When you start really looking into interior doors, there is a huge variety of different types, each having their own range of uses. In this report we will try to make sense of some of the different kinds of internal door that you may be offered as you consider the image you are aiming at in your home interior.
Interior doors can for the most part be sorted into three simple types – ‘regular’ hinged doors, sliding doors and folding doors, though it should be noted that there is some overlap between them. We will list them in brief here, and try to get more specific in some future articles.
Interior hinged doors
These are familiar to us all – the majority of interior doors most likely still figure in this category. This is the classic door which swings into the jamb and typically only opens one way. Of course, there are many types under this category – full-wood doors, doors with glass inset, PVC-coated doors and internal French or double doors. For sheer versatility, ease of installation and simplicity you will still in most cases opt for a hinged door. However, they have at least one significant downside which other kinds of internal door attempt to address – the door always has to swing outwards, and when they do can hog valuable space and be more of a hindrance for very small spaces like storage rooms.
One kind of hinged door should get special mention at this point, that being interior French doors, by which we normally use to signify internal double doors that hinge out, meeting in the middle, which are often lockable such that just one ‘wing’ remains in use if so desired.
Interior folding doors
Interior folding doors aim to address the space problem mentioned earlier, by folding the door in on itself by some mechanism, rather than it swinging out into the room. On the down side, this most commonly means that a certain amount of space in the actual doorway will be taken up by the folded door, so you have to think about whether this will be acceptable. Because they usually travel along a groove they might also be called ‘sliding doors’, although see the main sliding door section later in the article for an overview of the differences. These are some common types of interior folding door:
Interior concertina doors
Interior concertina doors, sometimes referred to as ‘sliding folding doors’, are divided into panels which ‘concertina up’ when open and are usually of light plastic. Also referred to as ‘accordion doors’, especially in the US. A particular use of such folding doors is as room dividers wherever there is a wider doorway or natural division in a home or commercial setting.
Interior bi-folding or bi-fold doors
These are available in a variety of types, their main characteristic being that they fold only along a single join in the middle but are held in a channel like a concertinadoor. They are a sort of compromise between the concertina door and a common-or-garden hinged door, since they still extend to a certain extent into the room when stacked, but take up proportionately less of the doorway in doing so. Interior bi-folding doors are commonly used as wardrobe and closet doors, as well as bathroom shower cabinet doors, but maybe are not so often used as divisions between rooms in the home or place of work. When they are, they are often installed in pairs, to shut up a large aperture, or where it is necessary to have just one half of the doorway open most of the time, while the other segment of the door remains locked until the whole doorway is put into use.
It should be noted that UPVC and aluminium bi-folding doors are primarily used as external doors, leading onto a yard or patio – a subject for another article.
Internal sliding doors
Although various types of internal folding doors could be referred to as sliding doors, this term typically is used to describe a sliding door with one or more overlapping panels in grooves next to one another which can slide along to open most of the door aperture. There are even systems that have a groove running completely clear of the door aperture along which a single-wing or even multi-panel door can be slid completely out of the doorway. Although the downside of this is that it requires space either side of the doorway, it can provide a very striking look.
That was just a brief run-down of the various types of internal door that you might consider if you are working on your home interior at the moment. Hopefully it has made sense of some of the terminology used and will assist you in making an informed choice about the ideal of door to choose for your home.