So, you’ve decided that you would like some oak doors for your home. That’s great! But what kind of oak would work best for you? There are a lot of different types of oak, and they each have different properties.
Most of the hardwood produced in the United States is oak, but depending on where the oak was grown it can have rather different properties. Oaks that have a fine grain were grown in well-drained land, while oak that is hard and strong comes from humid lands that tend to flood. American Oak, such as White Oak or Red Oak tends to have big growth rings and grains.
European Oak, on the other hand, is darker, and is strong, heavy, and stable. It is known for its durability, but has a distinctive, much darker appearance. Austrian and Slavonian oaks are popular with buyers who need heavy and strong wood for their doors.
Which Should You Choose?
Any form of oak should do well as a material for making doors but there are some varieties that perform better than others. Closed-grain white oak is a good choice for doors in areas where there is a lot of humidity or rain, since it tends to not be easily penetrated by water. In contrast, red oak shrinks when exposed to the elements, making it a poor weather seal.
White oak is easy to work with, and takes screws, nails and machines well. Red oak, on the other hand, is less good at holding screws in place.
If you are planning on painting the wood then the most important thing to look at is the stability and weight of the door, especially if you want the door to be very secure, such as for a shop or a public property that is likely to be a target for crime.
On the other hand, if the door is just a porch door on a residential property, and there is another, more robust door as well, then you might not need to worry so much about strength, and may prefer to let appearance guide your buying decision. If you are using a translucent stain, then the texture and size of the grain could be a guiding principle, European Oak has a hefty, strong appearance just like its feel, while white oaks, in their many varieties, have more interesting textures and patterns to their grain, as well as slightly different colors.