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Knock-Down vs. Welded Metal Commercial Door Frames: What’s the Difference?

Commercial doors

When deciding between types of commercial door frames, you may have seen doors labeled either "knock down" or "welded metal." Both styles are usually made from similar materials, such as galvanized steel. Still, each door has unique strengths that make it more suitable for some projects than others. 

Understanding the significant differences between these two door types can help you make an informed decision when you choose the frame for your business.

Knock-Down Frames

Knock-down, or KD frames, are unfinished hollow metal door frames; you assemble them after you buy them. These frames come with a door header and two door jambs. Most knock-down frames are ideal for professionals who are used to doing their own handiwork or for anyone on a strict budget.

Standard KD Frames

The standard KD frames are made specifically for new wall construction. They come with slots and tabs to aid in quicker assembly and use standard wall anchors.

KD Drywall Frames

These frames are designed for existing drywall openings and have visible seams. They're also known as "slip-on drywall" or "KD pressure-fit" frames. Unlike the standard frames, the drywall frames use compression anchors but still feature interlocking slots and tabs.

The Pros and Cons of KD Frames

Many herald the KD frames because they're the least expensive option, but they're also excellent for large-scale projects because they ship disassembled. They're much easier to tightly pack and ship to job sites and will generally save you money on shipping and the upfront cost of the frame itself.

KD drywall frames add some flexibility since you can install them after a wall is constructed. But it's worth mentioning that all KD frames will have visible seams, and drywall frames will also have visible screws. If appearance is a high priority for you, you may prefer to choose another option.

Even though it can be less expensive to ship and purchase KD frames, you will also need to consider the labor involved with assembling them. You will need to make sure you have the right team to put them together properly and for a price that fits within your budget.

Welded Frames

Welded frames are usually the most aesthetically pleasing option, as they don't have the visible seams that come with many KD frames. They're excellent choices for exterior openings or masonry walls. 

The labor involved in welding these frames does give them a higher price point, but they make up for it by requiring less labor to install on the job site. They also don't require someone familiar with assembling the frame themselves.

Face-Welded Frames

Face-welded frames are the more common type of welded frame. The joints along the face of the frame are welded at each corner. However, the welding only happens on the visible side of either face, making them a bit more affordable.

Full Profile Welded

All elements of the full profile welded frame are continuously welded at each corner and around the perimeter. They're also referred to as "fully welded" or "continuously welded." 

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Welded Frames

In contrast to their KD equivalents, welded frames aren't nearly as easy to ship in large quantities since they're already assembled. But once you have them, all that's left to do is install them. They're more expensive overall but offer a more attractive look than KD frames.

Full profile welded frames are the most expensive option because of how much welding needs to happen compared to face-welded frames. However, many clients are pleased with the aesthetics of a face-welded door frame and don't feel it's necessary to go with a full profile frame. 

While you could use either frame somewhat interchangeably, the right choice for your project will depend on a few factors. For example, one of the biggest considerations for many projects is staying within budget. And while materials often make up a hefty portion of any budget, so does labor. 

So, deciding between these options will all come down to your project's unique parameters.

Quality Frames in Any Style

At CDF Distributors, we know quality is important to you and your clients, no matter which frame style you choose; that is why we offer the highest quality KD and welded metal commercial door frames available. Browse our fantastic selection today!

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