A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

The Doors of Perception in Your Home 

My wife is concerned about the impression we are making. She wants a new coat of paint on the front door to cover some of the minor scratches there. She feels that this is important step in making the right impression on our neighbors. My sister-in-law is discussing a purchase of a front door with an oval window in it for her parents home. She feels that will stand out. A seller is wondering if she should restain her front door to make a great first impression. I am under the impression that we all give only a thought to our entrances.

Walking through a home yesterday for an inspection, I noticed that the homeowner had replaced the door handles to the interior doors. They had some wear, so she had not done this recently. Most homes
have “builder doors” when constructed. These are generally the cheapest or most easily obtainable style of door with hardware to match. We homeowners pay no attention to the fact that we can upgrade these doors for a better appearance. The first step is simply replacing the door handle. A nice unit will cost around $20 to $40. Hinges for doors are frequently painted over at one point, so I would not worry about them.

My sixties era home has interior doors that are made out of wood
products, which is better than the newer version of these doors.
have seen some that are made from a very shaky plastic material. I have seen wood/plastic composite materials that are very good, but these new doors really cry out their cheap heritage. You can replace both of these doors with a solid wood unit, which are truly nice, but I admit to repainting my doors. I take the time to sand them, and to make the job look good.

I do like the looks that are being produced by manufacturers now.
I have thought about replacing my doors with units that have some type of translucent panel in them. A panel in a door which is meant to let light through is called a light by the door industry, and it is an easy way to bring light into a darkened hallway. At this site from Masonite, you can see all of the variations in the design for a door. I particularly like the chalkboard idea for a kids room. This would be a great way for me to write reminders for my son.

If your exterior door sets the tone for a house, let your interior doors set the tone for your rooms. You do not need to have the same style door for each room, but you may want to stay consistent with your theme.

Your Houston home inspector,

Frank Schulte-Ladbeck


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