Best Wood for Front Door
Wood is still the number one choice among Australian homeowners for front doors that are warm and welcoming.
Wood doors tend to be hard-wearing and resilient, if properly cared for over time, and offer superior insulation properties.
This is ideal for front doors, keeping out the street noise and the elements for a comfortable and peaceful home.
Part of the appeal of wood doors is the traditional character of this natural material, from the colour to the texture and woodgrain.
These days, there is a diverse range of both traditional and contemporary types of wood doors to suit any home style, and the finish options are wide and varied.
But there are many different wood varieties on the market, each with their own properties and visual aesthetics.
On top of that, the best wood for front doors is not necessarily the same as the best wood for interior doors because the conditions are very different.
Let’s take a look at some of the key things to consider when choosing the best wood for front door installations, and then compare the pros and cons of some of the most popular wood options.
What Do I Need To Consider When Choosing Front Door Wood?
All exterior doors need to be more resilient and hard-wearing than interior doors because they are constantly exposed to the elements and should provide a line of defence around your home. For front doors, and especially those in particularly exposed locations or areas of especially harsh climates, this is all the more important.
Some wood types are more effective at resisting moisture and standing up to extremes of temperature without warping or cracking.
Most wood front doors will need treating and maintaining to stay at their best. You can get protective coats such as waterproofing stains to help the wood to repel water, but this will need to be reapplied over time to remain effective. If draughts and harsh temperatures are an issue for you, you can also find out more about how to insulate wood doors to boost the performance of your front door.
The exposure of exterior doors, such as front doors, makes them more prone to wear and tear. All wood doors need a certain amount of general maintenance to keep them looking and performing at their best, but some wood types require more intense care and attention than others.
This applies to both the door itself and the framework, as any warping, swelling or cracking could lead to leaks and draughts. Crucially, it can also compromise your home security.
It’s worth doing your research about the best paint for wood front doors or the best exterior wood stain for front doors if you want a finish that lasts. You can also check out our expert tips on how to clean exterior wood doors to maximise their longevity and curb appeal.
Compatibility with Design
When choosing the right wooden door design for home front doors, you will also be thinking about the finish. Do you plan to stain your door to bring out the natural character of the wood, or paint it to match your home décor?
Wood types vary significantly in terms of their natural colour and texture, and the prominence of the woodgrain. It’s important to note that some woods are easier to paint or stain than others, and give a more consistent finish because of the way that they absorb the coating. We’ve put together some tips on how to stain front door wood, as well as some more detail about how much it costs to stain a front door.
Softwoods are those that come from conifer trees (trees with needles and cones), such as pine and cedar. These can be easier to work with than hardwoods, tend to be more affordable, and are more sustainable as the trees are relatively fast-growing.
Hardwoods come from deciduous trees, such as oak, cherry and walnut, and often boast a more impressive and characterful woodgrain. Hardwoods are generally more durable and stable, but can be harder to work with than softwoods and tend to be more expensive.
What Are Examples of Good Woods for Doors
So, what wood are doors made of and, most importantly, what is the best wood for a front door?
A practical, resilient and beautiful natural hardwood, Pacific Ash timber is a highly popular choice for front doors among Australian homeowners. At Doors Plus, we believe this to be the best wood for front doors for both its aesthetic qualities and its practical performance. It has an elegant woodgrain that gives these doors a rich and unique character, and is easy to paint or stain for a stunning effect. Pacific Ash can be re-sanded as required, to restore or refresh your front doors. Pacific Ash is also superior when it comes to strength, resilience and security. At Doors Plus, our timber is sustainably sourced and quarter sawn, for maximum stability and protection against bending or warping over time.
This timber offers many different design options for your front door, and provides good sound and thermal insulation.
A high quality wood, cherry is warm in colour, with a relatively straight and smooth woodgrain. The colour is likely to change over time, however, with exposure to natural light and elements. Although it is resistant to rot, cherry does require regular maintenance to keep it at its best (eg. cleaning dust and dirt off the smooth surface). This is also a relatively expensive option for front doors.
Known for its dark reddish-brown colouring and tight woodgrain pattern, mahogany is a bold choice for a front door that makes a statement. It is resistant to rot, and stable enough to withstand humidity and stark temperature changes. Mahogany is therefore less prone to shrinkage or swelling than some other hardwoods.
Strong and impermeable, oak is a long-standing favourite for doors and furniture. Oak is durable and resistant to decay, dents and scratches. It offers good insulation, keeping out draughts and retaining the heat, and is easy to stain for a rich and elegant effect. For these reasons, oak is also one of the most expensive types of wood for doors.
Another hardwood, poplar has a consistent grain pattern but doesn’t tend to stain very well, so it can be difficult to achieve an even finish. It has less character than something like Pacific Ash because of the lack of knots and the fairly smooth and straight grain pattern. Poplar therefore works better as a painted door, rather than leaning into the natural wood aesthetic. This is not the best choice for front and external doors because it doesn’t stand up to moisture as well as some other types of wood.
Cedar contains some natural oils that make it more insect-repellent than some others. It is also resistant to warping or shrinkage with moisture and temperature extremes. The wood has an appealing red-brown colour, but will turn grey over time if not treated and maintained. Cedar is also more costly than some other wood types.
Rich in colour, walnut is particularly striking and majestic. Its knotty appearance adds to its unique and expressive character, and most people would choose to stain the wood rather than paint over it. A very high quality option, walnut is also resistant to moisture and mould, but it is unsurprisingly one of the more pricey types of wood.
A naturally light wood, the distinctive knotty character of alder gives it a certain rustic appeal. It’s easy to stain to bring out the woodgrain but harder to paint for a completely uniform finish so is not the best wood for painted exterior doors. Alder is very affordable and easy to work with, but not as durable as oak or ash.
Are There Alternatives To Wood Front Doors
Wood front doors may not be the right choice for every home and every budget. Other options include composite doors, with or without glass, that come in a wide range of different designs but are more affordable than their wood equivalents. The primed HMR skin is smooth, resistant to moisture and easy to paint.
At Doors Plus, we also have a ClimActive range of highly durable and weather-resistant fibreglass doors. These are especially suited to very exposed locations and harsh conditions. Fibreglass is robust and secure, offering excellent insulation and energy efficiency. Available in moulded designs to imitate the look of a wooden front door, fibreglass doors are also easy to care for and clean.
Get Help Choosing The Best Wood for Your Front Door
If you still have questions about the best wood for front doors, visit your nearest Doors Plus showroom and speak to a member of our team about the quality and benefits of our sustainably sourced Pacific Ash timber.
We can introduce you to our range of Pacific Ash front door styles and our full scope of wood doors sizes, as well as providing more detail about the cost of wood doors. The experts at Doors Plus can also give you advice about the best exterior wood paint for front doors, and our qualified and experienced carpenters know how to install wood doors for maximum performance and aesthetic appeal.
From selection to installation, we’re here to help you find the right front door for your home – no fuss!