Complete Guide to Door Core Types

As someone in the field of architecture and design, when you look at a door, you know there’s a lot more to it than what’s on the surface. It can look beautiful and stylish, but the door core determines much about its functionality and durability. This guide will break down the different types of cores for interior wood doors and where to specify each one.

Hollow Core Wood Doors

Hollow core doors are not completely hollow, but rather house a cardboard honeycomb inside. Hollow cores are lightweight and easy to transport and install. They can be less susceptible to expansion and contraction than a solid wood door, but that is where the advantage ends. Hollow doors typically get damaged more easily and are harder to repair when they do. They provide little in the way of insulation and cannot be rated for fire or acoustics.

They are most often selected for interior applications in the multi-family and hospitality markets. They might work well in out-of-the-way locations of hotels or offices, like lesser-used storage rooms. Masonite Architectural offers the Cendura series with hollow cores.

Cendura Wood Veneer Surface Hollow Core Stile and Rail Door Section

Structural Composite Lumber Cores

For heavier use and longer life, structural composite lumber (SCL) is often a viable option. SCL offers a durable, extra heavy-duty rated core made from strands of wood bound with resin. SCL cores include fire ratings to 20 minutes.

An SCL door core works well for an interior door that needs to make a strong visual impression and last a long time, but without the need to provide high-level performance. Explore the SCL core in our Aspiro stile and rail doors, which make great statement doors. SCL is also widely available for flush doors.

Vics remodeled dining room with Masonite Architectural stile and rail doors in the background.

Particleboard Cores

Particleboard is made from ground wood chips bonded with adhesive. Particleboard door cores work for many applications. While it increases the weight of the doors, it also increases durability.

Typical particleboard cores are lower density and great for flush wood doors. They can be specified with a 20-minute fire rating, so can work well for offices. For more versatility, an extra heavy-duty (EHD) particleboard core offers 45-minute fire ratings, for just about any place where you need a fire-rated door. Their higher density makes them well suited for heavier surface-mounted hardware as well. You can specify particleboard or EHD in many of Masonite Architectural’s interior wood doors.

MDF Cores

For a door core that is even denser than particleboard, opt for medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Its glued wood fibers make it suitable for a broad selection of applications. Masonite Architectural uses it for Cendura stile and rail doors, a budget-friendly choice with a classic to modern look and seven standard paint colors. An MDF surface helps ensure smooth paint application.

Hotel room with MDF Square Groove doors.


For an environmentally friendly choice, just about anywhere you need to specify flush wood doors, agrifiber makes a good option. Made from rapidly renewable plant cellulose, agrifiber is more sustainable than wood and meets LEED standards. It also lacks the bonding agents found in particleboard, so it plays a role in improving indoor air quality. Agrifiber door cores comply with WDMA standards and extra heavy duty performance requirements. They can still meet fire-ratings up to 45 minutes. Agrifiber cores are available in Masonite Architectural’s custom flush wood doors.

Fire-Rated Cores or Mineral Cores

Fire-rated cores, also referred to as mineral cores are made from non-combustible materials such as minerals and fiberglass to slow the spread of fire and smoke from one part of a building to another.

Fire-rated doors are required for key areas in schools, hotels, and most other public spaces. They can be specified for 20, 45, or 90 minutes. Even with glass lites, many wood doors styles can be specified with a 20-minute fire rating.

In 2019, Underwriters Laboratories—a third party research and testing company—honored Masonite Architectural with its Dedication to Safety award, in recognition of wood door fire safety.

cross section of fire rated door

Door Cores for Performance Needs

Interior wood door cores can be specified to meet a variety of other requirements, like STC-rated doors to reduce sound transfer, lead lined doors to provide a radiation shield, or attack-resistant doors, which use an EHD or SCL core for added strength.

When you’re ready to find the perfect doors, with the combination of the surface type and core type to meet your project’s demands, reach out to your Masonite Architectural rep or request samples.

Choosing Interior Doors for Healthcare Projects

Healthcare facilities face a range of challenges, from the pressure to reduce costs to dealing with pandemics. Designing a hospital or other healthcare facility requires an understanding of these demands and products that meet them. Great healthcare facility design—which includes great doors—makes a difference.

The AspiroTM door from Masonite Architectural can be customized to meet the intense demands of healthcare projects. Here we take a look at the aesthetic and performance benefits of Masonite’s AspiroTM series interior wood doors.

How Should Doors Perform in Healthcare Environments?

An article from Whole Building Design Guide explains how architectural design choices can be  important factors for “attracting and retaining the best doctors and nurses, the most successful HMOs and insurance plans, and the most patients.” The author goes on to say, “An aesthetically pleasing facility is a key aspect of the perceived quality of care.” With that in mind, each design choice you make matters to the ultimate success of a healthcare facility.

Meeting construction client demands means limiting construction and design costs, and working on tight schedules, all while delivering a high quality result. You need interior doors that can meet many needs at once.

Doors Tough Enough for Healthcare Facilities

Doors in a hospital or healthcare facility need durability without being too heavy. Picture how people move around a hospital. Staff may walk very quickly, while patients with various ailments may move slowly. People are pushing carts, gurneys and wheelchairs, or carrying things. Nurses and orderlies might open doors by elbowing or kicking them.

To stand up to heavy use in a healthcare setting, an interior door needs:

  • Quality construction
  • The right core type
  • Durable surfaces

You can find many options for all three within the AspiroTM series.

Security Doors That Provide Attractive Openings

In healthcare facilities, people want to see evidence of security to feel safe, but the environment still has to feel welcoming. Features like security cameras and biometric locks enhance security, as do features of the doors themselves.

Attack resistant openings have become more and more in-demand, especially for public spaces. An attack resistant door opening will include:

  • A heavy-duty core
  • Shooter attack glass
  • A metal frame
  • High-quality hardware

Masonite Architectural incorporates all of these elements into its highly attractive and customizable AspiroTM doors.

Medical exam room with Aspiro high impact heavy duty hygienic door

Healthcare Door Features That Contribute to Calm Environments

Healthcare facilities must create a calming effect, both to encourage healing of patients and for the comfort of visitors. As a designer, you contribute to this effect though light, color and acoustics.

Each of these elements comes into play when choosing doors.

AspiroTM doors offer numerous choices in each of these areas.

Hygiene and Interior Doors

Perhaps no element of healthcare facility design matters more than hygiene to reduce the spread of illnesses. Many bacteria and viruses can linger on surfaces, especially those that are used frequently and touched by many people—like interior doors.

These features reduce the chances that healthcare doors will spread germs:

  • Laminates allow for smooth, easy-to-clean surfaces
  • Clean edges eliminate areas where germs would get trapped
  • Automatic doors can reduce the need to touch them entirely

Masonite Architectural offers AspiroTM doors in a wide range of high-pressure decorative laminates (HDPL).

Placement of Doors in Healthcare Facilities

The placement of a door could have implications for the visibility of protected patient information, and therefore HIPAA compliance. Factors that affect visibility and potentially privacy may include:

  • Which ways the doors swings and the resulting sight lines
  • Whether the door contains lites and the type of glass used
  • Whether to place a door in a given opening at all

Masonite Architectural’s interior wood doors come in a broad range of choices, including aesthetic and performance features, making it possible to find all of the doors required for a healthcare project from one source.

Learn More About Masonite Aspiro™ Doors for Healthcare

Take a look at a project that used Masonite Architectural healthcare doors, Clarity Child Guidance Center, and use the DOORSELECTOR™ tool to learn more about options for AspiroTM doors.

High vs. Low-Pressure Decorative Laminate Doors

Many architects and builders favor laminate commercial doors for their versatility and ease of care. Laminate doors are covered in a composite material affixed to the core, providing a layer of protection that painted or stained doors lack. Wood doors can be made with either high- pressure decorative laminate (HDPL) or low pressure laminate (LPDL), which share many characteristics in common but also exhibit some key differences. Learning about HPDL vs. LPDL can help you choose the right type of laminate door for your next project.

What HPDL and LPDL Doors Have in Common

Laminate-covered wood doors resist scratching, but they fare best when they’re factory finished. Laminating commercial doors in the field can produce inconsistent results, more prone to chipping and peeling. The laminate itself is highly customizable, since it can be made in a wide range of colors and can even be printed with unique designs and logos. This versatility allows you to bring a designer touch to any opening, matching client brand standards or surrounding décor and furniture.

Both types of laminate are fire retardant and antibacterial. They work well in projects where cleanliness is paramount, such as education and healthcare projects.

So, what is the difference between high and low pressure laminates? It comes down to the manufacturing process.

Characteristics of High-Pressure Laminate Doors

montana walnut high pressure laminate door

To make high pressure laminate doors, multiple layers of kraft paper are saturated with resin. A layer of printed décor paper is placed on top of the kraft paper, with a layer of resin on top of that. This layer is where any color or design can be printed. The core of the HPDL door might be made of particle board, composite, or mineral. It may also be fire rated or STC rated.

Then, to attach the laminate to the substrate, a machine exerts 70 to 100 bars of pressure, at a temperature of 280 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, sometimes referred to as hot press. Alternatively, laminating can be done at room temperature, referred to as cold press. With either technique, the result is a strong bond and one of the most durable decorative surface materials.In addition to commercial doors, such as the Aspiro Choice Laminate, high pressure laminates are often used for vanities, countertops, and tables, as they hold up well for both vertical and horizontal surfaces. If you are seeking to match interior doors to other features in a hotel room, for example, you should be able to do so.

Characteristics of Low-Pressure Laminate Doors

Manufacturing low pressure laminate doors uses lower pressure and higher temperatures. The laminate is pressed to the cores using heat presses, with or without an adhesive, to ensure a consistent bond. While still highly customizable, the LPL technique results in less durability than HPL. The process is less intensive, however, making for faster turn-around and lower cost.

Low pressure laminate wood doors are ideal for lower traffic areas and more budget conscious projects. They can be made to match HPL doors so that the two types complement each other when used in the same project.

Masonite Architectural Low-Pressure Decorative Laminate (LPDL)

oak low pressure laminate door

Masonite Architectural has introduced a new line of low pressure decorative laminate (LPDL) doors. This LPDL product line enables an architect to maintain the design intent of a building space while maximizing the project budget.

Masonite Architectural LPDL doors are available in the Cendura™ series with various finish options, including ten different wood-look options, to fulfill your specific project needs.

LPDL doors are constructed with a quality face material thermally fused to the core material, creating a strong monolithic unit that will not separate. Due to their style, composition and short lead-time, LPDL doors are ideal for short-tenant offices, satellite medical clinics and midscale hotels. Consider them for low-traffic areas with minimum performance requirements such as closets, private bathrooms, low-usage offices, and adjoining room openings.

Since low and high pressure laminate doors often appear within the same space, you can easily coordinate the two types to match. LPDL doors also seamlessly coordinate with other decorative laminate surfaces like desks, paneling and furniture.

3 Factors That Affect Hospital Door Durability

Designing for healthcare, especially when it comes time to specify doors, comes with its own set of challenges. Institutional doors for healthcare facilities must stand up to intense wear and tear while also contributing to a hygienic environment, safeguarding patient privacy, and keeping noise levels down.

Healthcare facility clients may be budget-minded, but they will not want to sacrifice durability. The action moves fast in most healthcare facilities, especially hospitals. People rush from place to place, moving equipment and patients, sometimes in emergency situations. Doors must facilitate their important work, not hamper it. To ensure the doors you specify are durable to handle the client’s future use, consider the following factors.

hospital hallway with wooden doors

1. Impact Edges for Healthcare Facility Doors

One of the keys to making a door highly durable is adding impact edges. With this simple feature, a wood door can withstand impact from stretchers or wheelchairs or gurneys, as well as frequent hard closings, without metal edges.

Masonite Architectural’s impact edge doors come in a wide range of solid colors and woodgrains, to maintain a uniform look. The vertical edges are completely smooth, so they don’t collect dirt and can be easily wiped down. They adhere to superior industry standards.

2. Impact Laminates and Surfaces for Healthcare Facility Doors

A high-impact laminate provides another protective feature, further guarding against daily abuse. It also adds a layer of toughness to the entire door while maintaining visual consistency.

To create the laminate, sheets of resin are bonded at high heat and pressure. The sheets are bonded to the door core, whether particleboard, composite lumber, or speciality cores designed for fire rating or radiation. The .05”-thick laminate faces with five-ply bonded construction and positive pressure fire rating up to 90 minutes.

3. Door Placement in a Healthcare Facility

How you place doors in a healthcare facility can affect the level of wear and tear they endure.

Doors can be strategically placed to allow for a large enough door for the opening to swing into a relatively small space. You must allow for accessibility by wheelchairs and gurneys and enough clearance for showers and toilets. When you can minimize the risk of doors being impacted by objects, you can increase their lifespan and functionality.

Other Considerations for Healthcare Doors

In addition to durability, there are several important factors of door performance to consider for commercial doors in healthcare facilities. An STC-rated door can reduce noise, improving patient privacy and enhancing their recovery.

Frosted glass can be incorporated into doors or used in sidelites and transoms to permit light while enhancing privacy.

Another important factor is safety. Clean-edge doors minimize bacterial growth and allow easy cleaning for infection prevention and control. Lead-lined doors meet safety requirements for rooms where x-ray machines and other imaging equipment reside.

Extensive veneer options introduce the warmth of natural aesthetic elements, which can improve patient comfort, mood and recovery.

Masonite manufactures highly functional doors with healthcare facilities in mind. Choose wood doors for patient rooms, offices, storage areas, imaging rooms, surgical units, and more all from one source. For inspiration, take a look at how a major hospital in Montreal benefited from Masonite Architectural doors.

Lead Lined Doors for Healthcare Facilities Guide

When designing buildings for the healthcare industry, you need to understand the complex needs of doctors and nurses along with stringent building codes and standards. In many cases, lead-lined doors are a necessity in healthcare facilities, where they shield patients and medical providers from radiation produced by X-ray machines and other imaging equipment.

This guide explains why and where to specify lead-lined doors with radiation protection in healthcare projects, and the design options available.

What Healthcare and Other Buildings Require Lead Lined Doors?

When it comes to lead lined doors, also known as radiation shielded doors, think beyond hospitals. Radiation protection in doors and walls could be required in clinics, imaging centers, dental offices, physical therapy and chiropractic practices, and even veterinary hospitals. Outside of healthcare buildings, lead lined doors also have applications in research labs, defense environments or even airports. Reference the building codes your project falls under to see if its design needs radiation protection.

Radiation Protection Requirements in Healthcare Buildings

While X-rays and gamma rays provide an important medical tool, prolonged or repeated exposure to these waves causes harm to the body at a cellular level. However, the lead found in radiation shielded doors is extremely dense, even more so than iron or concrete, which allows it to block radiation even in relatively thin sheets. Lead actually absorbs the energy from X-rays or gamma rays and releases it as heat, dissipating it harmlessly.

A lead lined door contains a sheet of lead that is 1/32″, 1/16″, or 1/8 thick, situated inside a mineral or wood core. The edges and astragals are also lead lined. Leaded glass may be used for lites, as well. The specifications of lead lined doors are listed in the manufacturer’s technical product data sheets. Confirm there whether the doors you plan to order meet all necessary standards for radiation protection.The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) dictates standards for protection against radiation. Their Report No. 147 makes recommendations for incorporating structural shielding, such as lead lined doors, in facilities that use X-rays for medical imaging. The report includes the type and thickness required of barrier structures. As a requirement, any door meant to protect against radiation should bear a label with its lead thickness.

Lead Lined Hospital Door Cross Section.

Design Options for Lead Lined Commercial Doors

Some people assume that lead lined doors have to be made of steel, but wood doors can be built with lead cores, too. Flush wood doors with clean edges are a common choice in healthcare settings, since they are easy to clean and sterilize. Radiation shielded doors are also available in a large selection of wood veneers and factory finishes. Lead lined mineral cores can also come fire-rated for 45 or 60 minutes.

Other Considerations for Healthcare Doors

Of course, radiation protection is just one element of healthcare doors. You may also need them to reduce noise transfer, support a sterile environment, and handle heavy use. The right choices directly impact patient recovery. With Masonite Architectural, you can find all the doors you need for various appearances and performance specifications to complete your next healthcare design project.
Nurse in a doctors office with lead lined doors.

Lead Lined Doors from Masonite Architectural

Masonite Architectural recognizes the competitive nature of healthcare projects and the role budgets play in door selection. Our manufacturing process supports efforts to be more competitive on price while delivering top quality and aesthetics.

Masonite Aspiro lead lined doors are available with select wood veneers, high pressure decorative laminates, and medium density overlays. Aspiro high-impact doors are also available with lead radiation shielding. Explore the Aspiro product series to find doors with exceeding aesthetic and performance qualities for your healthcare building.

Projects Where Fire Rated Doors are Most Important

Specifying the right fire rating for doors could be one of the most important code requirements in a commercial building project. Correctly built and installed fire doors potentially save lives and mitigate liability in the event that a tragedy occurs.

While building codes require fire-rated doors in specific areas, you can always go above and beyond in places where safety is a high priority. Here, we review some of the most important aspects of fire ratings for doors and discuss some places where they’re especially important, whether required by code or not.

Helpful Tips When Specifying Fire-Rated Doors

The International Building Code (IBC), International Fire Code (IFC), and other codes and standards reference National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives. NFPA 105 also contains some details. To locate fire rating requirements in the IBC, refer to Chapter 7. It covers the fire resistance requirements for various types of firewalls, fire barriers, fire partitions, smoke partitions and smoke barriers—including doors.

Fire-rated doors offer a degree of protection against both fire and smoke. Doors and frames bear construction labels indicating their fire rating. Remember, if the door and the frame bear different ratings, the lower of the two functions as the rating for the whole assembly.

On a related note, temperature-rise doors are required in some areas to limit heat transfer. However, these requirements have slackened as more buildings use sprinkler systems.

Ninety-minute fire doors are required in two-hour rated wall openings to stairwells, elevator rooms or egress through a building. Ninety-minute doors are also used in exterior openings where there is a potential for severe fire exposure from outside.

Twenty-minute fire doors are used in one-hour rated walls to separate corridors where smoke and draft control are a possible issue.

Fire rated doors must be self-closing or connected with the fire alarm system so that they automatically close in the event of a fire. Hardware on fire door assemblies has to have an active latch bolt to lessen the risk of pressure from a fire pushing open the door.

exit door next to staircase

Door hardware must comply with NFPA 80. This allows non-labeled kick plates to be field-installed on fire doors as long as the top of the kick plate is not more than 16 inches above the bottom of the door.

The IBC requires the positive pressure test for fire-rated doors. The test is designed to simulate the conditions of a real fire. This is different from the neutral pressure test, and the difference matters when it comes to wood doors.

Fire-Rated Wood Doors

Your commercial building clients might come to you with the misconception that commercial wood doors cannot meet their needs when it comes to fire protection. In fact, you have numerous options for fire-rated wood doors, including stile and rail doors and 20-minute fire-rated doors with glass. We can even manufacture French doors with a 20-minute fire rating.

Flat panel wood fire or stile and rail wood doors can be rated up to 90 minutes. A metal core slows the progression of a fire. Masonite Architectural offers doors you can customize by size and fire-rating, designed for neutral or positive pressure.

Spaces With Elevated Fire Risk

When you think about places where a fire is more likely to start, you likely think first of kitchen, such as in restaurants or hotels. Facilities like schools, daycares, nursing homes, hospitals, and even office buildings often include kitchens—sometimes more than one. Other spots where fire is more likely include spaces where large electrical equipment is housed, like laundry rooms, garages and utility rooms. However, a fire can start just about anywhere.

Another way to approach locations for fire-rated doors is to focus on the building occupants. Consider, in particular, spaces that serve more vulnerable populations, like:

  • Children
  • People with disabilities
  • People who are sick
  • Elderly people

This covers a lot of possibilities, including educational and healthcare facilities, and especially any location where these populations spend the night.

Many of these lend themselves to fire-rated doors with glass, which allow for safety but also light transfer and a more welcoming feeling.

Masonite’s Award-Winning Fire-Rated Doors

At Masonite, we’ve always taken a proactive approach to safety. We’re proud that Underwriters Laboratories—a third party research and testing company—recognized us, in 2019, as a leader in wood fire-rated door safety. They honored us with their inaugural Dedication to Safety award—ours was the only wood door recognized!

Christopher Hasbrook, vice president and general manager of the Building and Life Safety Technologies Division at UL, said “We appreciate Masonite’s continued commitment to UL certification and recognize their efforts to tackle today’s safety challenges.”When you’re looking for fire-rated wood doors for your next project, consider specifying Masonite Architectural to meet a wide range of needs for beauty and performance.

Fire-rated interior hotel doors from Masonite Architectural.

To find the right door for your commercial project, use our DOORSELECTOR™ Tool or contact us for more information!

Why Impact Edges Help Wood Doors Last Longer

Architectural wood doors look great in a wide range of project styles. Their timeless beauty outlasts trends again and again. However, for the doors themselves to last just as long, they need to withstand a lot of use. The more heavily trafficked the area where you specify them, the more impact they can take. For example, a hotel room door might be hit by luggage carts often.

The edges are where doors tend to take the most damage. To help commercial architectural doors look their best for years to come, specify impact resistant edges. Application-specific vertical edges add to the door’s durability without sacrificing beauty.

Where Impact Edge Doors Work Best

High-impact door edges make a smart addition to a range of commercial design projects. For example, in a healthcare setting, doors should be able to withstand impact from stretchers or wheelchairs, along with frequent opening and closing.

In an education environment, children and large crowds may be less than careful with how they treat doors. In hotels, doors should be on brand but also durable enough to contend with luggage and room service carts. In office buildings, corridor doors and stairway doors take heavy use. These are just a few scenarios where architectural doors face frequent wear and potential damage.

Without protection, the edges of wood doors, especially at the corners experience cracking and breakage of the veneer. The damage is not only unsightly but can ultimately affect the ability of the door to function correctly. In extreme cases they can even present a safety hazard, for example, if someone gets their clothing caught on a ragged edge.

Impact Edge Doors Upgrade a Space

You don’t have to design a brand new space to benefit from beautiful, durable impact resistant doors. Replacing doors is a great way to upgrade a space during a renovation, rebranding, or ADA retrofitting. The difference after replacing all of the doors in a building with a fresh, new style or color is dramatic. Some companies also seek to enhance the durability of doors out of security concerns.

A makeover of a hotel or office building, for example, allows the opportunity to specify new architectural doors that serve a wide range of purposes. Achieve a new look while increasing durability and longevity.

Masonite Impact Edge Doors

Masonite Architectural has a commitment to products that stand the test of time. To that end, our Aspiro series doors are available with high pressure decorative laminate or impact edges. Masonite impact edge doors eliminate the need for metal edges or kick plates, so you get to maintain the high-end aesthetic of wood.

Clients also appreciate that the door’s vertical edges are completely smooth, so they don’t collect dirt. This makes them more hygienic and easy to clean, both important features especially for interior doors for healthcare and education projects. You can specify smooth edges on the top and bottom of the door, too.

Masonite Architectural high impact durable edge door with door handle.

Options for Impact Edge Doors

While the edges of architectural doors take the most wear and tear, for heavily-used doors, you will want a full high-impact solution. Masonite Architectural high-impact surfaces are specifically engineered to withstand intense use. Choose from a wide range of solid colors and wood grain patterns, or go with a high-pressure decorative laminate for tough commercial door that’s ready for anything.

Our high impact durable edges adhere to superior industry standards. They’re tested and built to WDMA, AWI and AWS performance duty level standards.

For more information, please order an Aspiro door sample today, or contact your a Masonite rep about high-impact edge commercial doors.

Why Stile and Rail Doors are Worth the Investment

When you want the best quality wood doors for a hospitality or office project, stile and rail doors provide both quality and beauty. When you fully understand the level of craftsmanship that goes into stile and rail door construction, you see why they make a worthwhile investment.


1. What Goes Into Manufacturing Stile and Rail Doors

A sleek white-painted door with subtle panel detailing and silver handle

When the television show “How It’s Made” produced an episode on stile and rail doors, whose factory did they feature? They went behind the scenes at Masonite to show, step-by-step, how our craftspeople meticulously cut, treat, and assemble all the pieces.

Unlike a slab or flush wood door, stile and rail door construction uses linear strand lumber, which consists of strips of wood glued together. One door requires a dozen or more pieces—stiles, rails, panels, mullions and, in some cases, glass and muntins. They absolutely must be cut precisely so that they fit together perfectly.

Glue and dowel pins create strong joints and a sturdy door. The panels are made from MDF and are “floating” between the stiles and rails. With no glue restricting their natural expansion and contraction, you avoid warping or cracking of the door. In the end, they give the illusion of a single carved piece of wood.

Masonite uses a hot press technique to build its stile and rail wood doors, which involves pressing each door individually in a platen under controlled pressure, temperature, and time. This method results in greater consistency and quality compared with a cold press technique. With cold pressing, the pressure is uneven and the bottom door in the pile receives more pressure than the top one.

2. Customization for Stile and Rail Doors

Stile and rail wood doors bring a luxurious touch to an architectural construction project. They’re often a good choice when you’re trying to achieve historical authenticity. More importantly, however, you can customize them to fit just about any style or brand standards.

You can customize the number, shape and size of panels to achieve different looks. Add lites and archtops to fit your design sensibility. Choose from various wood species, and think beyond the standard maple and oak. The perfect factory-finished stain can add a gorgeous touch to match flooring, trim or furniture. Factory painted doors provide even more options when it comes to color matching, especially if you need to follow strict brand standards.

In 2011, the WDMA published its Industry Standard for Architectural Stile and Rail Doors. This document can help you to specify wood stile and rail doors thoroughly, precisely, and accurately. You and your clients will surely appreciate these doors’ structural integrity as well the strong impression they make with their timeless beauty.

To learn more about Masonite Architectural’s stile and rail doors, download our brochure or take a look at some examples of our work for Vic’s on the River and Hotel Indigo.

Masonite Architectural – Want help?

Our expert field of Territory Sales Managers can help guide you through the process. We’ll make sure you get the perfect doors to delight your clients on opening day (and for years to come). 

We can apply our expertise of wood type, grain, stain and door design to complement your space. Often, designers give door hardware more consideration than the door itself. Masonite Architectural knows the whole opening matters. We offer a wide selection of veneer options and available material choices.

If you’re ready to get started on your current project, you can call 1-877-332-4484 or email us

Attack Resistant Door Opening

Choosing Attack Resistant Wood Doors for Schools Amid Safety Concerns

Designing a school is a huge responsibility. “More than other building types,” the National Institute of Building Sciences says, “school facilities have a profound impact on their occupants and the functions of the building, namely teaching and learning.” When designing or renovating a school, your choices for educational doors and other design features can thus affect the lives of multiple generations and an entire community.

Whether you’re building a new school, renovating older classrooms, or simply looking to learn more about student safety, here’s everything to know about designing safer schools using attack resistant wood doors.

School Safety in the 21st Century

In the 21st century, school design means more than good aesthetics or responsible building practices. One of the greatest concerns today is how to keep students and teachers safe from what the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) calls “adversarial- and human-caused threats.”

Schools are conducting active shooter drills and implementing “Stop the Bleed” training. Communities are holding public meetings or convening expert panels discussing how to keep students safe from active shooters. In this environment, any school design or renovation plans must account for concerns about safety from violence. While a school’s layout, color scheme, and interior décor all still matter, designers should account for how a building protects occupants from threats.

One way to make a school building safer, for example, is by installing attack resistant safety doors. Architectural wood safety doors can be fitted for classrooms, corridors, gym entrances, teacher’s lounges, and other areas where people congregate. Wood safety doors provide durability and sophistication, but they can also help deter intruders and threats, especially when the doors are used in conjunction with emergency management planning.

Designing Schools for Safety: The Four Ds

It can be a challenge to balance security needs with a nurturing educational environment. Schools are not prisons, after all. You will want to find aesthetically attractive elements that incorporate safety features.

The Public Safety Commission that investigated the Parkland, Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School recommends that schools undertake target hardening. This strategy comprises “the four Ds” of physical security: deny access, delay the act, detect the crime, and deter the attack.

While critics are apt to point out that target hardening alone cannot eliminate all danger, many schools seek any and all measures that add up to a safer learning environment. Recommended building tactics that fulfill the four Ds of target hardening include things like curved hallways and other features that limit a potential shooter’s line of sight, situating a school on raised ground, and installing “safe rooms.” Additionally, every school needs to safeguard its entrances with secure safety doors, which play a part in at least three of the four Ds.

How Attack Resistant Doors Work in Schools

Education presents a major opportunity for commercial construction. A 2016 report estimated that $49 billion is being invested annually into building new school facilities. It’s not only new construction that’s taking place, but also renovations and retrofitting. The average age of a school in the U.S. is 44 years, and the majority need new interior doors and more infrastructure upgrades.

The Window and Door Manufacturer Association (WDMA) specifies commercial door standards, namely heavy duty and extra heavy duty standards for architectural wood doors. Doors built to these standards are designed for heavy and frequent use, making them ideal doors for schools.

While many commercial doors have performance attributes, not all heavy duty doors are attack resistant. In the absence of truly attack resistant doors, some schools apply security film to windows and door lites. The externally applied plastic is intended to keep glass from becoming shrapnel in the case of a blast. However, it only provides attack resistance for a matter of seconds. Another misconception about school building safety is that hurricane rated doors or windows can stop an intruder or violent attack, but that is not what they’re designed for.

According to Campus Life Security, “Attack resistant openings are ideal for new school construction as well as for retrofit applications.” Attack resistant doors delay access by an attacker for the critical minutes until emergency services arrive. They are tested according to the 5-aa10 test standards based on the FBI’s Active Shooter Report. To work effectively, the door, door hardware, and glass must all function as a unit.

Note: Attack resistant opening solutions are comprised of the frame, door, hardware and glass.

Where to Find Architectural Attack Resistant Doors

Realizing you need attack resistant doors is only the first step to designing a safer school. Next, you have to find the highest quality educational door products while also staying within your budget, especially for a tax-payer funded school project.

Masonite Architectural and Armoured One have teamed up to develop an attack resistant door solution—creating an added layer of protection designed to slow an active shooter from entering a room, allowing more time for the occupants to react and for the police to respond.

The attack resistant door opening solution features Armoured One Glass and Masonite Architectural’s Aspiro Series doors, along with standard door frames, metal vision kits, and reinforced hardware. When combined, these elements are designed to resist up to 237J of force after bullet degradation.

The Shooter Attack Test Method used to test the product is not an industry or government published standard but is based on two recognized test standards (UL 752 Level 7 / ASTM F476) that were modified and combined per recommendations from law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, and active shooter subject matter experts.

The product is not bullet resistant, but rather a solution designed to slow down an attacker using materials within a budget that allows owners to better protect more building occupants (students, workers, etc.). Masonite Architectural has long been a leader in high-impact commercial doors but is working with Armoured One because of their expertise in whole building security. This allows builders and project owners to identify and prioritize the best investments to provide safer educational environments.

Tested with a variety of surfaces and elevations to meet the design intent for multiple project types, the solution for attack resistant school doors is available across Masonite’s Aspiro Series of flush and stile and rail doors. For more information, contact a representative for your location.

Masonite Architectural – Want help?

Our expert field of Territory Sales Managers can help guide you through the process. We’ll make sure you get the perfect doors to delight your clients on opening day (and for years to come). 

We can apply our expertise of wood type, grain, stain and door design to complement your space. Often, designers give door hardware more consideration than the door itself. Masonite Architectural knows the whole opening matters. We offer a wide selection of veneer options and available material choices.

If you’re ready to get started on your current project, you can call 1-877-332-4484 or
email us

Reasons to Use Acoustically-Rated Doors in Healthcare Construction

Doors play a big role in shaping healthcare environments, and door selection starts with understanding performance solutions. During the design of a hospital or healthcare facility, it’s important to take into account both technical and aesthetic considerations. Acoustically-rated doors play a role in patient outcomes. Without careful consideration, the wrong interior doors could easily become the weak link in a healthcare facility’s acoustic performance.

In some cases, building codes dictate a door’s STC rating—the decibel level it blocks. However, some clients in the healthcare industry may want acoustically-rated doors that provide sound-reduction above and beyond what’s required. Sound reduction confers a range of benefits for patients and employees.

Here’s some great information to know about acoustically rated doors and how to choose them for when constructing or designing a doctor’s office, hospital, or other healthcare setting.

1. Setting Client Expectations for Acoustic Healthcare Doors

As with any commercial construction project, setting client expectations is critical to a successful outcome. Clients may request “soundproof” doors, so it’s important to be clear that nothing is 100% soundproof. STC (Sound Transmission Class) ratings provide a guideline to how much sound a door can block.

Solid core doors offer the greatest sound reduction, and they are typically called for anyway, for fire resistance and other specifications. Commercial wood doors can be manufactured for multiple performance requirements including fire ratings, blast resistance, bullet resistance, radio frequency, shielding, or other possible combinations.

Clients might ask whether acoustically-rated doors will obstruct wifi or cellular signals. Typically, this will not be a concern.

Heavy duty interior doors with glass in a hospital waiting room

2. A Quick Review of STC-Ratings and Door Acoustics

Acoustically-rated doors carry two STC (Sound Transmission Class) ratings, one of which is a “sealed in place” rating, and the other is an “operable” rating. Manufacturers may test acoustically-doors while they’re sealed in place with putty, or in a realistic, operational setting. Masonite Architectural tests all of its doors in operable openings.

The STC rating of a door roughly indicates the decibel reduction that it provides. At a rating of 35, loud speech is audible but not intelligible, while 40 or more meets the level considered “privacy.”

The materials, construction and installation of architectural doors all play a part in acoustics. STC-rated doors reduce sound in two ways, by absorbing sound or by reflecting it. Healthcare clients want surfaces that are easy to clean and sanitize in order to prevent infection. That means that doors for these projects typically have flat, painted surfaces or heavy-duty laminates with minimal ornamentation. They work mainly by reflecting sound.

The best acoustically-rated doors bring together form and function. You can find just the right style, finish, and color to match the rest of the hospital or medical facility, to create a seamless visual effect.

3. Many Hospital Doors Fall Short on Noise Reduction

As it stands, healthcare facilities often fail at providing ample sound reduction. According to Healthcare Design magazine, many studies conducted in hospitals have found background noise ranges between 45 dB and 68 dB, peaking at more than 90 dB. The World Health Organization, by contrast, recommends that hospital noise not exceed 35 dB. By accounting for noise reduction by incorporating acoustic-rated doors into your healthcare facility’s designs, you can create a more accommodating environment while avoiding costly renovations later

4. Benefits of Acoustically-Rated Doors in Healthcare Settings

A healthcare facility should be designed to block the sound of human voices, as well as noise from ringing telephones or medical equipment. Sound reduction confers three key benefits:

  • Patient well-being
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Privacy

Studies show quieter environments produce higher patient quality-of-care ratings in healthcare settings. Hospital patients need peace and quiet to be able to concentrate on recovery and sleep well. Also, hospital administrators rely heavily on positive reports of patient satisfaction and strive constantly to improve these. Patients and visitors alike report that noise levels impact the ratings they give. Finally, HIPAA privacy rule also requires safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information. This means conversations must stay private, whether between care providers and patients, or among employees of the facility.

An added, but sometimes overlooked benefit of acoustic healthcare doors is that noise reduction can also help nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff to avoid distractions and focus on their work.

Besides the STC- rating of the hospital room door itself, other factors influence how sound travels through healthcare facilities. For example, same-handed rooms leave more space between patient doors, which means less sound carries from one to the next. Silencer pads attached to the door stops soften noise of a closing door. Proper door hardware will limit latch noises.

5. Where to Install Acoustically-Rated Doors in Hospitals

These are some of the places where you may want to specify acoustically-rated doors in a healthcare setting:

  • Patient rooms, for the purpose of aiding in relaxation and recovery
  • Corridors, which can carry sound readily
  • Offices and work spaces where people need to concentrate or talk privately
  • Chapels, meditation rooms or other spaces where visitors go for quiet reflection

For your next healthcare construction or design project, keep acoustics in mind when choosing patient room, office, or cross corridor hospital doors as a key element of satisfaction on the part of the end user. At Masonite Architectural, we offer a complete line of acoustically-rated doors to meet your healthcare project’s needs. To see our work in action, read our CHUM Hospital case study on how we provided doors for North America’s largest healthcare facility.

And if you need a helping hand in picking out acoustic healthcare doors for your next project, please use our Acoustically-Rated Door Finder or reach out to your Masonite Architectural sales rep.

Masonite Architectural – Want help?

Our expert field of Territory Sales Managers can help guide you through the process. We’ll make sure you get the perfect doors to delight your clients on opening day (and for years to come). 

We can apply our expertise of wood type, grain, stain and door design to complement your space. Often, designers give door hardware more consideration than the door itself. Masonite Architectural knows the whole opening matters. We offer a wide selection of veneer options and available material choices.

If you’re ready to get started on your current project, you can call 1-877-332-4484 or
email us