What type of wood to use for a solid exterior door?

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Forum topic by David posted 07-23-2010 08:10 PM 40944 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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110 posts in 3523 days

07-23-2010 08:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: door

Hello all,

I’m going to make two solid exterior wood doors and am wondering what type of wood I should use. I might paint them, so probably don’t need to go with anything too exotic such as mahogany, but need something to stand up to the brutal NE climate – ie 0 degree winters and 100 degrees and 90% humidity in the summer. Also, will need to frame out the brick surrounding the door entry and could use some suggestions there too.

As always, I appreciate all the help!


-- dcutter

13 replies so far

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4181 days

#1 posted 07-23-2010 08:26 PM

Spanish Cedar or Cypress would both hold up well.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3250 days

#2 posted 07-23-2010 09:28 PM

White oak holds up quite well and it is easy to find and relatively cheap. There are some exotics that hold up real well, but they are more expensive and harder to find. I’m thinking of teak, ipe and iroto.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3375 days

#3 posted 07-23-2010 11:28 PM

A good wood for exterior doors, that you are going to paint, is straight grain Douglas fir. It is tight grained and should be relatively easy to find. Not to expensive either. They hold up well. You can make your jamb stock out of poplar. What your looking for here is stability and strength along with a little practicality.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View levan's profile


472 posts in 3155 days

#4 posted 07-24-2010 03:22 AM

I would agree with Rich white oak

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4303 days

#5 posted 07-24-2010 11:58 AM

The local Kentucky Amish makes exterior doors from white oak.

-- 温故知新

View knotscott's profile


8140 posts in 3551 days

#6 posted 07-24-2010 12:59 PM

White oak, teak, and mahogany are rot resistant and very attractive IMHO.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 3230 days

#7 posted 07-24-2010 02:28 PM

White Oak or Mahogany are you best bets, IMHO. You won’t spend that much more on a door in material, so I would go with what works best. Don’t forget, finishing it off will be very important for how long it lasts.

--, Making design and application one. †

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3250 days

#8 posted 07-24-2010 02:39 PM

FYI – - All of the trim in our home is cherry (and we a lot of trim). The front door is white oak due to its ability to withstand weather. Of course, the white oak is visible on the inside. I’m planning to build a new front door that is white oak on the outside and cherry on the inside. I’ve never seen this done before but “why not?”

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4181 days

#9 posted 07-24-2010 02:55 PM

First theres doors exposed to the elements and then theres doors exposed to the ELEMENTS. But if you’re painting the door and assuming it has some cover protection from sun and rain, mahogany and white oak are a bit of overkill. And i am also considering the poster wishes to save money. Last time i purchased straight grain douglas fir or white oak you could carry 500 dollars worth in your arms.

Richgreer, I’ve done dual sided doors like you mentioned, even so far as the two sides of the same door have a completely different panel configuration.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5106 posts in 4136 days

#10 posted 07-24-2010 04:01 PM

I used straight grained insulated steel.


View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3226 days

#11 posted 07-28-2010 04:50 AM


Yeah, but it’s damned hard on ts blades and router bits. And it’s NOISY when you cut it.

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View inchanga's profile


117 posts in 2288 days

#12 posted 08-14-2012 04:30 PM

I agree with the other replies and would not look beyond white oak. It is durable, works well and is not too exoensive compared to other hardwoods.

-- chris, north wales

View AandCstyle's profile


3170 posts in 2432 days

#13 posted 08-15-2012 12:01 AM

I agree with all the other white oak suggestions. To take it one step further, you might consider quarter sawn WO because it will expand and contract less with humidity extremes, thereby helping to maintain a tighter seal. FWIW

-- Art

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