What is an egg box door? & are they any good?

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An egg box door is another name for a hollow core door. This is a lightweight internal door, with a hollow centre.

In the hollow part of the door, a honeycomb shaped cardboard is used as an infill. This adds some level of thermal resistance and also muffles sound traveling through the door.

The frame of the door consists of a top and bottom rail and stiles on either side. These are generally thin timbers that give the door stability and a solid edge. There is also a lipping, that will allow for a certain amount of planing, and fitting hinges.

Also, on one side of the door, there is a larger block of wood known as a lock block. This will allow you to install any handles, mortice latches, and locks.

The frame and cardboard infill are then covered by a thin face material to finish off the door. This material is usually something like hardboard, or MDF for flush doors, or a moulded surface that is created from pressed wood by-products. Moulded doors will often have a grain effect, and panels, giving them the appearance of a real wood door.

Why would you choose an egg box door?

The main reasons someone would choose an egg box door include:

  • Price – These doors are very cheap; they can start as low as £30. In comparison, a low-end solid timber door, made from something like pine, would start at around £60.

  • Light weight – This makes these doors very easy to move around. The light weight also make them easy to install, as lifting and moving the doors around whilst marking and cutting hinges, takes next to no energy. Compare this with a heavy fire door, or a solid wood door, and there is much more effort required.

    Also, because the door is so light, you only need to use two basic hinges and that will provide more than enough support.

  • They often come primed – This is another time saver, as the doors are usually ready to be painted, with no need to add an undercoat of any kind. You can simply gloss straight on to the doors.

They are definitely lower-quality doors. However, once they are painted, they look pretty good. The moulded doors usually have a paneled, wood grain effect. So they do look very similar to a solid wood alternative.

They also don’t have knots and sap. Therefore, there is no need to apply a knotting solution before priming, like you might have to with a pine door.

Potential negatives of hollow doors

Whilst they are popular and the are cheap, there are some potential issues you may find with egg box doors. Some of the main ones include:

  • Very easily damaged – Because the outer panel is so thin, it is very easy to damage these doors. If they end up with holes, you will struggle to fill them and get a nice finish. This means, if they get a nasty bang and a big hole, they probably will need replacing.
  • Not much room for error – Because these doors only have a thin lipping on the edges, there is not a lot of room to plane. Each side of the door will have around 12mm of timber lipping. Obviously, you don’t want to go through this, so it is advised to not take more than 8-9mm off either side. This means your door only has around 18mm of play to make it fit.

    You will have a similar issue if you need to shorten the door. Although, there are ways to remove the bottom rail, shorten the door and then reattach. As well as ways to remove the lipping from the side and reattach that too. However, these are more complicated and will require you to re-fix with glue before work can commence.

    If you are not experienced at hanging doors this may be quite a challenge.
  • Insulation and noise reduction – Whilst the cardboard material in the hollow core does provide a little insulation and noise reduction, its no where near as good as a solid door. This will mean you lose heat more quickly, and noises in other rooms will probably be more noticeable.

So as you can see, it is kind of a mixed bag. There are pros and cons with this type of door. At the same time, they are very cheap. So if you are on a budget, these can be a great choice.

Also if you want to replace them in future, your only cost is replacing the doors. All the ironmongery on your egg box door, can easily be used again, if you decide to upgrade them in the future.

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