Interior doors serve very different purposes from exterior doors. For instance, they need not offer resistance against the elements, but do have to offer privacy, acoustical insulation, and a means of dividing spaces. Interior doors may be used in bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, living rooms, offices, laundry rooms, closets, and more. As with exterior doors, interior doors come in a variety of styles and constructions.
Interior Door Styles
Interior door styles are divided in several ways. Interior doors are constructed using stiles, rails and panels or they may be flush or flat. In addition to opting for panel or flush aesthetics, homeowners must also choose from a variety of options in terms of construction, hanging methods, materials, finishing and complimentary moldings and trim.
Paneled doors offer a more traditional look, but tend to be more expensive than flush doors because they require more elaborate construction methods and are often made of solid wood. Faux panel doors, made by routing MDF or another solid material and then applying a veneer, can provide the look of true panels at a reduced cost. Paneled doors stand up well to temperature and humidity fluctuations, an important consideration for older homes or those without elaborate climate control systems.
Door Hanging Methods
Interior doors can be hinge-hung (including French doors), sliding doors, bi-fold doors, or pocket doors. Hinge-hung doors are standard doors that pivot on two or more hinges mounted to one side of an opening. French doors consist of two hinge-hung doors mounted on either side of an opening. French doors are used to add glamour to a home and often contain glass. They are most often used in display settings such as formal dining rooms, offices, and music rooms.
Sliding doors are less common than hinge-hung doors and are mounted to a track that allows them to slide rather than swing. They are useful when space is limited for swinging doors and are most commonly found on closets.
Bi-fold doors are like a combination of hinge-hung and sliding doors. These doors are divided down the middle and the two halves are attached on hinges. When opened, these doors slide along a track and pivot at their center point. They are useful for small spaces like kitchen pantries and closets.
Pocket doors slide into the wall, usually on an overhead track. These doors actually hide within the wall when open. They are commonly used to divide large spaces and in bathrooms and dining rooms.
Interior doors come in three basic varieties: solid wood, stile and rail, solid-core, and hollow-core. Stile and rail doors, also known as panel doors offer virtually infinite design options and materials but are more expensive to produce.
Solid-core doors contain a plywood or composite material over which a veneer is applied. The face veneers may by a molded composite to look like paneled doors, but are less expensive to construct. Typical Solid-core doors are found in home centers and are intended for residential use. Architectural Solid-Core doors are available at Lee Lumber and by special order. Their construction is much more sophisticated, their face veneers generally of a higher quality, and they carry a longer and stronger warranty.
Hollow-core doors are the least expensive to produce because they contain little wood and no central composite material. They are lightweight, but provide almost no barrier against sound and almost no fire resistance. Hollow-core doors stand up well to temperature and humidity changes, but do not stand up well to wear and tear over time. The least expensive doors, typically stocked at home centers, have composite edges and often have no lock block in the core to solidify hardware installation. The least expensive doors also are likely to have thinner and possibly lower grade, face veneers. Lee Lumber’s hollow core doors have solid wood vertical edges and two lock blocks. Wood veneered doors have higher grade, thicker faces, the difference in price is just a few dollars, but well worth it.
Interior doors can also be made of steel, fiberglass, vinyl, and other materials. Fiberglass doors are gaining in popularity because they are durable and resistant to wear and tear. Steel doors are often used where enhanced fire resistance is required. Many alternative doors can mimic the appearance of wood.
Interior Door Manufacturers
Interior doors can be purchased from a variety of manufacturers including:
Woodport, Strek-O and VT produce Architectural grade flush doors. They and Ceco produce specialty application interior doors, such as bullet-proof and fire-resistant doors.