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Buying guide

How to Choose the Right Interior Doors

Whether you’re looking to replace, remodel, or just want to enhance your home decor, a new door offers a refreshing change. But selecting the right interior door might seem a bit daunting. Luckily, we have a few tips and tricks to make your selections a little easier.

Before You Start

From modern to timeless, there are many door styles to choose from that will help bring out the character of your home.

Simple doors with a flush design or with thin embossed lines provide a streamlined look that embodies minimalism and/or a contemporary design. Doors with clean lines convey traditional craftsmanship and blend easily with surroundings, while doors with familiar designs have universal appeal, adding definition to any space.

You should also take into consideration how you intend to finish your door (such as with paint or stain) to help narrow your choice.


Discover the Various Types of Doors

When selecting a door, it’s important to think about how it will be used in your home.

There are two types of interior doors:

  • Pre-hung doors: include a frame-mounted door and hinges, are ready to install, and use with a prepared doorway.
  • Slab doors: a basic option; it’s just the door and doesn’t include a frame, hinges, or handle set. Slab doors come unfinished (meaning they require painting or staining) or finished and ready to hang.

For certain applications, you only need the door (slab). However, for room entrances, it is best to consider a door that is pre-hung in the frame to ensure proper alignment.

Pro Tip

Let light pass from room to room by selecting a glass door.

Choose the Core

Doors are constructed as either hollow or solid core. The core refers to the interior of the door’s structure.

The easiest way to tell if a door is hollow or solid is to simply knock on it—you will hear the difference immediately.

The choice of core affects the door’s weight, impact resistance, fire resistance, and soundproofing qualities.

Solid-Core Doors

The inside of the door is solid. Doors can be made of solid wood, or the core can be filled with polystyrene, particle board, or laminated wood.

Select a solid core door for a quality feel that resists warping and reduces sound transmission from room to room. They are perfect for bedrooms, bathrooms, and laundry rooms!

Pros and Cons

  • Distinguished looking
  • Excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties and fire resistance
  • Impact-resistant
  • Heavy
  • Relatively expensive

Patterns and Finished

  • Can be painted, stained, or varnished depending on the wood species used
  • Various designs available: often four or six panels
  • Drawing illustrating the composition of a solid-core door

Hollow-Core Doors

Hollow-core doors are more economical and, as a result, more common. The exterior is finished with wood, veneer, or MDF. The core, or centre of the door, is a honeycomb structure of wood material or lightweight plastic tubing. Some doors may have wood slats inside that serve to support the wood facing.

Benefits and Drawbacks

  • Relatively lightweight
  • Easy to manoeuvre and install
  • Not very resistant to large impacts such as a hammer strike
  • Cannot be cut (or very little)
  • Possible to insert sound-barrier or fire-resistant materials
  • Features vary according to the manufacturer, brand, and price of the product

Patterns and Finished

  • Certain doors have a natural wood veneer exterior which can be stained and varnished
  • Several wood species are available
  • Drawing illustrating the composition of a hollow-core door

Understand the Anatomy of an Interior Door

Understanding a door’s main components will help you install it.

1. Casing or Jamb (or Frame)
Frame secured to the wall, to which the door is installed with hinges.

2. Lintel
Horizontal structural beam that spans the door opening, used to mount the tracks required for certain doors

3. Framing (or Trim)
Decorative moulding installed where the casing meets the wall. Follow our easy step-by-step guide if you are installing door trim.

4. Door Stop
Trim that prevents the door from closing past the door jamb, applied to the inside perimeter of the casing.

5. Hinge
Metal piece of movable hardware that serves to connect the door to the casing, allowing the door to swing freely. Using three hinges, which has become standard, improves stability while helping to prevent sagging and warping.

6. Mullion
A slender vertical piece of wood that forms a division between the glazed portions, or lites, of a door.
  • Drawing illustrating the components of an interior door

Take All Aspects into Consideration

The style and model of a door are extremely important, but you also need to consider several more technical aspects before making your choice.
  • Size

    Doors available today are manufactured according to standard measurements that have become the norm for new homes and apartments.

  • Height

    Standard door height is 80". This measurement may vary, such as for a door in an environment with higher than usual ceilings. Maintain ½" clearance between the floor and the bottom of the door.

  • Width

    Usual door width is 30". However, you will find doors that are between 24" and 36" wide to meet various needs. Doors to the basement or for the laundry room must be at least 32" wide in order to facilitate moving large items, furniture, and appliances. Doors 36" wide are increasingly appreciated because they can accommodate wheelchairs and other equipment used by persons with reduced mobility.

    If you choose a door opening larger than 36", we recommend you to install two doors rather than one. By door width (such as a 30" door), be sure you understand that this is the width of the door itself. For the frame, allow for an extra 2", or 1" on either side.

  • Thickness

    Door thickness is dependent on the type of material used and the latch system. There are doors from a shade over 1" to 2" thick. For sliding doors, take into account that the two doors overlap when open.

  • Made-to-Measure Doors

    Made-to-measure doors, such as higher doors, can be ordered in store. On the other hand, if the standard door available in the store is too high, it may be possible to cut a section off the base of the door in order to obtain the desired height. Be sure that the door you buy can be cut.

  • Swing

    The swing of a door refers to the direction in which a door opens.

    This is not an issue for a replacement door, but in the case of a new installation, be sure to choose wisely:

    • Nothing should interfere with the door when it is fully open; this could be a wall at an angle extending in front of the door, a counter, or a piece of furniture.
    • Neither should the door impede day-to-day traffic, which means that you should be able to move furniture or access to other rooms.

    However, you may actually prefer to conceal certain objects, such as a hot water tank or toilet.

    When all aspects have been weighed and considered, determine whether you want the door to open into or out of the room, to the left or to the right.

    If none of these options are entirely satisfactory or practical, you should consider installing sliding, bifold, or folding doors.

Choose Accessories Carefully

There is a wide selection of hingeshandles, and locks available to choose from. Always try to harmonize the hardware for your new door with other elements in the room.

Click here to learn more about door handles and locks.

  • Modern batheroom with a matte black doorknob

Pro Tip

If the sliding door tracks are going to be visible, choose them carefully to minimize the impact on the overall design of the room.


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