Savoy Timber’s quick guide to panelled oak internal doors

georgian house doors

Panelled doors have been a popular option in British homes for centuries. Here at Savoy Timber, we think it’s not hard to see why. They’re practical oak interior doors that strike the perfect balance between simplicity and sophistication, making them an attractive option for almost any room in the home. They’ve also got a long and fascinating history behind them. This week here at Savoy Timber, we’re taking a bit of a look in more detail at both!

What is a panelled internal door?

Sometimes referred to as stile and rail doors, panelled doors are exactly what they sound like. Rather than appearing as a single blank face like many of our flush doors, panelled doors are slightly more complex constructions made up of three main components:

  • One or more panels (the four-sided, raised sections in the middle of the door)
  • Rails (the horizontal and vertical sections that hold each panel in place)
  • Stiles (the two long vertical strips that run lengthways up and down the door, holding the rails in place)

A typical four-panel door like our Deanta Internal Pre-finished Bury Glazed Door (for example) is made by piecing each panel together within these stiles and rails, creating a door that’s durable, sturdy, and blooming lovely to look at, too.

pre finished glazed door

Panel doors evolved from the plainer ‘plank’ or ‘batten’ doors of the pre-Georgian years, most of which were simply a series of vertical slats or planks, held in place by horizontal ledges. They did the job, but didn’t always look pretty or particularly sophisticated doing it. We’re pleased to say that panel doors are generally even nicer to look at!

The thing with using wood in internal oak doors (and other types of wood door, actually) is that it tends to shrink and expand a lot in the heat. Now, this is where it gets clever. The construction method for panel doors basically allows the panels to expand and contract freely while the rails and stiles stay relatively stable. This means that by design, many panel doors are less prone to warping in heat – which is a particular bonus given the sort of weather we’ve been having recently!

The flipside, as you might expect, is that they can be a lot more demanding to build than certain other, simpler types of door. Here are just a few of the extra design features you might find in various types of panelled doors:

  • Flat or raised panels
  • Varying numbers of panels, ranging from a single panel to up to six (or even, in some cases, eight!)
  • Different moulding profiles, depending on the architectural style
  • Extra intricate detailing such as gold leaf
  • Several different types of glazing designs or thicknesses

… and all that is just the start!

Panelled doors and period doors throughout history

Panelled doors have been around for a long old while. Here in the UK, they first started to appear in homes in the Georgian era (generally between the 1700-1800s). In fact, panelled doors quickly became the hot fashion for the Georgian period, taking over from the simpler designs of the previous years.

crescent georgian houses

They were most frequently seen large manor houses and estates, arranged in imposing double-door configurations to signify important rooms or floors. Two-panel or four-panel doors were common, but for the most impressive rooms the Georgians liked to show off their design tastes with grand six-panel designs. If you spotted these, you’d know the room on the other side was a room designed for guests, such as a banquet hall or games room. For the servant’s quarters, though, Georgians didn’t bother with such expenses, and these were usually much plainer one-panel designs. Sometimes they didn’t even get that lucky, and instead got saddled with shoddy versions of the batten doors we mentioned just above.

As the centuries went on, panelled doors never lost their popularity. In fact, soon they weren’t just limited to the houses of nobility. Not long after the Georgian era ended, you could even find them in the houses of some regular Joe Bloggses – although obviously, they weren’t quite as grand or imposing here!

By the time that the Victorian era was in full swing, panelled doors were by far the most popular choice for entrances and exits. The Victorians even put a few of their own spins on the design. You can actually see a couple of these influences in our stock right here at Savoy Timber, for example in our Victorian 4 Panel Pre-finished oak internal door! During the rest of the 20th century, panel doors were still widely used, and underwent several more interesting design changes. On the whole, however, lots of them shared the same basic design that we know them by today.

We have a huge range of options when it comes to panelled doors

savoy's doors

And that brings us all the way up to right now. Here at Savoy Timber, we’ve got a huge range of panel doors, spanning several shades, colours and designs. For example, you might want to browse our collection of 4-panel doors, where you can uncover traditional-styled beauties such as this LPD Internal Oak DX 30’s style door or this Riveria Oak Door with clear glass and raised mouldings. Alternatively, you might fancy more of a contemporary style of panel door for your home, in which case this Primed Brooklyn 2-Panel Door might be more up your street!

Whatever look you’re after for your interiors, you can count on us here at Savoy Timber to help you pick out the door that suits you best. Each of our friendly members of staff has a huge breadth and depth of knowledge when it comes to our stock, so we can make reliable recommendations as to what sort of ranges or types of door you might like. Why not pop into one of our DIY stores in Blackpool, Wigan or Preston, where you can browse our collections of oak internal doors for yourself. And remember, if you ever need us, we’ll be only too happy to lend a helping hand!