Wooden Doors: Your Guide to Understanding Types and Styles

Wooden doors are some of the oldest kinds of interior and exterior doors. Why do wooden doors benefit today’s homeowners? Wooden doors aren’t just functional, they can display artistry and craftsmanship for those looking to enhance their home’s design style.

Wooden door types and styles

Wooden doors also work better for homes across different climates. According to premium door manufacturer Pella, wooden doors adjust to climate better than synthetic doors. The wooden panel within a fixed frame can expand and contract with temperature fluctuations. This means that a wooden door will act as a natural insulator.

Wooden Doors: Types

There are two broad categories of wooden doors: interior wooden doors and exterior wooden doors.

Interior Wood Doors

Interior Wood Doors
Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

These are used on the interior of the home to separate spaces and to enhance your home design. There are three main types of interior wooden doors: solid wood door, solid core door, and hollow core door.

Exterior Wood Doors

Exterior Wood Doors
Wentz Design

Wooden exterior doors are used to protect your home from weather and from intruders. Wood exterior doors also enhance your home’s style and design. Solid wood and composite wood doors are two common wood exterior doors.

What are Solid Wood Doors?

Solid Wood Doors
Stallion Doors & Millwork

The structure of solid wood doors is all wood. Some solid wood doors feature glass or metal as part of their decorative design. A wood door with glass or metal can still be considered a solid wood door as long as it is made from all solid wood besides decoration and hardware.

Style of Solid Wood Doors

Solid wooden doors are crafted from pieces of solid wood fitted together in different styles. One of the most common solid wooden door styles is paneled doors made from fitting panels into frames of horizontal stiles and vertical rails. Another common solid wood door is louvered doors. Manufacturers create louvered doors with small vertical slats fitted into horizontal stiles.

Location of Use

Solid wood doors are used as both interior and exterior doors. Many homeowners have solid wooden front doors with decorative glass or metal. Solid wood interior doors are less common because they are more expensive than other types of wooden doors.

Wood Varieties

Manufacturers create solid wood doors from different varieties of wood. These include pine, alder, white oak, red oak, teak, bamboo, ash, poplar, walnut, and maple. Some of the most popular woods for solid wood interior doors are poplar, pine, and alder. They are inexpensive and create a good sound barrier. Walnut is one of the most expensive varieties. It has a gorgeous deep brown color with a dense grain and texture.

Home Design With Solid Wood Doors

Solid wooden doors work to enhance a variety of home designs with their texture and style. Solid wooden barn doors complement rustic and farmhouse style. Painted or stained solid wood paneled doors have wide ranging applicability among such disparate styles including modern to classic.

What are Solid Core Doors?

Solid Core Doors

Solid core doors have an exterior surface of wood veneer but are filled with wood composite material like MDF. Door experts tend to consider this a compromise door between solid wooden doors and hollow core doors. They are less expensive than solid wood doors but still have the look and feel of solid wood.

Solid core doors are heavy, often heavier than solid wood doors. They offer better soundproofing than some solid wood doors. These doors do not expand or contract with the weather but maintain their shape in all weather environments.

Style of Solid Core Doors

Manufacturers craft solid core doors in a wide variety of styles from slab doors and several styles of paneled doors. Also, you can customize the look of these doors with paint and stain.

Location of Use

Solid core doors are used as both interior and exterior doors. Solid core doors are used in many commercial applications. They are used as exterior doors in apartment and condominium spaces. Most office buildings use more interior solid core doors than any other kind.

What are Hollow Core Doors?

Hollow Core Doors
Jim Olivier’s HomeStory Of Acadiana

Hollow core doors are made from wood composite panels that have been glued together over a hollow core of plastic or honeycomb cardboard. These doors have become the most popular type of interior door as they are inexpensive and easy to install.

Style of Hollow Core Doors

Hollow core doors are molded. Thus, they come in a variety of slab or paneled styles. Hollow core doors are also used as bi-fold closet or pantry doors. They work with diverse home designs. Depending on the construction, you can paint or stain certain hollow core doors, though most are painted.

Location of Use

Hollow core doors are suitable for interior use and not exterior use. Hollow core wood doors are not good insulators of sound or weather. They are also not strong enough to withstand concerted efforts to break in.

What are Wood Clad Doors?

Wood Clad Doors
Pella Windows and Doors

Wood-clad doors are also known as wooden composite exterior doors. They are doors crafted with different materials including wood as one of its components. Some homeowners value composite doors over solid wood front doors because it creates a door that is long-lasting and less maintenance.

For these doors, manufacturers create a door with two sides; the interior side is wood and the exterior side is another material like fiberglass or metal.

Style of Wood Clad Doors

Wood-clad doors come in different styles including solid doors and doors with glass like French doors. Also, manufacturers make wood-clad doors with bi-fold and sliding door closures to fit any exterior door opening. Therefore, these doors fit a variety of home designs. You can customize wood-clad doors with paint and stain.

Location of Use

Wood-clad doors are used as exterior doors and do not have interior applications.

Wooden Doors Pros and Cons

There are several types of wooden doors. Each has specific strengths and weaknesses, though some are general for all.


  • Beauty – Wooden doors have an undeniable beauty. Solid wood doors and solid core doors have the gorgeous warmth and texture of wood. Even hollow core doors have attractive styles.
  • Durability – Solid wood and solid core doors last for decades with proper maintenance.
  • Versatility – Manufacturers create wooden doors in diverse styles to fit different home designs.


  • Maintenance – Wooden doors require routine maintenance like painting and staining when they become worn.
  • Cost – Solid wood and solid core doors are some of the most expensive varieties of doors available.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Where can I find inexpensive wooden doors for sale near me?

You can find inexpensive hollow core door options at local home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes. Look for architectural salvage stores in your area if you want to find inexpensive solid wood doors. Your choices will be limited to the styles and sizes they have in their warehouse.

What are the best wooden exterior doors?

Some homeowners and designers love the look and feel of solid wood entry doors for certain home styles. Solid wood doors work well for farmhouse and rustic design where the look and feel of textured wood is a bonus. For others, wood clad doors achieve the same results of beauty and style and are far less maintenance.

What are the benefits of a solid wood front door with no glass?

Wooden front doors with no glass are safer because they are less penetrable than wood doors with glass. Solid wood front doors with no glass also preserve your privacy better than doors with glass.

What are the best wooden interior doors?

Hollow core doors are the most popular interior wooden door type because they are the least expensive. There are also attractive and varied styles available. These are not soundproof. Solid wooden or solid core doors are better if you need an option that provides some sound insulation.


Wooden doors are an attractive addition to any home in both interior and exterior spaces.

Exterior wooden doors do require some maintenance, but their beauty and durability help balance this effort.

Popular options for interior wooden doors like hollow core doors make wooden doors accessible for everyone.