Your exterior doors are often the first thing that people notice about your home, so you want them to look great. They also need to be robust enough to stand up against the weather so your home stays warm and dry. Wood is a common material for exterior doors, but which type is best?
This article will tell you everything you need to know about choosing wooden exterior doors, and what types of wood you should avoid. It will also show you some of the alternatives to wood too.
Table of Contents
- What Types of Wood Should You Avoid as an Exterior Door?
- Are Different Types of Wood More Expensive than Others?
- Are Exterior Wooden Doors Sealed?
- 9 Best Types of Wood for Exterior Doors
- Alternative Exterior Door Materials
- Related Exterior Door Material Questions
What Types of Wood Should You Avoid as an Exterior Door?
When you are choosing wood for an exterior door, durability is one of the most important things to consider. Not all types of wood are equal in this regard. Some woods are much more resistant to the elements than others, and some are more likely to rot or warp over time.
Often, it depends on the location of the door and the climate. For example, if you live in a hot climate, tropical woods are particularly good. However, North American hardwoods will fade quickly in the sunlight, so will require regular refinishing if you want the door to look good.
In general, you should avoid using thin woods like balsa or poplar because they don’t have the structural integrity for a door. Beyond that, you have a lot of flexibility in terms of the wood that you use, but it’s best to stick to hardwoods. Softwoods like pine are not as durable so they are usually better suited to interior doors. They can sometimes be used for exterior projects, but they require more maintenance.
Are Different Types of Wood More Expensive than Others?
Yes, the price of wood varies a lot depending on the type. The most expensive woods are often the ones that are the most durable, while the cheapest woods are those that are less resistant to the weather. However, other factors affect the price of wood including the rarity and size of the logs.
The most expensive types of wood include things like teak, oak, and black walnut. These are not great options for exterior doors if you are looking to renovate your home on a budget. They tend to be used for projects where the natural wood shines through, like furniture, so if you plan on painting your door, there isn’t much sense in spending a lot of money on them.
On the other end of the scale, you have things like pine. This is a cheap, yet durable wood that is perfect for exterior doors. You can also find treated pine, which is resistant to rot and pests. Again, if you are painting it, you won’t see a huge difference between this and a more expensive wood.
If you want a nice middle ground, cedar is a good choice. Although it can be a little pricey, it’s incredibly durable and long-lasting, which is why it is a popular choice for exterior doors.
Are Exterior Wooden Doors Sealed?
This will depend on the manufacturer, but in most cases, exterior wooden doors are sealed with a varnish or other sealant. This helps to protect the wood from the elements and makes it more durable. Painting your door will also give it a layer of protection against moisture, as long as you use good quality paint. Just remember that you will need to reapply paint every few years to keep it in good condition and ensure that the wood is still protected.
If you fit a door that is not sealed or painted, it will soak up moisture from the rain and rot in no time at all. See our guide on the best clear coats for wood that you can apply to a wooden door for outdoor protection.
9 Best Types of Wood for Exterior Doors
If you are searching for a new front door, these are the 9 best types of wood to look for.
Mahogany is one of the most popular choices for exterior doors because it is incredibly strong and durable. It is also beautiful to look at, with a rich red color that will enhance the look of any home. The color tends to darken over time and it has a very straight, fine grain so it doesn’t need to be covered with paint, you can let the natural wood shine through.
Although mahogany can be expensive, there is a reason that it is often the go-to for exterior doors.
Teak is another expensive type of wood, but it is well worth the investment. It is one of the most durable woods around, and it will last for many years without rotting or warping. They also require a lot less maintenance and upkeep than other types of wood, which is always a bonus.
Oak is an incredibly dense, heavy wood so it’s ideal for exterior doors. The high tannin content in the wood also means that it has a strong natural resistance to insects and fungi. though it does still need to be treated. It has a wide grain, which looks great, but only when finished properly.
Cedar is another popular choice for exterior doors because it is strong and weather-resistant and the natural odor also repels insects. Cedar is a great insulator too, so it will keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A good quality cedar door will last decades as long as you look after it properly.
Maple is a strong and durable wood that holds up well in climates with extreme temperature changes. Many other types of wood will warp and crack if exposed to rapid temperature changes, but this is not an issue with maple. So, if you live somewhere with a lot of temperature fluctuations between winter and summer, this is a good choice.
Walnut is a durable wood species that is particularly resistant to moisture and rot, so it’s ideal if you live in a rainy climate. The natural rich brown color looks great for a front door too. The only downside is that it is more prone to fading in strong sunlight, so you need to ensure that you refinish it regularly to keep it looking nice.
Alder has become a popular choice for exterior doors due to the rise in rustic home decor. The knotty grain is ideal if you want a door with a lot of natural character that looks excellent when strained. However, be aware that although Alder is a hardwood, it is slightly softer than other options, so it may not be the best choice for particularly harsh climates.
Although softwoods are generally not as good for exterior doors, Pine is quite popular. Pine is a cheap, yet durable wood that is perfect for exterior doors. You can also find treated pine, which is resistant to rot and pests. Again, if you are painting it, you won’t see a huge difference between this and more expensive wood.
Accoya is considered to be the world’s most durable wood. It is a type of timber that has been strengthened by a process called acetylation, making it resistant to rot, decay, and even marine pests. It is also very stable in extreme climates, so it is perfect for use in exterior doors. It is also very versatile when it comes to the type of finish that you can use on the door,
Alternative Exterior Door Materials
Wood isn’t the only option for your exterior door, there are other materials that have their own benefits too.
Steel is a great choice if you are looking for a durable, low-maintenance door. It is resistant to rust and decay, and it won’t warp or twist in extreme weather conditions. It also comes in a range of styles and finishes so you can find one that will suit your home.
Fiberglass is another popular choice for exterior doors. It is strong and weather-resistant. It is also an extremely good insulator, so it will maintain the perfect temperature in your home, even in the coldest climates.
Vinyl is a good option if you are looking for a cheap, low-maintenance exterior door. It is resistant to moisture, fading, and warping. It is also a lightweight material, so it is easy to install. You can even get vinyl doors with a wood effect, so they look like a traditional wooden door.
Aluminum doors are very solid but also incredibly lightweight. They are resistant to rust and corrosion, so they are a great option if you live near the ocean. They also have excellent acoustic insulation, so if you live near a busy road, they will block out a lot of the noise.
Related Exterior Door Material Questions
Can You Paint an Exterior Wooden Door?
Yes, you can paint an exterior wooden door any color you like. In fact, painting is a great way to protect the wood while also improving the aesthetic of your home. However, you will need to ensure that you use a good quality primer and paint, otherwise, the paint will fade and crack in no time because it is constantly exposed to the elements.
Can You Stain an Exterior Wooden Door?
Yes, staining is an excellent way to weatherproof the wood and bring out the natural grain. It’s particularly good for wood types such as Alder that have a lot of character because you can let the natural grain shine through for a great rustic look.
What is the Best Exterior Door Material?
This depends on a few factors. Firstly, you need to consider the climate. If you live in a particularly harsh environment, you will need a door that is resistant to weathering and decay. Secondly, you need to think about what style of door you want. Wood is a popular choice because it is versatile and can be painted or stained in any color you like.
However, there are other materials options such as steel, fiberglass, and vinyl that also have their own benefits, especially if having a low maintenance option is important to you.
I hope you found some useful information in our article and we answered any questions you may have had. We have some related articles you can check out that are similar to this article. I will list them below for you:
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.