It's All In the Details: Interior Doors
Updated: Oct 31, 2020
At Home-Build Concierge, we know that building a custom home is not for the faint of heart. That's why I started the company -- to help all those who dread the notion of building a custom home because of the investment in time, necessary project management skills, and decision-making about countless choices to get your house just right. Over the past several months, we've published numerous blog posts covering topics from lighting technologies and flooring choices to architectural and design features, landscaping, environmental considerations, etc. Our goal is to arm homeowners with the knowledge it takes to build a custom home. Of course, for those who don't have the time or expertise to tackle the project on their own, we're here to help along with our featured partners and vendors.
The choices and decisions can seem endless in building a custom home. To illustrate the point, take one of hundreds of choices a homeowner will need to consider: the interior doors. This is the topic of our current blog post.
Common Types of Interior Doors
Solid Wood Doors (a.k.a. "stain-grade doors") are constructed entirely of real wood. They're sturdy, but require routine maintenance. Depending on your architectural and design style, solid wood doors are very high-end, warm, and beautiful -- but also very expensive. They provide great sound insulation. Solid Core Doors are constructed differently from solid wood doors. They are made of particleboard or steel centers covered by wood or fiberglass veneer to give them a durable finish. They require less maintenance. Doors with a solid core more closely replicate the weight and feel of solid wood doors. Solid core doors are similar to solid wood in that they also act as a great sound insulator. For a minimal additional cost, we prefer the solid core doors over hollow core doors. It's a lot cheaper to choose them up-front than changing the doors later. Hollow Core Doors are the lowest in quality and cost. Hollow core doors have cardboard baffle centers covered by veneer. They're inexpensive, typically $20-$30 as compared to $40-$120 for solid core doors. Even though they can be stamped with a pattern to mimic wood doors, hollow doors are typically used in production-built homes and are therefore mundane and lack character. Furthermore, hollow core doors feel flimsy when closing and opening them and are not good for sound insulation.
Door Height and Width
Tall ceilings have made a comeback in home designs. We like the 10-12 ft. ceiling heights where practical, but are puzzled by the continued use of the 7 ft. doors in these homes. We recommend that you speak with your architect and utilize 8 ft. doors in your home if you've selected taller ceiling heights. They add a great deal of drama at relatively little additional cost.
When it comes to door widths, talk to your architect about rooms that will be access by those with special accessibility needs now or in the near future.
There seems to be a limitless combination of available door styles from which homeowners can choose. In terms of finish, you can get textured or smooth, painted or stained, and styles ranging from 6-panel to Roman arch to 4-panel arch-top, 5-panel modern, and Shaker plank to name just a few. Of course you can choose raised panel, with or without mouldings, glass inserts, etc. Consult your designer or Home-Build Concierge for suggestions to suit your preferences. Our experience is that when using hollow-core doors, it is best to avoid the faux-wood texture. It just never looks real.
Remember the "glamorous" gold-finished brass hardware of the '80s? The options for hinges and door handle finishes now are a bit overwhelming, and can include brushed nickel, stainless steel, oil-rubbed bronze, polished brass, antique brass, polished chrome, satin chrome, matt black, satin bronze (you get the idea). Once you commit to a finish, consider how it coordinates with finishes in your entire house, including bathroom fixtures and hardware, exterior door hardware, window hardware, etc.
When it comes to door handles, the shape of the handle is another consideration. There are door knobs of countless styles, handles and levers with many designer options, push bars, pull handles, etc.
Consider using levers vs. knobs especially when anyone in your household suffers from arthritis pain or has special accessibility needs -- now or in the near future.
At Home-Build Concierge, we believe that if you're going to build a custom home, you should really do it right. You may have seen closets in hotel rooms that light up when you open the door. Who wants to fumble around a dark closet or have to remember to turn the light off when you're done with the closet? We recommend that homeowners plan ahead (or let us plan ahead) and get the electrician to install jamb switches in closet doors so the cool LED lights come on automatically.
In summary, all the considerations I've listed above are just for one of hundreds of selections you will have to make for your custom home or major renovation. If you don't have the time to tackle all those considerations and options, hire a professional. Home-Build Concierge is here to help. Just contact us to get started.