When you’re creating or updating your business’ storefront, it’s easy to skip over the more classic options and opt for newer materials; for instance, textured fiberglass over traditional wood. Textured fiberglass exterior doors mimic wood grain and are colored to appear as painted wood. You may think it’s a given that the fiberglass door is the best answer for your storefront. But is it that simple?
Fiberglass boasts advantages to traditional wood like thermal insulation, durability and less required maintenance. It is easily customizable and, like wood, can be designed with or without glass. While all these things about fiberglass are true, today’s exterior wood doors can actually share a lot of these qualities. And while they are more upkeep than a fiberglass door, they create a look and feel you can’t copy with composite doors.
The Best Types of Wood for Exterior Doors
Wood doors are by far the most customizable type of commercial door because of the many types of wood species, stains and finishes you can choose. Wood is a chameleon- it can create a rustic look in a business like a food co-op, or an antique look in a setting like an historic university. However, there are definitely species of wood that are better than others when you’re building an exterior door you want to be sturdy, insulating and weather resistant.
When it comes to attractive, solid and resistant wood species for commercial storefront and interior doors, Alder, Mahogany and Cherry are popular choices because they all possess these qualities and have elegant grain patterns. Another great choice for exterior wood doors is a material unique to California and stand all around you in the Sacramento area: redwood.
The Advantages of Redwood in Commercial Doors
Redwood trees can live up to 2000 years and can grow to over 350 feet tall (that we know of), so in their very appearance you can tell they are a strong and hardy wood. Further, since redwood is local to California and the PNW, its weather-resistant qualities are tailored to areas like Sacramento and Seattle- they resist sun and moisture well and even produce a chemical that repels insects, which is why they have existed for over 240 million years and are so resistant to blights.
Redwood has a red to pink undertone and a really beautiful, varied grain. It’s also likely the wood you see on doors and windows on historic structures in places like Old Sacramento – logging of these trees began in the 1850’s. Using redwood on your exterior doors sends a message that you appreciate the history and the beauty of the Sacramento area, and using materials that are closer to home and require less transportation to reach you is a more eco-friendly way to build your storefront doors.
Modern Wood Storefront Doors are Versatile and Durable
Businesses today have many local, state and federal codes to follow that didn’t exist during the gold rush of the 19th century. Fire codes are a big reason people switch to other materials, but today’s wood doors can easily be fire rated; most commercial wood doors today are actually solid-core and follow fire-proofing standards. Solid-core wood doors are also great insulators, extremely durable, and resist warping.
Worried about UV damage from all those sunny days? UV-resistant wood finishes are easy to find, as are weather-proofing sealants. These advances in wood technology, coupled with redwood’s specific qualities, give redwood a lot of the same advantages as composite doors, but keep the ability to evoke that warm, inviting feel that might be lost with materials like fiberglass, steel or glass.
Bringing Old-World Wood Doors to Modern-Day Storefronts
It may be 2023, but trends lately have been to honor the past – businesses and other commercial entities are using a more country, local, rustic appearance. Homey, vintage looks are in right now; businesses are reusing and renovating historic spaces with a focus on upcycling existing architecture.
Even weather-beaten antique wooden doors can often be saved, as in CA they’re most often made with hardy woods like redwood and giant sequoia. It just takes a bit of elbow grease to strip it, do a good refinish, and top it off with a sealant that makes the door water, salt and sun-resistant.
As well, universities are updating and expanding their campuses while still adhering to the original look of a 19th or early 20th century campus. It is possible for your business to exist in both worlds with exterior wood doors- you get all the advantages of the appearance of wood with all the 21st century features businesses need to function and thrive.
Sacramento is Falling Back in Love with Wood Doors
Consider the revamp-movement of small downtowns and historic districts in areas like Sacramento and Seattle. They’re investing in replacing those ornate, exterior wooden doors that defined that business’ entryway for so many decades. Except now, with access to composite and solid-core wood for outer doors, you can design a wood storefront door that mimics its original, but has more durability and weather-resistance than the original.
And while in the past a business owner just needed to hire a carpenter to build them a door, today it is smart to ask a professional commercial door supplier and installer about all of your needs and options before ordering a door. Maybe even have us come look at your space for more specific advice. One thing is for certain, though, is in this age of industrial pollution and climate change, local materials are always preferred, and, luckily, Sacramento-area businesses have one of the best options for exterior wood doors close to home.