Dutch doors

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My church [tiny, with even tinier budget] is getting ready to wall off an area for a nursery. If we put in a door (of course we'll have a door), the state says the door has to have a glass panel so people can see in.
One of the ladies suggested using Dutch doors so the top half could be left completely open. Nobody knows where to order a set of dutch doors, much less with a window in the top half, and I suspect they are quite expensive.
How hard would it be to cut a hollow-core door in two just above the knob and repair the cut edges by gluing in wooden blocks? And what about cutting a 20" square hole in the top half and framing in a Plexiglass panel? Would the hinges already be in the right place if I start with a pre-hung door? (I know I'd need to add a second pair of hinges.) The door probably needs to be hung on all 4 hinges *before* cutting it in half...
Thanks, Bob
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On 2/1/2009 12:49 PM zxcvbob spake thus:

I was going to do just this (install a Dutch door) for someone recently.
Don't use a hollow-core door: use a solid door. No patching or filling necessary. Leave at least 1/8" clearance between doors.
Yes, hang it by all 4 hinges first, then cut (duh!).
You may want to consider adding a shelf to the bottom half; usual way is to reduce the height of the bottom door by the thickness of the shelf. Add supports on both sides as needed.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

What he said. I've done this, too. Solid door, cut, with another hinge for the orphaned side, and you're good to go.
Make the shelf big with overhang on each side and support underneath, if you like. That way, if can be used for a sign in/out sheets and whatever else your church uses or needs for checking in/out the kids.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it\'s my function in life"
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wrote:

Reminds me of a Cashier's window or an old military type pharmacy window.
This Cashier was cautious and really didn't want anyone behind the door, all business was over the solid door/shelf...but I'm here to do an audit. "Can't come in"
A few weeks later I had the door removed from the Cashier's office and the door stood in the hall next morning.
All because of a fire alarm sensor :-/
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When growing up my dad's shop built on the back of the house 8' concrete... had just that. A large home made dutch door.
I support getting a solid fire door - they are heavy and will provide support when cut. Might be a safety issue as well - save another headache.
The home made ones were built with 1/2" marine plywood. The ply was the central section and large 6' wide boards framed it. They were 2x6's. They were slotted to allow the ply within.
I think the idea of pre-hanging it in the first place is Great!!!
Martin
David Nebenzahl wrote:

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If nothing else, make certain any dutch door for a nursery will support kids hanging off of it and swinging wildly. It will happen, although (presumably) against the rules, and the door needs to withstand the weight and torque. This of course also calls for beefy hinges, especially for the lower portion. I would not trust a hollow core door for this.
Even if code doesn't require it, a glass (or plexiglass or whatever) panel is a really good idea in this age of liability and lawsuits and fears of child abuse, whether well-founded or not. Over the past few years, they've installed glass panels in all the nursery, classroom, and office doors in my church.
--
Andrew Erickson

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot
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Do the state rules say how or what height the window must be? With a bottom door in place to start, adults can see in as needed so a window shouldn't be needed there.
You can go with a full door and cut it in half if you think it might be easier, but essentially you're fitting two doors into an existing space. I'd install the bottom door first just to get an effective working partition in there as soon as possible and then fit the upper door with window as needed.
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wrote:

I don't have direct experience with police line-ups, but there absolutely is vinyl or polyethylene sheeting that is more transparent in one direction than in the other. It's almost white on one side, and brown on the other, and people on the brown side can see through it pretty well, but on the white side, the whiteness must make the pupils close down and one really can't see anything on the other side. Maybe if you put your eye right up to it, you could, but I don't know, I haven't tried that.
I think I've seen other designs as well.
I don't see why a day care place couldn't use this. It doesn't have any sharp edges.
The plastic can be used alone or it can be stuck to lexan or glass sheeting. Even then it would be no more dangerous than a plain glass window, maybe less.
If you can't find this at a fabric shop or plastic shop, email me and I'll find out where we got it.
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Sign guys use that stuff. They print on it and stick it on city busses with adverts etc. The passengers can see out quite will, although at reduced light levels. And you're right, it is very difficult to see through, although whilst picking nits, I would have to say that technically, the tiny holes are the same dimension regardless....as I drift off in b o r e d o m.....
The only real visual 'diode', is a webcam.. or any other kind of cam, but not a cam'el', because when you lift up a camel's tail, and peek inside, you don't get to see what the camel sees. Or so I'm told.....told you I was bored...
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otzarella.org...

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Please, let's have a round of applause for our newly appointed WallMart greeter....
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-snip-

I wouldn't even attempt it with a hollow core. Have you priced a pre-hung Dutch door? I'd trust it a lot further than something thrown together. [especially in what would be essentially a commercial usage]
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

I just noticed that this was cross posted to alt.home.repair, so it might be a bit daunting to weekend warrior.
But for most woodworking guys, even a moderately skilled hobbyist, this isn't a big deal at all.
I'd say the test might be, if you already have the tools to do it, can envision the processes and procedures needed to do it, you're probably qualified to do it.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it\'s my function in life"
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Nobody else said it, so I will- talk to your local code people and/or your insurance carrier. The rulebook for schools and daycare would probably apply. I don't think a residential door would pass muster, or last long. I think you are looking at metal frame and fire-rated door, and wired glass for the window. Leastways, that is what I have always seen used in that application. And unless the room has another exit, not sure a dutch door would be allowed- too confusing in the dark and smoke.
If your church is broke, check out Habitat ReStore, even if you have to drive a couple towns over. The ones I have been in usually have a decent selection of ripout commercial doors, and since Habitat is church-based, they would likely cut you a break on the price.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

I appreciate that. I'll check with the insurance company. This is a little country church out in the middle of nowhere and I really doubt the county/inspector cares. Still, we want to do things right.
A fire door doesn't make any sense because the wall is not going to be a firewall. Originally it was just going to be a temporary partition, but a wall is cheaper for this one. Other rooms are being walled off with partitions...
Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

If it's out in the middle of nowhere, all the more reason to pay attention to fire codes, adequate exits, co and smoke detectors, etc. The door should not, it seems, open inward for two reasons: hitting a child who is sitting or standing behind the door, and for exit in case of fire. Is it in a basement? Near furnace or water heater?
What about a plain, sturdy storm door with plexi instead of glass?
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aem is right--check your local code.
If code requires a window in the door, then you'll likely have to have one even if you make it a Dutch door. How else would you look in if both halves of the door are closed?
'Round here, all glass within four feet of a door is required to be of the safety variety--either tempered (breaks into crumbs), or laminated (has a central layer of plastic like auto glass), or both.
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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SteveBell wrote:

The upper door needs a window... or there could just be a lower door.

Definitely some kind of safety glass, or Plexiglas. I knew that much.
Bob
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And you might consider something tinted enough that children inside might not notice parents looking through as much, but those same parents can still see what's going on to some degree.
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