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Guide To Using Reclaimed Doors

Choosing to use reclaimed doors comes with its challenges… but here at Retrouvius we believe the character, quality and craftsmanship it brings to a space is absolutely worth it.

Once you understand the basic approaches to using a salvaged door, the whole process becomes much less intimidating; so our expert design team has helped put together this simple guide.


Important Things To Note!


  • Unless you hit the jackpot and find a door that’s just the right size for your aperture, you will need to work with a builder/joiner.

  • Always try to include your contractor in the design process and ideally invite them to join you on a buying trip - at the very least let them see what you’ve purchased before work begins! We welcome you to make an appointment to visit our London showroom.

  • Make sure you work with a professional to ensure all of your internal doors meet fire regulations. This is very important! Salvaged doors often don’t meet safety standards and can’t be used in certain locations.

  • The wood your reclaimed door is made of is important! Softwood is more subject to movement whereas hardwood stays much more stable. Softwoods such as pine are ideal where a little natural movement won’t be an issue; concertina wardrobe doors, cupboard fronts… etc. Hardwoods have less of a tendency to move in modern heated homes.


Can You Reuse The Doors You Already Have?

Look for ways to rejuvenate or enliven what already exists in your building. Some ideas include painting, cladding or sanding back a painted door to see what’s beneath (feast your eyes on the marbled delight below!). Adding an insert into a solid door also works well (Browse our salvaged copperlight or leaded windows).

Track Sliding Doors: A Simple Solution


By mounting your door on a top-hung sliding track you can work with a door(s) that is a little bigger than your aperture. Consider using a pelmet to hide the track and make it look sleek. Sliding doors are also good for maintaining visual connection between spaces whilst creating an acoustic barrier when needed.

Your Reclaimed Door Is Smaller Than Your Aperture:


Here you have two options. One is to adapt the size of the aperture, the other is to increase the size of the door. Consider being creative with materials - such as by using a contrasting timber.

Your Reclaimed Door Bigger/Taller Than Your Aperture:


Though we recommend trying to find a door as close to your required size as possible, you also have two options if your door is too big.

The first is to reduce the size of your door. Solid hardwood is more suitable for cutting than softer wood such as pine. You will also need to consider the overall proportions of the door and make sure that your reductions don’t unbalance the aesthetic!

Alternatively, you can create an aperture to fit your door (s). This offers a chance to play with scale - such as by using multiple doors in unison or using an extra-tall door. Doors that stretch floor to ceiling give a lovely sense of grandeur!

Pocket Doors


Here the door slides into a recess within the wall - A trickier approach but ideal if you have a limited space for a hinged door to swing out into. 

This is definitely a job for the professionals. Our top tip is to make sure that the internal side of the pocket is nicely finished as you will see it when the door sits open!

Using a Reclaimed Front Door


In this instance it’s especially important to buy a door as close to the correct dimensions as possible - though minor alterations can be made for a snug fit (speak to your joiner!). We have a selection of appropriate doors available - if you contact us with your dimensions we’re happy to try to pair you with the best match (



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