If you live in an old home, you probably get tired of opening and closing doors.
The idea of an open concept with very few doors is certainly a more modern addition to a home.
Old doors can add charm and character for some homeowners.
Others will think that these doors get in the way.
If you have ever wondered why old houses have so many doors, you are in the right place.
Why Do Old Houses Have So Many Doors?
Old houses have many doors because the doors were used to help maintain the temperature in the home.
In addition, doors were used for privacy, and some of these doors also had their own unique functions.
Old houses typically had much larger families living in them, and they didn’t have the same modern conveniences that you will find in a home today.
Here are a few of the things that you should know about the doors you will find in old homes.
Reasons Old House Have So Many Doors
The primary reason old houses have a large number of doors is heating.
It was very difficult to stay warm in years past.
There were no central heating and cooling systems, and therefore, the heat needed to be created from fire.
It is difficult to heat a large home from the heat of a small fire.
Therefore, the fire would be lit in one room, and the doors would be closed to keep the heat in that room.
With people gathering and a fire going in a smaller space, the fire would be a much more efficient way to heat the room.
The doors could be opened when necessary if the fire became too smoky, but the doors would stay closed for the most part, and people would be able to stay warm.
This is often why you will see fireplaces in the bedrooms of old houses as well.
If there was any way that they could contain heat in a small space, they would use it.
In today’s homes which have larger open spaces, the heating and cooling expenses are relatively high.
This is because quite a bit of the heat is lost as it travels around the house from one room to the next.
Without the use of central air and many of our other modern conveniences, you can imagine that the smells in old houses would not always be all that pleasant.
Regardless of what the smell was or where in the house it was coming from, it would be hard to get airflow.
The best way to protect yourself from these smells would be to confine them.
Keeping doors on certain rooms to help confine poor smelling objects or people was a great solution.
Although doors don’t always do enough to block smells, it was a step in the right direction for most people.
Older homes typically had quite a few people living in them.
It would have been difficult to find a minute of alone time or quiet time in the home.
The best way to do this was to have plenty of smaller individual spaces for people to go.
Sometimes privacy came into play in situations of work or business as well.
If a business needed to be conducted in one room, you may have the doors closed so that no secrets or information could leave the room.
Privacy is something that we still look for in today’s world, but it has taken on a completely different meaning since the advent of the internet.
4. Front Doors
Depending on the home you have, there could be more than one front door.
Some homes had more than one front door for welcoming different guests.
For instance, if you were a family member, you might have entered through the less formal front door.
If, however, you were a guest to the home, you would enter through the formal front door.
This came into play for houses that had staff as well.
They would not typically want staff entering through the formal front doors of the home.
Depending on where the front doors are located, this type of home can have a very unique and strange look to it.
5. Milk Doors
Some older homes have an extra special addition called a milk door.
The milk door would be located on the house’s exterior, and it is where the milk man would deliver the milk for the family.
This door was in place so that the milk could be delivered without it going bad.
People who lived in the home would leave the empty milk jugs on one side of the milk door.
The milk man would come to the door, take the empty jugs, and leave the new ones.
This was a straightforward process and made it so that the milk was not delivered into an area where it would be forgotten about or left to spoil.
6. Ice Door
Another type of door you might see in an old home is an ice door.
Ice doors are where ice would be delivered to a home.
Since the home may have been built during a time before everyone had their own refrigerator, many families had an icebox.
The icebox was a place where they could keep things relatively cool, but it was kept cold by an ice delivery.
The ice delivery would come through a hole in the outside of the house and be placed directly into the ice box.
The ice door made it easier for the delivery of ice.
The person who had to deliver the ice never had to step foot into the home to take care of this process.
7. Iron Door
You may also find an old home that has an iron door on the outside.
The iron door is there for the coal man to deliver coal to keep the furnace running.
For many years, homes were heated with coal, and it was not practical for a coal delivery to be brought through the house.
Instead, the delivery man could drop coal for the furnace directly down from the outside door.
It would be very rare to find a home heated in this way today.
Since this is not a very common process anymore, the iron doors have mostly been sealed.
This is a trend in early housing that we do not see too many reminders of.
Should I Take Doors Down in My Old House?
Some older homes have doors in and out of the kitchen or doors separating the dining room from the living room.
Some modern homeowners who want a more open floor plan think about taking these doors down.
This will really come down to a matter of preference.
Many people with young children like the open floor plan because parents can see what their kids are doing while working in the kitchen.
The open floor plan also makes a home feel much larger, and it flows more naturally.
If you are living in an old home and want to keep the same feel and charm it once had, then it makes sense to keep the doors up.
Those who decide to keep the doors up will probably find that their heating and air conditioning bills are quite a bit lower.
Letting your AC or heating system work to take care of a small area at a time certainly makes things easier on the overall functionality of the device.
When things move to a wide and open house, you will use quite a bit of extra electricity.
Why Do Old Houses Not Have Closets?
When you are searching for a house, you may find that older homes will lack storage space.
In today’s new home builds, many of the closets are just as big as a bathroom, if not bigger.
The older the home is, however, the less closet space you will have.
This is directly related to the fact that, years ago, people did not own as many things.
It would be perfectly acceptable to have two or three outfits, and that certainly did not need an entire closet.
Today, people have more clothes than they could ever wear, yet they need the space to store them all.
Many old homes have had renovations done to them to help improve the closest space.
Some have transformed part of the bathroom or bedroom to make sure that the master bedrooms have the closet space that they need.
Is Fixing Up an Old House Worth It?
Fixing up old houses can be a very profitable thing to do.
If you are capable of working on a house yourself, chances are you will save money on labor and be able to fix the house up for a profit.
The problem with fixing up old houses is that you typically tend to run into some issues.
Old houses are those which are typically 75 years old or more.
The building codes and materials were undoubtedly not the same at the time when these houses were built.
When you start fixing things up, you can sometimes find that certain areas of the house must be brought back up to code.
This process can be very costly and can make you lose profitability on the house.
The older homes also sometimes struggle when it comes to resale.
As much as you can fix the house up and get it looking new and modern, many people still can’t get over the fact that it is an old house.
The population of people you will be marketing the house to is certainly relatively smaller.
If you have experience with an old house, live in an area that is aware of traditions and history, then the investment may be worth it.
However, people are moving away from older homes and looking for new builds because of energy efficiency and modern conveniences.
When you look at this not from an investment standpoint and, instead, from a quality-of-life standpoint, you can absolutely fix up an older home to be comfortable and charming.
Some of the attention to detail, woodwork, and charm of an older home cannot be recreated in a modern house.
As you can see, there were many reasons for doors in older houses.
The doors would help to keep people warmer, keep secrets between people, and control any odors that may be spreading through the home.
In today’s world, we have modern systems that are more effective than doors to help us with these issues.
However, you will still find that houses with more doors tend to use quite a bit less energy when it comes to heating and cooling.
You may want to keep this in mind if you are thinking about purchasing an older home with many doors.