Those without experience often believe that there is no difference between hollow and solid timber doors. These people couldn’t be more wrong. Whilst they may not look overly different upon first glance, their composition differs greatly and this can have a massive impact on the quality of the door. We aren’t saying that one type offers superior quality to the other, just that you need to be aware of the best applications for each type in your selection.
In this article, we have outlined the primary differences between the two types to help you choose which one will best meet your needs.
These doors feel quite lightweight and almost insubstantial in your hand. You might be surprised to learn that they are not truly hollow. Instead, a cardboard honeycomb is sandwiched between a thin plywood exterior. The cardboard serves very little purpose other than to hold the plywood together and to act as a minor sound barrier. The reason they are called hollow is because they are not comprised of a single timber slab.
These doors offer better fire ratings than hollow ones, provide an effective sound barrier and feel quite significant in your hand. This phrase is often used to describe three different types of door – wood panel (which is constructed of discrete panels, mullions, stiles and rails), solid wood (which is a single, unified slab of timber), and solid core (which are actually composites and contain particleboard or fibrecore on the inside).
What is so surprising about solid core composition?
In most cases, solid core doors will indeed be unyielding inside – they will contain particleboard or fibrecore, as opposed to honeycombed cardboard (which is what hollow ones contain). Both sides of the panel are comprised of plywood, which is then covered by a real timber veneer. Solid timber doors weigh roughly twice as much as hollow core ones, which does make for a slightly harder installation but will provide better performance.
So, which solid timber interior is the best choice?
Unless your home has architectural requirements that call specifically for solid wood, a solid core door should be sufficient. It will not only provide you with a durable and long lasting frame, it will come at a much more affordable price. It is also difficult to tell that the panel is actually comprised of fiberboard due to the real veneer (available in most timbers, from birch and oak to fir and beech). Real wood is also used for the stiles and rails to cover the fiberboard ends.
As you can see, there are a few differences between hollow and solid timber doors, but which one should you choose for your home? Ultimately, this will depend on the intended application of the door. Those used externally must be as durable as possible; this will help to prevent unauthorised access to your home and provide a barrier to the outside world. Those used internally could be solid or hollow; they are unlikely to suffer substantial damage.
Jason Hughes is a content manager in Armadale Doors and Leadlight who loves to write article related to timber doors, custom doors, french doors, leadlights and related to home improvement.