When constructing wooden doors and windows, selection of high quality materials helps to ensure that a structure can withstand the elements of weather and extreme temperature. As these parts of the house are most prone to let in freezing cold air or moisture from rain and snow, properly sealing openings from the outdoors starts with stable, durable wood. In addition, constant movement from opening and closing puts on wear over time.
Whether using solid wood or plywood in doors and windows, preparation starts with the drying process for lumber once it has been cut. Depending on the species of wood, it may need to dry for longer or shorter periods of time to best hold up in its final form once used in construction. In addition, various grain patterns impact durability.
When selecting the type of wood to use for doors or windows, first consider whether it will be installed entirely indoors or will face outside. Inside, where air conditioning and a furnace serve to keep the temperature and humidity level in a moderate range, just about any species will work.
However, for construction facing the exterior of a home, you’ll want a wood species stable enough to handle more extreme temperatures, as well as rain and snow and wildly varying humidity levels. Popular species include the following:
Not technically a Cedar or even a hardwood, Spanish Cedar resists rot and outdoor elements well. Low density makes this wood easy to craft and relatively light, perfect for a door built to seal out the weather, while allowing for ease of opening and closing. In addition, stylish grain and a pink to reddish-brown color provide an attractive look. The primary challenge with using Spanish Cedar is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to import quality Spanish Cedar.
Grown in the forests of Central and South America, Genuine Mahogany lends itself well to crafting. Naturally deterring rot and moisture damage, this wood frequently makes up window frames and doors. Genuine Mahogany, however, tends to be more expensive than many other woods, while the quality of Genuine Mahogany being shipped from mills continues to slide downhill.
Grown throughout Africa, various similar species fall under the category of African Mahogany. While we carry a couple different species, we ensure that wood shipped to customers has similar coloration and grain. A straight grain and red-brown color add attractiveness to elements crafted with this wood, which also shares other Mahoganies’ natural resistance to outdoor elements.
In the same family as Mahogany, Sapele also works well for settings facing the outdoors. An interlocking grain creates a visible stripe pattern on the wood, so builders often paint over it when used in doors and windows. Relatively soft compared to other hardwoods, Sapele is easy to cut and shape. In addition, it offers significant cost savings compared with Genuine Mahogany, at about half the cost.
Windows and doors require wood durable enough to stand up against the elements of cold, heat, and moisture. Carefully considering the wood to be used will help to ensure that construction will hold together for years to come, resisting rot and the impact of constant opening and shutting. J. Gibson McIlvain sources the finest wood, with many species available for construction projects.
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J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
For more information on J. Gibson McIlvain’s lumber products and services, call Monday-Friday toll free (800) 638-9100 to speak with one of their representatives.