Difference Between Flush Doors and Panel Doors

Panel doors were common before World War II, while flush doors became popular during the building boom following the war. Flush doors were cheaper to make and matched the simpler architectural styles. Panel doors were made of solid wood, and required more skill to produce.

Panel Doors

Doors welcome you into a home.
Panelled doors can add elegance to an entrance.

Panel doors consist of stiles (the vertical pieces) and rails (the horizontal pieces), with different-sized panels that fit between the stiles and rails. The rails and stiles are glued together, but the panels aren't; they're loose, so they can expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes. This is essential for exterior doors.

Flush Doors

Flush doors are practical.

Flush doors, which are smooth, can be solid or hollow, but a solid-core door is safer and keeps the house quieter. Because flush doors are easier to make than panel doors, they can be mass produced. Panel doors are usually more decorative than flush doors.

Sash Doors

Sash doors let more light into a home or room.

If a panel door includes glass panels or panes, it is called a sash door. If all the panels are glass, it's referred to as a French door.

Modern Doors

Doors come in all colors, designs and prices.

Today, flush doors can imitate panel doors, and there's a wider choice of materials for panel and flush doors.

About the Author

Joy V. Smith was first published in 1964 in "The Christian Science Monitor." She has contributed to "The Antique Press," "Dog World," "Working Writer," "Calliope," "Inscriptions," "Expressions" and several anthologies, including "WomanScapes." Smith received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.