Sizing Up

The most common door size is 762mm x 1,981mm (2’ 6” x 6’ 6”), although if you are renovating an old home, the openings may be non-standard, requiring new doors to be custom made. In contemporary settings, extra-wide or tall doors look fabulous, so don’t feel confined by regular sizing. In terms of thicknesses, internal doors are generally either 35mm or 40mm, while fire doors must be 44mm.

When creating a new door opening, in addition to buying the door you will also require a door lining. This is made up of a timber kit that is fitted into the opening, on which the door is then hung. They are relatively simple to install on a DIY basis. Alternatively, you can opt to buy a doorset which contains the door already hung within the frame.

Door Styles

Getting the right interior doors is a notoriously difficult task — so often they end up jarring with the house’s style. Never forget that, period or modern, they must always complement the décor. For an older-style property, choose doors to match the period of the house. Panelled doors are the most popular and many manufact urers have a large stock of these; but for instant character consider reclaimed doors. Some salvage yards offer a reconditioning service, but bear in mind that reclaimed doors are rarely available in standard sizes and should be checked for splitting, warping and damp.

Ledged and braced doors are also a good option for period properties – especially cottages, country-style homes and barns – and are made up of planks of wood, held together by horizontal ledges and diagonal braces.

Contemporary homes generally suit minimalist flush doors, complete with fantastically sleek door furniture. Glazed doors are also good for contemporary spaces: it may be clear or obscured but safety glass must be used in lower panels.

Folding sliding and sliding doors are perfect for homes short on space as they require no outswing, and are great for optional open plan living. Folding sliding doors fold back on themselves, stacking on one side, while sliding doors can be designed to disappear into cavities within the wall.

If none of the off-the-shelf designs suit, you can have your doors custom made. Many manufacturers offer this service, as do most joiners.

Solid or Hollow?

Internal doors are most commonly seen as panelled or hollow core. Panelled doors are made from solid wood and so can be expensive to buy. The number of panels may vary from two to eight; these can be glazed.

Hollow core – or ‘flush’ – doors are made of either a laminate timber-effect or a real-wood veneer and are indeed hollow, apart from some cardboard filling. They are popular due to their low cost, but also because they tend to have flat, unmoulded faces — perfect for contemporary schemes. Another option is solid core doors — like hollow core doors they are veneered, but have either a steel or chipboard centre to replicate the weight and feel of solid wood. Both options can be pressed into a mould to give an embossed surface, and the appearance of a panelled door.


Traditional or contemporary, solid timber doors are a failsafe option. Darker woods such as cherry and oak are perfect for contemporary schemes, while lighter timbers such as pine and ash are better suited to period homes. Wood doors must be properly sealed with a quality solvent-based finish before being hung; the tops and bottoms must also be treated, as well as the frames.

Other options include all-glass doors or, for industrial chic, a metal door – chiefly aluminium or steel – can be very striking.

Fire Safety

In homes with more than two storeys or with loft conversions, doors leading to escape routes and staircases are required by Building Regulations to be fire doors. In some instances, doors with a fire-resistance period of 20 minutes (FD20) are recommended and in others 30 minutes (FD30), although most manufacturers only make FD30 doors. All doors between the dwelling and a garage must be FD30 and also have a self-closing device fitted. Fire doors are created from a number of materials that include timber, steel, gypsum and vermiculite boards, and most manufactures produce fire doors that are complementary to their other ranges.

Advice from the Experts

Tony Pell, Business Development Manager, JELD-WEN UK (0845 122 2890)

“What’s the difference between buying a door and a doorset? A door – set refers to the door, its frame and hardware, such as handles and hinges. Door sets come with the architraves and door stops already machined to fit and supplied as part of the kit. It can then simply be installed into the aperture.”

Solid Doors
Peter Marston, Design Director, Marston & Langinger (020 7881 5768)

“Doors are made of various materials; if plain, they are usually hollow with particleboard faces, or pressed from wood fibre. The real thing does look different. It has sharper mouldings, and the pattern is emphasized with changes in grain where each component meets. It can also be made to order.”

This article is sponsored by JB Kind

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