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What’s the Best Kind of Wood for a Front Door?

Your home’s exterior doors add a great deal of interest, style, and curb appeal. The right door can enhance the look of the entire house, while a poorly maintained front door detracts from even the best landscaping and siding. Consider these popular options for your front door, so you can enjoy a welcoming ambiance every time you approach your home.

White Pine

Best kind of wood for front doors

Image via Flickr by One Tree Hill Studios


White pine has a tight grain and close knots. It’s more uniform than knotty alder but less so than poplar. White pine has a light coloring that’s ideal for modern homes. Pine is durable and resistant to warping. It’s more commonly used for interior doors, but you can incorporate it into your home as an exterior door as well. White pine doesn’t take well to paint, so you should stick to stains for this type of wood. Pine doors usually range from $250 to $700.


Oak comes in more than 600 species, giving homeowners plenty of options. The most common choices are red oak and white oak. White oak has an eye-catching stripe to the grain that’s reminiscent of tiger stripes. Red oak is more lightweight than other oaks and offers a distinctly rustic look.

The density of oak makes it a durable choice for a front door. It has a high tannin content that makes it resistant to fungi. Oak’s wide grain is very distinctive, offering great aesthetic appeal. It’s important to refinish an oak door regularly to preserve the grain and keep it in stunning shape. Oak doors are typically between $400 and $3,000.


Poplar has a subtle, even grain that makes it ideal for a sleek, modern home. Poplar ranges from white to pale yellow in hue, and each board can look slightly different. For this reason, homeowners usually opt to paint poplar. It has very few knots and a smooth, even surface that’s perfect for picking up and showing off your favorite hue. Poplar is also a very budget-friendly option, so you can get great curb appeal for an affordable price. Poplar entry doors typically range from $250 to $400.


Walnut has a rich chocolatey hue that ranges from dark brown to black. It often has elegant undertones of purple that add to its sophisticated appeal. The grain may feature circles, curls, and waves. Dense and durable, walnut is naturally resistant to rot and warping. Homeowners typically choose a clear coating or lightly tinted stain to allow the walnut’s natural beauty to shine. This wood does require regular care, especially when exposed to direct sunlight. Expect to pay anywhere from $600 to $3,000 for a walnut front door.


Cedar is a popular choice for front doors because it’s naturally resistant to decay, insects, fungi, and moisture. It won’t warp over time, so you can rely on a cedar door to look stunning long into the future. Cedar is naturally insulating and can improve your home’s energy efficiency by keeping heat in during the winter and out during the summer. Naturally aromatic, cedar also lends your home a lovely scent. Cedar has a cinnamon hue that looks stunning with a light protective coating. A cedar front door is usually between $100 and $400.


Mahogany has a tight wood grain and distinctive straight pattern. This wood ranges from pale pink to deep reddish brown, so you can select the door that best suits your home’s overall style. Resistant to rot and insects, mahogany is a long-lasting choice for your home. Invest a little effort and energy in refinishing the front door from time to time, and this wood can last a lifetime. A mahogany door will usually run between $600 and $1,000.


Cherry has an elegant look that adds refinement to the home when used as a front door. This wood ranges in color from pinkish brown to deep reddish brown. When exposed to the sun outside the home, cherry darkens and naturally develops a deep patina over time. Cherry is dense, durable, and moisture-resistant. It won’t warp or decay, so you can rely on this door to give you lasting beauty. Expect to pay between $300 and $800 for a cherry exterior door.

Knotty Alder

Knotty alder is one of the most popular choices for front doors because it’s affordable and attractive. Though adequately strong, alder is softer and more prone to scratches and dents than many other kinds of wood. Alder is not as resistant to humidity or harsh weather, so you will need to refinish it often.

Alder takes stains well, letting you customize this wood to suit your home’s unique aesthetic. With peachy undertones, alder’s naturally light color allows for the flexibility to opt for a light appearance or a dark color. Painting is not recommended for alder, however, as it’s difficult to conceal the knots and grain. Alder doors range from $350 to more than $900, depending on the design.


Hickory is strong and dense, offering ample shock resistance. It’s naturally reddish brown and usually looks best with a light stain that lets the wood’s medium grain and subtle knotting show through. Like other knotty woods, hickory is difficult to paint. Hickory has a rustic, time-tested look that’s ideal for farm-style homes. Hickory doors are usually between $500 and $1,000.

Douglas Fir

Douglas fir has a neat vertical grain that works well with anything from a contemporary home to a modern log cabin. It has a smooth texture and may feature a slight swirl to the pattern. Fir is extremely easy to stain, making it very customizable. This is a durable choice that can cost anywhere from $150 to $800, depending on the quality and design.

Once you’ve chosen your front door, make sure you invest in regular care and maintenance for it. Regularly refinishing any wood door is important to keep it in the best shape possible. Our Los Angeles-area professionals at Teak Master can help you keep your exterior door in prime condition year after year.


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