Before Installing a Hollow Core Door in Your Home

Hands installing a hollow core door's lock

Nick M. Do / Getty Images

The hollow core door is a staple of the modern home. It is used only on the interior and tends to be used for bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, and some laundry and utility rooms.

Anyone who has accidentally broken this type of door will know that it is not truly hollow. A fiberboard honeycomb structure inside the door provides strength so that the door does not bend or warp.

All hollow core doors are interior. They are inappropriate for exterior use because intruders could easily punch through the thin surfaces with a screwdriver, hammer, or even with a fist. Additionally, hollow core doors are not weather resistant.


  • Weight: Hollow core doors are lightweight, making them easy to transport and install by one person.
  • Privacy: These doors fulfill the basic function of giving a room privacy.
  • Low Cost: Most significantly, hollow core doors are inexpensive, with most costing less than $50. This is why most budget-conscious contractors and home builders will steer consumers toward hollow-core doors. This is one area where you can shave costs without completely eliminating a feature. Given that interior doors tend to be installed in great quantities (as opposed to the one or two doors for the exterior), saving costs can be important.


  • Sound Transmission: Hollow core doors tend to transmit sound. For better soundproofing, use solid core doors inside your house.
  • Difficult to Refurbish: Surfaces of veneered hollow-core doors are only about 1/8" thick. This thin veneer does not allow for much more than a light sanding if even that. But even that is a best-case scenario. Many hollow core doors are all fiberboard, no veneer, which means that they can only be re-painted and never sanded. The prime advantage of solid-core wood doors is that they are 100% wood and can be sanded, planed, filled, and painted if they become damaged.
  • Low to Moderate Resale Value: Hollow core doors provide, at best, only moderate resale value, since they have become so ubiquitous. At worst, they can drag down the value of a house if that house has custom features that surpass the quality of hollow core doors. Or to put it more bluntly, hollow core doors are cheap and not necessarily in the good, monetary way. 

To Buy or Not to Buy

When you switch from hollow core to solid wood doors, you will be alarmed at how well solid wood slows the transmission of sound from room to room. Solid wood feels better. The door has a nice, swing to it. 

One compromise may be solid core doors, which have a heavy, solid fiberboard interior and a wood veneer exterior. Solid core doors are just as good at slowing sound transmission as solid wood doors but for less cost.

But reality dictates that hollow core doors have legitimate usages in the modern home. One aspect of this reality is that, if you are replacing all interior doors, you have a lot of replacing to do. 

Even in a small house, you may have as many as eight to ten interior doors. Using hollow core doors can save you hundreds of dollars and vast amounts of time, as opposed to installing solid wood doors.