by Bambi Turner
Of all the things you can change about your home, doors and windows make the biggest impact. Start your home improvement project with a new bedroom door. When it comes to picking a bedroom door, homeowners must consider a variety of different factors. First, they must find a door that is visually appealing and matches the decor of the bedroom and surrounding rooms. It is also important to consider things like price, installation and special features before making a final selection. By balancing price, function and aesthetics, you're more likely to find the right bedroom door for you.
Compare operational styles. While most bedroom doors swing on hinges or pivots, others slide on a track. Swinging doors will offer the most variety and are generally easier to install. Sliding or pocket doors may work better in smaller spaces because they slide into or behind the wall when opened. You'll find that sliding doors are generally more difficult to install and offer a limited selection of designs.
Decide whether you need a regular door or a pre-hung door and frame unit. If you plan to reuse an existing frame, choose a door only. To replace a door and frame, use a pre-hung unit if you're a home improvement beginner. Pre-hung doors are much easier for novice installers to work with and greatly reduce the risk of installation mistakes.
Measure the opening to determine what size your new door should be. A door that will sit in an existing frame should measure about 1/8 inch smaller than the frame in both length and width. A pre-hung unit should also be 1/8 inch smaller than the rough opening in the wall, and the jambs of the door frame should be the same width as the wall.
Consider which way the door should swing. In general, a door should swing so that it rests in the most convenient spot when completely open. This usually means installing the door so that it ends up against a wall, but be sure to consider the placement of windows or furniture that may be in the way. If the door should swing into the room to the left, choose a left-hand door. A right-hand door is used for doors swinging into the room to the right.
Pick a material for your door. Most bedroom doors are made from wood, though steel and fiberglass units are also available. Wood will usually be the most affordable when it comes to interior use but also tends to have the shortest lifespan. If you decide to buy a wood door, consider whether you want an affordable hollow-core unit or a more expensive solid-core door. Solid wood can help block sound transmission and has a heavier feel that some people may prefer.
Choose a design for your door. Bedroom doors are available with smooth or paneled faces. If you decide on a paneled unit, compare different panel designs to choose the best one for your home.
Select a finish. Wood doors can be stained or painted and are available in a number of different wood veneers. Choose a veneer with a pleasing grain pattern and natural coloring; then decide what shade of stain you'd prefer. Steel and fiberglass doors often come pre-finished based on the manufacturer's color selection options.
If noise is a major concern, choose an STC-rated door. The higher the STC rating, the less sound will pass into or out of the bedroom.