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The Basics of Interior Doors

The Basics of Interior Doors Once you begin to design the interior of your home you will find there are plenty of different types of interior doors to choose from to give your room or space the right look and still serve its function. Simply defined, an interior door is any door that does not provide access to the outside of your home, like a closet, bedroom, bathroom, basement or office door.

Before you begin choosing what type of interior doors you want for your home, you should go room-by-room and make a list of how many interior doors you need and what their primary function will be. Here is a list of the types of interior doors you can choose from:

  • Passage doors swing open and close on two or more leaf hinges, and are the most commonly used doors in homes. They can be purchased either as a slab (just the door itself) or as a pre-hung unit. A pre-hung door comes pre-installed within a door frame, with hinges already attached and the door itself usually bored for a lockset. Pre-hung doors save installation time by eliminating the need for a carpenter to construct the jambs, mortise the hinge gains, and fit the door to the jambs, but selection is limited.
  • Louver doors are essentially standard passage doors in which all or some of the panels have been replaced by angled wood slats. Louver doors are typically used for closets, utility rooms and laundry rooms because they provide ventilation and privacy. A full-louver panel format offers the most ventilation, but a louver-over-panel format offers the most style because it looks very similar to solid panel doors.
  • Sliding doors or bypass doors are typically used on areas that have wide openings like a closet or master bathroom and slide from left to right. Since they don't swing open you don't have to worry about placing furniture, but only half the opening is accessible at one time.
  • Bifold doors are generally used to enclose a closet, pantry, or laundry area. The doors may be wood, metal, or a composite such as wood covered with vinyl and typically come in four panels. Bifold doors pivot on pins inserted at the top and bottom edges, which allow you a greater opening space than a sliding door. A similar option is folding or accordion-folding doors which take up little space when opened.
  • French doors offer a dramatic focal point in your home. They hang on hinges located at each side of a wide door opening and swing toward each other, meeting at the center. When both sides of the door are open, you have an unobstructed view. French doors come in a variety of styles and glass glazes to complement your home's décor.
  • Pocket doors have been around for 100's of years and are starting to make a comeback because of its interesting architectural elements, which include saving floor space. Basically, a pocket door is a door that is not set on hinges to swing open, but that slides in and out of a space hidden within the wall. Pocket doors come either as singles, which slide open and shut from either the left or the right, or double pocket doors, which slide together and meet in the middle from both the right and left sides. As architects continue to look for unique ways to maximize floor space they have started incorporating the pocket door into their designs.

Once you decided the type of doors you want to use, then you need to decide how you want your doors constructed: hollow-core, solid-core and wood.

Hollow-core doors are made from thin veneer plywood or hardboard faces with a cardboard core to help keep the door rigid. These doors are lightweight, inexpensive, easily punctured and ineffective as sound barriers. However, the benefits of hardboard is it resists shrinking and swelling, offers a wood-like appearance, is easy to paint and highly affordable.

Solid-core interior doors look and feel like solid wood doors, but they feature a wood fiber core. They offer greater sound proofing than hollow core doors and are much more durable. Most solid-core doors are designed with the same style and properties of a wood door, but without the high price tag.

Solid wood panel doors can be stained or painted for a rich finish and provide a natural sound barrier. Most manufactures offer an extensive line of custom wood doors in a wide range of wood species to complement most architectural styles.

It's easy to mix and match the types of doors you use throughout your home to complement your home's décor and to economize. Be sure to specify the type of door you want used for every room and space in your new home with your contractor.

Design Tip
A great way to make passageways brighter and more appealing is to use interior doors with glass panels. Doors with glass panels ease the visual connection between rooms that don't have an open floor plan and allow for natural light. Using doors with wood glass panels, allow you to get creative with wood, glass and hardware to enhance your home's architectural style and make certain rooms in your home really stand out.