Types of Internal and External Doors

The different types of household doors and how they are made

It seems like you spend a lifetime getting in and out of doors. There are the doors in your house; the doors at your workplace; the doors through the mall or shopping areas; the door to your favourite restaurant and even the door to your neighbours' house. Each place has its own special door.

A door is a moveable barrier that separates the inside of a structure from the outside. A door also separates each area from each other thereby segregating the living from the sleeping, recreation and the utility areas. A door is a security measure too to keep unwanted entities out and keep what is inside the structure safe. A door serves as an aesthetic feature. Looking at the main door of a structure you can more or less form an impression of what is inside that structure. Doors are part of house's décor.

Two Types of Door Construction

There are two basic types of door according to construction: panel door and hollow-core door. The two methods of construction can both be applied to interior and exterior doors.

Panel doors are from pieces of solid timber. The rails and stiles are joined together by using tenor or mortise joints. The number of panels depends on the design of the door. However the construction is standard with full height stiles at each side with top and bottom rails where the bottom rail wider than the upper rail. The solid timber stiles and rails make it easy to trim the door to fit an opening. Thought it is usual to order or buy doors according to the size specified, sometimes a little trimming needs to be done for a perfect fit. Panel door are expensive as they are made of kiln dried and air dried timber. The process is necessary to minimize the wood's tendency to warp, shrink, swell and crack.

MDF or medium density fibreboard is a good alternative to solid wood panel door. It is an engineered wood product that is manufactured in sheets then milled same as hardwood. MDF has a high density tight flat surface that can be painted. It is an inexpensive alternative to hardwood.

Another type of engineered panel wood core with wood veneers can be both painted and stained. This type of door comes in raised panels just like the true solid wood panel door.

Hollow-Core Doors are typically made of wood frames with thin veneer plywood (1/8" to ¼" thick) or hardboard faces. These doors are inexpensive and lightweight and prone to perforations and are not effective as sound barriers. However, the surfaces are ready for paint or stain and can easily be replaced. This type of door is recommended for interiors only as they are as durable as panel doors. The core is usually honeycomb cores that are faced with thin plywood veneers that are susceptible to punctures.

A solid timber area is provided for the lock and handle. The solid timber is fixed to the side where the door handle will be installed. Note that the placement of the solid timber is critical for the correct placement of the hinges too. This would determine the "swing" of the door.

Standardized Door Sizes for Homes

You don't have to go through the hassle of ordering customized doors and jambs in sash shops anymore. If you are not very particular with door customization you can take your pick of ready-made doors in your local construction supply shop or home depot.

Standard Door Sizes in Metric (millimetre)

Height width


1981 x 610

1981 x 686

1981 x 762

1981 x 838

2032 x 813

2083 x 863

2134 x 914


Thickness of the door can be 1 3/8 inch to 1 ¾ to 2 inches.

Interior and Exterior Door Types

Interior doors are doors that do not lead to the outside of a building or structure. Some examples of interior doors are bedroom doors, walk-in-closet doors, office doors, storage door, pantry and more. You have a choice of solid panel doors, hollow-core doors, MDF or any engineered wood. Styles can be varied as your choice will depend on the basic style of your house. However, as eclectic style is a choice in interior decorating today, you can choose any style that you want as long as it goes with the overall design and motif of your house.

Exterior doors are the likes that open to the outside. An exterior door has to be durable as it is the main barrier between the inside and the outside of the house. Examples are the door of the main entry, any side entry or back entry doors, doors leading to the porch or deck, door leading out of the garage. Same as interior doors, the style of the exterior door should be in complete harmony and unity with the style of the house.

Some of the more popular ready-made door styles and designs are:

  • Contemporary - Modern and current this style uses flush doors and stained or painted finishing. Some has ornate grillwork while others have glass panel designs or stained and coloured glass panels. Hardware is no non-sense simple and sleek types.
  • Rustic-Show the natural swirls and knots and grain of the wood. This style is best suited for homes that have a country style design.
  • Traditional -As the one found in American traditional
  • Victorian, NeoClassics, NeoMediterranean, NeoRomantic and more

Here are some common types of doors.

  • Single-leaf doors - consist of single panel door, solid or hollow core.
  • Double-leaf doors- consist of two panels, solid or hollow core.
  • Dutch door - is a door that is divided horizontally where the upper half could be opened.

There are different types of doors classified according to the mechanism used. Examples are sliding doors and pocket doors, where sliding doors usually made of glass for aesthetics. An accordion or folding door is mostly used in walk-in-closets. A revolving door rotates on its axis and is usually common in hotel lobbies.