Types of Wood
Selecting the wood type for your entry door doesn't have to be nearly as daunting as it may seem. Below is an extensive list of wood types we use for both our exterior doors and interior doors – the 'Commonly Used Wood Types' are some of the most popular and also the most versatile. The 'Secondary Woods' list is comprised of wood types that we have built with, but don't get a lot of requests for. Be sure and ask our sales staff about your options when considering your entry door.
Commonly Used Wood Types
Primary Woods (woods that we build most often with)
Alder is a relatively soft hardwood with a grain patter similar to cherry. The color is uniform and varies slightly form reddish-brown to light tan or honey. Knotty alder has a rustic, rugged look: knots are random in size quantity and location. Open, star and split knots are common. Alder accepts stain and finishes very well.
Cherry is a hardwood with a rich color and flowing grain patter. The fine, satiny texture of the wood is uniform and frequently wavy, with distinctive gum veins and pockets. The lustrous heartwood ranges from light to dark reddish brown, contrasting sharply with the sapwood, which me be light brown to pale with a light pinkish tone; however, between boards there my be significant color variations. Small gum spots, pin knots and mineral streaks are characteristic.
Important: Cherry is extremely light sensitive and darkens significantly with age and intensity due to sunlight exposure.
Mahogany is a hardwood with an interlocked or straight grain, often with a ribbon figure and a moderately coarse texture. Color ranges from creamy-white sapwood to reddish brown heartwood, often with a purple cast. Mahogany is moderately heavy and hard with medium bending and crushing strength, low stiffness and shock resistance, moderate decay resistance and good stability.
Our stock doors are made using Indonesian Mahogany (Meranti). We build our custom doors using either African Mahogany (Sapelli), if we build in the U.S., or Honduran Mahogany if we build in Honduras.
Spanish Cedar –
Spanish cedar is a softwood with a grain pattern similar to mahogany. Traditionally used in humidors, it is prized for its resistance to insect attacks and rot, and is an excellent choice for exterior doors. Color varies slightly from reddish-brown to light pink. Knots tend to be small and pin-like; larger dark brown or black pitch marks and streaks are also common.
Red Oak –
Red Oak is a hardwood chosen primarily for its prominent, open grain patter. Some color variation from reddish tan to medium brown is possible. Occasional pin knots and mineral streaks are also characteristic. Oak is relatively heavy in weight and exhibits high shock resistance. It accepts stain readily and finishes well.
Walnut hardwood has beautiful, distinct differences in color between the nearly white sapwood and the heartwood, which ranges from a deep, rich almost chocolate brown to a purplish black. The species often has a purplish cast with dark streaks. The grain of walnut is mostly straight and open, although some boards may have a grain pattern that is burled or curly. The wood surface is generally fairly dull, though it may develop a lustrous patina after many years in use.
White Oak –
White Oak is a dense hardwood with a white to cream to light brown color. The rays of white oak tend to be longer than read oak, which makes the species prized for construction of "Mission" style furniture and woodwork. White Oak is very durable and exhibits high shock resistance. White oak stains well, although contact with metal will result in a dark stain on the wood.
Secondary Woods (woods that we can build with, but rarely do)
Douglas Fir –
Douglas Fir is a soft wood with generally straight, sometimes wavy grain. Its texture is medium to fairly coarse and its color varies from yellowish to orange-red heartwood and whitish to reddish-white sapwood. It is typically free of knots. Douglas Fir has moderate shock resistance and high stiffness. It is somewhat brittle and susceptible to checking/splitting.
Hard Maple –
Hard Maple is a very strong hardwood with a closed, subdues grain and a uniform texture. The sapwood is a lovely creamy white, while the heartwood ranges from creamy white to light reddish brown. Unless otherwise specified, figuring such as curly, birds-eye, quilted or fiddleback is slight. Due to its light color and durability, hard maple is a popular choice for a 'contemporary' look. Because it is so dense it does not stain well.
Hickory is a dense hardwood with extremely high shock resistance. The heartwood is tan or reddish, with the sapwood a contrastingly beautiful creamy white. Checking is relatively common in hickory and the relative density makes it difficult to take a stain well. It is most beautiful with a clear, natural finish.
Lyptus (Eucalyptus) –
Lyptus hardwood has a density similar to hickory or maple with surface qualities similar to mahogany. Color is relatively consistent from dark pink to a deep red. Lyptus is a green hardwood; it is only grown and harvested on renewable plantations, making it completely self-sustainable and environmentally responsible.
Pine/Knotty Pine –
Pine is a softwood with a relatively straight grain pattern. The sapwood is usually light yellowish-white to yellowish-tan, while the heartwood is light orange-yellow to red or yellowish-brown in color. Pine is light in weight and relatively low in shock resistance. Knots are tight and sound; the quantity varies depending on the grade of lumber selected.
Poplar is a hardwood with a relatively straight grain and a fine, even texture. Color varies significantly from creamy-white to green to brown to purple. Poplar is relatively soft and light with low ratings for strength and shock resistance. Due to variations in color and density, it does not stain consistently; however it is an excellent choice for a painted finish.
Quarter-Sawn White Oak –
Because of its unique sawing pattern, quarter-sawn white oak has a beautiful lumed or flared appearance, or a flake pattern that may be referred to as "tiger rays" or "butter-flies." It has long been used in fine furniture, especially in early colonial America. White oak finishes well, is very durable and exhibits high shock resistance.
Soft Maple –
Soft Maple is a hardwood with a straight, close grain pattern and a fine, even texture. Colors may vary significantly from a creamy white sapwood to a beige or tan-colored heartwood, with green or very dark brown streaks. It is strong and stiff, but has a relatively low shock resistance. Its even texture renders it suitable for painted applications, and it is more durable than poplar for exterior applications.
Wormy Maple –
Wormy Maple has been specifically selected out to show mineral streaks and color variations caused by the ambrosia worm. No two boards are alike. Colors and patterns vary significantly from a creamy white sapwood to a beige heartwood, with green or very dark brown streaks. It is strong and stiff, but has a relatively low shock resistance. Wormy Maple is common in fine, hand-crafted furniture.
Yellow Birch –
Birch is among the most featureless of North American hardwoods, although it has a natural, pleasing figure. The sapwood ranges from pale to white to creamy yellow, while the heartwood tends to be a light-reddish brown with a red tinge. Occasionally, boards may show curly or wavy figuring. It is hard and stiff with excellent shock resistance.