Oak is a material that’s renowned for its solidity and good looks. It’s particularly suitable for external doors, where its durability comes in especially handy. Oak is a variety of angiosperm tree, which means that its seeds are stored in a protective enclosure (angiosperm coming from the Greek words for ‘casing’ and ‘seed’.)
Trees of this sort tend to grow very slowly, and so their timber commands a slightly higher price. But it’s this slow growth that leads to densely-packed fibres on the inside of the tree, which vastly improves the strength of the timber. With a density around 150% of that of pine, oak is used wherever hardiness is useful; you’ll find it in furniture, whiskey barrels, drums, and, of course, doors.
But oak isn’t just favoured for its durability; it’s also an enormously attractive material. Treated with a suitable stain that emphasises the qualities of the underlying grain, it invariably looks the part, and matches up with a variety of home interiors and exteriors.
The dense-packed nature of the timber also means that it performs excellently as an insulator. Heat from your interior will have great difficulty passing through it, especially when compared with the alternative materials. As such, these energy savings will tend to offset the higher price of the material in the long-run. The sound-insulation properties of the material are also excellent – a strength which will especially benefit those living near busy roads, or other loud locations. Both European and American oak varieties machine well – which makes it easy to create an elaborate design that’ll look the part on your patio.
To save money, and guard against the warping effect of solid wood, many prefer an ‘engineered’ door which combines an inner core of plastic, metal, and timber with an outer layer of high-quality wood.
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