When you’re buying a new door there are many factors that will come into play including how the door looks, what finish you’ll choose, what accessories are needed and the location of the new doors.

One of the most important decisions, however, is the choice of material. We’ll be looking at the main types of door available and the pros and cons of those doors. Typically, when buying a new door you’ll be considering hollow core doors, solid core doors and solid wood doors. Your choice of door construction will influence price, finishes available and the upkeep your new door might need.

By the end of this article we hope you’ll have a clearer idea of what door will be right for your home.

Solid Wood Doors

What are Solid Wood Doors?

Solid wood doors are 100% natural wood that has not been engineered. Solid wood doors are still usually constructed of frames and panels, rather than one single piece of wood. The wood used can vary from hardwood such as maple or oak to softwoods such as pine.

For a long time, solid wood doors have been the traditional choice, being sturdy, long lasting and offering classic designs. Wood doors are associated with quality – that pleasing ‘thunk’ you get when closing a wooden door is not quite the same with any other type of door. However, solid wood doors can be far more expensive than others, and may require more maintenance than doors made with modern techniques.

Another fairly new consideration is the environmental effects of choosing a solid wood door. The good news is choosing a solid wood door is a good choice for the environment. Timber doors are far more long-lasting than other materials if looked after properly, offer great insulation, and you can make sure your wooden door is from a sustainable source.

What are the Pros of Solid Wood Doors?

  • Insulation – Wooden doors offer great insulation, especially when paired with draught excluders, door curtains, insulated letter boxes (if external) and edge sealing to keep out any draughts.
  • Sound-proofing – Solid wood doors offer you good soundproofing compared to doors made by other means as the density of the material (especially hardwood) absorbs soundwaves, dampening the sound volume.
  • Durability – Wooden doors are less prone to damage and long lasting and door made of oak for example will be hard-wearing and last for years if maintained properly.
  • Aesthetics – Solid wooden doors look great, are available in a wide variety of woods and finishes and can always be customised to fit into your home though staining or painting, and all of the different accessories you can choose and fit.
  • Quality & Feel – Opening a solid wood door is like opening no other door because of its weight and construction. Wooden doors ooze class and can add saleability to your house as they are an indicator of a property that has been well maintained and specced out.

What are the Cons of Solid Wood Doors?

  • Price – Solid wood doors can cost you more than twice the price of other doors. You do pay for quality and budget is always a consideration.
  • Maintenance – Undeniably wooden doors require more looking after. As they are made of a natural material they can be susceptible to expansion and contraction so will require TLC to remain at their best.
  • Hard to fit – Solid wooden doors are heavy, and may need alterations and adjustment when fitting. This can add to the overall price if you do need someone to fit the door for you.

Hollow Core Doors

What Are Hollow Core Doors?

Hollow core doors are made from a thin layer of wood or fibreboard which cover a honeycombed interior core of cardboard or plastic. Hollow core doors are generally a lot cheaper than other door choices and, chances are if you’ve bought a new home that is not at the luxury end of the market, it will come fitted with hollow core doors.

Hollow doors are of course never truly hollow, and always have the honeycombed interior. These doors are only suitable for internal use and whilst they are very affordable, they have low durability, insulation and offer minimal soundproofing.

That’s not to say hollow doors don’t have their advantages. There is that cost factor – if you are on a budget these doors should be on your radar. Hollow doors do offer privacy, and you might not always need insulating and soundproofing qualities in your doors.

What Are the Pros of Hollow Core Doors?

  • Price – Hollow core doors are inexpensive – if you need to buy a number of doors costs will soon mount up if you buy solid wood doors.
  • Easy installation – Hollow doors are light so easy to install by one person, either by yourself or by a tradesperson. Hollow doors are also quicker to install as they are so lightweight, so if you have a number of doors to hang, you will save a lot of time by choosing hollow core.
  • Privacy – At a minimum, hollow core doors offer privacy so can be an ideal choice for bedrooms and bathrooms.

What Are the Cons of Hollow Core Doors?

  • Lack of durability – Because of their construction, hollow doors are prone to damage as they are structurally weak.
  • Provide little insulation – Hollow doors do not have the insulating properties of solid doors so will not help as much when trying to keep the heat in rooms.
  • Provide little sound-proofing – Hollow core doors offer no real sound insulation again because of their construction – hollow doors will not soak up sound so are not a good choice if you want to cut out TV sounds or conversation from busy rooms.
  • Lack of quality – Hollow doors are cheap as they are cheaply made and rarely manage to hide this.
  • Can affect house saleability – If a potential purchaser is looking around your house, hollow doors will not necessarily ooze the quality and desirability that traditional wooden doors will. And hollow doors are very common and found in rented properties, so you risk the perception you have fitted your house out on the cheap.
  • Lack of styles – Whereas with a wooden door you can choose to stain, varnish or paint your door in a number of styles and potentially numerous times over its life, hollow doors can only perhaps be repainted, as the thin layer of wood used as the door skin will not stand up to much sanding if at all.

Solid Core Doors

What is a Solid Core Door?

Solid core doors have a solid filling of engineered non-natural wood such as MDF, covered first with a basic wood veneer skin and then a fine wood or veneer skin. Solid core doors are considered a happy medium between solid wood and hollow core doors, offering durability at an affordable price.

Solid core doors offer excellent insulation and sound-proofing, and their engineered construction makes them impervious to the expansion and contraction solid wooden doors suffer from when humidity changes. Solid core doors are strong and heavy, and often have a good level of fire resistance.

What are the Pros of Solid Core Doors?

  • Price – Solid core doors are much cheaper than solid wood doors, and although more expensive than hollow core varieties, offer a strength and durability you would not get with hollow doors.
  • Durability – Solid core doors are long-lasting and hard-wearing.
  • Require little maintenance – Solid engineered doors will not suffer from changes in the weather like wooden doors do.
  • Sound-proofing – The construction of solid core doors from dense materials such as MDF means they have excellent noise-cancelling qualities.
  • Insulation – Solid core doors are far better than hollow core at protecting against heat loss because of their construction
  • Security – As well as standing up to a fair amount of wear and tear, solid core doors offer protection against attack than a hollow door would.

What are the Cons of Solid Core Doors?

  • Hard to install – Solid core doors are heavy, sometimes heavier than solid wood doors, so installing one can be a two-person job.
  • They aren’t solid wood – Despite offering a lot of the qualities solid wood doors have for a fraction of the price, solid core doors will never quite have the quality, feel or finish of a traditional solid wood door.

So, Should I Choose a Solid Wood, Solid Core or Hollow Core Door?

Solid wood, solid core & hollow core doors all have their place and your decision over which to choose will be influenced by a number of factors including budget, usage, and style.

If you are buying a number of doors, they don’t all have to be on one construction. It could be that you choose hollow core doors for bathrooms, cupboards and pantries and solid wood doors for living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms where insulation, soundproofing and style is more important.

If you’re looking for attractive new internal doors, check out our extensive range.

Posted on: 28 July 2020

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