How to shop internal doors

Glazed Fire Doors

Internal doors are often the unsung heroes of interior design features. While hours might be spent pouring over carpet samples, paint swatches and furniture, when it comes to doors a lot of people will pick one based on colour alone.

This can be a mistake. There are so many factors you should consider when purchasing an internal door. It’s not just about the way looks, though its cohesion with your interior design will be down to a lot more than just colour.

An internal door is a functional item, and the practical benefits it brings to your room should be considered alongside the visual ones. Will your chosen door provide excellent sound insulation, to keep separate rooms private? Will they be energy-efficient to save on wasted heating?

There are actually a lot of active decisions you should make when shopping for a new internal door.

How to choose an internal door

While the final choice of which door you go for will probably come down to a particular personal preference, there are a lot of factors you can control when you’re looking for an internal door.

Material

The first thing you should probably pick is what material you would like your internal door to be made from. Knowing you want a timber door is not enough.

Do you want an oak door,  with it’s iconic rich colour and the versatility to sit in any room? How about the dark drama of walnut? Or the practical convenience of a wipe-clean laminate door?

Every door material will have a different benefit. A knotty pine door will give a glorious wood grain at an affordable price point, though it won’t provide the same insulating qualities as a robust solid oak. A laminate door might have a more utilitarian finish but it will make family life so much easier as you can clean it quickly.

Core

If you don’t choose a solid timber door, you will need to choose which type of core you want instead. There are three types of door core construction available and they all have different benefits and drawbacks

Hollowcore doors are the cheapest available option. These lightweight doors are the easiest hang, without a dense engineered core to increase their weight. However, they are also the most ‘flimsy’. They can still come with robust veneers that are hard to damage, but you won’t get that feeling of weight when you open them. They are also not as efficient at containing sound and heat which can have a major impact on your living space.

In comparison, a solid core door will have a solid wood veneer lain over a densely packed engineered core to make for a very robust, heavyweight door. These doors provide the best heat and sound insulation and feel suitably sturdy to open. Their main drawback is that they are likely to cost almost as much as a solid wood door.

A semi-solid core construction is the mid-way point. These doors cost a little more than hollow-core ones do but they provide more insulation against sound and heat. These middleweight doors will also not provide quite as extensive benefits as a solid core.

Style

There are many different styles of door, from the broad categories of flush and panel doors, down to the specific door styles of DX30 interior doors or Shaker Style doors.

Though these categories act as a guide, the choice between them will always be decided by which suits with the general aesthetic you are going for in your home. You might want a cute cottage style door to go with your rustic country interior, or a sleek flush door to fit into your modern, minimalist scheme.

It is also often worth investigating door styles if you’re looking for an internal door for a period property. The number, size and layout of panels is often subtly different for each period, so if you want an authentic interior for your home, a little research will probably pay off.

Finish

Internal doors come in three finish options.

A prefinished door will be delivered to your home fully finished and ready to hang. The door will be sealed against moisture, look great and have a robust, easy to clean finish that will keep your door at its best for years. Although it is the most expensive finish option, a lot of people prefer the ease and reliability of a prefinished/fully finished door.

A white primed door will have a partially finished surface that is ready to paint the colour of your choice. As the surface is primed, it shouldn’t take many coats to get the flawless finish on your choice, and the paint you use is entirely up to you. If you want a bold colour statement or even just a classic white gloss, this is the best door to choose.

If you want complete control of how your internal door looks when it’s finished, an unfinished internal door will suit you.

These doors can be varnished or stained any shade, to tailor their classic timber appearance to match the nuances of your home. You can also prime them and paint them, so if you decide to go for a bright block of colour at a later point, these doors would be suitable.

Glazing

Using glazed internal doors is a great way to let light into dark rooms without enough windows. Picking a door with glazed panels will let natural light flow through your house, while still giving you the privacy of a closed door.

Fire Doors

If you’re concerned about the safety of your home, installing a fire door will give you added peace of mind that your home is safe.

A fire door is a solid core door that has been engineered to withstand heat, smoke and flames for a set amount of time. For an FD30 rated door, you should expect it to withstand the fire for upto 30mins.

Though regulations around fire doors only exist for houses with more than two stories (including loft conversions) it is recommended that they are used for any door that leads in or out of your kitchen.

If you want to know more about what fire doors are and where you should use them, check out our guide to fire doors

Which internal doors are best?

This will always be a subjective question. Many people will consider the design of a door, the most important factor in defining what is best. For other people the practicalities we outlined above will be more important.

If you’re looking for an internal door that has a feel of quality, is robust enough to last years and will offer excellent sound and heat insulation, a solid core door is probably best – but then the colour, style and finish will still be up to you.

Which internal doors are on trend?

The industrial interior style is very much on-trend in 2021. This is a fashion that embraces open-plan spaces, big, bright rooms with large windows and sharp, clean lines.

Black internal doors fit in with this very well, with sleek designs. They provide a great point of contrast to the stark walls commonly seen in industrial design. Glazed doors, particularly those with many panels also fit in brilliantly. The skinny straight lines of the frame are very on-trend, while the glass helps build that sense of bright, open plan living.

Picking an internal door is about a lot more than identifying what colour door you want. If you’re still not sure what to look for or want some advice on picking one that will suit your home, you can contact our customer care team and we’ll happily discuss your options.