Most Popular Types of Doors and Characteristics

Types of Doors

When building or renovating a home, there are various types of doors to consider. On a basic level, doors provide privacy and a way to divide our space.

Types of DoorsView in gallery

Yet, doors are also an object for artistic expression, a focal point of the room, or a way to complement the home’s architectural design.

Types of Doors

There are different types of doors according to imposed categories: location, style, materials, and closure.


Location of Use

  • Interior Doors – Interior doors are distinct from exterior doors because they are not built using weatherproof material. An interior door cannot be sealed to the same degree as an exterior door. Manufacturers build these doors from lightweight materials like MDF, wood, or glass. These lightweight doors are either solid core or hollow core.
  • Exterior Doors – Exterior doors are built to keep your home secure from the weather and to maintain privacy and safety. Manufacturers build exterior doors with solid materials like fiberglass, steel, and wood.

Style of Door Frame

  • Panel Doors – A panel door is one that has vertical lengths of material called stiles and horizontal rails to hold flat panels of wood or other materials. Different types of paneled doors have varying styles and numbers of stiles, rails, and panels.
  • French Doors – A French door is any kind of door that utilizes glass panes in its construction. The door can have a single or multiple glass panes.  
  • Louvered Doors – A louvered door consists of multiple horizontal slats attached to vertical stiles. These louvers, or horizontal slats are on the whole door or on a certain portion of the door. These slats maintain privacy but still allow air and light to pass through. These doors resemble shutter panels.
  • Dutch Doors – A dutch door consists of an upper and lower section that can open and close independent of one another. There are Dutch doors with solid panel doors as well as Dutch doors with glass panes on the upper portion.
  • Screen Doors – A screen door is an exterior door that goes in front of an exterior door. This kind of door has a screen to keep insects from flying into your home.
  • Flush Doors – A flush door is made from just one piece of metal or wood. This means that it is flat, or with no raised panels, on either side.  
  • Storm Doors – A storm door is one that homeowners fit over exterior doors in order to protect them from the elements. These are sturdy doors made from aluminum and security glass.

Material of Doors

  • Wooden Doors – A wood door or a timber door is composed of solid wood or wood elements. People use wooden doors as interior doors and exterior doors. There are solid wood doors and solid core doors.
  • PVC Doors – PVC and uPVC doors are made from polyvinyl chloride. This is a man made material that mimics the look of other materials like wood. Homeowners use them as both interior and exterior doors.
  • Glass Doors – Glass doors are constructed from glass panels held in frames of wood or metal. Glass doors can be used as interior or exterior doors. A glass door has a versatile look that fits different design styles from contemporary to traditional.
  • Fiberglass Doors – Fiberglass is glass fiber reinforced polymers, similar to the material that they use to make airplanes, surfboards, and cars. Fiberglass doors are strong and durable. Also, these doors mimic the look and feel of more solid materials like wood.
  • Steel Doors – A steel door is not made from solid steel but instead is a door with steel panels on either side and a synthetic core. Most people use steel doors as exterior doors, but there are times when homeowners use them to secure interior locations.
  • FRP Doors – Fiberglass reinforced polymers are a type of molded door. Homeowners use these as both exterior door and interior door applications because they are strong and low maintenance.
  • Aluminum Doors – Doors made from aluminum are strong, easy to clean and maintain. Most aluminum doors are exterior doors.
  • MDF Doors – MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard. This means that manufacturers make these doors from gluing wood fibers with resin and wax. These have become popular with homeowners as they are inexpensive and come in a variety of styles.

Type of Closure

  • Sliding Doors – Sliding doors, also known as bypass doors, move back and forth on a track rather than a hinge. Homeowners use sliding doors, like sliding glass doors, to access outdoor areas from the home like from porches or patios.
  • Bifold Doors – Most bifold doors feature a set of two collapsible doors with a hinge in between them. Most people use these doors for closets and pantries. Some feature solid panels and others a single glass panel. The glass doors are used as exterior doors.
  • Revolving Doors – Revolving doors feature three or four doors on a central shaft that rotates to allow people to always enter. The exclusive use of revolving doors is business rather than personal.
  • Hinged Doors – A hinged door is the most common type of door. These doors feature a set of double or triple hinges on one side of the door that allows it to open and close.
  • Pocket Doors – A pocket door operates by sliding on a track open and closed. It recesses into a pocket in the wall, so this is a good option if you need to save space. Pocket doors can be solid or feature glass in their construction.
  • Roller Doors – A roller door is one that opens and closes in a vertical direction. Fabricators make these doors from solid material or glass panes. Most people use these for garage doors, but there is a rising interest in using these doors in interior spaces.
  • Pivot Doors – A pivot door has a hinge on the top and bottom rather than the side. These doors rotate on a vertical axis though the location of this axis will change based on the size of the door.
  • Swing Doors – Swinging doors feature hinges that allow the doors to swing in either direction.

Common Interior and Exterior Doors by Style: Pros and Cons

We have gathered some gorgeous pictures of some of the most common interior and exterior doors. We will review the advantages and disadvantages of these common door types.

French Doors

French DoorsView in gallery
Firerock

There are few doors that can match french doors for their elegant and classic style. These doors are large and feature a modern black frame. Unlike most french doors, the door frame for this door is steel. These doors echo the black framed window in the rear and give the neutral colored room more definition.

French Doors: Pros and Cons

French doors have a distinct style and design that provides light and space but not privacy.

Pros

  • French doors complement different style homes from traditional to modern.
  • French doors allow in ample natural light because of their single and multiple glass panels.
  • Manufacturers craft them from different materials such as fiberglass and wood, so you can use them as both interior or exterior doors.

Cons

  • These are hinged doors, so they require more space to open and close.
  • French doors are not as energy efficient as they have glass panes that do not hold the air in as well as paneled doors.
  • These doors are more expensive than hollow core doors.

Paneled Doors

Paneled DoorsView in gallery
Claire Heffer Design

These are triple panel double doors with a solid traditional style. These are the most common types of doors that people use as entry doors and interior doors. Most paneled doors now have a hollow core and are made from MDF, but there are still solid wooden doors such as these in the example above.  

Panel Door: Pros and Cons

A panel door is the most common interior and exterior door.

Pros

  • These doors have a simple design that is beautiful and works for disparate design styles.
  • Depending on the material used, these doors are durable.
  • These doors are among the easiest to install.

Cons

  • If you buy panel doors of solid wood these doors will be expensive.
  • If you have a door with multiple panels, they can be more difficult to keep free of dust.

Dutch Doors

Dutch DoorsView in gallery
Upstate Door

A dutch door is a historic style door that people used in indoor/outdoor settings. This style allows light and air into interior spaces. The designer highlighted the design of this dutch door with the deep blue paint and brass hardware.

Dutch Door: Pros and Cons

Dutch doors have a unique style and will not work for every home or style.

Pros

  • Dutch doors have a unique style that has instant appeal.
  • These doors allow you to open the top for fresh air and light while keeping the bottom portion closed for the safety of children and pets.
  • You can receive deliveries by opening the top portion so that you feel more secure.

Cons

  • Dutch doors can be more expensive than standard doors because they are a custom style.
  • These doors have multiple moving parts, so they can be difficult to install.
  • It can be hard to install screen doors on the dutch door. Some people add retractable screens to the door frame, but these are a custom option and more expensive.

Flush Doors

Flush DoorsView in gallery
Architectural Digest India

A flush door, unlike a panel door, is flat on both sides and does not have stiles, rails, and panels. Architects feature this door in different types of designs including contemporary, modern, and mid century. In this design, the door has a converging pattern of chevron wood strips to create more depth.

Flush Door: Pros and Cons

Flush doors complement some styles and contexts, but there are some disadvantages that are important to understand.

Pros

  • These doors have a sleek and simple style.
  • Because they fit tight against the door frame, these doors absorb sound well.
  • These are a more cost-effective type of door than more intricate styles.

Cons

  • There are limited design and sizes styles of flush doors.
  • Because they have a single surface, these doors are more difficult to repair.
  • You cannot expose these doors to severe weather as they will warp.

Common Types of Doors by Material: Pros and Cons

The door material that you choose is another important factor in choosing your doors. Consider the location of your door in order to decide which material will work the best for your situation.

Fiberglass Doors

Fiberglass DoorsView in gallery
Home Depot

Fiberglass doors come in various styles and will look amazing for years. The use of fiberglass for doors is new, but it has become a popular choice for exterior doors among homeowners.  

Fiberglass Doors: Pros and Cons

Fiberglass doors are a durable option, but they are not the right option for every situation or budget.

Pros

  • Fiberglass doors are durable as fiberglass does not warp, crack, break, or rot.
  • These doors are insulated, so they save you money on your utility bills.
  • Fiberglass doors mimic the styles of other more expensive doors like wooden doors.
  • These doors need minimal care and will last for years.

Cons

  • These doors come in standard sizes, so custom sizing is more difficult.
  • Fiberglass doors are not as expensive as wood, but more expensive than vinyl.
  • Some fiberglass doors come complete with door frames, so you need experience or help to install these doors.

Wooden Doors

Wooden DoorsView in gallery
House to Home

Solid wood doors are some of the most expensive door options. Yet, there is no door that is comparable to the natural wood surfaces of a wooden door.  

Wooden Doors: Pros and Cons

Wooden doors have a true classic style, but they are not practical for everyone.

Pros

  • Wooden doors are some of the most solid and durable door options available.
  • Real wood provides wonderful color and texture to any location.
  • Wood doors fit disparate design styles and you can customize them for different-sized doorways.

Cons

  • Wooden doors require maintenance like painting and staining in order to stay looking fresh.
  • Wooden doors are heavier than other doors of the same size.

MDF Doors

MDF DoorsView in gallery
Home Depot

In recent years, MDF has become one of the most popular interior door options. These are chosen because of the versatile design and size options, MDF doors are also one of the most inexpensive options. Consider this shaker-style MDF door. It has clean simple lines that complement most homes.

MDF Doors: Pros and Cons

MDF is a popular interior door material, but MDF is not as durable as other options like wood.

Pros

  • These doors are some of the most inexpensive.
  • MDF doors are light and easy to hang.
  • There are versatile style options and variations with MDF doors.

Cons

  • The joints that connect the hinges of MDF doors weaken over time.
  • MDF doors are subject to water damage, so these are suitable for just interior not exterior spaces.
  • MDF doors are not as durable as doors that are of solid construction.

Common Types of Doors by Closure: Pros and Cons

Doors have a variety of ways that they close. These closure styles impact the way that these doors are shaped and the ways that people can use them.

Sliding Glass Doors

Sliding Glass DoorsView in gallery
Glass and Mirror Solutions

The manufacturers framed these sliding glass doors in steel and they have a clean and modern look. They are a good door style if you need a door that does not swing and take up extra space in the room.

Sliding Doors: Pros and Cons

Consider all the aspects of sliding glass doors to see if these doors will work for your home.

Pros

  • Sliding glass doors allow ample light into interior spaces.
  • They take up less room than other doors of the same size.

Cons

  • These doors do not provide the privacy that solid doors do.
  • They are more difficult to keep clean because of fingerprints.

Hinged Doors

Hinged DoorsView in gallery
House and Home

An arched shape makes even hinged doors exceptional. The brass door hardware and subtle color also give this door a more distinctive look than standard hinged doors.

Hinged Doors: Pros and Cons

These are the most standard doors, but there are some drawbacks that make other doors styles worth considering in different areas.

Pros

  • Hinged doors can open wide for the delivery of large items.
  • There are considerable options for size and finishes for hinged doors.

Cons

  • Because these doors swing, they take up more room than sliding doors.

Pocket Doors

Pocket DoorsView in gallery
Fox Hollow Cottage

Dramatic pocket doors like these are more common in historic homes. Standard size pocket doors have become more popular in recent years as there has been a greater priority on space savings.

Pocket Doors: Pros and Cons

Pocket doors are lovely and unique, yet they require more intensive construction to build out.  

Pros

  • These doors save space as they recess into the wall when they open.
  • These doors have a unique appearance and a custom look that sets your room apart.

Cons

  • These doors may require specialized maintenance as some of their hardware is behind the wall.
  • Pocket doors and pocket door hardware are more expensive than standard doors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Which door type is best?

There is no “best” kind of door. Instead, you should evaluate your particular needs to decide which type of door works for your situation. Consider your budget, space, style needs, and light needs for the particular area where you are going to put the door.

Which door type is most durable?

Fiberglass and steel doors are some of the most durable exterior doors on the market. Both of these have an insulated core that makes them energy efficient too.

What is the most common door type?

The most common type of door is a hinged door. These work in both interior and exterior settings. Also, manufacturers fabricate hinged doors in fiberglass, wood, mdf, glass, and steel.

What are doors made out of?

The most common door materials include wood, fiberglass, steel, glass, MDF, FRP, and aluminum.

Conclusion

There are various types of doors to consider when thinking about your interior and exterior spaces. Before you decide the best kind of door for you, consider your space, light needs, and budget.

Thinking through these factors will help you narrow down your choices so that they are not so overwhelming.

Yet, even after you have gone through these considerations, the real decision will come to your personal taste and style needs.