If you are looking into interior doors for your home, you have probably noticed that there are a great deal of different options to choose from, each having some typical settings in which they are used. In this run-down we will attempt to make sense of some of the different kinds of that you may be offered as you think about the appearance you are hoping for in your home interior.
Interior doors can generally be sorted into three simple types – ‘normal’, hinged, sliding and folding – though it should be noted that there is some overlap between the varieties. We will look at them briefly here, and hopefully look into the details in future articles.
Interior hinged doors
These are familiar to us all – most interior doors probably still fall into this category. This is the most common type, shutting into the doorway and typically only opening in one direction. Naturally, there are many types within this category – full-wood, glass paned, PVC-coated 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. But they have at least one significant drawback which other kinds of interior door attempt to redress – they must always swing outwards, and in doing so can occupy valuable space and be totally impractical for very small spaces like walk-in closets.
One hinged variety should get special mention here and that is interior French doors, by which we usually refer to internal double doors that swing out, meeting in the middle, which can often be locked such that just one ‘wing’ remains in use if so wished.
Internal folding doors
Interior folding doors seek to address the space issue described above, by folding the door in on itself somehow, rather than it swinging out into the room. The other side of the coin is that this most commonly means that some space in the doorway itself will be occupied by the folded door, so you need take into account whether this will be acceptable. Owing to the fact that they usually travel along a groove they could also be called ‘sliding doors’, although see the main section on sliding doors below for an overview of the differences. Here are some basic varieties of internal folding door:
Interior concertina doors
Interior concertina folding doors, sometimes referred to, confusingly, as ‘sliding folding doors’, are divided into panels which stack up when opened and are most often made of lightweight plastic. Also known as ‘accordion doors’, particularly in the USA. A particular use of these folding doors is as room dividers, wherever there is a wider doorway or natural dividing feature in a home or work space.
Internal bi-fold or bi-folding doors
These are available in a variety of types, their main characteristic being that they only fold along a single join in the centre but are held in a channel like a concertina door. They are a kind of trade-off between the concertina door and a common-or-garden hinged door, since they still stick out a little into the room when stacked, but take up correspondingly less of the doorway in doing so. Internal bi-folding doors are often used as wardrobe and closet doors, as well as bathroom shower cabinet doors, but maybe are not so commonly used as divisions between rooms in the house or place of work. When they are, they are often installed in pairs, to close off a large aperture, or where it is necessary to leave just one half of the doorway open most of the time, while the other wing of the door stays closed until the whole doorway is put into use.
Note here that UPVC and aluminium bi-folding doors are most commonly used as external doors, leading onto a garden or patio – a subject which we will leave for a different article.
Interior sliding doors
Although many interior folding doors could be classed as sliding doors and do indeed ‘slide’, the term is most often used to describe a sliding system with one or more overlapping panels in grooves next to one another which can slide along to free up 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 double door can be slid completely clear of the doorway. Although this obviously requires space either side of the doorway, it can make for a very attractive look.