Ledged and braced doors for gates and sheds

  Ledged and braced doors for gates or shed doors  
  Ledged and braced doors are traditional and simple designs  

Ledged and braced doors  will usually be framed, ledged and braced; ledged and braced; or just ledged. They can be referred to by these names, depending on their specific construction, they can also be called batten doors. They're made up of a number of vertical panels, battens, joined by their long edges to form a single panel. They are given extra support with horizontal ledges, diagonal braces and frames.   


The most sturdy construction is framed, ledged and braced, due to the additional support the frame adds. The ledges and braces should reduce the chance of the door warping and losing its shape. They are usually only added to one side of the door, meaning the door looks different from either side.


Ledged and braced doors can be produced so they're a strong, sturdy structure, and they're commonly used for doors in buildings such as barns, sheds or garages, or as a gate. They can be secure, but the battens can have gaps between them which mean they allow heat to transfer through. They're not usually used as external doors in homes, but they could be used as internal doors for their traditional and rustic look. Glazed ledged and braced doors are also available. 


How is a ledged and braced

door constructed?


Batten doors are usually  constructed with support beams running across one side of the leaf. The side with the supporting beams is usually considered to be the back side of the door.

  The ledges on batten doors help prevent warping of the door face  

The battens are the vertical pieces which form the main structure of the door face. They are fairly narrow strips which are usually joined together with tongue and groove joints. The ledges of batten doors support the structure of the door face by being attached horizontally over the vertical battens. The braces help keep the door face square by supporting across the diagonal of the door structure between the braces. 

      ledged and braced doors for gates or sheds  

There can also be a frame around the edges of the door for even more structural support. Framed batten doors are usually the strongest. How strong and durable you need the door to be will depend on where it is to be positioned.

      Wonkee Donkee says "The horizontal ledges are sometimes referred to as battens and the vertical strips called panels, which can get quite confusing! "  

What can ledged and braced

doors be made of?


Batten doors are almost exclusively made out of wooden panels. The majority of batten doors will be made from an inexpensive softwood, but higher quality woods can be used, and they can also be made from engineered woods.  


Natural wood


Natural woods are popular choices for batten doors. They are usually attractive and can easily be finished with paint, stain or varnish when being used for internal doors. Natural woods will last a very long time, but only if they are finished and maintained properly. If they are exposed to excessive moisture they can warp and rot. 

  Softwoods can be used for making doors, this will usually be a pine  


Softwood is the term used for the wood gathered from fast-growing trees. It is typically softer and lighter in colour than hardwood. Softwood usually the cheapest because of the speed of its growth. Check the individual features of different species to decide which wood will be the best choice.

  Hardwoods can be used for making doors - Oak is particularly popular  


Hardwoods come from slower growing trees. This makes them more expensive as they take longer to replenish. They are usually harder than softwoods, but this is not always the case. Different species will have different features. Hardwoods usually have a little more fire resistance than softwoods.

      Ledged and braced doors for gates or sheds  

The advantages and disadvantages

of natural wood

  Advantages and disadvantages of natural wood  




  • Looks attractive

  • Offers lots of options for finished looks, with differences in grain patterns, colours, and finishes

  • Expensive natural wood veneers can easily be applied to cheaper face materials

  • Can be stained, varnished, or painted

  • Can be expensive

  • Requires more maintenance than other face veneers

  • Can be difficult to repair if damaged

  • Can be prone to warping

  • Needs to be sealed on all sides to prevent rot


Engineered woods  


Engineered woods are produced as cheaper alternatives to natural woods. They have some enhanced features compared to natural wood but are usually as attractive. Engineered woods can have natural wooden veneers added to improve their look.

  Plywood is used for to make different doors. The veneers of s flush door is often plywood  


Plywood uses thin layers of natural wood bound together to increase its strength and help the boards resist warping. It can typically be treated in a similar way to natural wood, but it will need to be a special grade for use as an external door. It is not considered to be as attractive as natural wood and can be heavy, making it more difficult to work with.


The advantages and disadvantages

of plywood

  Advantages and disadvantages of hardboard  




  • Very strong throughout because each layer has its grain running in different directions

  • Not as susceptible to water damage as MDF. It will soak up water, but much slower

  • You can stain plywood

  • Holds screws tightly when fitted through the face

  • For its strength, it's relatively cheap compared to other materials

  • Resistant to warping and shrinking

  • Usually more expensive than most fibreboards

  • The layers will be visible on the edges of boards unless they are finished properly

  • Difficult to cut with a smooth edge - it often splinters

  • The layers of low-grade plywood can peel away from each other

  • The adhesives used in plywood needs to be the correct type for the application, for instance, water resistant when used for bathroom doors

      ledged and braced doors for gates or sheds  
  MDF boards are often used to make flush doors  


Medium density fibreboard (MDF) can be used to produce batten doors. It is an inexpensive engineered wood which is very strong and relatively dense. This makes it heavy and it can be difficult to work with. MDF does not have the same life expectancy as natural wood and is not suited for use as an exterior door. 


The advantages and disadvantages

of MDF

  Advantages and disadvantages of MDF veneers  




  • Usually cheaper than plywood or natural wood

  • Less tendency to expand or contract than natural woods or hardboard

  • Easy to paint or varnish

  • Can have veneers attached

  • Doesn’t split easily

  • Relatively strong

  • Usually heavier than plywood or natural wood

  • If not sealed properly on all sides will soak up any moisture and can swell, causing permanent damage

  • Will shrink in environments with low humidity

  • Can't be stained

  • Doesn't hold screws as well as plywood or solid wood. Fixing in screws can cause it to split

  • It's not very attractive unless it has a quality finish applied

  • Contains urea-formaldehyde which can be dangerous when sanding or cutting and small amounts can leak out over time

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