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Solid Core vs Hollow Core Doors: Best for Sound Insulation?

Solid Core vs Hollow Core Doors

Searching for new doors to help with your sound-proofing issues at home?

We’re here to help!

In our guide, we’ll show you the differences between solid-core vs. hollow-core doors.

By the end of it, you’ll surely be capable of choosing a good door for your home!

Table of Contents

What Is a Solid Core Door?

Solid-core doors are doors typically made of a combination of wood and synthetic wood composites. Generally, solid-core doors have a wood solid core and a lightweight wood veneer exterior.

However, they are different from solid wood doors that are, obviously, made entirely from solid wood. Here are their key differences:

  • Solid wood doors expand or shrink due to moisture and temperature changes
  • Solid core doors maintain their shape since they don’t have that weakness

Solid Core Door Pros

Solid-core doors provide you with the following benefits:

  • Durability for long-term use
  • Sound dampening
  • The aesthetic of solid wood doors
  • Require only a little maintenance
  • An affordable price

Solid Core Door Cons

You can think of solid-core doors as options that offer some benefits similar to solid wood doors and hollow-core doors. They somewhat mimic some solid door cons, however:

  • They’re heavier and more difficult to install
  • In instances they get damaged, they’re harder to repair
  • They have limitations in terms of aesthetics

What Is a Hollow Core Door?

Despite what they’re called, hollow-core doors don’t have completely hollow interiors. Typically, they have a honeycomb cardboard interior, and that interior is enveloped by fiberboard or veneer.

It sounds flimsy, but hollow doors have made huge quality improvements compared to their early years. They’re a lightweight, cost-effective, and easy-to-install option!

They make great interior doors for the above reasons! We’ll cover some more upsides and drawbacks below.

Hollow Core Door Pros

We’ve already mentioned some of the pros, but we’ll reiterate them and add another:

  • These doors are very lightweight
  • If the cost factor is a key consideration, they’re very budget-friendly (ideal for use as interior doors)
  • They, at least, still offer privacy
  • Since they’re typically pre-primed or painted, they provide easy installation

Hollow Core Door Cons

In terms of cons, hollow-core doors have these aspects you should note:

  • They offer little insulation and aren’t good for preventing heat loss
  • Also, they provide low durability
  • They offer poor sound-proofing
  • If they’re damaged, it’s better to replace them

Solid Core vs Hollow Core Doors: What’s the Difference?

For an easy comparison that shows the key differences between the two types of doors, let’s look at several aspects.

#1 Cost/Price

#1 Cost-Price Icon

In terms of price, solid-core doors and hollow-core doors are cheaper than any solid wood door. When comparing the two with each other, on the other hand, it’s pretty obvious.

Solid-core doors are more expensive than hollow-core doors.

If the cost is a huge factor when making your choice, like many homeowners and contractors, then choose a hollow-core door!

However, solid-core doors offer more value for money if you want to avoid replacing your door every few years. At the end of the day, your choice depends on the above scenarios!

#2 Material

#2 Material Icon

Solid-core doors have a wood solid core and lightweight exterior. Compared to solid-core doors, hollow-core doors have honeycomb cardboard interiors wrapped by light synthetic materials.

In terms of material, your choice actually depends on the situation.

If you want something more durable, solid-core doors are your best bet. However, if you want something so light that one person can install it, hollow-core doors are your best bet! 

#3 Sound Insulation

#3 Sound Insulation Icon

To put it simply, a thicker door always has better noise-insulating properties. You already know that, compared to hollow-core doors, solid-core doors have solid door interiors.

Given their hollow nature and drum-like construction, hollow doors offer poor noise reduction. So in terms of noise reduction, solid-core doors take the cake!

If you need excellent insulation from noise, solid wood doors might be a better pick. Take note, though, if you want something designed to really block noise, find an option that:

  • Utilizes particle board soundboard
  • Has an interior layer of lead
  • Also, it should have integral interlocking thresholds and sweeps

#4 Fire Resistance

#4 Fire Resistance Icon

To give you a straight answer, hollow-core doors have a low fire rating. Since they’re made of thin materials, they’re more susceptible to fire!

If you see fireproofing as a priority, solid-core doors will provide better protection. They’re not completely fireproof, but there are options that have UL-listed fire ratings of up to 90 minutes!

#5 Privacy

#5 Privacy Icon

In terms of privacy, both solid doors and hollow-core doors get the job done. However, solid-core doors still have a distinct advantage compared to hollow doors.

Solid-core doors have better noise reduction than hollow-core doors, making it harder for people on the opposite side to hear what’s going on inside. A hollow door, meanwhile, wouldn’t help as much.

So if you want complete privacy and sound insulation in the bedroom, a solid-core door should be your choice!

#6 Durability & Security

#6 Durability & Security Icon

Solid-core doors have a clear advantage over hollow-core doors in this category because of their solid wood interiors. Hollow-core doors, on the other hand, are hollow inside and structurally weak.

In fact, hollow-core doors are generally fiberboard or laminated wood doors that are much like flat boxes.

So compared to hollow doors, solid doors aren’t as easily destructible. They’re called SOLID doors for a reason!

Intruders will find it difficult to break through them, and you’ll surely be more safe and secure!

#7 Maintenance

#7 Maintenance Icon

To be honest, both types actually don’t require much maintenance. If you’re wondering why, we’ll elaborate further.

Solid-core doors do not suffer from changes due to changes in moisture and temperature. However, they may be more difficult to repair when damaged.

Hollow doors, meanwhile, can be easily replaced when they suffer any damage. The downside is it will cost money!

Overall, in terms of maintenance, making your choice would depend on what disadvantages you’re willing to handle!

#8 Heat Insulation

#8 Heat Insulation Icon

If you want better heat insulation for your home’s interior, we recommend using solid-core doors. Since it’s filled with denser materials like MDV, it will better protect your home from losing any heat!

As for hollow-core doors, since they have air pockets, they allow the transfer of heat. Avoid using them as interior doors if heat insulation is a key consideration!

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve already discussed everything you need to know. However, if you have any leftover questions, we’ll answer them in this section.

How Much Weight Can a Solid Core Door Hold?

It actually depends. How much weight a solid-core interior door can hold differs from an exterior door:

  • Interior doors for residences can hold a weight of 45 up to 100 pounds.
  • As for exterior doors with dense materials, they can hold a weight of 200 up to 400 pounds.
  • And just an extra tidbit, commercial-grade doors can hold heavier weights!

Can You Use a Hollow Core Door as a Front Door?

Yes, you can. However, make sure that your hollow-core door is of a hybrid build.

Hybrid simply means it incorporates more solid materials than your typical hollow-core doors used for interiors. Otherwise, it isn’t recommended.

We advise against this for safety reasons. Not only do hollow-core doors have a thin layer of material that can be easily broken by intruders, but they’re also not resistant to other elements!

Do Solid Core Doors Reduce Sound?

Yes, they do. In fact, both exterior and interior solid-core doors are more effective for sound insulation because of their density!

It’s as simple as this. The thicker the door is, the better it reduces sound transmission!

So if you want to effectively soundproof your door, going for solid wood would be your best option.

Should I Get a Solid Wood Door Instead?

It would highly depend on your preference. To help you out, we’ll briefly cover solid wood doors.

First off, solid wood doors are made from 100% natural wood or real wood. Solid wood doors are also made from wooden frames and panels instead of one solid piece of wood.

As for the pros and cons of solid wood doors, we’ll cover them below.

The upsides of solid wood doors:

  • They offer great heat and noise insulation
  • Good solid wood doors are extremely durable and will last long
  • They’re highly pleasing in terms of aesthetics
  • Feel and design can be different depending on the wood species used

The drawbacks of a solid wood door:

  • Compared to other good doors, solid wood doors are more expensive
  • Being made of real wood, they expand or shrink because of moisture and temperature changes
  • Solid wood doors require more maintenance and are harder to install

Final Verdict: Which Is Better?

In terms of sound-proofing, solid-core doors are better than hollow-core doors. However, based on other considerations, we’ll just leave potential buyers with these tips:

  • If you want a more cost-effective option, choose a hollow-core door.
  • For everything else (durability, fire resistance, security, etc.), we recommend solid-core doors.
  • Based on use, hollow doors make good closet and pantry doors that require no noise insulation.
  • Solid-core doors are a great option for your home office since they offer better privacy.

As a side note, you can also consider getting a 100% solid wood door, but it will probably be the most expensive out of all options

We hope our post was able to help you in your search for a new door for your home!

About the Author

andrea_adams

Andrea has always been bombarded by the hustle and bustle outside her home. Living in the city doesn’t get any quieter. The never ending noise from construction, traffic, and dogs barking on the streets day in and day out drove Andrea to a breaking point.

For 3 years, Andrea committed herself to studying DIY hacks, performing soundproofing experiments, and installing noise-free solutions. Now, she lives a quiet life free of the stress from noisy environments.

She hopes to share this knowledge so that others don’t have to endure the noise reigning in their ears and live a peaceful, stress-free life.