A good door does more than just open and close; it adds style to a room and complements its existing trim and finish. Interior doors ensure privacy, reduce external noise and provide easy access to closets and other storage areas. A new door can completely change a room's appearance while improving its functionality. Bedrooms, studies, closets and bathrooms all require different types and styles of doors, so consider where you'll be installing a door and how its appearance will affect the surrounding area before purchasing one. Doors tend to last for long periods of time, so it's important to choose a style and design that will fit in with your changing needs and tastes. Consider these issues when installing new doors:
• What type of door would be the best fit?
• Do you prefer a prehung or slab door?
• What material should the door be constructed from?
• What technical aspects do you need to consider prior to installation?
• Is it important that the door dampen sound?
Styles, Materials and Installation Considerations
You'll find a wealth of options to choose from when installing interior doors. Standard hinge doors work well in nearly any doorway while bypass doors provide easy access to closets and add a stylish touch. Folding doors, also known as bifold doors, combine the features of hinge and bypass doors, enabling you to have full access to closets and pantries, and pocket doors slide into the wall in areas where a swinging door can't fit. Along with selecting the best type of door for each room, you'll want to choose a material and style that ensure a practical and aesthetic fit. There are also a few technical considerations you'll need to keep in mind during installation.
When purchasing a door, you'll need to choose between prehung doors, which include the jamb and frame, and slab doors, which include just the door itself. Stile-and-rail, or raised-panel, doors feature frames with vertical sections (stiles) and horizontal sections (rails) that add style and detail. The spaces between the sections are filled with either wood panels or glass, and some doors have one or more vertical sections between the rails. Flush doors are economical and have flat surfaces made of wood veneer or hardboard. Lauan mahogany is the most common type of wood used in wood veneer doors, though birch and other varieties are available as well.
• Prehung doors install easily and provide a uniform appearance
• Slab doors are economical choices that allow you to use the existing jamb and trim
• Flush doors may be solid or have a hollow core for versatile applications
Keep in mind how frequently doors will be used when deciding which materials to choose. Hollow core doors, which are made with interwoven corrugated hollow cells that support the outer face of the door, are lightweight and ideal for low-traffic areas. Solid core doors are constructed from particleboard or fiber core materials, giving them solid weight that helps reduce noise. In addition to wood, doors may be constructed from masonite or hardboard, which has a flat surface that is easy to paint.
• Frequently used doors should be constructed from more durable materials
• Consider hollow core doors for infrequently used areas
• Choose from various types of wood and finishes to match surrounding décor
• Vinyl provides a cost-effective material for sliding doors
To ensure proper installation, first determine the required door swing and handle placement. If you're facing a door that swings toward you and the handle is on the left side, it is a left-hand door and, if the handle is on the right, it's a right-hand door. The opposite is true if the door swings away from you -- the handle would be on the left side in a right-hand door and vice versa. Replacement doors should have the same measurements as old doors. When purchasing doors for a new area, measure the width of the doorway at the top, middle and bottom and use the smallest measurement. To figure a rough opening size, add 2" to the width and 3" to the height.
• 1-3/8" thickness is most common, but other depths are available
• Standard widths include 18", 20", 24", 28", 30", 32" and 36" doors
• Standard heights include 80", 84" and 96" doors
• Customized sizes are available in a range of different designs
• To measure for a prehung door, remove the interior casing and measure the opening
Consider the types of doors available and where they best fit:
Benefits to consider
• Hang on rollers
doors bypass each other
• Create more space
brighter, larger-looking rooms
|Bifold||• Pivot on the edge
• Hinge in the middle
• Slide on a track
• Ideal for tight spaces
|Hinge||• Swing inward or outward
• Left- or right-handed
• Hollow or solid core
• Sound insulation reduces
designs to match
|• Slide on a track
• Store inside a wall
• Family rooms
• Fit where other styles
If you're installing a door in a study, bedroom or other area where quiet is important, look for thicker doors that are insulated to keep sound out. Sound insulation in the walls will have little effect if your door lets sound through.
When you're designing a theme for your child's room, incorporate the door by choosing one with painted panels. Bright colors and cartoon characters can greatly enhance the room's appearance and make young children feel safe and secure.
If you're installing a door that leads into a garage or attic, you may need to install a fire-resistant door. Placing them in other areas of the house can further increase safety.
Brighten up a room and add dimension with mirrored doors. Mirrors work particularly well on bypass closet doors.