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Doors: The Ultimate Guide to Styles, Materials, and Selection

November 9, 2023

Discover everything about doors: from materials to design styles. Uncover the secret to choosing the right door for your home or office space.

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Doors are an essential element in every home, not just acting as a barrier or entrance, but also serving important aesthetic and functional roles. The right door can transform a space, provide additional security and even conserve energy. Taking time to understand the different options available when selecting a new door for your home or replacing an old one enables you to make an informed decision.

The quality of door chosen plays a significant role in home improvement projects. It can influence the home’s interior design, increase or compromise its security and affect energy consumption. Knowing the distinct types of doors such as the flush door, panel door, louvered door, or French door can guide your selection process.

Understanding the Importance of Doors in Home Improvement

Doors are often underestimated in their ability to add or detract from the overall interior design of a home. The right door can enhance design elements, bring a room together, and even serve as a design focal point. Conversely, the wrong door can detract from the overall aesthetic and make areas of the home seem disjointed.

The role of doors in home security cannot be overstated. A sturdy, well-fitted door can help prevent unauthorized entry, protecting your property and family. Furthermore, the right door can improve energy efficiency in a home by reducing drafts, conserving heat, and helping to maintain consistent indoor temperatures.

The Impact on Interior Design

A door’s design, colour, and material impact the overall interior design. For example, a barn-style door can contribute to a rustic aesthetic, while a sleek, modern door can fit perfectly in a contemporary styled home. The doors should complement the overall interior design to create a harmonious look.

Door Materials

The material of a door determines its durability, maintenance requirements, appearance, and cost. Wood, steel, and fiberglass are common materials used to make doors, each with their pros and cons. Understanding these differences can help homeowners choose the most suitable door for their specific needs.

Wood Doors

Wood doors are popular due to their beauty and versatility. They can be carved, painted, or stained to suit a range of design preferences. However, wood doors require regular maintenance to protect them from the elements and can be prone to warping and shrinking.

Steel Doors

Steel doors are known for their strength and security. They are typically more durable and require less maintenance than wood doors. Nevertheless, if not properly cared for, they can rust or dent.

Fiberglass Doors

Fiberglass doors are ideal for areas with harsh climates due to their durability and resistance to warping, shrinking, and cracking. They can be made to mimic the appearance of wood, offering beauty without demanding the same level of maintenance as real wood doors.

Exterior Doors

Exterior doors are the first things guests see when they visit your home, making their aesthetic impact significant. These doors, however, aren’t only about looks; they must be robust and durable enough to withstand the elements without compromising their functionality or aesthetics. Some primary examples of exterior doors include front doors, patio doors, and storm doors.

Front Doors

Front doors don’t just provide access to your home but also significantly contribute to your house’s curb appeal. They can be a statement piece of your home’s exterior design, all while serving a critical role in home security. When selecting a front door, consider factors such as design, color, material, and how it complements your home’s exterior.

Patio Doors

Patio doors are designed to provide an unobstructed view of your outdoor space, creating a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor living areas. These doors are typically made of large glass panels to let in plenty of natural light, which can make a room appear larger and more inviting. They’re perfect for balconies, patios, or backyards.

Storm Doors

Storm doors are secondary exterior doors installed for protection against bad weather, improving ventilation, and enhancing home security. These doors can be customized to match your home’s aesthetic design and can be especially useful in households with children and pets, as they allow for natural light and exterior viewing without worrying about the door being left open.

Interior Doors

Interior doors serve a key role in defining the look and feel of your living space. They provide privacy, reduce noise between rooms, and can even contribute to a home’s heating and cooling efficiency. The basic types of interior doors include closet doors, bedroom doors, and bathroom doors.

Closet Doors

Serving a functional purpose in decluttering your space, closet doors need not be dull. They can add to the overall aesthetic of your rooms. Bi-fold or sliding doors work great in rooms with limited space, while hinged doors are suitable for larger rooms. If you want to change the look of your closet doors, you can check out this guide on how to remove and install them.

Bedroom Doors

Bedroom doors need to offer privacy and soundproofing, all while contributing to the room’s overall aesthetic. The door design should fit your general decor theme and personal style. Many homeowners prefer solid doors for bedrooms, but there are several options, including panel doors, French doors, and sliding doors.

Bathroom Doors

Bathroom doors should be able to withstand humidity and frequent use. They also need to provide adequate privacy. There are a variety of styles available, from traditional panel doors to pocket doors or even louvre doors for improved ventilation.

Special-Purpose Doors

Special-purpose doors are designed for specific functions beyond serving as entry or exit points. They may cater to enhanced fire safety, soundproofing, accessibility, or aesthetic factors. Fire-rated doors, soundproof doors, and accordion doors are some examples.

Fire-Rated Doors

Fire-rated doors are a crucial safety feature in many homes. They are made from materials that can withstand fire for a specific amount of time, slowing down a fire’s spread, giving occupants more time to evacuate, and preventing damage to other parts of the building.

Soundproof Doors

Soundproof doors are constructed with materials that can absorb sound or prevent its transmission, making them ideal for spaces that require quiet, such as home offices or bedrooms. They can also be beneficial in busy households or apartment buildings to minimize noise pollution.

Accordion Doors

Accordion doors are folding doors that can save space in small areas. They’re highly versatile and can be used in a variety of settings, such as closets, laundry rooms, or dividing large rooms into smaller spaces. They can be custom-made to fit any doorway, and their unique operating style can add visual interest to a room.

Custom Doors

Custom doors are the perfect solution for homeowners wanting a door that suits their unique specifications and design visions. A custom door isn’t just a statement piece; it’s a door made to fit your space perfectly, maximizing its use and efficiency.

Benefits of Custom Doors

Custom doors offer numerous advantages, the most evident of which is the ability to get a door that fits your space perfectly. They can enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal by matching your specific design preference or architectural style. Additionally, custom doors can improve energy efficiency by providing a better fit and insulation. If you have an unusual door shape or size, a custom door can accommodate the peculiarities of your home’s construction.

Creating Your Own Design

Create a unique design that aligns with your personal style and complements your home’s aesthetic. From the material, color, finishes, to the type of glass or decorative elements, creating your door design allows for customization at every level. Consider discussing your design plan with professionals to ensure functionality isn’t compromised.

The Process of Customization

The process begins with measuring your doorway accurately to ensure a perfect fit. Then, you’ll need to choose the door material, type, style, and finish. You can also select the kind of glass inserts, hardware, and other accessories. After finalizing the specifications, the door is manufactured to meet these exact requirements and is then installed in your home. The timeline for this process varies based on the complexity of the design and manufacturing capacity.

Choosing the Right Door Size

Door size plays a vital role in the functionality and aesthetics of your doors. However, door size isn’t just about the door’s height and width; it also involves the thickness of the door.

Standard door sizes

Standard door sizes are most commonly used and readily available. For interior doors, the standard width ranges from 24 to 36 inches, while for exterior doors, it’s typically between 36 to 42 inches. It’s essential to take note of these standard measurements, especially when purchasing pre-hung doors.

Custom-sizing doors

Custom-sized doors offer a solution for non-standard doorways. These doors are tailor-made to fit your specific measurements. Considering custom door sizes may be necessary for both aesthetic and practical reasons, such as fitting large furniture or accommodating wheelchairs.

How to measure for a new door

When measuring for a new door, you need to take the width, height, and thickness of the door opening. Measure the width at the top, middle, and bottom of the frame, and use the smallest measurement. Measure the height from the finished floor to the top of the frame, on both the left and right sides. The thickness of the door is typically about 1¾ inches for exterior doors and 1⅜ inches for interior doors.

Proper Door Installation

Proper door installation is essential to ensure your door operates smoothly and efficiently. Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring professionals, understanding the installation process helps you ensure the job’s done correctly.

Hiring Professionals

Professional door installers have the experience and knowledge to ensure that your door is installed accurately and efficiently. They also have the right tools and can save you a lot of time and potential headaches. If you do choose to hire a professional, make sure they’re a licensed and insured contractor.

DIY Installation

If you’re handy around the house, you may be tempted to install the door yourself. Before you start, make sure you have the right tools, follow the correct procedures, and understand the risks. DIY installation can save you money, but it also requires time and precision. If you decide to install bi-fold doors or any custom doors yourself, follow a guide like this one on how to install closet bi-fold doors to aid you with the process.

Common Pitfalls in Door Installation

Common pitfalls in door installation include not properly measuring the door frame, failing to ensure the door frame is square, and under or over tightening the screws. Another common issue is not accounting for the floor material when installing the door, which could mean the door doesn’t open or close correctly.

Door Aesthetics

The aesthetic appeal of your door can make a significant difference in your home’s overall look. The right door can act as a powerful design element, giving visitors an idea of the rest of your home’s interior.

Color Choices

The color of your door can assist in setting the aesthetic tone for your space. While white is a safe and classic choice, you could also go for bolder colors like reds, blues, or greens, which can work depending on your home’s exterior color. However, be sure to choose a color that complements the rest of your house’s overall design and color scheme.

Using Doors to Enhance Decor Themes

Doors can enhance your decor theme by seamlessly integrating with the design style. For instance, you can use panel doors for traditional home styles or go for flush doors for a minimalist, modern look. French doors can add a romantic, rustic charm to your interior design. The choices are numerous and should be tailored to your personal style and home decor theme.

Custom Design Options

Engaging in customized door designs can ensure you get something unique that matches your particular aesthetic preference. Custom design options can range from the type of material and finishes to distinctive features such as stained glass inserts, intricate wood designs, or vintage embellishments.

Door Hardwares

Door hardware, including knobs, handles, and hinges, is crucial in the functionality of doors. But beyond this functionality, door hardware can also greatly contribute to the aesthetic appeal of your doors, and by extension, your entire home.

Door Knobs

Door knobs come in various styles, shapes, and materials, each adding distinct charisma to your doors. Whether you prefer a time-worn, vintage look or a sleek, modern feel, picking the right door knobs can pull together the design elements of your room.

Door Handles

Just like doorknobs, door handles also come in various styles and finishes. From the rustic appeal of wrought-iron handles to the contemporary coolness of brushed stainless steel, your door handles can make a bold statement in your space.

Door Hinges

Often overlooked in design, door hinges are essential elements of door aesthetics. They should match the rest of your door hardware, and the material and finish of your hinges should complement other hardware elements.

Door Maintenance

Proper and regular door maintenance is key to extending your door’s lifespan and ensuring that it functions efficiently. It can also help you stray away from expensive repairs or replacements.

Daily Care

When it comes to daily care, be mindful of the force you use when opening or closing doors. For wooden doors, dry them immediately after exposure to moisture to prevent warping. Wiping your doors regularly with a clean, soft cloth can also help maintain their look.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance starts with inspecting your doors for any visible signs of wear or damage. This can involve checking for cracks, earmarks of wood rot or rust, and loose hardware. Applications of lubricants on hinges can ensure smooth operation, and regular cleaning with suitable cleaners can keep doors looking fresh. Make sure to check out guides such as this wood cabinet doors cleaning tutorial for proper cleaning methods.

Troubleshooting Simple Door Problems

Simple door problems like squeaky hinges, loose knobs, or sticky doors can often be fixed at home with basic tools. For instance, lubricating the hinges usually fixes squeaking problems, while tightening the screws can address loose doorknobs. For more complex issues, such as a misaligned door, it might be better to seek professional help.

Troubleshooting Door Issues

Dealing with door issues can be a hassle, but solving them yourself can save you time and money. Understanding the source of the problem can help you determine whether you can fix it yourself or if you need to hire a professional.

Addressing Squeaky Doors

A squeaky door can be highly irritating, but the good news is that it’s usually a relatively easy problem to fix. The primary cause is usually the door hinges. Simply lubricating the hinges with oil can make the squeaking stop. If that doesn’t work, you might need to replace the hinges.

Airtight Sealing

Improper sealing can lead to drafts, which decrease your home’s energy efficiency and can cause heating or cooling bills to skyrocket. Weather-stripping and door sweeps are two solutions to ensure airtight seals, keeping your home comfortable all year round. The process can be done simply and swiftly with few tools.

Dealing with Stuck Doors

Stuck doors can be caused by a variety of factors; a warped door, hinges that have moved, or a house that has settled and shifted slightly. In some cases, simply tightening hinges or screws will do the trick. If the door is warped, however, you may need to replace the door completely. When in doubt, consult a professional.

Upgrading Doors

Technology has come a long way, and our doors have not been left behind. Upgrading your doors can significantly improve the functionality, security, and efficiency of your home.

Smart Door Locks

Forget about fumbling for your keys. Smart locks allow you to open your doors with a numeric code or smartphone. Not only do they add convenience, but they also enhance your home security by allowing you to monitor who enters and leaves your home.

Integrated Doorbell Cameras

Security is a major concern for many homeowners. An integrated doorbell camera can alert you when someone approaches your door and lets you see, hear and speak to visitors, providing an added layer of security for your home.

Electronic Keypad Entry Systems

Electronic keypad entry systems provide enhanced security by requiring a numeric code to open doors. This can be very convenient, as it eliminates the need for keys, and you can easily change the code if needed.

Do’s and Don’ts of Door Selection

Choosing the right door for your home can greatly enhance the overall aesthetic and functionality. However, it can be a difficult task, given all the factors that need to be considered.

Things to consider before purchasing

It’s crucial to consider the door’s location, size, and material. For example, exterior doors should be durable enough to withstand weather elements, while interior doors can be more decorative. Always take measurements, taking into account both the door’s size and installation space. Don’t forget to consider your budget and the door’s security features.

Factors often overlooked

Energy efficiency is a factor often overlooked. An energy-efficient door can help save you money on heating and cooling costs. Also often overlooked is how the door will be used. Will it need to withstand heavy traffic? If so, a sturdy material like steel may be best.

General tips for decision making

Do your research and compare different door styles, materials, and manufacturers. Read reviews and check customer ratings. Consider hiring a professional for installation, especially for more complicated jobs. Take your time in making your decision – a good door is a worthwhile investment that should last for years to come.

DIY Door Projects

Adding personalized touches to your doors can transform their appearance and the overall aesthetic of your space. Engaging in DIY door projects can not only enhance your home’s value but also provides an opportunity to learn new skills and express your unique design style.

Repainting the Door

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your door’s appearance. Whether your door is looking outdated, or you’re just ready for a change in color, repainting can be a great cost-effective upgrade. Ensure to prepare your surface well before you start, using sandpaper to smoothen the surface and primer to allow your paint to adhere properly.

Installing New Hardware

Changing out hardware like knobs, hinges, handles and locks can update your door significantly. You might choose to go with a classic style or something more modern, but either way, it’s a simple task that can make a big impact.

Door Trimming

Add an elegant touch to your door by installing trimming or molding. This project can add depth and dimension to your doors, making them stand out and adding a luxurious flair to your home décor.

Door Replacement

While minor fixes and upgrades can extend the life of a door, there comes a time when replacement is the best option. This could be due to a variety of reasons, from improving functionality and security to updating the style and improving energy efficiency.

When to Replace

Signs that you need to replace your door can include visible damage, drafts coming through the edges, difficulty in opening and closing, and rising energy bills. A door that doesn’t match your home’s aesthetic anymore can also be a reason to consider replacement.


While the cost of a new door can vary depending on the type, design, and material, it’s essential to consider the long-term benefits. Investing in a high-quality door can save you money down the line in repairs and energy costs, plus add to your home’s value.

Step by Step Process

From measurement to installation, replacing a door requires accuracy and skill. It might involve removing the old door, preparing the doorway for a new door, installing the new door, and finally, painting or staining it. While this could be a DIY project if you’re comfortable with home repairs, hiring a professional can ensure the job is done right.

Buying Guide

Once you’ve decided on the type of door you need, whether it be for an upgrade or a replacement, it’s important to make an informed purchase. This requires researching various brands, comparing prices, and considering your home’s specifics.

Top Rated Door Brands

Like any other product, some door brands stand out in terms of quality, design, and customer satisfaction. It’s beneficial to familiarize yourself with these top-rated brands, their specific product offerings, and customer reviews.

Where to Buy

There are numerous places to purchase doors, from home improvement stores to online retailers. When choosing where to buy, consider factors such as delivery options, installation services, and warranties to get the best value for your money.

Pricing Guide

The price of your new door will depend on variables like material, size, design, and the brand. Setting a budget before you start shopping can help narrow down your options. A pricing guide can provide an idea of how much doors typically cost, allowing you to plan accordingly.

Case Studies

When it comes to home improvement, real-life examples and case studies can provide invaluable insights. By exploring the experiences of others, we can understand the significance of good decision-making in door purchases and installations.

Before and After Door Replacement

One of the most effective ways to envision the impact of new doors is to look at before and after photos of door replacements. These comparisons demonstrate the dramatic transformation that can occur with the simple change of a door. From boosting curb appeal to enhancing interior design, the change in aesthetics is often immediate and striking.

Comparison of Different Doors in Terms of Costs and Benefits

There are numerous case studies highlighting the long-term advantages of investing in high-quality doors, such as the positive impact on energy efficiency, home security, and home value. Comparing the costs and benefits of different types of doors can provide a clear picture of what to expect from your investment.

Real-Life Examples of Door Influence in Home Improvement

Exemplifying situations where doors have either improved or detracted from a home’s overall look and functionality can serve as useful learning points. From poorly chosen, ill-fitting doors to well-selected, stylish, and secure ones, these real-life examples can guide our decisions when it comes to door selection and installation.


Doors play a vital role in our homes, serving as active components of our daily lives whilst contributing significantly to the aesthetic appeal and overall comfort of our living spaces. Their quality, design, and functionality can impact our home’s value and our personal experiences, underscoring the importance of making informed decisions when it comes to door selection and installation.

Recap of The Importance of Doors in Home Improvement

We’ve covered everything from the importance of doors in interior design, home security, and energy efficiency to the different materials, types, and styles of doors. We’ve also discussed the process of customization, installation, and maintenance of doors. Furthermore, we have explored the significance of proper door size selection, the benefits of upgrading to smart doors, and the essential do’s and don’ts of door selection.

Final Thoughts

While selecting the right door may seem daunting, the time and effort spent in making a thoughtful decision can pay off in the long run. Choosing a door is about more than just its function—it’s about finding a door that fits your home, your style, and your life.

Encouragement to the Reader to Make Their Decision

Armed with the knowledge from this guide, you’re well-equipped to make a well-informed decision about which door is right for your home. Whether you’re replacing an existing door or selecting one for a new home, remember the importance of the door’s role and choose one that will add value to your home and serve you well.