It is apparent that home improvement television featuring younger stars who are gravitating to older styles and basic lines is inspiring a change in trends in interior doors. The style of the interior doors in Central Florida homes is primarily driven by the price and availability at the time the home was built.
Prior to the 1970s, most homes were built using interior doors manufactured by local companies as well as carpenters who used basic planers and shapers to build the doors. Due to the nature of the equipment, these doors had straighter lines, more panels and appeared beefier. The challenge was simple — it took much longer to complete the interior trim of the home and the cost was higher because of the customization.
Door plants and component door manufacturing began to expand throughout the country during the 1970s. A centralized door company would manufacture door slabs, which were shipped to local door plants wherein the slab was assembled with door jambs and casing, creating a pre-built unit, which was quicker to install and eliminated delays on the job. The most popular door style during this time was a smooth wood lauan door with clamshell casing, which could be painted or stained. Although this type of door resolved the issues of affordability and time, it lacked style.
The quest to improve style led to innovations in hardboard doors. While these doors were assembled with skins manufactured out of wood products, they could be embossed with a design. In the early 1980s, six-panel hardboard doors were the predominant interior door used with colonial casing. These doors met the affordability and style standards and looked better than a Plain-Jane door. To this day, six-panel interior door units remain very popular.
In the mid-1990s, door skin technology created tweaks in style as arch and panel style doors were added to hardboard door inventory offerings. As homes increased in size, the doors expanded in height from 80 inches to 96 inches giving the homeowner a more dramatic look. Sound-proof, solid-core doors were added to provide extra privacy in bedrooms and television rooms, which gave consumers more options.
However, homeowners wanted more. Many of today’s new homeowners grew up in homes where the beefier, custom made doors were used. Simply put, the doors looked better.
The developers and marketing team at Masonite, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of door slabs, has done a good job in recognizing this shift back to older styles. In the last couple of years, they have introduced some new styles, which hearken back to earlier times.
Masonite’s new Livingston interior door style is a three-panel door slab with wider styles. It is a hardboard door, which can be built in hollow or solid core at multiple heights. The style gives an appearance as if it were built by a local carpenter. This comes on the heels of their introduction of the Lincoln Park, Logan and Winslow styles, which use basic panel, straight-line designs to give the appearance of a higher quality door. Instead of basic colonial or clamshell casing, homeowners are insisting on wide, thicker eased edge casing to give the look of that older style.
Because of Masonite’s ability to mass-produce these doors from hardboard and efficiently distribute the slabs throughout America, the price differential between regular six-panel doors used over the last 30-plus years and the new cleaner styles is minimal. The issue for most prospective custom home buyers or remodelers is they simply don’t know these new styles are available to them at a comparable price.
By utilizing technology, Masonite through its door slabs can mass produce custom style doors at affordable prices, which at one time took weeks to manufacture on site by a carpenter. This is how you make something older new again.
Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply. He is also the host of the Around the House TV show on LSTV and LakeSumterTV.com at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and at 7 a.m., Noon and 6 p.m. Saturday.