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Installing Interior Doors? Here’s How to Choose the Ideal Fit for Your Home

Installing Interior Doors? Here’s How to Choose the Ideal Fit for Your Home

In addition to providing functionality, interior doors add ambiance and personality to your living space. Whether you want to evoke a modern, contemporary feel or a timeless, classic look, there is an interior door to suit your style. Different interior door types cater to a wide variety of opportunities and challenges. Solid core doors offer greater privacy, while French doors allow more light into your room. Sliding or bifold doors are the perfect answer to a tight space in a small room.

Read on to learn about the styles and types that will best suit your home.

Different Door Styles

There are a wide variety of interior door styles to choose from.

Moulded Panel Doors:
  • Can feature various styles of raised or moulded panels (2-panel moulded doors are a popular interior panel door design)
  • Feature either a textured woodgrain or smooth surface
  • Are made with composite materials such as hardboard or MDF
  • Can be either solid core or hollow core
  • Are usually factory primed to accept paint
Moulded Panel Door

Stile and Rail Doors:
  • Refers to a solid wood or wood veneer door in a raised panel or French design (wood with glass lites—a 15-lite glass interior door is a popular style)
  • Stiles are the two main vertical (outer) framed sections that contain panel or glass
  • Rails are the horizontal sections
  • French style doors allow natural light into a room and are often situated in a side-by-side pair
Flush Hardboard Door

Flush Doors:
  • Have a smooth, flat surface

  • Feature a surface that is either hardboard or wood veneer

  • Are available in hollow or solid core

  • Come prefinished or unfinished

Interior Doors to Suit Your Living Space

In addition to the style of the door, there are a variety of types. Each type functions/opens differently.

Hinge Doors

A hinged door is the most popular type of inside door and is often found in bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. It requires clearance to swing open and shut. Hinges can attach on either the left or right side of the door. This type of door is available as a slab (with no hinges), prehung (assembled and either left- or right-handed), or knockdown (assembled but reversible). ​
Hinge Doors

Bypass/Sliding Doors

Bypass doors have two or more sections that glide on a track. They open from side-to-side and are designed to slide past one another. Bypass doors are popular because they save on swing space, and when mirrored help create the appearance of a larger space. Bypass doors are often used as sliding closet doors.


Bifold and Accordion Doors

An interior bifold door consists of two panels attached by center hinges. It folds in half to open, forming a “V” shape. A bifold door is ideal for smaller rooms and interior closet doors because it requires minimal clearance. An accordion door is similar but folds in sections.
Accordion Door

Pocket Doors

A pocket door is similar to a bypass door, except it tucks into the wall to appear virtually invisible when open. It’s a great choice for rooms with limited space, such as a small bathroom, because it connects to a track and doesn’t require swing space. Pocket doors are also great for dividing rooms such as a dining room and living room.
Pocket Door

Barn Doors

A barn door adds artisan flair and a rustic touch to any space. Barn doors are available finished or unfinished and often feature a decorative upper rail for sliding the door open and shut. Barn doors are available either as a slab (with no hardware) or as kits with the hanging hardware, handle and rail.

Barn Door

Main Interior Door Materials

Interior doors are made from a variety of materials and may incorporate metal and glass elements for added style and/or functionality. Below are the three main types of materials used for interior doors.

Solid Wood Interior Doors: Heavy and soundproof, these doors display real wood grains and are paintable and stainable. Solid wood offers traditional style and warmth. Different wood species offer various looks at various price points.

Engineered Wood Doors: These doors are affordable, long-lasting and durable. Examples include medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and hardboard. A wide variety of styles are available, and the absence of a woodgrain texture makes engineered wood doors easy to paint.

Composite Doors: This affordable style is made with a wood-based compound that mimics the look and feel of real wood but needs minimal maintenance. No touch-ups or repainting are required. Solid core and hollow core doors often have a composite exterior skin.

Core Construction Categories

In addition to the type of material, there are two main categories of door construction.

Solid Core Doors

Solid core doors offer the look, feel and durability of solid wood without the cost. They have a solid wood fibre core laminated with wood veneer or hardboard skin. A wide variety of panel designs are available to choose from, and the door can be painted or stained to match your interior décor. A solid core door is a good choice when security, noise resistance or fire resistance are important. ​

Hollow Core Doors

Hollow core doors are lightweight and less expensive than solid core doors. They’re also easier to install but offer less sound blocking and security, and less fire resistance. A hollow core door has a core of foam or cardboard in a honeycomb structure set in a wood frame with a wood veneer or hardboard skin glued over. This type of door is great for bedrooms, bathrooms and closets. ​

Door Thickness & Sizing

When choosing an interior door, there are some common measurements you’ll come across. Below are standard sizes, although you can also look for customized sizes.

• Standard thickness: 1-3/8" and 1-3/4" (3.5 cm and 4.5 cm)
• Standard widths: 18", 20", 24", 28", 30", 32" and 36" (46, 51, 61, 71, 76 and 91 cm)
• Standard heights: 80", 84" and 96" (203, 213 and 244 cm)

A pre-hung door includes a frame-mounted door and hinges, so it’s ready to install. When replacing an existing door with a pre-hung door, select a door that has the same dimensions as the existing one. For a pre-hung door, measure the width and height, the rough opening (space between the studs with no door installed) and the thickness of the jamb.

An interior slab door is the door without frame, hinges or handle set. For a slab door, measure the width, height and thickness of the door. ​

Tips for Proper Installation

When you install an interior door, also consider door swing and handle placement. Door swing is the direction the door opens.

For a pre-hung door: Open the door and stand with your back to the hinges. If the doorknob is on the left, you need a left-handed door. If the knob is to the right, select a right-handed door.

For new installation: Determine if you want the door to open into or out of the room, and to the left or to the right. You don’t want anything to interfere with the door when it is fully open. Also, it shouldn’t interfere with foot traffic.

If you are installing hinges on the left-hand side, you need a left-handed door set. If the hinges are on the right-hand side, you need a right-handed door set.

Handy Tools to Get the Job Done

Some handy tools and materials that will help with your DIY job include:
• A level and plumb bob to help with positioning, and carpenter’s pencils for marking measurements
• Shims for holding a pre-hung door in place
• Finishing nails and a hammer to secure the door frame
• Door jigs and butt hinge markers to help with installation
• Caulking for after the trim is installed

Looking for help with installation? We’d love to help! Contact our Home Installs service and set up a free in-home or in-store consultation.

Add Finishing Touces To Your Door

• Ensure to paint or stain all 6 sides to avoid warranty issues
• If you’re updating your doors, it’s a great time to consider new mouldings: you can coordinate your interior door casing with your window casing and baseboard
• With updated doors, consider also updating the door hardware (handles)

IMPORTANT: Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before staining/painting the door.

Armed with the information you need on door types, styles, materials and more, you’re now all set to start your search for the perfect interior door. Browse our large selection of interior door products for the ideal doors and accessories for your home. ​
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