Wooden Doors 101

When speaking of custom furniture and construction, wood is perhaps the first material that comes to one’s mind. It has been a staple construction element for thousands of years. Nowadays, it’s still dominant in various fields, including window and door manufacture.

The main reason why people choose wood over other components is its widespread accessibility. Moreover, it’s relatively easy to process. There is also a wide variety of wood types available on the market, which allows customers to pick the best option for their residential or commercial needs.

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Of course, the aesthetic appeal of wood is often unmatchable, as homeowners opt for different kinds of wooden doors to achieve that specific Mid-century modern interior look.

Because these types of doorways are great for all areas at home, many people use them to increase the curb appeal of their home with a wooden exterior door. If you’re looking for the most suitable entryway options for your home renovation, read on to learn more about wood and wooden doors.

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What are the pros and cons of solid wood?

Typically, you’d find two main groups of wood on the market – natural and engineered wood. Because it’s a natural material, it has both pros and cons.

For example, people prefer solid wood because of its excellent soundproof properties. Also, its high density allows low thermal conductivity and high frost resistance. The minimal linear expansion rate of this material makes for long life, but some drawbacks require consideration.

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Solid wood often suffers from visual flaws like cracks, pitch pockets, dents, etc. The disadvantage is a direct result of the high hygroscopicity.

In other words, prolonged exposure to moisture can cause detrimental damage to the material. Moreover, it’s extremely flammable, which increases the risk of a fatal outcome in case of fire.

For a more fire-resistant door, you can check out fire-rated doors as an option to safeguard against any potential fire at home.

What are the standard types of wooden door production?

In terms of door production, manufacturers divide the countless species of wood into two main categories – solid and soft.

With the rapid advancement of forest product processing technologies over the last few decades, the diversification of wood door products is now a reality. Operational and aesthetic qualities vary, and each species comes with its specific perks and drawbacks.

However, it turns out that manufacturing a wood door of acceptable quality is still a little complicated. Because of their different properties and versatility, each type of door requires a particular manufacturing method.

Of course, there are a few distinguishable manufacturing techniques, and it’s a good idea to know more about the standard wood door structures before you make your choice.

Wooden tenon-joint doors

Typically, these doors use genuine wood as a core. There are different types of wooden tenon-joint doors, but the standard configuration employs six pieces of wood connected via tenon-joints.

Three mullions hold the panels together and a lock rail in the middle. There are four rails with dowels that serve as an outline to make all parts look like they’re a whole piece of wood.

For those who are into luxurious looks, this method usually uses highly-praised wood like cherry, teak, and walnut. The valuable options provide an exceptional and classic natural appeal to any part of the home.

Moreover, such wood material is long-lasting and durable, with far better waterproof and soundproof properties than composite doors. If you opt for such a lavish door, prepare to splash out a massive chunk of your budget.

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Composite doors

Frankly, you won’t see tenon-joint doors that much but rather composite doors. They are much more affordable because they typically use a particular kind of wood for the rails and stiles and a different one (usually cheaper MDF) for the core.

In some cases, there’s an option with a PU (polyurethane) layer stuffed inside the door for enhanced energy efficiency. The product is ready after hot press glueing the surface and edge banding.

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As previously mentioned, wood composite is a relatively affordable option for doorways. However, it’s hands down the best in terms of value for money.

Moreover, the different veneers on the surface make for a fully-customizable look, which turns out to be a lot durable too. Composite entryways are soundproof, and with a special coating, they can acquire fireproof qualities. Perhaps, the only downside of this door structure is that you’ll know it’s not real wood.

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Veneer and wooden frame core

This door structure is quite similar in technique to its composite counterpart. The typical 5-ply hot press glueing method is almost the same as its predecessor.

The difference is that these doorways employ veneer core and hollow wooden frame core doors. It uses only rails and stiles and LDF or plywood for cover. The surface is of a wood veneer.

The main advantage of veneer doors is that they are very cheap compared to the other two types of wood processing methods. Such doors serve their primary purpose, and with some veneers, you won’t even need to paint them.

However, you should be aware that this means a severe compromise in quality. Less and low-quality materials indicate lower lifespan and durability.

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What’s more, the PVC can be toxic if there isn’t the right treatment during the manufacturing process. The same goes for the painting – it can emit high levels of formaldehyde, which is a well-known carcinogen.

How to maintain a wooden door?

First and foremost, the biggest enemy of timber items is moisture. Therefore, it’s essential to keep an eye on the humidity at home. Generally, a 40 to 60% humidity will ensure optimal performance for your interior wood door. Also, avoid cleaning your wood door with abrasive solutions.

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As it’s a natural substance, timber requires careful maintenance with special cleaning agents. Other than that, you should clean the door surface with a wet cloth to remove the dust, then repeat the procedure with a dry cloth to remove the moisture.

In case of minor flaws, such as scratches or chips, you’ll need a particular treatment procedure to return the uniformity of the wood surface. Usually, this includes minor sanding and polishing, but you must make sure you do it with fine sandpaper and polishing wax for wood.

Understanding the Different Types of Wooden Doors

Nowadays, the abundance of options on the door market has brought an enormous diversity in looks and styles. Still, modern materials can barely mimic the charm and warmth of wood.

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Wooden doors are a popular entryway solution for the interior, but they’re also standard for the exterior. As there are numerous types of material to consider, it’s a good idea to explore some of the variants before you choose.

When classifying wood, you’ll see that some species are either hardwood or softwood. This categorization refers to both physical structure and appeal, and it can give some necessary and straightforward information. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a softwood isn’t hard or the other way round.

Let’s take a more detailed look into these two categories.


The term “hardwood” refers to flowering plants that produce seeds. Such angiosperm trees are walnut, hickory, and maple. As mentioned above, hardwood trees aren’t necessarily hard.

Of course, they are harder than softwood, with a few exceptions. The primary use of hardwood is in construction and furniture manufacture, but it’s also common in fuel and tool-making.

It’s also a standard flooring material and is even a conventional musical instrument component. The reason why it’s so popular is its hardiness and durability.

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On the opposite, softwood usually refers to the product of gymnosperm trees. Simply, these trees are evergreen conifers, such as pine, cedar, or spruce.

Although it’s not so famous, softwood lumber has applications in woodworking projects. Carpenters, cabinetmakers, furniture makers, and woodcarvers use it because it’s easy to process.

Besides, the strength of some softwood trees compensates for the lower density level. This type of wood is significantly more eco-friendly because softwood plants grow more quickly than their counterparts.

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What’s the difference between hardwood and softwood?

As a general rule of thumb, both types of elements are suitable for commercial use. However, hardwoods are way more preferable when it comes to doors.

Since softwood is less expensive, it’s more common in cheaper furniture selection of cedar and pine. Unfortunately, the quality is quite inferior compared to hardwood.

On the other hand, a more robust alternative can last a lifetime if it gets proper maintenance. Of course, both types can warp or show damage over time, but hardwood is bound to last longer than the average wood of the alternative kind would. Besides, you can use oils, waxes, or paints of your choice to achieve the final look of determination.

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Arguably, oak is the most notorious choice, and you’d certainly love to have a solid oak external door. You’ll be amazed at how classy your front door will look. At the same time, solid oak provides the utmost security.

Luckily, there’s a budget option – engineered oak. Naturally, it’s a cheaper version with an oak veneer. It’s a result of a factory process employing the glueing of multiple thin sheets altogether.

This alternative is generally a lot cheaper, which looks identical to the original. Moreover, it tends to retain its fresh look for much longer than solid oak.

Of course, there’s hardly any stiff competition to real wood. The material may hurt your pocket, but it’s bound to pay back for the money spent. If you take proper care, such a door will last a lifetime, and you’ll get back your investment at least a couple of times.

The timber is excellent at insulation and noise reduction thanks to its higher density. That’s why a solid oak front door will not only look stylish but will also keep your home well-insulated and safe from your noisy neighbours.

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Apart from oak, some softwoods may be suitable for door construction. Pine is the most popular low-density alternative, and much more affordable at that. Lots of people tend to go for pine doors. They are not only more affordable but also reasonably good-looking. Even though pine is less durable than its counterpart, it’s somehow more desirable.

One of the reasons why pine doors are cheaper is that pine trees grow a lot faster than oak. Generally, it all depends on your preferences, but if you like lighter hues, pine will do a great job as an interior door. Ultimately, you’ll have to consider your options carefully and according to your needs and requirements.

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Relevant Read: Everything You Need to Know about PVC Doors

Which one to choose – solid core, hollow core, or solid wood?

By now, you have probably gained some knowledge of the different types of wood doors. Hollow core, solid core, and solid wood doors are three categories that customers usually distinguish by their price tags.

However, there’s more to choosing a timber door. For this reason, remember that each type has its pros and cons and can, therefore, serve a particular purpose in your interior or exterior.

Hollow Core Doors

Firstly, their doors don’t use solid materials. Instead, they may employ plywood as an exterior and cardboard honeycomb as the core. You can’t expect much from these doors, as they have a low fire rating, aren’t good at insulating, and are flimsy. Their main advantage is that they are quite inexpensive, so they are ideal for closet doors or other areas that require only formal bordering.

Solid Core Doors

Secondly, solid core doors show far better parameters in terms of soundproofing and thermal insulation. As the name implies, they have a centre consisting of particle wood or fibre core and plywood. They are a common choice for those looking for quality on a budget.

Moreover, they are incredibly resistant to daily wear and tear, and you’d love to have such a door as your bedroom door because solid core doors have the best soundproof properties out of the three.

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Solid Wood Doors

On the other hand, solid wood is still prime when it comes to aesthetics. They are the most expensive but provide the best aesthetic looks. Besides, they offer outstanding durability and insulation. Regular refinishing will make for a lifespan of more than 50 years!

What’s the most suitable material for front doors?

When considering all front door options, it’s understandable that every homeowner would want a decent mix between aesthetics and security. With wood front doors, most manufacturers offer solid wood because it’s usually homogenous.

Maple, oak, mahogany and other hardwoods are popular preferences for the average buyer, but there’s an alternative – engineered (or composite) wood doors. They have multiple layers of wood glued together with a veneer surface on top. Engineered wood is generally more durable than solid wood because of its better heat and humidity resistance.

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Is wood a suitable front door material?

Frankly, wooden doors can’t match the efficiency of steel, fibreglass, or uPVC. But with proper insulation like caulking and weather stripping, your front door can perform decently. In this aspect, you can further boost the efficiency of your doorway by mounting a storm door.

Most HDB doors in Singapore are in fact wooden, and most are mandated to be fire-rated in order to delay the spread of fire during an accident.

What’s the price of wood front doors?

Furthermore, it’s no secret that solid wood is expensive. The cost is much higher compared to composite wood, but you’ll see for yourself that it’s worth it. The look is unmatchable, but you’ll have to splash out $500 and up for the solid wood. If you’re on a budget, an engineered wood front door will still hold up to its counterpart but will cost much cheaper – about $200.

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