Choosing and Fitting New Interior Doors.

Choosing and Fitting New Interior Doors.

Swapping Doors

Doors can create just as much of an impression as an expensive piece of furniture. They are touched and seen close up every day, so don't just go for the cheapest replacements - try to match the style to the rest of your home's features as much as possible.

Why Update New For Old?

Updating a door also gives you the chance to let light into a dingy hallway or room by choosing a glazed finish. Or, you can give a house a contemporary upgrade simply by replacing cheap blanks with doors with a little character.

Remember, though, that swapping doors may not be entirely straightforward. You may need to add an extra central hinge to support a heavier door and the timber strips around the inside of the door frame, the stops, may need to be prised off and moved to allow for a different width door. What's more, your door frames, particularly in an older house, may not match standard sizes or be entirely straight, so your new ones may need trimming to fit - and this will add significantly to your carpentry bill. If you do go ahead, there are four basic types...

Do You Need To Conform?

Before you buy, check with your building control department whether the new doors need to comply to fire regulations. It might be that old doors will need to be replaced with fire-resistant doors - and this will inevitably narrow the choice and put up the price. See below for more info.

Panel Doors

Your local DIY store will probably stock several patterns of four-panel door but there are many variations and a specialist supplier should be able to match the new door to the rest of your doors. These doors have solid soft or hardwood frames and panels so you can cut and plane them down to fit a particular frame. You can also buy fully-glazed panel doors.

Ability to match existing period doors/features.
Can be cut to fit awkward frame sizes.
Quality feel.

Hardwoods or unusual patterns may be expensive.

Moulded Doors

These copy the style of a traditional panel door but cost less. The shaped surface can be formed from wood, plastic or manmade board, sometimes with a wood effect or coloured surface.

Cheaper than true panel door.
Ready finished so no painting or varnishing.

Can look, and feel, cheap.

Flush Doors

The cheapest flush door is made by sandwiching a honeycomb card layer between two sheets of hardboard or plywood. The edges are reinforced with thin timber battens, sometimes with extra material around the hinges and door lock. Sturdier versions have chipboard cores. Thin battens are used for the outer frame, and this means you can't cut more than around 5mm from each side or 10mm from the top or bottom. Also, as the timber lock block is only on one side, the door must be hung the correct way around, so take care when fitting.

Availability off-the-peg from DIY stores.
Lighter, so easy to handle and fit.

Look out of place in older properties.
Can't be cut down to fit small openings.

Fire-Resistant Doors

Loft and garage access doors are required by building regulations to be fire-resistant but more and more new homes are fitted with this safety feature throughout, as are newly upgraded period properties. The doors are thicker than normal (44-54mm) and are rated with a fire resistance time between 30 minutes and one hour. You can choose between flush, moulded or even glazed patterns. This type of door has a dense compressed core material and the extra weight means they need a strong frame and special hinges as well as a closing mechanism.

Replacing your standard door with a fire-resistant type is a job for the trade, as the frame may need to be changed to include a sealant strip that seals the room against smoke in the event of a fire. Make sure you check with your local Fire Officer before any work starts. Finally, if you live in a conversion, these doors have good sound-deadening properties.

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