All about wood doors

Wooden doors can be custom crafted in virtually any shape or size, mouldings and carvings, colours and finishes.

By Pranesh Chhibber

The front door of a home always makes the first impression. It makes a statement of who you are and what people can expect when they walk through the door.

Preferences change, trends may come and go, but the classic, elegant look of a solid wooden door is here to stay. Wood’s timeless and natural appeal makes it an ideal material for any luxe project which cannot be replicated by fibreglass or steel.

The entry door extends a warm and friendly welcome to your client’s abode; hence selecting an entryway can be completely overwhelming, but fortunately this design and material guide will provide a few helpful tips.

Wood species used for doors need to meet very demanding conditions and be tough enough to withstand natural elements of wind, rain, scorching sun, etc. At the same time it has to be durable and look good to meet your client’s design sensibilities.

The front door should fit in architecturally with the rest of the home. But one can take the opportunity to let this say something about one’s personality as well! Design styles range from the traditional – Colonial, Cottage, Craftsman, Ranch, Split Level and Victorian – to the contemporary: solid wooden doors with glass or metal inserts.

Why wood?

Western Hemlock and Douglas-Fir are well-suited for this application. Hemlock’s lighter, creamier colour accepts a variety of stains and finishes, making it a designer’s dream. Douglas-Fir, on the other hand, is stronger than teak and characterised by tight, vertical grain and warm colouring, giving it an enduring appeal.

Wood used for exterior doors must be highly durable, and provide excellent dimensional stability by having a low tangential to radial shrinkage (T/R) ratio. A low T/R value makes these wood species less prone to shrinking and swelling when in service. A nightmare most homeowners face during monsoons.

When choosing the right kind of specie for an exterior door, one can look at Western Red Cedar and Yellow-Cedar. They possess properties which make them naturally resistant to termites, rot and decay, making them the perfect choice for any outdoor use.

Their markedly fine and stable grain structure will not allow the door to warp or twist, ensuring years of reliable operation.

Generally heavier and more traditional in style, wooden doors are an all-time favourite. From the antique haveli doors in Rajasthan to the hand-carved doors in Kerala, India has always had a love affair with wood.

Indians love the substantial weight of a wooden door, which adds a sense of security and sturdiness to one’s home. However, a solid wooden door with hand carvings can set the client back by a few lakh rupees!

Economy option

A more economical option is the use of flush doors. Featuring veneer on both sides of the construction with a solid or hollow core, most flush doors have free-floating centre panels surrounded by stile-and-rail frames.

Spruce-Pine-Fir’s (SPF) strength and stability makes it ideal in the framing of a flush door.

Chaukhats (door frames) are the key to long-lasting doors. Door frames made of Yellow-Cedar STK grade are strong, stable and resist attacks from termites and rot. Consumers today can even buy a complete door set with chaukat and the door.

For decades wood has held a special place in architectural usage, earlier as an only option to becoming a popular choice today. A wooden door can be custom crafted in virtually any shape or size and incorporate all types of mouldings, carvings, panel configurations, stains, finishes and looks as one may please.

Given the technology and labour available in the country, wooden doors are also relatively easier and cheaper to repair and maintain.

If you are concerned about the environmental impact of the door as well as its energy efficiency, you can purchase a door made from wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). These assure you that the wood was sustainably grown and harvested.

Artistically appealing and highly versatile, wood offers limitless possibilities in interiors and outdoor space. Considering the numerous benefits wood comes with, it has definitely caught the imagination and interest of many homeowners.

– The writer is Country Director, Forestry Innovation Consulting India Pvt. Ltd.

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