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Wood front door

August 5, 2008

For those of you who have a wood front door, do you like it? How long have you had it? What type of protection (i.e. porch overhang) is provided and have you had to refinish it? If so, how long did the original finish last? Sorry for the many questions but I am trying to decide if its worth the money to go fiberglass (the one I want is more expensive than wood...I like the Jeld-Wen Auroras).

Comments (13)

  • carolyn53562

    We have a Simpson (Torrance II) oak front door with a poly finish. It opens to a front porch, so there is a 12' overhang. Our door faces east and it gets the early morning sun. Even with the 12' overhang, it still get hit with rain, hail, snow if the wind is strong enough. The door has been in for 2-1/2 years and is holding up great. I like the door, but it definitely is not as good at keeping out cold (we live in Wisconsin) as an insulated steel door.

  • lindybarts

    Love my wood front door, it's Alder. We have a small covered porch for protection or I probably wouldn't have gone with the wood. We face South and the afternoon sun is blistering hot. Then, with all the rain we get in the winter, I don't think it would last long if it weren't protected.

  • sierraeast

    We got some western red cedar doors from a tear down out of pasadena,ca. The entry door is 42" and is now hung on our build along with double patio doors in the back. All the interior doors will be from this lot as well. We have a mohagony single patio door for a back entry as we ran out of the cedars, but made the rest work throughout the house. Being 60+ years old and in great shape, i would attribute that to the past owner(s) keeping them meticulously maintained. Maintenance is an issue with wood doors, but imo, miniscule compared to having real wood species doors if that's your bag. It is ours and doing a little maintenance more often rather than letting them go will keep them looking good and more importantly keep the joinery tight.

  • housewitch

    Our mahogany doors are protected by an 6' deep porch roof overhang. They face South, so the lower portion gets afternoon sun for a few hours. Our doors are 4+ years old, and are just as beautiful as the day they were installed. In my area, it's common to refinish the exterior of protected wood doors after 10-15 years, although some last longer.

  • meldy_nva

    Solid oak, facing north, 4' overhang. 65 y.o., refinished (enamel) 35 years ago, and still looks great. Touched up a chip 5 years ago (careless deliveryman, it will happen).

    BTW, plain wood (birch?) doors on porch, one facing south and one facing north, minor overhangs; were stained and poly finished 35 years ago. They are due for a refinish. I think the direct exposure to weather is a contributing factor.

    Like many others, I prefer real, solid wood for doors; and prefer to recycle oldens which are still in golden [perfect]condition.

  • lsst

    Everywhere I have lived, I have always had a wood front door.
    I have never had any problems except for one. It was a mahogany door stained and had a full sun exposure. I had to strip and re stain it a couple of times as it had badly faded.

  • kec01

    Our all oak front door is original to our house, which was built in 1918. There's a 10 ft porch with roof in front of the door. I'm in the midst of refinishing it now because we hated the color that a previous owner stained it to.

    Our solid oak back door is a Simpson Craftsman door. I finished it with 5 coats of spar varnish, nearly 3 yrs ago. It faces east, is not protected by any roof or screen door. It is weathering like a champ. I am adding 1-2 more coats of spar varnish this year and we have finally found a salvaged screen door which will be going up in front of it in a few weeks.

    Spar varnish (marine varnish) is the key for outdoors/weather...if your door is stained.

  • jaymielo

    Our front door is mahogany. It faces East but is inside a 5 foot or so covered porch. It (and our garage doors) were finished with Sikkens Cetol 23. It is supposed to be a great product, but we expect to have to put the "maintainer" on every other year or so (probably more often on the garage doors). We felt the doors provided enough curb appeal to justify the time investment.

    Here is the door, finished, but upside down, prior to hanging.

    Here is the porch

    And here are the garage doors with the same finishing product.

  • sierraeast

    That's the ticket, Jaymielo. Time well invested! Beautiful doors!

  • sturdy

    Thank you everybody for your input. Everyone's doors are just BEAUTIFUL! Our door will face south with a 12'-6" porch. We like the no maintenance aspect of the fiberglass. The Jeld-Wen fiberglass "mahogany" is $700 more than the hemlock wood door that we would stain to resemble mahogony. A real mahogany would probably kill my budget.

  • chisue

    Our alder (I think) archtop is stained mahogany; faces North; has a 5-foot deep porch over it; is seven years old; looks the same as the day they hung and stained it. I'm north of Chicago.

  • meldy_nva

    Sturdy ~ if you would really prefer a wood door, check out wrecking firms, renovators, junk yards, restorers, auction houses, and antique dealers. Put the word out [leave cards everywhere] that you are looking for a mahogany or oak solid wood door (sized x by x)... inspect carefully for chips, scrapes or (and this is very rare) warping. You will likely have to do a total refinish, but even so the cost will be miniscule compared to buying new. It's been a couple years, but friend found solid oak at a junk yard, had about 80 years of paint sandblasted, and then she stained and poly'd. Cost $250, but sandblasting is expensive.

  • jaymielo

    I'm not sure what your budget is, but you might also want to check out www.e-doors.com. They sell solid wood doors made by International Door and Latch at a reasonable price.

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