Although tempting to leave to the end to save hassle and delay unnecessary costs, internal doors are essential to get right early on in a project.
Traditionally cost, size and material are the main drivers behind decision-making. However, with the increase in suppliers and developments in functionality in recent years, there have been increased considerations homeowners need to undertake before they make a purchase.
No longer just practical products to make up the fabric of the house, selecting a traditional or contemporary style of internal door comes into play, as does the decision as to whether to buy them on a door-only basis or as a complete doorset with ironmongery in place.
The rise of the ‘broken plan’ layout has reassessed the way homeowners utilise a space and getting internal doors right can make or break this design process. Unless you’re planning on living in a house where privacy is non-existent, every homeowner will be required to choose a style to suit their home. Open plan living is great for main living areas but elsewhere in a home internal doors are a must.
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Types of Internal Doors
Most internal doors will either be hollow or solid, so it’s important to know the differences between the two as the quality can vary, affecting price as a result. The general rule of thumb with internal doors is the lighter the doors, the cheaper the price.
Doors with a hollow two-skin door:
- Has air spaces within the core
- Less robust
- Lighter in weight
Doors with an engineered timber core:
- The best value for money
- Less likely to twist or change shape than standard wood throughout the year
- Provide better sound and thermal insulation
How Much Do Internal Doors Cost?
The price of internal doors varies greatly depending on three key factors: material, construction quality, and whether you’re buying a single door or a doorset.
- When buying on a door-only basis, expect to pay £50-£200 per door — budgeting a further £30-£40 per door for handles, latch and hinges.
- For doorsets, to show how greatly prices can vary, companies such as JELD-WEN offer sets ranging between £90-£300, while the likes of Urban Front advertise doorsets starting at £1,200.
Can I Buy Internal Doors Online?
It is tempting in today’s world of online shopping and easy, fuss-free delivery to buy all furnishings online and while internal door suppliers often have great online brochures and beautiful inspirational imagery, it’s very important to view the doors in person before purchasing.
Generally it is best to be cautious in cases like this as although great resources of inspiration and interior ideas, online product imagery can be deceptive, especially when the doors are on the cheaper side.
If you do end up sourcing your doors online, it is very important to inspect the doors immediately on delivery.
Buying a Doorset or Single Leaf
Doors can be purchased either on its own or as a doorset and you would be wise to be clear with your supplier which you are after from the outset.
- A single source supplies each element (lining, door leaf, fixings and architrave)
- Available as off-the-shelf products, in a range of standard sizes to fit new doorways or can be custom built
- Labour costs are reduced because less specialist skill is required
- Installation is faster. However, as the entire unit is fitted in one go, the door can be damaged or get in the way during a project
- Perfect for renovations as they can be fitted into existing linings
- Other works in a project (such as plastering) won’t cause damage as they can be fitted in stages
- Can be better suited to older buildings with uneven doorways or floor levels
How Do I Install an Internal Door?
Most standard doors can be installed on a DIY basis, but factor in in the cost of all the separate components and the labour associated with installing a door leaf before ruling out a doorset.
The time it takes to install a door leaf largely depends on the type of product being installed. The task of installing a new door where there is not an existing lining and architrave involves fitting the lining and architraves, painting them, planing down an oversized door to make it fit, hanging it and then adding the door handles and latches.
You may need to paint or finish the door if you’ve bought a primed or untreated model, too. The process can take the best part of a day. It’s often more cost effective to ask your carpenter to undertake the task for you. (Fitting a door to an existing opening will obviously take less time.)
Doorsets, on the other hand, provide a more time-effective alternative, with arguably a superior end result. The door is already pre-fixed to the lining as part of manufacturing process, so only the architraves may need adding and cutting down to size, and the handles added.
How Do I Choose the Right Internal Doors?
For internal doors to have real impact the should be considered in two separate phases: the size and the finish.
No matter what kind of project you are working on, a decision on the size and configuration of your doors should be made as early on in the architectural process as possible to ensure the correct sized openings.
A great example is pocket doors. The cassette into which they slide needs to be built into the wall itself and it is essential to have the requirements before the walls go up. This will mean there are no disruptive alterations when it comes to fitting them.
Although there is nothing wrong with choosing doors right at the close of the project, the finish should at least be considered at the same time as the rest of the interior design scheme.
It is natural for your wish list of ideas to change throughout the planning and building process, but factoring in the aesthetics at the beginning of the project allows for these to develop. However, it is important to be aware that this route comes with limitations.
Internal Door Styles
Modern homes’ love of the open plan layout has led to the advent of internal doors that can slide or fold away to open up various living spaces on the ground floor while doors to separate more private areas upstairs are still firmly rooted in more traditional.
Most homeowners want internal doors on the ground floor to be special and to bring a certain wow-factor to the overall design while people are generally less bothered about other floors because guests don’t tend to see them.
Designing the Best Door: Orientation and Finish
Don’t underestimate the importance of planning your design scheme in advance. This doesn’t just mean the colour or material finish, but you will have to decide on the orientation of the door and direction to which it opens. You will have to deal with this for the foreseeable so it’s best to get it right the right time around.
A well-planned internal door can complete a design and with cross-directional grains, different timbers, glazed inserts and a variety colour options, a wow factor can be created in many ways.
A stylish and space-saving option, pocket doors can be hidden away in the cavity of an adjacent wall. Architrave free or flush designs are great additions to contemporary homes while more traditional ‘barn-style’ sliding tracks wouldn’t look out of place in a renovated cottage.
(MORE: How to Choose Pocket Doors)
Although more expensive than other styles of internal doors, frameless doors create a modern and seamless appearance. Made with an invisible frame and a shadow gap, these doors need to be planned at design stage. The wall needs to be built so the junctions between the wall and the door are perfect as they won’t be hidden by an architrave.
With modern houses increasingly featuring vaulted ceilings, designers and architects are starting to realise that internal door heights also need to be enhanced to maintain proportion with the room. So, taller oversized doors are becoming more popular too.
However, going from a standard-sized door to a bespoke, oversized one will be reflected in the price. This is especially true if you’re specifying a full-height 2.4m-high door, as this will require stronger hinges or pivot hinges.
If you’re renovating, the opportunity to choose over-sized doors will be limited unless you widen the structural opening. However, if you have a blank canvas and factor it into the wall construction phase, there is much more freedom. Interior doors can become focal design features without requiring specialist skill or diminishing traditional charm.
Do I Need a Fire Door?
Fire safety doors are usually required when the property is more than two storeys – fire doors may be required when a loft is converted, for example, to meet Building Regulations requirements – and/or if the garage is integral. Many suppliers have noticed an uptake in converting their standard doors into fire doors. This is particularly true in more vulnerable rooms such as kitchens.
Expect to pay between 10-20% more for a fire door.