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Solid Core Doors vs. Hollow Core Doors

We recently provided an estimate to a customer interested in finishing a basement, and they asked a good question: "What is the difference between solid core doors and hollow core doors?" We usually recommend that homeowners install solid core doors to block off the utility room (where your furnace and water heater will be) in the basement. The reason for this can be discerned in the different advantages and disadvantages of solid core and hollow core doors. (And a quick note--solid core doors are not the same as solid wood doors. Solid core doors are usually filled with MDF or a similar substance with a wood veneer on the outside. Hollow core doors are usually filled with a cardboard honeycomb.)

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Solid Core Door Advantages

  • Better sound reduction
  • Feel nice and hefty (many people prefer them in luxury homes because they have a more substantial feel and better swing). Most solid core doors are twice as heavy as hollow core doors.
  • Better fire ratings
  • Provide better resale value
  • Have better insulating properties

Hollow Core Door Advantages

  • Easier installation
  • Less likely to slam little fingers
  • Less expensive than solid core doors - though the difference can be anywhere from $20 to $50 per door, this can really add up over the whole home
  • Take paint better than solid core doors
  • Less prone to shrinkage and warping

Though we think solid core doors can be a great option for your entire home, if you can't afford to replace all of your doors at one go, think about prioritizing which rooms and areas are best suited to solid core doors. For instance, you could do just the main floor of the home, or just the utility room door (for the soundproofing, fire resistance, and insulating properties). If you have any questions about solid core or hollow core doors, please feel free to contact Jeff Proctor at jeffproctor@basementpartners.com or Jason Brown at jasonbrown@ascentbuilders.net.