Specification Requirements for Proposed
Door Replacements
in Historic Buildings


Oklahoma Historical Society
State Historic Preservation Office
800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  73105

Doorways are often major character defining features of historic buildings.  Historic doorways are more than just the doors themselves.  Historic doorways are comprised of significant elements which include the number and placement of doors, the architectural detailing and finish of the doors, the design of the sidelights and transoms, and the surrounding moldings and trim.  Because of the importance of historic doorways, rehabilitation projects must address surviving historic doorways with sensitivity.

Criteria to follow when determining appropriate treatments for historic doorways are:

  1. If the historic doorway exists, in total or in part, it should be retained, damaged parts repaired, and missing parts replaced.

  2. If inspection reveals that it is not feasible to retain the historic doorway due to deterioration, replacement elements must replicate the historic features and detailing.

  3. If the historic door(s) or surrounding features are missing, in total or in part, new elements must be based on historic documentation, such as historic photographs of the building itself, or must be compatible with the building.  To choose a compatible doorway, the design must be based on doorways used for buildings of the same style, character, and age. 

  4. For multiple rehabilitation projects within historic districts, two mistakes are common: 1) choosing a new doorway style which never existed in the district, thereby introducing a new element and altering the district's cohesiveness and 2) choosing a single doorway style which is typical to the district, and applying the doorway throughout the district, thereby diminishing the district's diversity.

When replacement of historic doorways is warranted because of deterioration or missing features, the following minimum documentation must be provided in order to review proposed doorway treatments for conformance with the Secretary of the Interior's "Standards for Rehabilitation."

1.  Exterior photographs of existing doorways that clearly show doors, sidelights, transoms, and surrounding moldings and trim.  If existing doorways are boarded over, it will be necessary to remove the boards in order to take the photographs. 

2.  Same scale full horizontal (a) and vertical (b) sections of existing doorways (Figure 1).

3.  Full horizontal and vertical sections of proposed replacement doorways.  Drawings should be at the same scale as existing doorway sections.  If historic doorway features do not exist, horizontal and vertical sections of proposed replacements are required.

Doorway sections must show the profiles of all door elements, such as recessed or raised panels, decorative trim, and glass panels.  The sections should also show treatments to transoms and sidelights.  The placement of the door within the opening and its relationship to the wall plane must be illustrated in the sections.  The figures below are examples of vertical door sections of an existing door (Figure 2) and a replacement door (Figure 3).  Horizontal sections should be drawn similarly to these vertical sections.  Since the sections are the same scale, the two doors can be compared.  The replacement door, in this case, closely resembles the design of the existing door and therefore meets the Secretary's "Standards for Rehabilitation."

For more information contact:
State Historic Preservation Office
Oklahoma Historical Society
800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  73105
(405) 521-6249

 

Back to Menu      Storm Windows