors, including those with solid panels, top and bottom windows, retractable screens, French-paned glass, steel framing, and many more design features and functions.
What is a Half Door Called?
When the top and bottom halves of a door can operate separately, calling it a half door makes sense. However, these doors are technically referred to as Dutch doors. But this doesn’t mean that everyone calls them this. In fact, this particular style of door has many different names, which vary depending on where you are.
Much like when Dutch doors were first brought over to North America, it is common for these doors to be referred to as double-hung doors in New England. As you travel south towards New York and New Jersey, they’re called their more common name of Dutch doors. Throughout the rest of the US, you’ll find these doors by either of these names.
On the other side of the pond, throughout much of Europe and especially the Netherlands and Ireland, this door style is known as stable doors, half doors, or Dutch doors.
Dutch doors or half doors fit perfectly with the growing farmhouse design that many people are now incorporating into their homes. Like a barn door, this door style offers a 'country chic' look, complementing different design elements both inside and outside the house, including distressed furniture, florals, rustic barn wood, shiplap, etc.
The split door concept works for both exterior and interior doors. Opening the top half of the doors acts as a window, whether it is to the outside or simply just to another room. While a half door option can be used for exterior doors, they require additional installation work to ensure weatherproofing. Therefore, this door style is more commonly used for interior doors, since they do not need extra weatherstripping and alignment to keep the elements out.
Can You Cut a Door in Half to Create a Half Door?
The beauty of half doors is that the concept allows you to benefit from two different door styles with a single unit.
Given the complexity of half doors and the fact that they often have to be custom ordered, they can be a bit pricier than other door designs. However, it is possible to cut a factory door in half horizontally to create a half door. Being able to make your own Dutch door could be incredibly helpful for interior doors (and can serve as an excellent baby gate on nurseries) where you may not want to pay for a brand new door. But, before you do, there are some essential things to keep in mind.
For starters, consider whether you want your half door as an exterior or interior door. Choosing to DIY a double hung door is much easier with an interior door. Exterior doors will require additional weatherproofing to keep out elements like wind and water. Dutch doors as entry doors also require additional security measures in comparison to their interior counterparts.
Secondly, you’ll want to consider two important things about the door that you will be cutting. First, you want to think about the panels in your existing door design. You’ll want your horizontal cut to work with the existing panels. Having a break in your panels too high or too low can create an awkward vibe or make using it uncomfortable. You will also want to consider whether you are working with a door slab or if you already have holes for the doorknob in the slab. You’ll want the doorknob to be on the bottom portion of the door. Again, this could make the door awkward to use depending on where it is located, so be sure to confirm that your existing door will work.
It’s also important to consider the material of your existing door. To DIY a half door, your best option is a solid door made of wood. While it is possible with a hollow-core, aluminum, or steel door, it can get a bit more complicated. You’ll also need to make sure you use the right tools, as you will need a special metal cutting blade to get a smooth edge.
Next, it’s important to remember that half doors require special hardware. Most stock doors come with two factory hinges. For the top half of the door to securely swing separately from the bottom half, you’ll need to make sure you have at least four hinges that can support the weight of your door. You will also need a latch to secure the top and bottom halves together into a single panel as needed. If you are working on an exterior door, you’ll need to add an extra deadbolt to the upper portion of the door for extra security. You'll keep the doorknob and lock on the lower half of the door. Also, be sure to include a latching mechanism for the top half to keep fingers from getting pinched between the two halves should the top swing shut. You can often find all of the hardware you will need in a kit, helping simplify the process a bit.
Also, keep your vision for the finished product in mind. If you want half glass doors, consider working with a manufacturer, like Rustica, that can customize your door design while matching your exact specifications. If, on the other hand, you are working with a solid door and are comfortable with power tools, then DIY may be the option for you. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that your door is hung correctly in the frame.
Reasons to Install a Dutch Door
With so many available options, it’s easy to see why there are many reasons for purchasing a Dutch door.
Let’s in Light and Fresh Air
21st-century homeowners can reap the many benefits of installing a Dutch door just like homeowners in the Colonial Era. The best part about this type of door is that it serves the role of both a window and a door at the same time.
Dutch doors are extremely practical, whether you want to let air flow through your home while cooking in the kitchen or simply wish to enjoy a pleasant breeze. Let natural sun rays brighten up your living room or enjoy the sound of cicadas on summer nights. Whatever your reason, Dutch doors are the perfect solution to let natural light
and fresh air into your home while still maintaining privacy.
Stylish Alternative to Baby and Pet Gates
Dutch doors are also great for parents. Open up the top portion of your door to keep your eyes on the kids in the yard. Or, keep them playing safely indoors while opening the top half of the door like a window.
Pet owners can also enjoy the benefits of Dutch doors. Enjoy the view while keeping pets inside or outside. Dutch doors are also perfect for keeping other unwanted critters from entering your home, which is especially helpful for homeowners with farm animals in rural areas.
A Dutch door can also be installed as an interior door, allowing parents and pet owners to section off parts of their homes. The door functions as a pet or baby gate so that both animals and children can play within certain boundaries indoors while homeowners still have the ability to see and hear what they’re doing. The Dutch door design is perfect for playrooms, living rooms, dining areas, laundry rooms, and offices.
Adds an Interesting and Attractive Design Element
Dutch doors are truly
unique. Though their style was extremely popular in 17-18th century America, not many homes are currently built with this feature. Many homeowners turn to sliding barn doors or French doors for design aesthetic, overlooking the value that other vintage doors can bring to a home. A Dutch door will stand out in both its beauty and functionality, especially because there are so many available design choices when choosing a modern Dutch door.
Rustica offers a beautiful selection of quality Dutch interior and exterior doors at affordable pricing. Each is handcrafted with distinct design and functionality.
Single Dutch Door
For standard interior doorways or an exterior patio or entry door, Rustica offers a diverse selection of Dutch doors. The Classic Dutch Door
and the Cornerstone Dutch door
are created with two multi-panel doors made with a rustic woodgrain. These doors salute a day in age where apple pies and peach cobbler cooled on windowsills. The Country Dutch Door
reminisces on a similar, more simple time—except that this design features a smoother wood grain and a window on the upper door that sits atop a bottom solid door.
More modern Dutch doors are also available for homeowners looking for traditional functionality but with a contemporary flair. The Grove Dutch Door
is a one-of-a-kind design that features two half doors made of iron-paned windows. This gorgeous door can provide curb appeal to your home and fill the interior areas of your home with natural light. The Dutch Modern Door
is also unique in that it features two solid door panels with a monogrammed upper door, making it the perfect front door for proudly welcoming guests into your home. Base pricing for a single interior Dutch door ranges from $500-$700. A single exterior Dutch door may cost an additional $600.
Double Dutch Door
For larger door openings, Rustica offers Double Dutch Doors for both exterior and interior spaces. Keep in mind that all single Dutch doors designs can be bought as double Dutch doors. Base pricing for a double interior Dutch door ranges from $1300-$1600. A double exterior Dutch door may increase the cost by an additional $600.
Dutch Door Hardware
Like all of Rustica’s doors, homeowners can customize their vintage Dutch door with beautiful hardware options made of quality steel. Below is a list of necessary Dutch door hardware:Hinges:
Each half door requires at least two hinges, meaning you’ll need to purchase a minimum of four hinges (eight for double Dutch doors). Though standard doors only require three hinges, most of these hinges are universal and can be used for your Dutch doors as long as they meet weight requirements. Latch:
You’ll need a Dutch door latch in order to bolt the top and bottom door together when you want to utilize a traditional door swing or to add additional stability when your door is closed during storms or high winds. With Rustica, you can choose the finish of your latch/bolt from many gorgeous options like Satin Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze, and French Antique. Knobs and Locks:
While an extra Dutch door bolt can be installed on the top door, all standard door knobs, locks, or handles are installed on the lower door.
You’ll need to choose either a left-handed handing or a right-handed handing when selecting knobs. This depends on whether you want the door to swing to the left or to the right when opening. Optional Door Shelf:
For additional design creativity, choose to incorporate a wooden door shelf. This shelf is generally the width of your door and is installed on the lower half. Cute with country charm, a shelf can be a place for homeowners to lean against while gazing peacefully outside or the perfect spot to cool your freshly baked goods. As functional as it is adorable, a shelf also provides additional stability to the door’s structure.
Tips for Installing a Dutch Door
Rustica delivers their Dutch doors with hinges prepped, making installation easy for any homeowner. Follow the basic directions below for a DIY Dutch door installation. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to Rustica’s customer service for expert advice.
- Place doors on the floor face up and begin to drill hinges into pre-prepped holes (these holes can also be customized for an additional $75 charge). Use a leveler to check for accuracy then finish drilling using a washer and nut.
- Line up the bottom half of the door with the door jamb. You’ll want a 1/2-inch gap remaining between the bottom of the door and the floor. Check to make sure everything is level and then line up the hinges on the door jamb for final placement. To make the process easier, use the hinges to guide you in pre-drilling the jamb and then carefully attach the door hinges and door to the frame using screws.
- Repeat the process for the top door and the top half of the jamb. This time, you’ll also want to make sure that there is a 1/4 inch gap between the top and bottom door in addition to the 1/2-inch gap in between the top of the door frame and the top of your upper door. Line up the hinges, pre-drill, then drill the screws to fasten the door to the frame.
- At this point, you are ready to install your hardware. It’s always a good idea to pre-drill holes for handles, knobs, locks, bolts, and shelves. Using a leveler is highly recommended. And remember, all bolts are primarily installed on the bottom of your top door so the hardware slides into the receiving latch on top of the bottom door. Locks, knobs, and handles are always installed on the bottom door. This is true whether your knobs and handles are real or dummy.
These directions are for Dutch door interior installation. For Dutch door exterior installation, you want to make sure the door is airtight, as well. To do this, install weather stripping hardware, like an astragal, directly to the top of the bottom door, sliding the hardware until it’s in place and then drilling it tightly.
Generally, this step is completed with the doors already attached to the door jamb, with the top door open. When both doors are closed, this hardware will line up perfectly with the top door to prevent any weather elements from entering through your Dutch door. This step is not necessary for interior Dutch doors.
Dutch Doors: The Perfect Vintage Doors for Your Home