What Is a Solid Core Door?

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    • Solid core door construction starts with a wood or mineral base. Manufacturers add a layer of plywood or particle board to either side of this core, then top the plywood with a thin layer of wood veneer. This veneer gives the door its finished appearance and captures the natural color and grain patterns of solid hardwood.

      In most instances, these layers are bonded together using some form of adhesive for extra strength and durability. Some solid core doors may be nonbonded, which means they are pressed together under high levels of temperature and pressure without the use of adhesives.


    • There are four basic core materials used for making solid core doors. Particle cores are the most common, and are made from pressed wood fibers, similar to hardboard or fiberboard. Stave lumber cores consist of many small wooden blocks joined together with glue, while structural composite lumber cores are made from layered wood chips, giving them a similar appearance to plywood. Doors used in fire-rated walls have a mineral-based core. These cores are typically made from pressed gypsum, which helps slow the spread of heat and flames during a fire.

    Solid vs. Hollow Core Doors

    • Solid and hollow core doors look virtually identical, but are constructed quite differently. Hollow core doors, which are used in most interior openings in the home, consist of two thin layers of wood veneer. Some units have cardboard cores between the layers of veneer, while others are completely hollow. These cardboard cores feature a honeycomb pattern and are often soaked in resin or glue to add strength. It's easy to tell the difference between a solid and hollow core door simply by touching them. Hollow doors are very lightweight and swing open and closed easily. Solid core doors are much heavier, and feel sturdier when opened or closed.


    • Solid core doors offer many advantages over hollow core door construction. Their density helps to reduce sound transmission between rooms, or from outside the home to indoors. The core also provides some insulation, which contributes to energy efficiency in the home. Solid core doors are also more secure and difficult to break into than hollow models. Finally, these doors offer enhanced strength and durability to withstand long-term use and high levels of traffic.


    • Buyers should be aware of the many design options available with solid core doors. Models with smooth wood faces, known as flush doors, are not the only option for those seeking solid core units. Many solid core doors feature full or partial windows, or lights, to bring sunlight and outdoor views into the home. Others include louvers or vents to allow for air flow and ventilation between two spaces. Solid core doors are even available as Dutch doors, which are separated into a top and bottom half to create a distinctive look.

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