The prelude to the entire composition of the house, the front door is what gives visiting guests the first impression of the abode, speaking volumes about the home owners’ taste, personality and practical knowledge.
Wooden doors come in many types: solid wood doors, solid core doors, hollow core doors, fire doors, glazed wooden doors etc.
It is indeed a challenge to understand all the types prior to making a purchase; judging a door purely by its appearance or price and you will end up regretting your decision.
To make things easier for you, Deco-Man has interview professional wooden door manufacturers to discuss all you need to know about solid wood doors, how to distinguish a solid wood door from others, and how to ascertain a wooden door’s quality.
Solid wood door: what does it mean?
Solid wood doors refer to doors that are made only with unprocessed natural pieces of solid wood that are assembled together by mortise and tenon joints.
No fibreboard or plywood is employed in the production process of solid wood doors. Only wood stains, clear lacquer and door waxes are used to emphasise the organic pattern of natural wood grain.
The manufacture of solid wood doors requires a master’s skills, high-quality materials and involves a complicated list of procedures.
The production cost of a solid wood door is relatively high, compared to an engineered door.
In Hong Kong, only a couple of wooden door manufacturers produce traditionally-made solid wood doors.
Despite its rarity and price, the solid wood door remains a favourite among home owners because of its beauty and durability.
Two types of wood
Softwood: Pine, fir
Hardwood: Beech, teak, cherry, white ash, sapele, red oak, red cherry, maple, white oak, walnut, white teak
Solid wood doors are made only with hardwood, while solid core doors are filled with softwood like pine and fir.
Based on the country of manufacture and market availability, a solid wood door’s price can range from 8000 HKD to 25000 HKD or higher.
The quality of a solid wood door, however, is not directed reflected by its price. The high cost usually is due to the rarity and availability of the timber.
Why solid wood doors?
- The solid wood door’s unified grain pattern and colour lend an air of elegance to the house.
- Decorative carvings can only be done on solid wood doors, but not solid core doors.
Durable and strong
- Solid hardwood, as the raw material of solid wood doors, is a stronger and more durable material compared to fibreboard and plywood.
- After stabilising procedures, hardwood can withstand sun exposure and humidity. This means the solid wood door is suitable for village houses and villas.
- A high-quality, skillfully-made solid wood door is a piece of art in itself.
Unknown problems about solid wood doors
Since solid wood doors are made of natural materials, it is relatively less stable and standardized in appearance, compared to artificial materials like acrylic and laminated boards.
- Knots and spots might be present in some especially knotty tree species. Thy might damage the overall aesthetics of the door.
Shrinkage and expansion
- Natural timber shrinks and expands in response to environmental changes. Warping might occur depending on the species of the wood.
Relatively high price
- The usage of whole timber and the complicated manufacturing procedures render the solid wood door the priciest type of all wooden doors.
When it comes to choosing a timber for the manufacture of solid wood doors, apart from factors of appearance, the hardness, flexibility, density, weight and thickness of the timber are important points of consideration.
Timber grown in different regions have different physical properties. The hardest and densest timber might not make the best wooden doors.
Some strong timber are prone to cracking because of its high density.
Therefore, a good manufacturer will not necessarily choose the hardest timber out there, but the timber with the most suitable density.
Mainstream choices of timber ranked by price
|Price range||Wood species||Price for reference|
|Low||Beech, white teak, red cherry||9000 – 13000 HKD|
|Middle||White ash, red oak, white oak, sapele||15000 – 18000 HKD|
|High||Teak, walnut, cherry, maple||18000 – 25000 HKD|
The price reflects the timber’s rarity and market availability, rather than the door’s quality. Therefore, the quality of beech, white teak and red cherry wood doors might not differ much when compared to doors made with a pricier type of timber.
Maintenance for the solid wood door
The whole natural timber used to make solid wood doors can crack a warp due to fluctuating humidity and temperature.
When a solid wood door is cracked or warped, repairing work can be done simply shaving the raised parts and reapplying protective coatings.
Generally speaking, the timber of solid wood doors reaches a stabilised state after a year of use.
Ascertaining the quality of a solid wood door
- The water content of a solid wood door should be around 12% or less. A high-quality door’s timber has a water content of 8%; at this percentage, the manufactured door is less likely to warp, crack and has a longer lifespan.
- Observe the door’s colour, details and texture. For example, whether the colour has the qualities of transparency, brightness, softness, and whether the holes are cleanly opened. A quality door’s hinges and joints should be delicate and upright. For solid wood doors, the patterns of both sides are in unity and continuity.
- Remember to check whether there is an irritating odour near the seams of the door. According to national standards, the release of formaldehyde for wooden doors should be below 1.5mg/L, satisfying the E1 level in domestic safety requirements.
- The wooden door should emit a wooden scent. A fragrant woody scent reflects the environmental friendliness of the production process and ensures that the door is not in fact a low-cost complex solid wood door.
- Knock on different parts of the door and pay attention to the quality of the sounds produced. The sounds should not differ in different parts of the door since it is supposed to be made of one single material. When knocking on the middle section of the door, should there be an echoing sound, it might mean that the door’s core is hollow or filled with materials other than solid wood.
Other points of consideration
Other metal components
- Since solid wood doors are expensive in themselves, when purchasing metal parts for the hinges and door knobs, opt for products of higher quality to avoid damaging the timber.
- Sturdy door frames are more suitable for solid wood doors which have a heavier weight and require extra support
- Sliding doors can also be made with solid hardwood. When thoughtfully matched with well-designed sliding components, the resulting effect can be unexpected interesting.