Interior Doors: Styles and functions

Published by: Paul Batchie, pbpublic@gmail.com
Published on: 2010-01-10 15:26:13

If you're planning significant remodeling in your Connecticut home, or even if you're wondering how to enhance your home's interior with only some minimal changes, give some consideration to your interior doors. Interior doors come in a variety of materials and configurations, and finding the right door to suit your needs can make a big difference.

At the bottom of the door list is the humble hollow-core flush, or slab, door. Since the building boom after World War II, more of these slab doors have been used than any other type, possibly more than all other types combined. Builders find its low cost irresistible.

With a luan wood face, this door is only moderately good as a base for painting and can only be stained in darker colors. For a better look, specify a birch face. Its closed grain is perfect for painting, and it will take any color stain or a clear finish, which works well for today's light interiors.

Another low cost alternative is the pressboard door. These are textured and embossed to look like a wood panel door. If you're content with a paint-grade finish, these doors may be an inexpensive way to step up from the flush door look.

One limitation on all hollow-core doors is that they readily transmit sound from one area to another. For the entry into any room where privacy is important, you should specify a door with a solid core.

Solid-core birch flush doors are popular in business settings where a more sterile look is desired. Unless you are trying to achieve a modern look, when stepping up to a solid door you should consider the classic panel door.

The panel door most often comes in a six-panel configuration, but both simpler and more elaborate designs are available. They usually are made using either pine or oak. Pine makes an excellent base for paint and a good base for stain. The rich look of stained oak can't be beat, but its open grain is not ideal for painting.

Also consider different door configurations. While sliding doors are sometimes necessary on closets facing narrow areas such as hallways, the very limited closet access they afford is undesirable. Better for most openings are bi-fold doors, which give almost full closet access, and which usually require less than eighteen inches of swing room even for wide door openings. Also, a closet might be the ideal place to employ a mirrored door. These come in swinging, sliding and bi-fold configurations to fit standard sized openings.

Many houses have been built with open passageways between the central hall and common rooms such as the living room, dining room, den or study. Adding doors to these openings can dramatically change the feel of the room. For wider openings leading to living and dining rooms, consider adding elegant French doors, which are double doors with small glass panes. If you have high ceilings, a matching glass transom over such doors lends a very rich look and maintains a more open feeling.

For a room such as a den or study, where you want to keep sound either in or out, you might add a wood panel door, or double doors for wider openings. And if there isn't adequate space to swing double doors, you might consider using a pocket door frame, which will enable the doors to slide invisibly into the wall.

Finally, one other type of door that has found some residential use is the accordion door. This door is composed of many small panels that fold back on themselves. They vary widely in quality, from cheap vinyl to custom rich woods. The better quality units will fit in with a home's d├ęcor and can be used to literally extend partitions on demand.

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