What are Some Different Types of Solid Wood Doors?

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

A century ago, it was commonplace for all of the exterior doors of a home to be made of solid wood. This extended to interior doors as well, whether they graced the entryway to a bedroom, kitchen, basement, or attic. Today, however, solid wood doors are rarely seen in new home construction, having been replaced by the cheaper, hollow doors fabricated from construction waste. However, this trend is reversing, and many homeowners are opting for the rustic charm and enhanced performance of solid wood doors once more. To lend inspiration, there are more options for wood doors available today than there were to the Victorians.

Kitchen cabinets with solid wood doors.
Kitchen cabinets with solid wood doors.

Aside from the beauty to be admired from superior craftsmanship, solid wood doors provide increased security and insulation. A solid oak door, for example, is going to be much more of a deterrent to invasion than one that tends to “give” when pushed or leaned against. In contrast, hollow doors compromise privacy given the fact that they often produce an echo of the sounds occurring on either side of it. For these reasons, most homeowners make replacing their existing front door with a solid one a top priority. There are many optional features to consider too, such as the type of varnish or stain used to protect the wood, paneling styles, and accessorizing hardware.

Custom doors might be made from mahogany.
Custom doors might be made from mahogany.

In terms of raw material, solid wood doors are most commonly made from white pine. However, most manufacturers can make custom doors out of mahogany, oak, maple, cherry, or poplar as well. The traditional four-paneled style door is also widely available. Regarding the latter, be aware that even though the rails outlining the panels are usually made of solid wood, they are often covered with a thin veneer. Of course, this doesn’t detract from the quality of the door, but is something to take into account if the door is ever destined for heavy sanding.

As with so many things, accessories can make a big impact. Solid wood doors made to look as though they are from another time are greatly enhanced with period handles and locking mechanisms. For instance, Victorian-style doors look especially authentic with brass hinged locksets complete with a skeleton key. The old-fashioned crystal doorknobs reminiscent of 1930s Art Deco are also reproduced today.

There is no shortage of door styles to choose from either, especially when it comes to exterior doors. In fact, there are thousands of different combinations. Some of the most popular include French Alder, Louver, arched and double arched, and even hand-carved doors. There are variations on themes available as well, such as doors that incorporate elements like etched or stained glass and wrought iron.

Enthusiasm for solid wood doors certainly doesn’t stop at the threshold. In fact, solid wood doors can be purchased as-is or custom made for almost any entry or exit route. For instance, solid wood doors are suitable for garage doors, garden décor, interior cabinets, media or electronic storage centers, wine cellars, linen closets, and more.

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Contributing articles to wiseGEEK is just one of Karyn’s many professional endeavors. She is also a magazine writer and columnist, mainly for health-related publications, as well as the author of four books. Karyn lives in New York’s Catskill Mountain region and specializes in topics about green living and botanical medicine.

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Discussion Comments


Solid wood panel doors give homes a classic, rich look that is inviting and cozy. In addition to looking fabulous, these doors provide durability that hollow doors do not. Though hollow doors can be easily damaged in a home with an active family, solid wood doors can take a lot of wear and tear without showing it. They are built to last for years.


I think that a solid wood door is a must for a bedroom, because it helps keep out noise. This is especially beneficial in a busy house where some people are still up and active while others are trying to sleep. A hollow bedroom door simply can't offer this same type of quality.

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