Introduction

a dressed-up hollow-core interior door
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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If you're living with builder-grade slab-style doors, just think of them as so many blank canvases. You can mimic the look of a traditional panel door simply by applying frames of molding. It's an easy project with endless possibilities, since you can match the moldings to any existing ones and re-create the look of any panel style you like. Follow along as This Old House contributor Christopher Beidel, owner of Pernt, a handmade-furniture company in Brooklyn, New York, leads us through the simple steps of adding character to a plain door.

Molding: Poplar nose-and-cove molding, $1.20 per linear foot; at home centers.

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    Tools List

    • flathead screwdriver
      Flathead screwdriver
    • Phillips screwdriver
      Phillips-head screwdriver
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • framing square
      Framing square
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • bar clamps
      Clamps
    • pneumatic finish nailer
      Pneumatic nail gun
    • rounded chisel
      Rounded chisel
    • mallet
      Mallet

    Shopping List

    1-by-1¾-inch poplar nose-and-cove molding Get four 8-footers.

    18-gauge 1-inch nails for pneumatic nail gun

    Wood glue

    Wood putty

    120-grit sandpaper

    Latex primer and paint

    New lockset (optional)

    Note on proportions: A typical interior four-panel door has three equivalent stiles with a matching top rail and a deeper base rail. Mock up simple patterns cut from cardboard to see what size panels will look best on your door.