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How To Choose High Quality Interior And Exterior Oak Doors

How To Choose High Quality Interior And Exterior Oak Doors How To Choose High Quality Interior And Exterior Oak Doors

Oak doors enjoy aesthetic appeal and are supplied unfinished, you can also choose the finished look, from paint or stain to varnish and clear lacquer, allowing a more personalised look.

The key difference between hollow and solid doors is the way they are constructed, which affects the price as a result.

Solid-Core Doors: Affordable and Sturdy, but Hard to Install

Patio doors can be given a makeover too, as we have now introduced an oak version of our most popular sliding folding door, the Canberra. Its stylish design makes it even easier to co-ordinate an oak look throughout your home, enhancing and accentuating the theme.

Comparing Wood Doors: Solid Wood, Solid Core, and Hollow Core

To complete the oak look, why not invest in a new staircase? Epitomising good taste, our oak staircases complement our window and door ranges perfectly, providing a superior finish. Every JELD-WEN staircase can be produced to a bespoke size and design to suit your needs.

“A hollow two-skin door has air spaces within the core, it is less robust, lighter in weight and usually cheaper,” explains Martin Hile of JB Kind. “Doors with a higher price point will usually have a solid core construction and a prefinished timber veneer.”

Oak is enjoying a revival at the moment, with homeowners once again recognising how its stunning aesthetics and timeless elegance enhance and add value to their properties.

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Hollow-core doors are constructed with a thin veneer of high-quality wood applied over a core of honeycombed cardboard or plastic. Hollow-core doors are cost-saving products often used for the many interior passage doors found in a house.

Frameless doors are becoming a popular option for those seeking a modern look too, as Urban Front’s Designer Elizabeth Assaf explains: “Those living in contemporary houses are more likely to choose frameless doors, but these are more expensive as they have to be made with an invisible frame and shadow gap — this style is most suited to those who want the door to be part of the fabric of the house and not attract attention.”

This needs to be planned at the design stage however to ensure the wall is built so that the junction between the wall and the door is perfect. “An architrave is used to cover up untidy edges, so you will need someone who specialises in building this type of wall,” advises Martin Hile, Commercial Director at JB Kind.

This natural finish exudes a quality and distinctiveness that is perfect for accenting floors, windows, doors and stairs.

“Those with an engineered timber core are by far the best option, as they are less likely to twist or change shape than standard wood when conditions change throughout the year,” says Deuren’s Ian Chubb. “Ordinarily, lighter equates to cheaper, so homebuilders might expect to pay from £30 upwards for a standard size door with a hollow core. The price tag on heavier products is understandably higher, but with good reason — there is no substitute for a well crafted, premium quality, solid door.”

“The length of [installation] time can vary between one to two hours,” says tradesman Martin Cavender of MJC Carpentry and Joinery. “This also depends on the type of handles, locks or latches being fitted.”

The fabric of solid doors also provides better sound and thermal insulation, with insulative properties running through the core of the door.

To call these doors hollow is somewhat misleading since they do have a honeycombed core placed within a solid wood outer frame, over which the surface veneer is glued. The frame and honeycomb core provides some rigidity to the door, as well as minimal sound-blocking ability. 

“There’s a big difference between off-the-shelf doors as you will then have to pay for the frame, hardwear and everything else on top, plus extra for a carpenter to hang the doors which can also lead to mistakes being made,” says Elizabeth Assaf, Designer at Urban Front.

Increasing numbers of discerning property owners are opting for oak interior doors to provide extra kerb appeal for the home. Whilst a traditional moulded door still has its place in many properties, the demand for the natural oak finish continues to rise.

  • Solid-core doors offer good fire resistance when they are at least 1.75 inches thick.
  • These medium-priced doors are considerably more affordable than solid wood. 
  • Construction makes them resistant to expansion and contraction due to humidity changes.
  • Sound blockage is excellent. 

Solid-core doors represent an interim construction method, in which a fine-grade surface wood veneer is glued over a solid core made of engineered wood, such as MDF or Masonite. Solid-core wood doors can be used for either exterior or interior doors.

Some solid-core doors intended to look like painted wood use no surface veneer at all—they are solid slabs of MDF or another engineered wood, shaped and molded to give the appearance of a painted frame-and-panel door. 

Solid wood doors are a good choice where historical authenticity is desired. 

Shop internal doors for your project in our product directory

Besides the benefits of having a whole system with reduced labour costs to install, doorsets also benefit from accuracy and speed of installation, but if you are carrying out a renovation project then you may consider buying single doors on a supply-only basis — especially if you already have a carpenter on site.

“We find that homeowners want the internal doors on the ground floor to be special, but are not as bothered with the doors upstairs as guests don’t see them,” explains Elizabeth Assaf, Designer at Urban Front. “For most people it’s about creating that wow-factor when you walk through the entrance and matching these doors to the architrave, frame and even flooring too. People have changed the way they think about doors and adjust their budget accordingly.”

  • Style options are somewhat limited when compared to solid wood doors.
  • These are not DIY-friendly doors—the heavyweight means that two people are mandatory for installation. 

  • Humidity changes can cause expansion, contraction, and warping.
  • These can be very expensive doors, especially those made from quality hardwoods.
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It may be worth factoring in the cost of all the separate components and the labour associated with installing a door leaf before ruling out a doorset.

Viewed from a distance, most wood interior passage doors and wood exterior doors look like they are made of solid wood. But more often than not, these doors are clever imitations, using construction methods designed to make them look like solid wood while avoiding some of the drawbacks. 

Solid-core wood doors are constructed with quality wood veneers glued over a solid core of engineered or composite wood, giving them the primary virtues of both solid wood and hollow-core doors: they are relatively affordable yet quite sturdy and solid in feel. Because of the high density of engineered wood, these doors may actually be heavier and stronger than some solid wood doors. 

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For internal doors to have real impact within a homebuilding project, they should be considered in two separate phases. Firstly, a decision about the sizing and configuration of your doors should be made as early as the architectural plans are drawn up. Take pocket doors as an example — the cassette into which pocket doors slide will need to be built into the wall, so it’s helpful to know these requirements before the walls go up. This way, the openings will be perfectly sized and no disruptive alterations will need to be made when it comes to fitting them.

What’s the difference between hollow and solid timber doors?

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. At the cheaper end of the scale, if you are buying on a door-only basis you would be looking at paying between £50-£200 per door — budgeting a further £30-£40 per door for handles, latch and hinges.

This Solid Rustic Oak ledged door from Howdens Joinery features tongue and groove joints with glued and nailed ledges. It comes ready for finishing with varnish, stain or Osmo Oil

However, going from a standard-sized door to a bespoke, oversized one will be reflected in the price — especially if you’re specifying a full-height 2.4m-high door, as this will also 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 and scope for interior doors to become focal design features.

Benchmarx’s Glazed Pine SA77 door features 15 panels and is reversible

If you’re opting to remove the door lining and architrave in an existing home, it’s important to remember to measure the opening and not just the door itself. “It’s best to measure wall to wall – top, middle and bottom width – in order to get the most accurate measurement, and the same with height: middle and each side,” explains Ian Chubb, founder of door specialist Deuren.

The oak finish doesn’t just stop at single interior doors, there’s an extensive range of door styles available from internal folding room dividers to bi-fold doors that are all available in oak so you can achieve a complementary look throughout the home.

“With online products, lead times can range from a few days up to the standard eight weeks for normal doors, depending on where they are coming from,” advises Elizabeth Assaf of Urban Front. “It’s very important to inspect doors on delivery immediately. It is also a good idea to check if the doors can be altered in size as some are easy to adjust while others aren’t.”

Just like all JELD-WEN products, our oak door range comes with full chain of custody certification on request. So you can have peace of mind that not only do your doors look great, but they are also sourced from well managed forests

“This is purely for peace of mind; it’s not a requirement for every door to be a fire door except doors which are en route of escape,” says Chris Miller, Product Manager at JELD-WEN. “Fire doors contain a fire-tested core but it is the associated parts such as fire hinges which allow the fire door to work efficiently. The doors also feature an intumescent strip which swells as a reaction to heat and forms a seal around the door and frame, and will come with either a 30 or 60 minute protection.”

View our range of  interior oak doors,  exterior oak doors, oak patio doors, oak windows and oak staircases.

Fire 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, particularly on more vulnerable rooms such as kitchens.

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Wood doors used in residential construction come in three types: solid wood, hollow core, and solid core. 

Unless you are planning on living in a house where privacy is non-existent and you’re intending on residing in one large open plan expanse, then you will be requiring internal doors for your self-build or renovation project.

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“Check if you need to allow any tolerance with your supplier too. There’s nothing more irritating than an ill-fitting door – especially when it’s been designed to the wrong specifications – so employing an expert [your builder, carpenter and so on] to get it right is undoubtedly worth it.”


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. All the necessary alterations and finishing take place in the factory rather than on site.

“Another common mistake is that people don’t think about which way the door is going to open — whether it will open into or out of the room and whether it will be hung left or right. You also need to make sure you leave enough space for the door to open out to. Homeowners should spend more time getting these things right at the beginning. Sometimes it’s worth living in the house first to really consider how you want to enter different rooms and what space is available — it’s not as simple as just choosing a door, you need to think about so much more,” says Elizabeth Assaf, Designer at Urban Front.

JELD-WEN’s white oak interior doors combine long lasting natural quality, with the instant appeal of affordability and choice. Traditionally crafted with style and elegance, our high quality oak doors always look contemporary and fit most situations.

Hollow-core doors are best used for interior doors in situations where you need to save money on construction costs. 

“Doorsets lend themselves well to new openings but separate doors can be best if you’re carrying out a refurbishment as the frames will already be in place. It depends how much work you want to get involved with, as ripping out frames can be problematic if you don’t know what lies underneath. When fitting a standard door it’s just a case of measuring the opening, bearing in mind the floor level, and hanging new hinges plus the new door,” says Chris Miller, Product Manager at JELD-WEN.

With modern houses increasingly featuring higher 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.

We’ve got the latest popular designs and styles on express delivery too, so our doors can be with you when you need them.

When buying doors you will be faced with the choice of whether you buy the door on its own or as a doorset — you should be clear with the supplier which you are after from the outset. If you’re simply buying a door, you’ll be buying a door leaf, whereas a doorset includes the door leaf, the door lining (also referred to as a frame or casing) and architrave (designed to cover the gap between the door, wall and lining), plus hinges, locks, latches and so on (the handle may or may not be supplied).

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The classic wood panel door looks and feels like one piece of wood, though it is not. The six panel door has been around for ages and is constructed of individual panels, mullions, stiles, and rails that hold floating panels. When stained or painted, a wood panel door looks like a solid slab of wood that has been shaped with decorative contours. 

Each type of door has its own advantages and disadvantages, and choosing a door type involves weighing the importance of the various factors. 

Solid wood doors are 100% natural wood, except for the hardware or accessories. Before 1949, the Uniform Building Code (now called the International Building Code or IBC) mandated that solid wood doors be solid, unified slabs of wood.

JELD-WEN is always striving to inspire customers with stylish, on trend products that enhance your home and we have now added oak lines to our complete door, window and stairs collections, so you can enjoy more styles and designs than ever before.

That changed as it became harder to log the big timbers needed for single-slab doors. Solid wood doors are now more often built with a frame-and-panel construction. 

Just like all JELD-WEN products, our oak ranges come with options of full Chain of Custody certification, demonstrating the wood is sourced from well managed forests. As timber is the only completely sustainable material, there is little surprise that this timeless classic is once again at the forefront of home fashions.

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JELD-WEN is always striving to inspire customers with stylish, on trend products that enhance your home, we have recently added new door designs to our range such as the Shaker Cottage and the Oregon Cottage Horizontal doors, so you can enjoy more styles and designs than ever before.

  • Solid wood doors are good for maintaining the resale value of a home.
  • Solid wood doors have a very solid, substantial feel and are very strong.
  • Sound-blockage is good to excellent, depending on wood species. Softwoods like pine are not very sound-proof, but hardwoods such as oak and maple are excellent at blocking sound transmission between rooms. 
  • Fire-resistance is fairly good with doors that are 1.75 inches thick or more. 

While the evolution of online shopping has opened up a world of opportunity for homeowners taking on building projects, and allows you to purchase goods easily, it also carries an element of risk. Online imagery can be deceptive, especially when the doors are on the cheaper side, so it is perhaps better to view the doors in person first, or at least have a good understanding of what’s included.

Increasing numbers of discerning property owners are also opting for external oak doors and oak windows to provide extra kerb appeal.

  • These doors offer little in the way of fire resistance.
  • These are very light-weight doors, and they may feel cheap.
  • Hollow-core construction is rather poor at blocking sound.

Internal doors have been dividing rooms since the dawn of building and with the increase in suppliers has come the increased considerations homeowners need to undertake before they make a purchase. No longer just functional products which make up the fabric of a house, selecting a traditional or contemporary style comes into play, as does the decision of whether to buy them on a door-only basis or as a complete doorset with ironmongery in place, and how the door is constructed in the first place — all of which will be driven by price.

  • Hollow-core doors are the least expensive. 
  • Veneer construction makes these doors fairly stable in changing humidity levels. 
  • DIY installation is quite easy.

Selecting interior doors for your home requires a lot more thought than just the design. Daisy Jeffery covers what you need to know before making a purchase

The natural finish of white oak exudes a quality and distinctiveness that is perfect for suiting across floors, windows, doors and stairs. Available in a range of finishes and glazing options and suit all projects and desired finishes, from traditional to contemporary

Solid wood doors are generally considered the premium choice, but there are many factors to consider. You may well find that solid wood doors are not always the best choice for you.

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Solid wood doors can be used both for both interior and exterior doors. When used for exteriors, wood must be finished or painted.

Solid wood doors are, as the name implies, made of either a solid wood slab or a frame-and-panel construction that uses natural wood—whether a softwood like pine or a hardwood like oak or maple. Exterior doors made from wood typically use solid wood construction for strength and security. With interior doors, however, you have other options. 

Achieving this wow-factor can be done in many ways, from cross-directional grains and different timber and colour options, glazed inserts to allow light to flow throughout the home, as well as how the doors open out or into a room. “Pocket door systems are rapidly increasing in popularity, due to their stylish look and space-saving advantages,” adds Martin Hile of JB Kind.

Most production houses built today receive hollow core interior doors as a matter of course. Inexpensive and lightweight, they are easy to install and can save thousands of dollars on construction costs, since a typical house may have a dozen or more interior doors. 

Demand for the natural look has led to the release of the Oak Stormsure window, which is available in a range of designs, from standard casement and bay windows, to regency styles.

JELD-WEN’s Room Fold internal folding door range is available in a variety of oak door designs and is a great example of how you can achieve a stylish look that also makes the most of natural light and opens up the home.

Most standard doors can be installed on a DIY basis, but the time it takes 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.)

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. Ideally you’ll want them to last, and are less likely to change your internal doors than opt for a new kitchen, so think about investing in quality doors and prioritise your budget accordingly

“The main mistakes homeowners make are that they do not consider doors as part of their interior fit-out budget, they do not measure the door sizes required correctly, and do not install and treat/finish the doors correctly,” says Martin Hile, Commercial Director at JB Kind.

Our oak exterior doors are created using the highest quality veneers and fans of contemporary internal fittings will be excited to hear that we have launched a sliding folding door in our Room Fold Plus range in a striking oak finish.

Solid-core doors are a good affordable option wherever solid wood interior doors are called for. Solid-core doors are usually not suitable for use as exterior doors. 

The Canberra oak patio door is a best seller for a reason – our customers love the high quality finish and wide range of standard and bespoke sizes. Its space saving concertina mechanism means it will slide away to open up a room, whilst letting in lots of light and air.

Secondly, the finish of the doors should be considered at the same time as the rest of the interior design scheme. It’s natural for ideas to change throughout the planning and building process, so factoring in the aesthetics at the start allows for these to develop. Of course, there is so much to consider with a homebuilding project, and there’s nothing wrong with choosing doors right at the close of a project, but it’s important to be aware that there are limitations when this approach is taken.

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