YOUR EXPERT GUIDE TO INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR DOORS FROM DUNN LUMBER
The front door of your home makes a significant statement to anyone passing by or coming in for a visit. It offers a sense of welcome while also demonstrating security and peace of mind. And with the right details, it can be a stunning element of your home. This versatility extends to every door in and around your home. If you’re willing to take the time to carefully select your interior and exterior doors, you can ensure maximum benefits and minimal compromises.
Dunn Lumber’s local expertise can help make sure you’re getting the best deal and the right info. The friendly team at Dunn shares decades of experience with this interior and exterior door buying guide. We’ll discuss the available door choices and what makes them different before helping you narrow down what you should look for in a new door. Next, we’ll provide details about the various materials and why you may prefer one over the other. Finally, we’ll wrap up with some commonly asked questions about doors or the installation process. With help from Dunn, you can open the door to project success.
Part 1: Understanding Different Types and Materials of Doors
Identifying Different Types of Doors
You wouldn’t want your home’s front door to be made of cheap materials. Just the same, you don’t need to go overboard and install a heavy-duty security door for the guest bedroom. Learning more about the options helps when you’re considering a new interior or exterior door project. Whether you’re adding a new door or replacing an old one, picking the right materials and style will help ensure lasting good looks and security.
The most basic way you can divide the different types of door is by configuration, or what the door comes with for installation. There are pre-hung doors, which are ready-made doors that come with their own frames, hinges and jambs. This type of interior or exterior door is ideal for new construction projects because installation is streamlined. As such, pre-hung doors are generally simpler to install.
Meanwhile, slab doors are just the door, cut to fit an interior or exterior opening. Slab doors don’t come with frames and must be mounted into place with the correct hardware. This type of door is more customizable, perfect for projects where the frame is already in place and you’re interested in specific hardware.
A pre-hung door may be the better choice for interior projects as they’re already mounted in the frame. This allows for quick installation and a snug fit. A slab door, on the other hand, is simply the interior or exterior door itself without any mounting hardware. It’s a great choice if you want to customize your existing frame with unique hardware.
Different Parts of Doors
Whether your doors were pre-hung or not, multiple components are needed to make your door a secure, effective part of your home. While some specific components of an interior or exterior door may vary depending on the type and style, most doors have a few key parts:
Door slab – This is the actual interior or exterior door itself. They can be made of wood, metal, glass and many other materials.
Frame – Also known as the jamb, the door frame holds the interior or exterior door in place. It can be made from wood, metal or other materials but should be durable enough to secure the door.
Latch – This is the mechanism that keeps the door closed. This may include a locking mechanism or simply be a way to prevent low security doors from swinging open.
Handles – The handle allows people to open or close the door. Doors with locking mechanisms connect the handle to the latch, preventing entry when the door is locked. Handles can be fashioned into a wide range of different shapes and styles.
Hinges – The hinges attach the interior or exterior door to its frame and allow it to swing open and closed. Most doors have their hinges on either side of the frame, but certain patio door designs feature center-hinge doors.
Weatherstripping – This dependable component helps limit air leakage and improves insulation around the interior door. If you live in a dynamic climate with hot summers or cold winters, weatherstripping can be a vital element for energy efficiency in your home.
There are also many different supplementary accessories that can be added to a door. These can fulfill practical purposes like security as well as enhance the visual appeal. Accessories may include security systems, door knockers, viewports and many different aesthetic flourishes. Slab doors are a great way to start from scratch and build the perfect door for your sense of style.
Different Styles of Doors
Hinge door – Your standard type of door, this door swings on one side depending on where you install the hinges. The simplest interior doors are usually hinge doors made from basic materials such as laminate or engineered wood products like MDF board. Interior doors can also be made from materials like glass and steel.
Sliding door – This type of exterior door slides open to provide access to an outdoor or patio area. They are usually glass to provide maximum natural light. Some doors include two sets of sliding panels while other doorways are designed for a single door to slide open and closed.
Pocket door – This type of interior door slides into a pocket in the wall, allowing for more space and easy access to rooms. It’s popular for rooms like bathrooms as well as utility spaces and closets.
French door – This type of interior or exterior door features two panels that swing away from each other when opened. They usually feature some quantity of glass, from small windows to large decorative framing.
Storm door – This type of exterior door is installed outside the main exterior door and helps protect doors (and subsequently your home) from severe weather or pests. This added layer of protection may feature glass or a fine mesh screen.
Bifold doors – A more niche type of door, bifold doors are ideal for interior rooms, usually used as a closet door. Its design features several doors that fold up together.
Security door – This type of door features reinforced materials and construction, and may include special locking mechanisms to enhance security. Stronger latches, more complex locking systems and similar features capable of providing protection are common.
It’s important to remember that specific elements of your home can restrict which doors you can install, at least without additional construction or renovation work. For example, French doors come in pairs and will need a frame wide enough to hold them both, while pocket doors need extra space within the wall to slide in. You’re not necessarily prevented from choosing certain styles of doors for your next project, but you may need to adjust your plan or budget to accommodate everything you’re looking for.
Part 2: Choosing Which Door Is Right for You
There are lots of things to consider when comparing different types of doors and their features. They can have a significant impact on the functionality and aesthetic appeal of a space as well as for your entire home.
Location is probably the first thing you’ll think about because there’s an empty doorway that needs filling. Whether the door will be an interior or exterior door impacts which style is best. After all, you don’t need to get a bulky security door for a simple closet door replacement project.
This also extends to which way the door opens, which is known as the handing. It’s usually better to have a door swing open into a wall rather than the middle of the room, so check to see which side of the frame holds the door’s hinges.
You should make sure the size of the door is appropriate for the opening or frame. Otherwise, the door may not open or close all the way or allow drafts inside. In general, most standard doors are approximately 80 inches tall and 30 to 36 inches wide. More important doors like the front door are usually larger, while spaces like closets or pantries often use smaller size doors.
Security is vital to think about. You deserve total peace of mind, so a more secure door is useful for exterior entryways or rooms for storing valuable items. Designs include features like a heavy-duty frame made of metal or reinforced wood, a more complex lock system and even interior steel plates. Stronger designs often demand additional space, so take that into consideration.
Lastly, you want to carefully explore the Design. Color, hardware and other details are a significant part of how your door looks, so choosing complementary styles will give your home a cohesive look. Many slab designs can reinforce certain architectural or interior styles, such as Mid-Century Modern.
Deciding What Material You Want Your Door to Be Made From
Different door materials come with their own strengths and weaknesses for interior or exterior doors. Understanding each type of material better will help you make the right decision:
Wood – This is a classic interior and exterior door material that brings warmth to any room. Natural woods such as pine and oak are used as well as engineered wood products such as MDF. However, wood doors may require more consistent upkeep including staining, painting and other maintenance tasks. The maintenance is usually considered worth it, as wood doors offer a wealth of design possibilities and can be used in dozens of applications. The paint and stain you choose can brighten a room or make a statement, so don’t hesitate to reach out for professional advice from Dunn.
Fiberglass – Fiberglass is tough, durable and secure. It can be easy to maintain and offers a long lifespan. Fiberglass doors come in a variety of styles that mimic the look of wood without requiring any staining or painting due to the finished-looking options. Fiberglass is also resistant to scratches, dents and warping.
Steel – Steel doors are popular because of their strength and security. They’re perfect for enhanced peace of mind both for unwanted entry as well as natural hazards. Steel is fire-resistant, scratch-resistant and dent-resistant, and can withstand many extreme weather conditions.
Vinyl – Vinyl is ideal for interior doors because this material is lightweight and easy to maintain. It offers a range of other benefits including being moisture-resistant and scratch-resistant. Vinyl doors are great for interior spaces with limited space.
Let’s review and weigh the pros and cons:
- Wood Exterior Doors
- Pros: Wood is a natural material that can be stained or painted to match any home’s design. It also adds value to your home.
- Cons: Wood doors require regular maintenance, such as painting or staining every few years and sealing every year. They can also be damaged by severe weather like hurricanes.
- Steel Exterior Doors
- Pros: Steel doors are more durable and require less maintenance than wood. They can offer a higher level of security, but may also include glass panels for natural light or aesthetic value.
- Cons: Steel doors can corrode over time and may not fit with all home designs. Steel is also on the high end of material costs.
- Fiberglass Exterior Doors
- Pros: Fiberglass doors are low maintenance, energy-efficient and durable. They can be painted or stained to match any home’s design.
- Cons: Fiberglass can be expensive and may not provide as much security as steel doors.
- Vinyl Exterior Doors
- Pros: Vinyl exterior doors are low maintenance, energy efficient and can be easily customized with different designs.
- Cons: Vinyl exterior doors may not provide as much security as steel or wood doors. They also tend to fade over time due to exposure to the sun.
Sizing Your New Door
While many door installation projects are simply swapping different doors of the same size, other projects call for changing the size of the door. Maybe you want to widen the entryway or make a closet more accessible. Precise measurements are vital, as you’ll need to update the frame as well to accommodate the new size.
Doors are typically sized by their width, divided into two measurements. For example, a single interior door is usually 30 inches wide while a double interior door can be 36 inches or even 48 inches wide depending on the space available. Exterior doors are generally wider than interior doors since they’re exposed, which provides more insulation and security.
The frame of the door should be slightly larger than the door itself and should extend at least one inch beyond on either side of the door. For exterior doors, the frame should extend two inches beyond each edge of the door. This will help ensure a secure fit and help reduce air leakage around the door.
When measuring for your interior or exterior door, you want to make sure you measure the rough door opening (the space between the interior and exterior surfaces of the wall) and not just the existing doorframe. The qualified door contractors Dunn Lumber can recommend will be able to help you determine the appropriate size and frame for your project.
Part 3: Ensuring a Smooth Door Installation Process
When you start a door installation project, the best thing to do is to find an experienced and reliable contractor in the area. Knowing that your contractor has experience with interior or exterior door installation can save you time and money in the long run. Dunn can help pair you up with a nearby professional. We carefully work with some of the best contractors in the area, so you can trust our opinion.
It’s also important to get a few estimates from different door contractors to confirm the price fits your budget and accomplishes your goals, making sure to ask plenty of questions about their experience and what kind of materials they use. Quality door contractors should be more than happy to answer any questions you may have, so don’t hesitate to ask.
You should also get an understanding of the entire project timeline, and make sure all the details are covered. Understanding what will be and may be involved as well as the timeline and cost of the project helps to ensure a smooth installation process.
And finally, make sure the measurements of your interior or exterior door project are precise and accurate. If there are building codes or regulations in your area that could affect the installation process, an experienced contractor should be aware of them.
3 Signs You Should Replace a Door
Knowing when it’s time to swap an old door for a new one is the first step in any door installation project. When kept in good shape, a door can last a lifetime, but if your door experiences any of the following, it may be time to replace it:
- Drafts – Not only are drafts uncomfortable, but they can also be a major energy drain. Exterior doors should be precisely fitted to keep your heating and cooling indoors where it should be.
- Difficulty opening and closing – Getting the door open and closed easily is both a matter of convenience and safety. An old door can get stuck or jammed in place, posing a risk.
- Trouble locking – Exterior doors and many interior doors come with locking mechanisms for privacy and peace of mind. If the lock isn’t damaged, it may be a problem with the door itself.
3 Signs You Should Replace a Door
Keeping a new door in peak condition over the years is easy with just a few steps. A regular maintenance routine can help preserve your door and keep it looking like new for longer:
- Clean – Remove dirt and debris from interior and exterior doors by wiping doors down on a regular basis with a damp cloth. Doors with heavy foot traffic will need the most frequent cleaning.
- Check weatherstripping – Look for any broken or missing weatherstripping around the door and make sure it is properly seated to keep out drafts, reduce noise and save energy.
- Tighten screws – Inspect interior and exterior door hinges and other hardware on a regular basis to make sure everything is secure. A loose screw might produce an annoying sound or keep the door from opening/closing properly.
- Polish – Interior doors (particularly wood) can be polished with a wood polish to keep them looking great and protect against general wear and tear.
- Lubricate locks – Lubricating interior door locks with a light oil or graphite powder can help ensure they open and close smoothly. This is especially true for older homes with original hardware.
With the right care, proper installation and maintenance, your interior or exterior door can continue looking and functioning great for many years to come.
Part 4: Frequently Asked Questions
How much does door installation cost? The cost of door installation varies depending on the type and size of door, as well as the complexity of the installation. On average, interior door installation costs range from $100 to $500+ per door, while exterior door generally range from $200 to as high as $1500+ per door. It is always beneficial to get quotes from different contractors to confirm prices. A local expert will offer a fair price for installation, and can back up their work with proven success.
What kind of door do I need for my home? The type and size of door that you need depends on several factors, such as the opening size, style of house, insulation needs, security requirements and other personal preferences. If you’re unsure which door is the best choice for your home, it’s best to consult with the door contractor who can provide professional advice and help you select the most suitable door for your needs.
What is included in door installation? Door installation typically includes measuring the existing door opening, cutting or trimming the door to fit, mounting hardware and hinges, installing weatherstripping and other components, adjusting door alignment and operation, caulking any gaps around the door frame, and testing the door for proper operation.
How long does door installation take? The amount of time needed to install a door depends on several factors including size of the door opening, complexity of installation requirements and the door contractor’s experience. Generally speaking, door installation takes a few hours to complete, but could take longer if the door needs to be custom fit.
Do I need to hire a door installer or can I install the door myself? Although door installation isn’t always difficult, it is recommended that you hire a professional door contractor who has the knowledge and experience necessary to properly install your door. A professional door contractor can provide advice on selecting the right type of door for your home and ensure that it is installed safely and securely.
How do I find high-quality doors? When choosing a door, you should consider the durability, functionality and aesthetics of the door. If you prefer a strong door with that will last for a long time without needing much upkeep, then it may cost more. The difference between a superior door and an inferior one is clear when it comes to material quality and overall appearance. Dunn Lumber works with a number of trusted vendors for both interior and exterior doors.
What kind of door hardware should I choose? There is an almost endless diversity of hardware, with hinges, handles, latches and other types available in traditional, modern, or contemporary styles. Matching the door hardware with the existing interior design of your home helps everything blends seamlessly together. You should also consider how the hardware functions to make sure every door is easy to use. For example, doors with lever handles are easier for the elderly to open and close compared to turning knobs.
Dunn Lumber Opens the Door to Project Success
At Dunn Lumber, we understand that interior and exterior door installation can be a daunting project. That’s why we’re here to help. With our expertise and experience in the industry, we can provide expert guidance on selecting the perfect interior or exterior door for your needs and find a trusted contractor who can install it properly. Contact our staff by visiting Dunn Lumber or filling out our contact form online.