Can You Use Exterior Doors to Replace Interior Doors

Can You Use Exterior Doors to Replace Interior Doors?

Since exterior doors often have loads of character, they can be quite aesthetically pleasing. Aside from this, they are also more solid than hollow-core interior doors which makes them better for soundproofing. Because of this, homeowners may wonder whether it makes sense to install an exterior door on an interior door frame. While this may seem like a rather straightforward question, there are a number of things you need to consider before doing this. To help you out, we’ve prepared an article discussing this subject.

If you want to learn more about this, read on as we break down everything you need to know about using exterior doors for your space’s interiors. 

Things to Consider

Transferring an exterior door to an interior door frame is difficult and labour-intensive. Here are a couple of things you need to consider before attempting to do this:

  • Inward Swing: Remember that exterior doors always open inward. You’ll want to make sure that your space can accommodate this.
  • Size: You’ll also have to consider the size of the door itself. Unlike interior doors, exterior doors are often larger. Make sure to get accurate measurements of the door that you’re going to use so that you can check if you have enough room for it in your space.
  • Trimming: Precise cutting with a table saw or radial saw is required when using exterior doors inside. It must extend less than a centimetre beyond the edge of the door or else it may interfere with the inner panels and cause them to come loose.
  • Condition: The surface damage on the exterior door could be worse than it looks. The damage might be deeper than it appears, and the door might be warped or buckled, which would make it difficult to install on the interior door frame.
  • Composition: Slab doors are not all of one solid piece of wood. Instead, they are made up of several different parts, such as rails, stiles, panels, and mullions. If you cut into the door too much from the sides, it loses its stability and may fall apart.

Tips for Using Exterior Doors Inside

 If you are committed to using exterior doors inside, then you’ll want to be as prepared as possible. Here are a couple of tips that should come in handy when installing exterior doors inside your space:

  • Work Safely: Lead-based paint may have been removed from the interior of the house from years ago, but it may still exist on the exterior side of the door. The exterior door should be completely stripped of paint and repainted. This may include lead-based paint on the metal parts of the door, such as hinges, that are not easily accessible.

  • Trim Door Width and Height: If you need to trim the width of a door to fit the existing door frame, do so by cutting the edge of the door equally on both sides. In the case that any part of the new door juts out past the original frame, you’ll need to adjust the new frame to level it out. Cut along the bottom edge of the frame to make any necessary adjustments.
  • Protect Cut Edges: To ensure a tight seal between the door and the trim around it, coat any exposed edges with paint or another coating. Remember to factor the thickness of these coatings into the measurements for the trim; usually, 1/32-inch to no more than 1/16-inch of space is needed. You’ll also want to remember to remove all weather stripping before cutting. Clean up and remove any nails or screws.


 We hope this article helps you better understand whether or not you can use exterior doors inside. As you can see, there are a slew of different things you need to consider before doing this. However using exterior doors for your interiors can give your space a unique look that will be well worth all the effort and planning that you put into it.

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