Wooden doors: design ideas, inspiration & pictures

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Wood is an amazing substance, with hundreds of uses if not more. It has been a part of architecture for millennia for a good reason. It’s durability and easy workable nature is something that has made it a mainstay of building. From traditional homes in Japan to beautifully crafted houses in Scandinavia, warm inviting log cabins in the Great Lakes region, to Ranch homes in Texas and Wyoming, it remains a mainstay of building across the globe. One of the oldest and most common uses for wood is doors, because it’s so strong and when well looked after, can last a lifetime. 

Should I use wood doors in my home?

Pros:

Wood is stylish and offers warmth and beauty—Something about wood gives it a feel that no other material has. From sturdy rustic doors to intricate carved features, it can fit many molds.

If treated correctly, wood lasts for years—Well varnished wood surfaces are known to last for ages, so well in fact, that some furniture and instruments over hundreds of years old, put in museums across the globe, are still as usable today as when they were freshly crafted.

Wood is aesthetically pleasing -  Natural wood colors are second to none, and are anywhere from very dark to extremely light, with grains and knots giving it character and natural beauty.

Wooden doors and windows can be customized—Wood is extremely easy to work with, making it a perfect material to customize to any specification. Different woods also have different strengths, making it perfect for building just about anything, outside or inside.

Wood has good natural insulation properties—Wood is made of close-knit natural fibers, which give the ability to insulate very effectively, be it from heat or cold. This makes it great for all weather and climate conditions.

Wooden doors and windows are energy efficient—When your doors and windows are made from natural insulators, your energy consumption goes down, meaning you spend less in the long run on keeping your home cozy. 

Wooden doors and windows come in a variety of finishes—Varnished, stained, or painted, wood can be finished in many ways, each with it’s own unique feel and style. 

Cons:

Wooden doors and windows require regular maintenance—because it's natural, wood needs a bit of upkeep, and while well worth it, remember that the more wood you have, the more cleaning and varnishing you will have to do.

Wood is more expensive than aluminium after glazing and painting or varnishing—Wood is beautiful, but it does come with a price tag, so remember this when considering whether or not to install wood in your living space.

Best varieties of wood for your doors

Redwood: Also known as Sequoia, is a species of large conifer which has a fantastic weight to strength ratio. It is highly resistant to shrinkage, ages very well, and tends not to warp or distort. It is very absorbent, making it a great wood to apply varnishes of finishing touches to. It has a pinkish brown to dark brown natural color.    

Douglas Fir: Also a species of conifer known as Oregon pine, is has a light yellow color, but can have darker tones depending on the age of the tree and it’s growing location. It is resistant to decay and very lightweight and therefore easily worked with. It also has a good strength to weight ratio.   ~

Maple: Is a hardwood which is quite difficult to work with. There are some subspecies which can range from small trees like the Japanese maple to huge towering sugar maples over 100 feet tall. The darker heartwood is not normally used, and the sapwood has a cream or light white color. It is not very resilient to attacks by insects.

Poplar: Poplar trees are common in the United States and various species exist all over the Northern hemisphere. It has a light cream to yellowish brown color, irregularly streaked with grey. Lightweight, and quite durable, it is resistant to insect attacks and easy to work.

Pine: The most common species of trees in nature, pine is cheap and easily available. It is not very strong, but it is light and extremely easy to work with. It has moderate resistances to rot and insect attack. It ranges from soft to hardwood.

Oak: Oak can be light to dark brown and is extremely hard wood. It is rot-resistant, dense, and one of the heaviest woods commonly available. It’s hard, heavy nature makes it very strong, but this also makes it a good candidate for carving, and small intricate detailing. 

Options for Wood Safety Doors

Triple protection: The best protection available is having a glass interior door, with sliding grills or a security gate with a hardwood door on the outside. This provides security and privacy.

Back entrance: For a porch, terrace or garden, a wooden door with a gate or grill outside will provide ample security. Consider adding a screen over the grill or gate to prevent insects from entering the house.

Interior doors: Lockable doors on the inside of the home can provide great security. Wooden doors behind glass doors allow for full room views behind solid protection.

Wood door maintenance and care

- Use a duster to remove dust and cobwebs as often as needed, more so when you have a more intricately designed door.

- Mild dish soap diluted in water on a sponge can help get into any corners or recesses which your door may have. 

- Don’t forget to clean around all of the edges and especially the tops of your doors.

- Mineral turpentine or paint thinners dipped onto a cleaning cloth can be used to rub grime or dirt buildup away.

- Use Pledge or old English polish on wood surfaces to clean and polish them simultaneously. 

- Wipe the surfaces after polishing them with a dry lint free cloth.

- Prevent damage by letting the wood dry fully. 

- Keep wood stain or varnish on hand to re-apply on the door every few months, especially on corners or in areas which see the most sun and rain. 

- Keep hinges, locks and keyholes clean and oiled with a household oil.

Styles to consider

Asiatic—These doors can be very simple, or have intricate metalwork imbued into the wood for a stylish, clean look. They can be finished in any stain or varnish to adjust the colour to your particular tastes, and are normally heavy, solid, and very durable. 

Scandinavian—This style incorporates a rustic look with either thick planking or very small detailing. Carvings with old norse figures can be seen on some of these doors, giving them fantastic character. Stain these doors darker and slightly uneven, for a great rustic appeal. 

Colonial—Characterized by rectangular recesses, and often made with double doors, these are favorites in the United States and can be stained or painted in any colour to match decor and exterior or interior design. They sometimes also have window panes which give them the ability to bring in natural outside light. 

Contemporary—Modern doors are often sturdy, and finished with horizontal slats and a single large handle. They are clean, simple, and most for the most part have very little intricate detailing. Often, they are coupled with a sidelight for security and natural lighting. 

If you’re considering installing a wooden door in your home, talk to a professional and decide which types of wood and doors would suit your needs best.