Full-height white door in a kitchen.

What is a frameless interior door?

September 30, 2022

As homeowners, we often think of frameless doors as frameless shower doors, and the image that comes to mind is a tempered glass panel with enveloping hinges or an all-glass shower door that turns on a pivot hinge.

The minimalistic, clean appearance of bathroom frameless doors appeals to architects, interior designers, and design-minded homeowners who often choose similar design esthetics for other elements in the house or apartment, including frameless interior doors.

What is a frameless door?

A frameless door is a door with a concealed door jamb, and often with the decorative casing and door trim removed. All you see is the door slab, typically sitting flush with one side of the wall (this is also known as "filo muro").

Contrary to what the name implies, a frameless door does have a frame (both hinge jamb and latch jamb), but this frame is completely embedded within the wall assembly and thus invisible.

The manufacturers of frameless doors use a few distinct systems. Here in North America, you commonly see two: a steel door jamb wrapper and a concealed extruded aluminum door jamb.

Steel jamb wrap

With the steel door jamb wrapper, you wrap the finished drywall. The entire drywall return is made of a relatively thin steel profile spanning the thickness of the wall and replaces wood jambs on a traditional pre-hung residential wood door. 

The steel profile is often two interlocking pieces allowing for subtle adjustments when you start fighting imperfections of the underlying drywall work. While there’s a range of widths for those steel jamb profiles, you won’t get an option to turn the drywall return into a regular wall. You will also have to think through the recessed baseboard situation and how to connect the baseboard to the door jamb on both sides.

Aluminum extrusion door jamb

The concealed aluminum extrusion door jamb delivers significantly more options for positioning and wall assembly. Additionally—unlike the steel jamb wrap—it does not force you to have drywall or plaster walls. 

Concealed door jambs from vendors like Angelbau/Dorsis offer much greater flexibility in interior design. Imagine that you could integrate a wood veneer frameless door within a wood panel wall, or imagine how you could bring large-format tiles in your bathroom right to the concealed door jamb - with only the tiles and door slab finish visible. 

Extruded aluminum door jambs also have much higher strength due to their depth. Concealed hinges sit firmly in the milled pockets of the door frame, preventing them from moving even when the door is heavy.

Opening angles for frameless inswing and outswing doors

Can you open a flush-with-wall door beyond 90 degrees? The answer is: it depends on the opening direction. A traditional pre-hung door that opens into the room will have an opening angle of more than 90°. 

A frameless inswing door will have an opening angle of precisely 90°, restricted by the drywall return on the interior side of the room. A frameless outswing door will have an opening angle of up to 180°, depending on the type of the concealed hinge. 

Still have questions about modern frameless doors for your home here in the USA? Reach out to Angelbau.