What is the best
wood to use
for an exterior door?
Exterior doors - wood, metal
There are many types
of materials used for exterior door construction – metal, fiberglass, wood
veneer, and solid hardwood. Solid Hardwood sets the standard for all
other door types to achieve. Finely crafted wood doors are a source of
individual expression and beauty in domestic and commercial architecture.
Wood has the ability to adapt to many designs, allowing for thousands of
creative possibilities. No other material delivers the architectural
detail, precise shadow lines and mesmerizing grain patterns of wood.
The inherent warmth of wood doors
is due to millions of naturally occurring, tiny honeycomb cells between
the fibers, which provide a relatively high percentage of air volume, an
excellent insulator. Wood's insulating properties are 600 times more
effective than those of steel. And because wood doesn't conduct hot or
cold like most man-made materials, the possibility of "thermal bowing" is
diminished. Extreme temperatures cause thermal bowing, when one surface of
the door is very cold at the same time the other side is very warm. When
the cold side of the door contracts and the warm side expands, the uneven
pressure that results may cause the structure to bow. Hardwood is much
less susceptible to this problem.
All woods are not created equal
and it is important when selecting a wood species for an exterior entrance
door that you understand some of the characteristics of wood so that an
informed choice can be made.
The most common way to categorize wood is under the general headings
hardwoods and softwoods. Examples of hardwoods are oaks, mahogany,
maples, cherry, and walnut. Examples of softwoods are pines, firs, and
Hardwoods like chestnut, oak, mahogany and South American walnut are excellent for
for exterior door applications. Oak generally is Pale yellow to mid brown
in color with medium to fine wood grain texture, is very durable and
extremely resistant. Mahogany is red to brown in color with fine wood
grain texture, is very durable, very resistant and because of its fine
texture is suitable for painting. South American Walnut
is a wood that is naturally distressed, very
dense, light to medium in color, very durable and has a unique textural
quality. Mahogany and South American Walnut are becoming more and
more popular as a choice over Oak. The cost of Mahogany is often less
expensive but has a perceived higher value.
Wood comes from a
living tree and it is more sensitive to the elements than metal, but it is
far more beautiful. It will change and grow in character over its life.
With just modest attention and care, a wood door can last for many, many
years and add tremendous value to your home.