Exterior Hardwood Doors: Choosing Ideal Surface Finishes

11 March 2016
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Blog

Hardwood doors are ideal for exterior residential installation. This fabrication material is long-lasting, has unique aesthetic appeal and can be re-finished when the surface becomes worn. When choosing a suitable wooden door, it is important to consider the type of finish. The coating is designed to protect the wood from damage, and it will also determine the aesthetic value of the door. You can select your preferred finish when ordering your bespoke door or purchase an unfinished alternative and perform the task at home. Regardless of your choice, consider using this information when selecting sealants, colorants and finishing coats.


Wood is vulnerable to damage from moisture because there are surface pores. When water penetrates into the timber, it will cause rotting and general deterioration. Therefore, you should consider the sealing properties of the finishing layer on your exterior door. Basically, a sealant is any substance that can block fluids from passing through the surface of the wood. This product can be applied as a single product or mixed with another finish to produce the required effects. Both results are favourable, but the separate sealing method is more thorough but expensive. You can also choose between penetrating and film-forming products. The latter forms a thick layer which is resistant to wear while penetrating sealers have a more natural appearance.


You should consider the colouring properties of the finish to ensure that it matches your design preferences. There are two primary colorants that are ideal for hardwood application: dyes and stains. Dyes are colouring pigments that are dissolved in alcohol, water or mineral spirits. When the solution is applied to the wood, it will penetrate the wood grain. This will change the hue and enhance the grain, instead of changing the appearance. Unfortunately, the dye is vulnerable to bleaching when exposed to the sun. Stains consist of pigment particles dispersed in oil or solvent bases. They are more long-lasting and resistant to UV radiation. Unfortunately, some stains will obscure the wood grain.

Finishing Coats

There are different finishing coats in the market that are suitable for application on hardwood doors. As implied, these are film-forming coatings that are intended to protect and enhance the undercoats and primers. There are different levels of gloss to consider when choosing a finishing coat: gloss, semi-gloss and low sheen. The gloss is shiny, durable and enhances water-resistance, but it will also highlight imperfections. The semi-gloss has more subdued appearance but is less durable. The flat sheen has minimal visual effect but will provide fairly good protection.