Internal doors come in so many different types and styles that it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole when you’re looking to buy a new one.

The good news is:

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Let’s assume you’ve already read our guide on how to choose an internal door and you’ve decided on a type and style. That leaves you with a choice of door finish – fully finished, unfinished or primed.

But how do you know which one is right for you?

Let’s take a deep dive into the three types of finishing and their respective pros and cons to get a clearer picture.

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Table of contents:

What is a prefinished door?

Grey front door with planters on each side.

What does pre-finished door mean?

Fully finished internal and external doors (also called pre-finished doors) are already sanded, primed and painted when you buy them. So, all you have to do is fit them. This makes fully-finished doors a good option if you have little to no DIY skills or insufficient time for long DIY projects.

Because they’ve been primed and painted in the factory, these internal doors that don’t need painting look highly professional. What’s more, they can last for a long time without any additional treatment thanks to the greater durability ensured by professional finishing.

Pros & cons of pre-finished doors


  • Professional finish
  • Greater durability
  • Save you plenty of time and effort
  • No need to purchase paint or varnish
  • Suitable for DIY novices


  • Typically more expensive than other door finish types
  • Limited customisation options

Want to find out more? Check out our in-depth pre-finished door guide.

What is an unfinished door?

Large living room with a double door.

What does unfinished door mean?

An unfinished door is not waxed, varnished or painted when you buy it. So, you’ll have to apply the finish yourself.

While this can be a somewhat lengthy DIY project, it gives you the unique opportunity to customise your new door as much as you like. You can choose the primer for wood doors that best suits your needs and the exact paint colour to match your interior design.

All in all, an unfinished door is a blank canvas for your DIY skills. But even if you’re not a seasoned pro, you can get the job done as long as you follow our in-depth guide on how to finish and how to paint a wooden door.

Pros & cons of unfinished doors


  • Excellent for DIY enthusiasts
  • Great customisation options
  • Cheaper than other door finishes at factory level


  • Require decent DIY skills and experience
  • Very time-consuming

Want to find out more? Check out our in-depth unfinished door guide.

What is a primed door?

An ajar bathroom door.

What does primed door mean?

A primed door has already been coated with a specific coat of paint, called primer, which seals the wood and improves adhesion.

Because it’s primed but not painted, a primed door is essentially a halfway house between a fully finished and an unfinished door. You have to know how to paint primed doors to get the job done, but you can still choose the paint colour to go along with your decor.

What’s more, with a professional priming job done in the factory, you won’t have to worry about poor adhesion when you’re painting the door. It also means you’ll spend considerably less time than you would finishing an unfinished door.

Pros & cons of primed doors


  • Combine some of the pros of both fully-finished and unfinished doors
  • Decent customisation options
  • Less expensive than fully-finished doors


  • Require some DIY skills
  • Time-consuming

Want to find out more? Check out our in-depth primed door guide.

What is the difference between primed and pre-finished doors?

Primed doors are already treated with a base coat of paint called primer. However, they need to be painted before you can hang them. In contrast, pre-finished or fully-finished doors are primed, painted and ready to be fitted.

What is the difference between pre-finished and unfinished doors?

Pre-finished doors are finished in the factory and ready to be installed. Unfinished doors are pre-sanded but otherwise untreated. With this type of door finish, you must lightly sand, prime and paint the door yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

Wrap up

Deanta Montreal Fully Finished Light Grey Ash Internal Door

Whether we’re talking about costs, customisation options or the level of personal involvement, all three door finishing types have obvious benefits as well as potential drawbacks.

In a nutshell:

✔Pre-finished doors are a hassle-free but less customisable solution.
✔Unfinished doors are a labour-intensive but highly customisable solution.
✔Primed doors are a halfway house solution.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your preferences, expectations and DIY skills.

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