Shopping for Interior Doors
There are lots of choices between expensive wooden style-and-rail and cheap hollow-core doors.
Synopsis: Interior doors come in many varieties and price ranges. This article examines the pros and cons of what you’ll find in the aisles of your local lumberyard or home center. A sidebar offers advice on options for ordering a door.
We associate doors with choices. Remember the short story called “The Lady or the Tiger”? Or Monty Hall whipping the audience into a frenzy by asking, “What’s behind door No. 3?” The most intriguing thing about a door might be what it conceals. If you’re building a house or an addition, though, you’ve got to pay attention to the door itself. What do you want from a door? Your front door keeps out the cold and other uninvited guests. Inside, doors perform a host of functions, from making a bathroom a more private place to isolating a noisy television to announcing the end of an argument. At a minimum, interior doors are large pieces of millwork and part of a room’s overall design.
When buying a door, you’ll want to know what the door is made of and how much it costs. Those of you on the lookout for a new door have to weigh the virtues of hollow vs. solid vs. stile and rail, flat panel or raised panel, veneered or solid panel, veneered and engineered composite panel or molded, and then a whole raft of wood species, among other things. To learn more about doors, I talked to manufacturers, visited their factories, talked to carpenters who install doors and finally checked prices at door retailers here in southern New England. I’ll give you a preview of what you can expect at the door store.
Wooden stile-and-rail doors are traditional and sturdy
When someone says the word “door,” I think of a…