Graphical Construction Glossary >> Doors. >> Door Features >> Astragal

The joint between the meeting stiles of double doors, or a purpose made weather strip fixed to the fixed leaf of a pair of double doors.

meeting stiles

What we are looking at here is the bottom part of a pair of wooden framed double doors. It is easy to see that the meeting stiles of the doors appear to be two different widths. They are not, it is the effect caused when the two stiles are rebated together as shown below.

astragal sketch

In this sketch I have shown three different treatments for these joints in timber doors. A plain rebate gives the effect that you can see in the top photo of unequal width door stiles, so to counteract this we sometimes put a small beading to the edges of the doors. Typically these rebates were the same depth as the rebates in the door frames, say 12mm or 1/2". They are there for the same reason also.

  • To prevent the intrusion of water, dust, smoke, drafts or the passage of light.
  • When one leaf is fixed these rebates provide a positive stop for the active door. Enabling the accurate fixing of locks and other hardware.
double doors

Here is a pair of doors that have the beading to the edge. If the doors were fitted a touch better, with a tighter joint the from a distance the two stiles would appear the be the same width.

  • It used to be common to almost get this effect without the use of a router or spindle moulder.
  • We would run a marking gauge down the edge of the stile two or three times to get a nice deep gauge mark.
  • The very carefully at first we would run a rebate plane down into the gauge line, alternating sides until a small "Vee" was formed that just about matched the arrisses on the actual door joint.
aluminium astragal
An Aluminium Astragal.
Image provided by Hafele Australia Pty. Ltd.

The term astragal in architectural terms means a type of decorative moulding in timber of masonry, but it is also associated with hardware for double doors. As you can see it is far easier to make a sealed joint to a pair of doors by just screwing on one of these extrusions.

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