Interior and exterior doors -- important details in setting the style of your home -- are available in a wide range of types, materials, and styles. Understanding how each type works and where it will work the best will help you choose the ideal doors for your new addition.
Here are some of the types of doors you'll find, along with some terminology that will help you to shop more confidently:
Single-acting doors -- the most common doors -- are hinged on one side and open in one direction. These are the standard doors you find on the interior of your house.
Double-acting doors open in either direction. Double-acting doors work well between a kitchen and a dining room.
Bifold doors have two panels that fold to one side. They are often used on closets or pantries. Two sets can be installed in a wide opening.
Bypass doors have panels that slide past each other. They are often used on closets where there is not enough space for a swinging door. Only one side of the closet can be open at a time.
Exterior sliding doors usually have one fixed panel and one panel that slides.
Pocket doors slide into the wall. A pocket door is perfect for a space where there isn't room for a door to swing open. Pocket doors are easily installed during construction, but adding one later can be a major project.
Paneled doors are built with panels that fit into grooves in the stiles and rails. They have a classic look, and wood ones can be painted or stained. Steel, fiberglass, and hardboard doors that look like paneled doors are available.
Flush doors have a flat surface on each side, usually covered with wood veneer. Flush interior doors are usually hollow-core doors, while flush exterior doors have a solid core.
French doors have rectangular glass panes, or lights, from top to bottom. They are often hung in pairs, opening from the sides, as exterior doors to a garden, patio, or deck. Traditional French doors are made with a 15-light design.
Patio doors are usually sliding glass doors with one fixed pane of glass and a sliding one. A patio door lets in a lot of light and allows a great view of the outdoors.
An exterior door is usually designed to make a statement. It's the first impression that people will have as they enter your home. Primary functions of exterior doors include the security and energy efficiency of the home. Types of exterior doors include front entry doors and back doors, which may be paneled, flush, or have glass inserts. French doors and sliding glass patio doors are also exterior doors.
Exterior doors are usually made of wood, fiberglass, or steel. Wood provides a sense of warmth and richness, and it can match a variety of styles. But solid-wood doors are expensive and require a high level of maintenance.
Solid-core wood-veneer flush doors are less costly. Fiberglass is durable and flexible enough to be installed in any climate. It will not warp or rot and is low-maintenance. Steel is practical and long-lasting. Exterior doors are usually 1 3/4 inches thick.
Interior doors are usually lighter than exterior doors because they don't have to provide security or resist weather. Interior doors are 1 3/8 inches thick -- thinner than the standard exterior door. There are several types of interior doors available, including hollow-core doors with wood veneer or hardboard faces. The faces on some doors are embossed to look like paneled doors. Louvered doors are often used for closets or laundry areas. Most types can be installed as hinged doors, pocket doors, bypass sliding doors, or bifold doors.