One of the beauties of solid wood doors is the enormous range and varieties of wood available. Every single tree is unique and therefore every piece of wood is unique. Keep in mind, though, that the best wood to choose for interior doors may not be the top choice for exteriors, and vice versa.

In order to arrive at the right selection for your purposes, the cost of your solid wood door and your home’s aesthetic, it’s important to learn about the various types of woods and the different qualities of each. Here’s a guide to get you started:

Interior vs. Exterior Woods


Exterior wood doors, in particular, front entry door entrances, are the portal to your home. As such, their role is to create a warm, welcoming impression on visitors. At the same time, they ought to be constructed of a wood species hardy enough to keep your residence secure and stand up to all sorts of weather.

Suggested best wood for exterior doors: Red Oak or Ash.


The best wood for interior doors, on the other hand, should be durable (although they won’t be subjected to as much wear and tear as exteriors, of course) and capable of insulating against both heat transfer and sound. An attractive appearance is usually desirable, as well, depending on how visible these doors will be and how they will be finished.

Suggested best wood for interior doors: Poplar or Pine.

Popular Wood Species

Here are details of the wood species most popular with our clients (we indicate whether each is a best wood for interior doors, exterior, and even moulding):

1. Ash has a number of pluses: This hardwood is inexpensive, plentiful, and outstandingly strong. It offers graining very similar to the much pricier mahogany. Both (exterior and interior).

2. Cedar, while beautiful, lightweight, and low maintenance, comes with a hefty price tag. However, its high cost is more than made up for by Cedar’s longevity and resistance to weather damage. Most frequently used for exterior doors.

3. Cherry comes in lovely shades of creamy pink to reddish brown, together with an appealing close grain. When you select Cherrywood for an exterior door, be aware that it has a tendency to darken with exposure to sunlight. Both.

4. Knotty Pine gives that charming rustic pine look at an affordable price. As a softwood, its lightweight simplifies opening doors for small children and people with limited physical ability. Pine resists shrinking and swelling, and is effective at blocking sound, but tends to dent and scratch readily. Interior.

5. Maple is hard, stable, and proudly Canadian. The one drawback of this premium species, however, is that the wood does not show as much grain as many homeowners would like to see. Both.

6. Red Oak, as an exceptionally dense wood species, provides a winning combination of strength and durability. Red Oak has a low susceptibility to wood rot, although it does have a tendency to shrink. Both.

7. Walnut is just the thing when a nice rich dark color is desired. Walnut wood is easy to work with and will create a sense of drama in your home’s design scheme. Interior.

8. White Oak is prized for its unique grain and handsome looks. On a practical level, White Oak doors are highly resistant to moisture penetration and wood rot. Both.

Designer Tip: Solid Wood Door Terminology

For protection and enhanced appearance, solid wood doors are finished, usually with stain or paint. Because of this, you should be aware of two essential terms:

  • “Stain grade” refers to high quality wood whose attractive grain will shine through a translucent stain. Examples are ash or oak.
  • “Paint grade” is a less expensive wood, with a smooth surface that will look best when coated with paint. For example, poplar or birch.

The Best Wooden Door For Your Home

When you’re looking for unique quality, whether the best wood for interior doors or for a grand entryway, Madawaska Doors & Trim is the right address. We provide fully customizable solid wood doors in a variety of species.

Whether you’re ready for a quote or would like a free wood sample to help you make a choice, our team is here for you. Contact us today!