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What is the best wood
 to use for an exterior door?

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Exterior doors -  wood,  metal  or fiberglass?

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 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 cedars.
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.

Wood Species    

Finished Unfinished

Oak    

Mahogany    

South American   
 Walnut    

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