Interior doors play a more important role than you might realize. While they are minor elements in the grand scheme, they add architectural detail and style to a house. As something we use every day, doors create a tactile experience that leaves a significant impression. Closing a solid wood door, for example, feels very different than closing a hollow door made of synthetic materials.
Who to hire: Replacing an interior door can be a good DIY project for someone who has at least a moderate level of skill in home improvement — but it doesn’t cost much to have interior doors installed by a reliable handyperson or licensed contractor. As for the design and which doors to choose, you will never regret the assistance of a competent design professional.
Permit: Rarely will you need a permit to replace an interior door. While there are minimum widths required for certain circumstances, it is unlikely that you would want less than the minimum anyway. One door that many consider an interior door is the one between the house and the garage. This technically is considered an exterior door, and it is wise to understand that these doors must have self-closing hardware and be fire rated. Consult a professional if you are changing this door.
Even if you hire someone to do the work, it is always a good idea to have a basic understanding of what needs to be done, so read this tutorial on how to replace one kind of door and jamb.
Project length: Give yourself a few hours per door. A handyperson or contractor can probably replace a door in about an hour. It all depends on how many doors you replace at once, but this is a project that can likely be done in less than a month, even in more complicated cases.
Best time to do this project: Since all of the work takes place inside the house, you can do this project just about any time of year, though it is best not to start projects of this nature in the weeks before significant holidays, since you probably want your house neat if you intend to entertain.
Let’s take a look at the simplest door first and then progress by the number of panels.
A flush door can come with a hollow or solid core, primed for painting or finished in a wood veneer, as shown here. Typically it is the least expensive, and is well suited to modern architecture.
Cost: Doors start at under $50 for a hollow core with a primed surface. Prices jump significantly for solid wood doors; expect to pay between $200 and $300 for the more common styles and sizes.
This flush door has a more complex veneer finish. Some manufacturers will offer set choices for veneer designs, while others can do custom configurations.
Patterned veneers increase the cost substantially.
Single-panel doors are suitable for and often found in Craftsman houses as well as other modest houses of the 1920s and 1930s.
You can get a single panel on an arched door like this one. Just one or two of these in key places in your house can add lots of character. You will often find these in Spanish colonial and Spanish eclectic architecture.
As you will see in the following examples, variations on two-panel designs are many. This particular type, with its segmental arched top panel, is great for French country and French eclectic homes.
Very similar to the previous example, this door has a plank detail within the panel. This evokes a farmhouse or country feeling. This embossed design comes from the tongue and groove wood joinery found on old-fashioned stile and rail doors.