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Interior vs. Exterior Doors: Everything You Need to Know

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Interior vs. Exterior Doors: Everything You Need to Know

The differences between interior and exterior doors go far beyond their styles and location in a home. There are a few key components that distinguish interior doors from exterior doors, and  understanding them is a good first step if you are seeking new or replacement doors in your home. 

From materials to insulation to construction approach, learn the unique traits of each door type and which one is right for you.

Appearance

One of the most obvious differences between interior and exterior doors is the way they look. Interior doors contribute to the flow, feeling, and decor of a home, and therefore come in a wide range of styles.

From a functionality standpoint, the point of interior doors is to physically separate two spaces—whether it be sectioning off a laundry room or giving some distinction between the living room and dining room. But because interior doors reflect a home’s style, they are available with decorative wooden, metal, or glass panels or a combination of these features. From a simple Shaker style to a French door that floods a room with light, we have options suited to every design style.

french door

Material

The material used for interior versus exterior doors is another distinguishing factor. Exterior doors serve as the first layer of defense from snow, wind, rain, bugs, and other unwanted guests. They are generally made with a heavy solid wood or veneered engineered solid core wood. Additionally, exterior doors may feature a surrounding layer of steel or metal for even more temperature control and security. 

Interior doors are designed to be lighter and thinner than exterior doors and sometimes feature a hollow core. However, for many interior doors—including the majority that we sell—the inner core is made of hardwood in a cross grain pattern that’s bonded together under heat, pressure and glue. The result is a stronger product that limits cracking and splitting of the wood material.

Construction

As mentioned above, the intended purpose of the two different types of doors dictates how each is made and what materials are used. The thickness, core construction, and insulation all play an important role.

For example, proper insulation is crucial for exterior doors because they help keep cold weather out during winter and help keep air conditioning in during hotter months. Likewise, exterior doors are constructed to withstand major temperature and humidity changes. For interior versus exterior doors, construction details will vary from the wood to the glue used.

exterior door

Cost

Because they’re designed to be heavy, hard to break, and ready to face wind, rain, snow, and UV rays, exterior doors are generally more expensive than interior doors on account of the materials used. Some people try to get away with using them interchangeably, and while it may be tempting to shave some money off the cost, this would be a risky decision. Each door serves a specific purpose, and trying to cut this corner can result in damage from environmental elements, poor insulation, and higher energy bills. 

Bear in mind that just because they’re more expensive, exterior doors are not superior across the board. Interior doors are designed to be lightweight and easy to maneuver, so using a door where it was originally intended is the way to go.

No matter which type of door you need, we have you covered. Shop now to find the perfect fit!

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