Archinect, settle my dispute

The Archinect Forums are the ultimate arbiter of architectural correctness (h/t to atelier nobody). So I come before you today to settle a dispute.

Is a full lite flush wood door still a flush wood door, or is it a stile and rail door because the full lite leaves only the edge stiles and top and bottom rails? 

Cite sources please.

Jun 20, 19 6:13 pm

4 Featured Comments

All 13 Comments


There is no such thing as a full lite flush door.  It's one or the other. A door with a full lite is a panel door.  A flush door has stiles and rails but the flush facing material laps over the stiles and rails covering them and presenting the door as a single flush face. I guess you could still have small lites routed out of door but that sounds silly. In my experience wood doors would use an exposed hardwood style and rail with a full lite.    

Ramesy and Sleeper Graphic Standards 11th edition 

figures 3.29-3.31 (flush doors) 

Figure 3.34-3.36 (panel doors) 

"panel doors consist of a framework of vertical(stile and horizontal (rail member that hold solid wood or plywood panels, glass lights or louvers" 

Jun 20, 19 6:49 pm

a door with a lite kit is still just a door.

Jun 20, 19 7:13 pm

It's a window.

Jun 20, 19 7:13 pm
atelier nobody

It's still a flush door, because the "stiles" and "rails" are constructed like a flush door, not like a true stile and rail door.

Jun 20, 19 7:22 pm

it's a windoor

cite: spoon + fork = spork

Jun 20, 19 7:54 pm
Non Sequitur

Why not doorwin? It’s first fiction is a door, no?

Featured Comment

flush door

Jun 20, 19 9:32 pm

Just think, some folks want to eradicate the snark. They know nothing. Nothing at all.

I love that this got featured

Non Sequitur

Great colour. I’ve specified this one before.

Color can't beat the name Hiny Hiders

Non Sequitur

You forgot a "u" in there EI.

I see nothing wrong with my spelling.


You know who might be able to settle this? A door supplier.

Jun 20, 19 10:32 pm

You can’t trust what they say. They’ll say whatever it is they think you want to hear as long as they can sell you a door.


Only on Archinect can we have such discussions.

Jun 21, 19 12:09 am

It’s why I keep coming back.

I'm a little surprised no one has said, "it depends," but I suppose it might be because of the way I asked the question. But so far, I'm with atelier nobody on this one. If I could clarify curtkram's answer as follows, I'm good with it too: "a [flush wood] door with a lite kit is still just a [flush wood] door."

If you are asking for a flush wood door with a full lite, you'll get a flush wood door construction with a full lite kit. It doesn't magically become a stile and rail door just because they cut away everything except for some vertical and horizontal portions.

Of course, if you wanted a door with stile and rail construction and a full lite, you can get that too. You would just need to specify it that way, but then that's not at the heart of the original question of whether a flush wood door is still a flush wood door if it has a full lite.

Note that the WDMA has separate standards covering flush wood door construction, and stile and rail wood door construction. These are referenced in the Architectural Woodwork Standards as well. 

Which construction is better for a full lite door can be the next topic for dispute. 

Jun 21, 19 12:09 pm
Non Sequitur

perhaps... but let me refute it thus:


For real though, it's still a flush door because there's no rail or stiles.  

Wow, we can really overthink things, can't we?

Jun 21, 19 12:54 pm

Flush wood doors actually do have stiles and rails bonded to the core before the facing is applied


Disagreed. The illustration above shows the perimeter wood is more of a trim rather than structural support (which is achieved with the core and skin). A style and rail door uses a structural frame where the interior core can be anything since it is not necessary for the rigidity or structural competency of the door.

The "perimeter wood" as you've called it are the stiles and rails. It's not really about the structural integrity of the door, it is more about the terminology used in the industry. ANSI/WDMA I.S. 1A-13, "Industry Standard for Interior Architectural Wood Flush Doors," defines rails/horizontal edges as "top and bottom edge bands of door," and stiles/vertical edges as "the upright or vertical pieces of the core assembly of a wood flush door." The stiles and rails terminology is used throughout the standard and is synonymous with the vertical edges and horizontal edges of the door.


Everyday Architect, you're misinterpreting that description. Mightaa is correct. I like arguing as much as the next person, but at some point you've got to admit that you're wrong. Unless you're trolling us all, because that's the only other option I see.

Le sigh...

Flush is "having or forming a continuous plane or unbroken surface". Frame and panel (stile & rail) is a structural system built on interlocking joinery, traditionally mortise and tenon.

The flush door you show has a unconnected "frame" that is structural only because it is glued to the fully overlying panels.

The TruStile infographic is PR bullshit, along with their "hand selected veneers" and "laminated strand lumber" (OSB) core.


Everyday Architect, I don't know why I seem to give a shit, but you're just wrong. As has been said multiple times, rail and stile is a structural system. Anyway, good luck.


I agree with Miles's explanation

I’m not saying that stile and rail is a not structural system, it is. It is also not a flush wood door, that is a different type of door construction. I don’t think anyone is in disagreement on that. I am saying a flush wood door has elements that are called stiles and rails and I’ve shown at least three sources that support that, one of which is the definitive industry standard. bowling_ball’s statement that flush wood doors don’t have stiles and rails is simply incorrect.


Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Just because a sales brochure refers to rails and stiles, doesn't mean that those terms are used correctly. You're wrong.

When you’re done with your tantrum here’s something else from WDMA (i.e. not a sales brochure):


^^^^BING! It's like when assholes call themselves Architects, when they only develop plans for war.

Calling plastic wood 'wood' doesn't make it wood. Calling the interior structure of a flush door 'stile and rail' still makes it a flush door, even if that description of the structure is correct, which it isn't.

So on the one hand you have a few people saying one thing, which is like their opinion because they’ve offered nothing substantial to support it. And on the other hand you have at least two manufacturers’ published literature (and there are more btw), the woodworking organizations that published the “Architectural Woodwork Standards,” (both editions, 2009 and 2014), and the members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association through an ANSI accredited (i.e. public review and comment) industry standard saying another. Remind me again why this is even a debate.


That last file you linked to doesn't even mention the word "flush." What are you trying to get at?


Just because a flush door uses elements called stiles (and sometimes rails) that doesn't magically make a flush door, rail and stile construction. They're inherently different concepts.

WDMA I.S.1A is the flush wood door standard. WDMA I.S.6A is the stile and rail wood door standard. Check the last link again and tell me which one it is referencing.

As for your second comment, so your acknowledging that flush wood doors use elements called stiles and rails? Because if you are, my job here is done. I agree that just because a flush door uses things called stiles and rails it does not magically become a stile and rail door construction. I think I mentioned that above in one of my earlier comments.

*you’re (can’t edit my reply in the phone)

Incorrect use of terminology. The construction of a flush door makes the use of stiles and rails unnecessary. Calling it blocking, edging, subframe, or filler is more accurate. Stiles and rails are structural, the edging in a flush door is only structural as part of a composite construction. Therefore they are not stiles and rails.

Whatever happened to Everyday Intern? His cup was only half full.


I'm starting to wonder if EA is actually Balkins. Why start a thread asking a question, only to disagree with everybody?

Miles you must realize at this point you are disagreeing with the terminology as defined by the industry standard. Feel free to look it up yourself. I’m still fully aware I have a lot to learn, but at this point you aren’t even trying to back up your opinion with anything. As I stated in the OP, cite sources please. If you have some compelling source to share, there is still plenty of room in my cup. Otherwise it’s your opinion against the industry.

Wikipedia: Frame and Panel (stile and rail)

Industry: What exactly is a Stile and Rail door?

More industry: Stile And Rail Tools

You can also check the bible (Architectural Graphics Standards).

I would give you credit for persistence if you weren't so persistently wrong.

I understand what a stile and rail door is. That’s not the issue here. The issue is with flush wood doors and bowling_ball’s statement that flush wood doors do not have stiles and rails. As I’ve pointed out above there are elements of a flush wood door that are called stiles and rails. Citing sources describing a different type of wood door construction does not change what is clearly defined in the flush wood door standard. If we were arguing about bicycle tires it wouldn’t do any good to start citing sources describing car tires.


maybe sometimes words have more than one meaning. A "style" in a style and rail door is not the same thing as a "style" in a normal door. We should understand that when communicating about doors. Getting wrapped around a semantic dispute makes communication more difficult.

"As I’ve pointed out above there are elements of a flush wood door that are called stiles and rails."

You've been repeatedly shown - with references that you ignore - how the nomenclature you defend is incorrect.

"If we were arguing about bicycle tires it wouldn’t do any good to start citing sources describing car tires."

Which is exactly what you are doing. Duh.

Those references are all describing stile and rail wood door construction. Again, we are talking about flush wood door construction. The discussion has always been about flush wood doors. Do yourself a favor, look up a copy of WDMA I.S.1A (the one about flush wood doors) and look up the definitions for stile and rail. I’ve quoted them both in an earlier comment, but maybe that’s not good enough.


Bicycles and cars both have tires. Just because a bicycle has tires, doesn't make it a car. It's time to move on. It's okay to be wrong, so long as you learn something. There's nothing wrong with that.

I really don’t get why you keep assuming I’m making a flush wood door into a stile and rail door because I’m pointing out that a flush wood door has elements that are called stiles and rails. If you read back through my comments I’ve kept a pretty clear distinction between the different constructions. The only confusion seems that nobody else can keep it straight that I’m not talking about stile and rail door construction just because I’m pointing out the correct terminology that applies to the elements of a flush wood door.

I’ve learned plenty from the discussion though. Mainly, I’m glad that none of us are in the business of manufacturing doors. That’s a good thing.

No, you haven't, because you still use the wrong nomenclature. Not only that but you insist that it is correct. See the featured comments above.

The first featured comment was funny, the second is a complete non sequitur. The discussion is about flush wood doors ... so let’s feature a comment about stile and rail wood door construction. Seems like even the moderators don’t know the difference.

I decided to hold off for a day and let this all sink in a little bit, and come back after giving Miles', bowling_ball' and others' comments some thought. There is just one thing that is hard to understand and I'm hoping you'll help me figure out my misunderstanding in all of this. 

bowling_ball's comment that sparked all these replies agrees with me (and the purpose of creating this thread), a flush door with a full lite is still a flush wood door. However, the assertion that "there's no rail or stiles" in a flush door is where we differ. 

So, let's assume for a moment that my understanding of flush wood door construction is flawed, and I'm using the terms stile and rail incorrectly with regard to flush wood door construction because there is no such thing called a stile nor a rail in a flush door. Under this scenario, please help me understand why Eggers Industries (door manufacturer from one of the links in Miles' featured comment) use the terms stile and rail in their flush wood door specification? See 2.3 A. "Door and Core Construction" subparagraph 6; and 2.3 C. "Vertical Edges (Stiles) and 2.3 D. "Horizontal Edges (rails)"


The deep down question is... is it a real rail and stile or a faux rail and stile. Some traditional craftsmen in the industry may say it isn't a true rail and stile if it doesn't have actual joinery connections between the rail and stile.


Because in millwork, vertical elements are called stiles, and horizontal are rails. It's the trim pieces at the edges of that flush wood door. They are not remotely saying it is a stile and rail door. You'll note it is a 08-14-16 Flush Wood Door spec, not a 08-14-33 Stile and Rail Door spec.


Everyday: they're using those terms because they've decided to try to adapt stile and rail spec language to fit their product. Notice that they had to actually define both of those terms within that spec section: they wrote "Vertical Edges (Stiles)" and "Horizontal Edges (Rails)".  The very numbering of the section tells you it's not a real stile and rail door though - the masterformat number 08 14 16 is the flush wood door sequence - not the stile and rail door sequence.  They had to include those definitions specifically because they're not using the terms in their usual widely-understood meanings. I'm curious as to why this issue is so important to you: what was the original debate that made you put this question here, and why are you so reluctant to accept the answer?

Read my comments again. I'm not saying this is stile and rail door construction. We are talking about flush wood door construction. 

The only reason stile and rail construction was brought up was because I had a coworker telling me that there is no such thing as a full lite flush wood door. Their claim was that by taking out the majority of the door for the glazing, you were left with stiles (vertical portions of the door) and rails (top and bottom portions) and therefore it is a stile and rail door. I disagreed (see my reasoning in my JUN 21, 19 12:09 PM comment above). 

Even bowling_ball's comment at the beginning of all these replies agrees with me. We just differ in that bowling_ball said there aren't stiles and rails in a flush wood door. I was attempting to point out (apparently poorly) that the industry does define elements of a flush wood door using the terms "stile" and "rail." Apparently because of the shared terminology between flush doors and stile and rail doors it seems like few people are able to maintain that distinction. That doesn't mean the terms are incorrect, just misunderstood with regard to flush wood door construction.


You keep referring to WDMA standards, and the answer to this is right in them. "Stile", as defined by WDMA, when used as one word, on its own, means "the outermost vertical member of a stile and rail door." There is no other meaning given in WDMA's definitions. Similarly "Rail", when used as one word, on its own, means "a horizontal structural member of a stile and rail door. Fits between the stiles." The other meanings that you're trying to give to "rail" and "stile" are not correct per WDMA when the words are used alone. It's only when they're used as part of the hybrid terms "Rails/Horizontal Edges" and "Stiles/Vertical Edges" that WDMA applies those terms to flush doors. I can come up with a bunch of manufacturers' brochures that use all sorts of terms loosely/incorrectly - common examples that come to mind are "soffit", "sill", "cast stone"... since when do we take a manufacturers' brochure as authority?

I see what you're saying and it might address the issue if it weren't for stile and rail being used individually (not always combined/hybridized) throughout the WDMA flush wood door standard. I think a better explanation for the hybrid terms in the flush wood door standard definitions is to establish meaning/definition, i.e. match similar words/terms with their synonyms. Here is an example. I've included the footer to show that this came from the standard covering flush wood doors rather than the stile and rail doors standard. 

It's also not just some random manufacturer's brochures using the terms loosely. The AWS uses the same terminology (individually, not hybridized) to show flush wood door construction examples below (these are taken from the ASI/AWMAC/WI Architectural Woodwork Standards, 2nd edition, 2014, pgs 243-244).


cut out a big square or rectangle (say 20" x 48") in a 32" x 60" sheet of plywood 7/8" thick and is it really a rail and stile system?


ok. Then is any of this rail and stile used in such "flush doors" real rails and stiles? Probably not. It's just a technically misused terminology that the industry uses to explain a concept of the assembly of some types of flush doors. I call it faux rail and stiles and they are not the same as real rails and stiles. It's just one of those terms being used in a loose fashion than its technically correct usage.


what you really have is vertical and horizontal edge reinforcement pieces glued together into a rectangular frame.

FWIW, the newer AWMAC/WI North American Architectural Woodwork Standards (Edition 3.1, 2017) uses the same examples with the same terminology so it's not like the AWI was the only one pushing it.

Rick, you're basically correct except that I wouldn't call it "technically misused terminology" when the major industry players all agree upon the terminology and it shows up all over the main industry standards. When describing the construction of doors governed by those players in those standards, I would think it is "technically correct usage" regardless of the confusion is causes among those who can't follow along.


Thanks for taking the time to more clearly lay out your question. I can see now why this would be easy to confuse. At the end of the day, even the standards councils are trying to hybridize (to use your term) , maybe in a misguided attempt to... I don't know? Muddy the waters? It's weird and unnecessary, and only serves to confuse people.

Reminds me of this.

A couple links on the web will prove there was no moon landing, no holocaust, Hitler is alive in Argentina, etc.


You are perfectly in your right to differ on whether it is "technically misused terminology" or not as there is a certain percentage of subjectivity and there are objective arguments to support arguments on both sides of the issue. It boils down to how nit-picky you get. Do you count pieces that are butt joined together only adhered by glue as a legitimate system of joinery? What counts as joinery? So this is where we can get into a deep rabbit hole of arguments. Personally, I would be hesitant to call it a true rails and stiles assembly from a traditional woodworking crafts perspective. However, I may for sake of specifications used the term as they are understood in the industry today for sake of communication within the context. I might not feel it worth my time to make up new terminology but may define it using the abstract concept of rails and stiles for sake of communication regarding the particular component make up of the type of flush doors with such vertical and horizontal edge components.

Featured Comment

Thanks for taking the time to read and understand it bowling_ball. I probably should have just let it go days ago. It is confusing, and it would probably be better if the industry clarified or settled on hybridized terminology (credit goes to Formerlyunknown for using the term "hybrid" here). I know AWI is working on getting ANSI accreditation for newer versions of what will be AWI standards taking the place of the AWS, 2nd Edition. Maybe there's an opportunity to begin changing the terminology when they get to the doors section. IIRC, someone commented a while ago (maybe Donna) on how they always have issues with using the terms mortar and grout because for tiling the grout is visible and exposed between the tiles, and in masonry the mortar is visible and exposed between the masonry units (and if I reversed mortar and grout in those description, don't crucify me). Anyway, it's not just doors with terminology that can be confusing.

P.s.: I'm not sure if Miles is attempting to say that I'm somehow conspiring with WDMA, AWI, AWMAC, WI as well as numerous manufacturers to fake this ... but I think the moderators should feature his comment.

Non Sequitur

Took this long for a hitler reference. Must be an internet record.

Featured Comment

I think it's just a descriptive verbage holdover from when every door was a stile and rail. It really isn't until WWII where manufacturing got to the point where you could create veneer woods and laminate them together to make a structural panel. So it's just they use the same term to describe bits sort of like "squeeky floorboards" doesn't really mean you still have plank substrates. Stile and Rail though is how the assembly is made and what provides it's structural stability. A flush door relies on that cross laminated skin rather than the joinery of wood connections. Sort of the same carryover with something like a 5-panel door; it describes the look rather than 5 panels inserted into a frame (which historically it was, or IS in a Stile and Rail door). Make sense?

Completely. I don't know if it is true or not, but the holdover terminology makes sense. I think the structural integrity bit is perhaps what my coworker was getting at when he said what he said. Perhaps a full lite door should be a stile and rail door rather than a flush wood door. When you cut out that much core of a flush door, you might be better off using a stile and rail door instead. I know both (full lite flush, and full lite stile and rail) are available in the industry, but I don't know which one will hold up better over time. Like I said above, that could be another topic for dispute (I think I'll watch that one from the sidelines though).


It is not true that stile and rail are used individually throughout the WDMA flush door standard.  The only place that happens is within the table - and in that instance that's because they're  specifically defined in the text notes that go with the table. There's not a single instance in the standard you're referring to of "stile" or "rail" used individually within the text. The word "stile" appears 35 times in that standard, but not one of those is on its own without "vertical edges", except in the table.  Do you actually have a copy of the whole standard? I do, and it appears to me you're picking and choosing things out of context deliberately, to support an untenable point.

All that to say nothing of the examples I posted from the AWS and NAAWS, published by AWI/AWMAC/WI and AWMAC/WI respectively. Who's picking and choosing things to support an untenable point again? 

I do have a copy of the whole WDMA flush wood door standard (all 53 pages of it when you include the covers). Which version are you looking at? I have the current 2013 version and the 2011 version available, and in neither do I find 35 instances of the word "stile." I'm only finding (using bluebeam's search) "stile" 24 times in 2013, and 25 times in 2011. 

 I'm also not sure what you mean by "table" there are many "tables" in the document. I think you are referring to the glossary, please correct me if I'm wrong. It was from the glossary that I posted my earlier clipping showing that the terms stile and rail do not always appear hybridized. Of course I'll point out again that by ignoring the table/glossary you seem to be picking and choosing things to support an untenable point. 

The terms "stile" and "rail" do appear individually in the text and in graphics as shown below (all examples are from WDMA I.S. 1A-13). 

You'll see that the terms are used hybridized, as well as individually (by "hybridized" I'll clarify that I mean combined with a slash separating them, or combined with one of the terms appearing in parenthesis directly following the other). You'll even see that terms top and bottom edge, horizontal edge, and vertical edge are also used individually. 

If you then read, taking this all in context, these terms are being used as synonyms which leads me to think that when they appear hybridized it is not to establish a new hybrid term, but rather to establish common meaning between the terms "stile" and "vertical edge" and the terms "rail" and "horizontal edge" so the terms can all be used and understood to describe certain elements of flush wood door construction. Perhaps this all leads to more confusion, and perhaps it would be better if they all got rid of the terms "stile" and "rail" in these standards ... but they haven't so it is still correct to refer to these elements of flush wood door construction as "stiles" and "rails."

Following an incorrect practice makes it correct? Nice logic.

Enlighten me Miles, what is the incorrect practice here?


What's a casing?

What's trim?

What's a jamb?

Jun 21, 19 1:05 pm

Casing is checking something out before making a move. Jamb goes with peanut butter. If I have to explain 'trim" ...


I'm sorry, I'm American, what's trim?


"trim" is a crude description of female genitalia. ergo; "My boy got stile. He got mad trim last night after the club and railed that hoe."

trim noun 1. of or just around a lady or women 2. general term for femaleness 3. what mightyaa said, except with reference to hairstyling


wtf? Tell me when the crazy train has reached its destination.






We need more, "Cow Bell"

Jun 25, 19 10:15 am

needs the clip!

Non Sequitur

I don't know what is more entertaining, the debate above or the desperate wanker blogger trying to single-handling take down every architecture school in the world.

Jun 25, 19 3:17 pm

I don’t know about entertainment value, but definitely some quixotic campaigns happening with both. I’m basically done at this point. I should have let Miles’ last comment stand. I’ve laid out enough evidence for anyone with an open mind to make their own conclusion.


probably a learning moment. Just say 'i gave you the tools you need to set you up to succeed. Do with that what you will.' people don't respond well when you keep pushing something they do n't want to hear.

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: