Hollow Core Vs Solid Core Door Debate
Written by Todd Fratzel.
Hollow Core Vs Solid Core Doors
It seems as though every time we build a house for a customer they have a hard time choosing between traditional solid wood doors (typically a solid MDF core with a finish veneer) and hollow core doors. The question always seems to be:
Which are better? Solid Wood Doors or Hollow Core Doors?
Solid Core Doors
Solid core doors can range from solid uniform wood door sections (wood species is the same throughout the cross section) or doors made with a solid core (usually MDF or similar) with thin layers of veneer wood glued to the outside ready for paint or stain.
- Solid Door Pros – solid wood doors are great for sound dampening, insulating properties, damage resistance and value to potential buyers.
- Solid Door Cons – Solid doors certainly have benefits but they also cost approximately 50% more, they are heavy and more prone to shrinkage and expansion due to temperature and moisture changes.
Hollow Core Doors
Today hollow core doors are are installed in a majority of low to moderately priced new homes. Hollow core doors have made great strides in quality compared to the early years when they were extremely flimsy and cheap. Hollow core doors have a wood frame around the perimeter of the door panel, usually one to two inches in depth. The surface is either hardboard or plywood with corrugated structural cardboard stiffeners throughout the center of the door for stiffness.
- Hollow Door Pros – Hollow core doors are cheaper, lighter, and less likely to warp, shrink and swell. Hollow core doors also take paint much better than solid wood doors.
- Hollow Door Cons – Hollow core doors are prone to damage from unruly kids, slamming doors into stops and other impact loads. Hollow core doors are also much harder to modify and repair due to the hollow nature.
Economics Typically Drives The Choice
We actually have hollow core doors in our new home and I don’t regret the decision at all. Today I priced a 2/6 x 6/8 hollow core colonial style door and a solid door, both with pre-hung jambs. The difference in price is $78 vs $114. $36 doesn’t seem like a big deal, however, our new house had over 20 doors for a total difference of $720.
The bottom line really is cost in my opinion. Hollow core doors have performed very well for our house and will likely serve us well over the years. At the time I needed to cut costs wherever possible so it was a wise decision. If we had solid doors I know they would last as long as the house.
Photo Credit: schnaar
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