Length and width confusion

senseless

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 23, 2008
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170
Pennsylvania, USA
If you are looking at a door, the length would be from top to bottom, correct? But if you are looking at a garage door, some say the length would be the dimension from left to right, because it's longest measurement. I've always thought that width was always left to right, across , so to speak. What is the official answer?
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,655
2,380
Delaware
A (garage) door is measured by width and height.
Same for any door - width and height.

Where have you seen a door for retail sale, showing a length dimension?
In fact, unless the door is a custom size, standard height is often not even mentioned, with the main dimensional option being the width.
 

senseless

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 23, 2008
1,778
170
Pennsylvania, USA
Ok, so for a door, width is always the left to right dimension. But if you are shopping for a standard rectangular kitchen sink, the width is always the shortest dimension. So width usually becomes front to back.
 

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,128
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Always a day away
Ok, so for a door, width is always the left to right dimension. But if you are shopping for a standard rectangular kitchen sink, the width is always the shortest dimension. So width usually becomes front to back.
No.

Width is how wide something is. Length is how long something is.

Don't confuse something that is easily rotated with something that isn't. For example, you might always say that a ruler is 12 inches long and 1 inch wide, no matter which way you rotate it. In this case, the length is typically used as the longer of the two dimensions. Something static, like a door, is a different case; with a door, the width measures how wide something is. Architects are required to be very aware of door widths for different rooms because of building code requirements. And as pointed out above, it may be wider than it is tall.

Your claim that the width of a sink is always the shortest dimension is false. Sink dimensions cater to the installer, who generally includes a plumber but almost always includes a millwork installer, and those people think in terms of length of a countertop (workspace). So for a sink, the length is the distance parallel to the length of the countertop (side-to-side as you address the sink from the front), and the width is the front-to-back measurement as you address the sink (but it's the width across the millwork). This dimension may or may not be greater than the length; it depends on the sink.
 

senseless

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 23, 2008
1,778
170
Pennsylvania, USA
No.

Width is how wide something is. Length is how long something is.

Don't confuse something that is easily rotated with something that isn't. For example, you might always say that a ruler is 12 inches long and 1 inch wide, no matter which way you rotate it. In this case, the length is typically used as the longer of the two dimensions. Something static, like a door, is a different case; with a door, the width measures how wide something is. Architects are required to be very aware of door widths for different rooms because of building code requirements. And as pointed out above, it may be wider than it is tall.

Your claim that the width of a sink is always the shortest dimension is false. Sink dimensions cater to the installer, who generally includes a plumber but almost always includes a millwork installer, and those people think in terms of length of a countertop (workspace). So for a sink, the length is the distance parallel to the length of the countertop (side-to-side as you address the sink from the front), and the width is the front-to-back measurement as you address the sink (but it's the width across the millwork). This dimension may or may not be greater than the length; it depends on the sink.
OH, I was told that the width of a rectangle is always the shortest side, which is why sinks are measured like that. But you explained this well. Is this just a sink thing? Would this apply to a rectangular plate sitting on a countertop, for example? Would you still call the width front to back?
 

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,128
1,275
Always a day away
OH, I was told that the width of a rectangle is always the shortest side, which is why sinks are measured like that. But you explained this well. Is this just a sink thing? Would this apply to a rectangular plate sitting on a countertop, for example? Would you still call the width front to back?
Again, it goes back to whether it's movable.

A picture frame, for example, can be 8 1/2" high by 11" wide. It can also be 8 1/2" wide by 11" tall. It depends on how the picture (and thus the frame) is oriented. So by convention, we generally refer to the greater of the two dimensions as the "length," regardless of its orientation (which changes).

A countertop doesn't move; it has a length. The sink, once installed in a countertop, doesn't move; it also has a length, and that length is measured in the same direction as the length of the countertop. The width of the sink is measuring "wide" as in "across the width of the countertop." Neither of those things move, and they're always oriented one with the other.

In any event, look up catalog cut sheets on sinks; this is the convention they use. (disclaimer: this is part of my job)
 

senseless

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 23, 2008
1,778
170
Pennsylvania, USA
Again, it goes back to whether it's movable.

A picture frame, for example, can be 8 1/2" high by 11" wide. It can also be 8 1/2" wide by 11" tall. It depends on how the picture (and thus the frame) is oriented. So by convention, we generally refer to the greater of the two dimensions as the "length," regardless of its orientation (which changes).

A countertop doesn't move; it has a length. The sink, once installed in a countertop, doesn't move; it also has a length, and that length is measured in the same direction as the length of the countertop. The width of the sink is measuring "wide" as in "across the width of the countertop." Neither of those things move, and they're always oriented one with the other.

In any event, look up catalog cut sheets on sinks; this is the convention they use. (disclaimer: this is part of my job)
Actually this confusion came about because I'm shopping for a sink! There are weird building trade conventions, like a 2" x 4" is not 2" x 4". Thanks again.