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Selecting a Hardwood Entry Door

Real estate agents, builders and homebuyers alike realize that first impressions make a difference.  Installing a distinctive entrance door made from oak, mahogany or walnut hardwood may be the easiest and most cost effective way to boost your home's curb appeal.  A more attractive front entrance is likely to increase the perceived value of any home.  Real wood adds warmth and beauty and will provide years of outstanding protection from the elements with just a little bit of simple maintenance.  You can feel the difference.

Choosing a Hardwood Entryway Door

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.

Wood Species Selection

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.

The most common way to categorize wood is under the general headings of hardwoods and softwoods. Examples of hardwoods are oaks, mahogany, maples, cherry and walnut. Examples of softwoods are pines, firs and cedars.

Hardwoods like oak, mahogany and South American walnut are excellent for exterior door applications. Oak generally is pale yellow to mid-brown in color with a 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 is more sensitive to the elements than metal, but far more beautiful. It will change and grow in character over its life. With modest attention and care, a wood door can last for many years and add tremendous value to your home.

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