If you live in a moderately priced house that was built between 1940 and 1980, you probably have some flat panel doors in your home. Some might be of the glossy/stained variety, but many might be a traditional lauan door that has a stain, or no finish at all. To say this looks cheap would be a bit of an understatement.
Many people avoid replacing doors in their home due to the difficulty in cutting (chiseling) the hinges in. This is a bit of a skill that simply comes with doing it. In addition to that, there are difficulties in getting exact door widths to match up. I have had a number of project where a 1940’s install was about 3/4 wider than a standard sized opening making a proper fit impossible without building in the door jamb.
Let’s forget about replacing the doors, fitting them to the opening and chiseling the hinges in. This is a time consuming task that will be rather costly, and incredibly time consuming to complete. Instead, why not use an applied trim detail to turn your doors into a high end looking door? You can modify this to suit your needs in terms of the door design. The following tutorial covers the method to trim out a closet bi-fold unit. However, you can apply the same techniques to essentially skin any flat door.
One important consideration: When adding this trim, you will be increasing the thickness of the door and might have to move your jamb stop to accommodate this. There is definitely some trial and error involved, but at the end of the day, you will have some terrific looking doors and the satisfaction that you did this yourself.
I would also recommend using a thin material for the trim. 3/4″ (1 by) material is going to add a bit of heft to your door. If your local lumber supply carries 1/4″ or 1/2″ stock that is sufficient length, I would recommend using the thinnest material available.