I'd like to build new rail and stile type interior bedroom doors with slats installed in the panel openings. This would be for improved air flow. This story on ABC ("Closing your bedroom door at night could save your life in a fire") makes me think there might be code requirements in place to not have anything but a solid bedroom door.

If a solid door is required, I could install the slats as planned, backed by safety glass to give the impression of a "breezy" door, and have some manual louvers in place that could be used to control air flow.

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    "Who knew?" type stories on news media are not reliable sources. It means a solitary researcher did some research and reached that conclusion -- the research may be defective in any of 100 ways research can be done wrong. If you watch enough of that you'll find a story that eating cat food cures diabetes. Or any goofy thing. Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 2:43
  • @Harper, I mention the article only in the sense that it got me thinking about possible code requirements related to the cross-sectional area of a door that is permissive of air flow. For example, is there a code point that says the bottom of the door has to meet the floor as close as possible to keep fire from pulling air from a room. It's recommended to put clothing or towels in a door's air gaps to keep out smoke.
    – user208145
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 3:14
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    Interior doors aren't necessarily closed, so they don't provide reliable fire or other protection. If you could leave the door open, how is that different from slats? If you believe there is merit to the idea of a solid door providing some level of protection, that would be an added benefit, and a potential reason to choose to use and close a solid door.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 3:15
  • @fixer1234, but the option to close the solid door is there in the event of a fire. It could buy precious minutes. The fire aspect really doesn't concern me because both upstairs bedrooms of my split-level are less than a 10' drop to the ground.
    – user208145
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 3:20
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    If your door seals and is closed your heat and cooling will not work in that room. If the room is sealed you can't push air in. Almost all houses have just a few air returns small homes only 1 , larger or multi level homes 2, my last home had 3, 2 up and 1 down , so as Harper said in the first comment this was flawed reporting in reality you need a way for the air to flow .
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 10:42

1 Answer 1


The only INTERIOR door mentioned in the code is the door between the garage and an interior room in the house. (The code requires it to be fire rated...basically it needs to be solid core, the frame needs to have rabbeted frames (no applied stops), side hinged and it must have a latch...not a catch.)

EXTERIOR doors need to have a certain energy rating.

IMHO I think you should sleep with the door open, so you can hear the smoke alarm in the hall.

  • Which code? The IRC? What about the bathroom door?
    – Dan D.
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 3:41
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    @DanD. Yes, the IRC. Oh, this is for single family and duplexes only. Multi-family, starting with triplexes and up, is not covered in the IRC. And nope, nothing about bathroom doors.
    – Lee Sam
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 3:58

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