When it comes to choosing internal doors for your home the two main choices are between various different solid doors and hollow core doors. Then you will need to look at style, and what the doors look like. All things considered, you will then look at price and availability. If you are keen to keep your new home as green as possible, this will be another factor to consider.
Without a doubt you are going to pay more for solid doors, whether they are made from solid wood or some sort of “solid” board. But in many instances you may want solid doors, particularly in small homes where noise between rooms can be an irritating factor. While many people leave their bedroom doors open at night, if you close your door to eliminate noise, then you are going to be looking for a suitable door that helps you do this.
So, how do you make the choice between solid or hollow core doors for the bedrooms in your new home? Apart from look and price, there is another very important factor to consider, and that is your own personal needs. This includes, of course, how the door will perform in terms of sound-proofing and privacy.
Hollow Core Doors
While you can get a good idea of the wide selection of hollow cores available from stores like Lowes, Home Depot (www. homedepot.ca) and Door Crazy Ltd, you won’t see from photographs or by even looking at the door in a store, how they are manufactured. In fact if you put a paneled hollow core door next to a paneled solid core door they could look exactly the same. The price tag however will be a dead giveaway. And if you knock the two doors, you might realize that the one is solid and the other is hollow (or not solid) inside.
However not all hollow core doors are exactly what they sound like – hollow in the middle. Certainly the simplest and cheapest type is made with a straightforward inexpensive lumber or medium density fiberboard (MDF) framework to which some sort of plywood (often veneered) is attached. A thin strip of ply or lumber is then attached top and bottom to seal the door. While often manufactured specifically for internal use (so they should come into contact with rain or snow), if for any reason you need to plane the top of bottom of the door, you can end up exposing the hollow centre.
There are, of course, exceptions and some companies do make hollow core doors that can be used both internally and externally, allowing access to the garden or a patio. Check with the manufacturer before you buy and install.
Many companies, like CraftMaster (www.craftmasterdoors.com), use some sort of material inbetween the two faces of the door, for example a lightweight corrugated honeycomb core material, standard corrugated paper blocking or even expanded polystyrene or styrofoam. This negates the need for a solid frame and the method of manufacture is loosely termed “sandwich technology” because the two strong face sheets are glued to the lightweight core.
All hollow core doors are made in such a way that solid material is incorporated where hinges, striker plates, handles and so on will be attached. They are generally hinged so that they can support either an inward or outward swing to open and close the door.
A survey carried out in Canada in 2008 showed that close to 99% of people buying wooden doors for their homes chose lightweight hollow core doors. Not only are they cheaper, but because they use relatively small quantities of wood, they are green too. Because they are light, they are also easier to move about and to hang.
Just be wary that while hollow core doors are cheaper than solid core doors, cheaper than average hollow core doors are likely to be inferior in quality.
Solid Core Doors
Solid core doors are considerably heavier than hollow core doors and they deaden noise much more effectively. As an example, a hollow core door measuring 24 inches x 96 inches will weigh about 30 lbs, while a solid core door the same size is likely to weigh about double this. This could be a pro or a con when deciding whether to opt for solid or hollow core doors for the bedrooms of your home.
Cheaper than solid wood doors, solid core doors offer considerably better dimensional stability and support, and are a lot more durable and long lasting than the average hollow core door. They are sometimes rated with a sound transmission coefficient (STC) which will tell you how well it acts as a sound barrier. The higher the rating number, the better it will muffle sound. According to CraftMaster, the STC values for their 1⅜ inch thick doors ranges from 27 for their (not so) hollow core doors to 29 for their solid core doors.
Like hollow core doors, there are different methods of construction, and some are more solid than others.
CraftMaster also makes a semi-solid core door (which could also be considered a semi-hollow core door). For these they use pieces of wood blocking or particleboard instead of corrugated paper in the hollow. While they are heavier than hollow core doors, they cost nearly as much as solid core doors, and for this reason are not very popular.
When we talk about doors being solid (and not “solid core”) we mean that they are made of solid wood. So if you decide on “solid” consider carefully why you have made this choice. Generally, the benefit is that you will actually see the wood and its grain. While wood may both be stained and painted, it seems a bit of a waste to spend a lot of money on solid wood if you plan to do the latter. After all both hollow core and solid core doors will look pretty much the same when painted.
Hopefully that’s a bit of food for thought for anyone trying to decide whether to use solid or hollow core door for the bedrooms of the house they are about to build or renovate.