When selecting a new interior door, it's important to remember that doors serve many functions. Not only do they provide privacy and dampen the sounds transmitted between rooms, but they can also be a distinctive part of your decor.
Learn how doors are put together to make the best choice for your home.
Batten & Ledger doors are made up of vertical boards (the battens) and horizontal cross boards (the ledgers). These often include diagonal bracer boards between the ledgers to create a Z pattern.
Hollow Core doors have a solid outer shell over a framework. They are lighter than solid core doors, making them easy to transport and install.
Louvered doors have horizontal slats arranged at an angle within a frame. The louvers can be on both the top and bottom panel (known as louver/louver doors), or only on the the top panel (known as louver/panel doors).
Single Glass Pane doors have one continuous pane of glass and may include faux dividers to give the appearance of a divided-lite door.
Solid doors are made up entirely of solid material rather than a shell over a solid or hollow core.
Solid Core doors have an outer shell over a solid interior, as opposed to hollow core doors, which have an outer shell over a mostly open framework.
True Divided Lite doors have a number of individual panes of glass and each is set within its own frame.
Mullions are heavy vertical or horizontal pieces that run between sections, or panels, of the door.
Muntins are thin strips of material — usually metal or wood — that divide panels of glass or wood panels.
Panels are sections of the door set within the rails and stiles and may be further divided by mullions.
Rails are the horizontal pieces that make up a door and include the top rail, cross rail, lock rail (where the locking mechanism is located), and the bottom rail.
Stiles are the vertical pieces of a door and include the hinge stile (or hanging stile) and the latch stile.
Knowing what the different door styles are called will help you narrow down your search.
“#-Lite” in a description indicates the number of individual panes that make up the glass in a door. For example, 1-Lite means a single pane of glass with no divisions.
Arch Top doors can either have an arch design within a standard rectangular door, or the top of the door itself can be curved.
Barn Door can refer to the style of the door or the type of hardware used to operate it. In terms of style, barn doors are usually made up of vertical boards with horizontal bracer boards and one or more diagonal braces (see Batten & Ledger in the Door Construction section above). Barn doors are also referred to as Z-Brace Doors.
French doors have glass panes from top to bottom within a frame. There are typically three or more rows of panes arranged in two or three columns. Clear-glass versions are a good choice for adding style and mitigating noise for home offices, sunrooms, and other areas where visual privacy isn’t a concern. The glass panels can be frosted or mirrored for use in bedroom or bathroom doorways.
Louver/Panel describes a door that has a louvered panel on the upper section and a solid panel on the lower section.
Mirror/Panel or Glass/Panel doors have mirrors or glass on the upper section and panels on the lower section.
Pantry doors are specifically designed for food pantries. Often, they include a frosted glass panel with the word “Pantry” and other decorative elements on glass.