How to Order Interior Doors

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Interior doors are used in bedrooms, bathrooms, closets and other interior openings. While many homeowners focus on the appearance and price of the door, there are many other factors that must be considered before ordering. It's important to find a door that not only looks good, but will fit your existing frames and walls. The door must be prepared for hardware installation, and should have a finish and design that will complement the rest of your home decor.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Determine the handing of your door. Stand on the side of the frame that represents the secure side of the door. In the bedroom, this is the side of the opening where you would need a key to unlock the door. In a closet, the secure side is the corridor or hallway side. Check where the hinges are located. If the hinges are to your right, you have a right-hand door, and if they are to the left, you have a left-hand door. Specify this handing when ordering.

  • Measure for your new door. Take the width and height of the existing frame. The new door should be 1/8 inch smaller than the frame in terms of width. This will allow clearance for the door to swing freely in the frame. Your door should also be 1/4 to 3/4 inch shorter than the frame in terms of height. Go with a 3/4 inch difference if you have thick carpeting or a high threshold within the opening. For existing concrete or resilient sheet flooring, stick with a 1/4 inch undercut.

  • Check the hinge locations. Your new door will likely have hinge pockets pre-cut at the factory. It is important to provide precise measurements for these hinges so they will match your frame. Measure the location of each hinge from the top of the frame to the top of the hinge. The hinge locations on your door should be equal to these locations minus 1/8 inch. This extra 1/8 inch provides clearance between the top of the door and the frame. For example, a hinge located at 6 inches below the top of the frame should be 5-7/8 inches below the top of the door.

  • Specify lock preps. The manufacturer will typically create holes in the door to accommodate your chosen locks. Start by measuring the location of the strike (if applicable) on the door frame. The strike will be 1/8 inch lower on the frame than it is on the door, just as with the hinges. Specify whether you will use a mortise or cylindrical lock. The manufacturer will need the lock type, brand name and trim design to properly prepare the door.

  • Choose your design. Interior doors may be flush or paneled. Flush doors tend to be cheaper, while paneled doors offer a wide variety of design choices. Browse the manufacturer's catalog to see what options are available. When having a custom door made, provide a sketch of your desired door to help the manufacturer understand your design.

  • Select the material for your door. Interior doors are typically made of wood, though fiberglass and steel models are also available. When buying a wood door, you'll also need to determine what kind of wood you want. If you plan to paint the door, choose MDF or hardboard for a smooth finish. If you plan to stain the door, look for a wood with a pleasing grain and color. Some popular wood door materials include oak, maple, birch and cherry. Your manufacturer can provide samples of each of these materials.

  • Consider finish options. Interior doors can be painted or stained. Most manufacturers will pre-finish doors for you, which generally provides the best results. Check the different finishes that are available and compare samples to help you make your selection.

  • Review the order form before sending it. Make sure you have provided all requested information. If you leave any boxes unchecked or fail to provide certain information, the manufacturer may use a specific default selection. This may result in a finish or hardware prep being incorrect. If you are unclear on any items on the order form, contact the manufacturer for more information.

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