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Solid Wood vs. Hollow Core Doors

Solid Wood Doors are constructed entirely of real wood and can be made with or without panel inserts. They're sturdy, but require routine maintenance to ensure long lasting qualities. Solid wood doors are very high-end, warm and beautiful, but also very expensive. Furthermore, solid wood also offers great sound proof qualities.

Solid wood doors are commonly referred to as Stain-Grade Doors. This is because solid wood is naturally grained which helps them to accept a stain beautifully. You should also know that you can't make a door out of a single piece of wood because it will be too unstable. So for years, solid wood doors have been made in the traditional pieces (Stiles, Rails, panels, etc.).

Keep in mind, solid wood is prone to damage. Be prepared to routinely perform preventive maintenance as well as make any necessary repairs. With solid wood, unexpected damaged could occur. For example, if you paint or stain your solid wood door you may see raw wood at the seams when your door expands, or you may see paint scraped and wrinkled at the seams when your door contracts.

Solid Core Doors are made a bit differently then solid wood doors. They are made of particleboard or steel centers covered by wood or fiberglass veneer to give a durable finish. Doors with a solid core more closely replicate the weight and feel of solid wood doors. The solid core material provides the door with

In addition to the pleasing weight and feel, solid cores doors are similar to solid wood in that they also act as great sound insulator. They also perform 15% better in this category than hollow core doors. Sound Transmission Coefficient, or STC, is an indicator of a given material’s ability to act as a sound barrier. The higher the STC number, the better the performance of the door will be.

Hollow Core Doors are at the bottom of the spectrum as far as the level of quality goes. Hollow core doors have cardboard baffle centers covered by veneer. They're inexpensive, typically $20-$30, and they are used only inside. These doors are low-end and lack in character. Furthermore, hollow core doors are very lightweight which means they are not much good for sound insulation.

Hollow core doors generally have a wood perimeter and faces of hardboard. The two faces of the door are divided inside by Styrofoam bars or ribbed paper blocks. They're usually painted (not stained), and usually neither is done to the top or bottom edges. It’s unfortunate too, because these edges really should be painted or stained to prevent the door from absorbing moisture and eventually expanding or contracting unevenly.

In addition, hollow core doors can be "stamped" with a pattern to mimic traditional panels, but the level of detail is lacking. The reason why there are limited details and designs for hollow core doors is because the manufacturer pays about a million dollars for the metal plates or molds that stamp the doors. It doesn’t take a genius to see that a door selling for $20 would need to be sold at an incredible rate to amount to a million dollars. The truth is that hollow core doors do not make up for that money in sales.

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