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Stainable Exterior Frames

Gregg Hoyer explains the differences between stainable finger-jointed, wood, and composite frames and which ones are recommended for each exposure type.


Stainable exterior frames are important for two reasons – looks and durability.  We have two wooden frames and we have an all-composite frame.  All three of these are stainable; they’re all a mahogany species, even though the composite isn’t actually wood.

These first two look very similar, they’re going to stain up great – what’s the difference between the two?  Well first of all, I would only use this frame in a fully protected doorway…ONLY.  Why do I say that?  When I flip this frame up, we notice it’s really not made out of sapele mahogany, it’s really made out of blocks of finger-joint pine and there’s a very thin sapele mahogany veneer over top of that.  What that means is, is that if this gets wet and if it sees a lot of exposure, it’s not going to last.

Now if you’re looking for that real wood look we would recommend going to solid wood.  While we have solid wood frames in many different species, again we’re showing sapele here.  This also is great looking but if I flip it over we’re going to see this is solid lumber, and that means that it’s going to last for a very long time, it’s trimmable, and it’s going to look great.

Finally we have an all-composite frame that also will be very durable.  It’ll be good for that unprotected doorway just like the solid lumber frame – both of these would do very well in the partially protected doorway.  So why would I choose solid lumber over my all-composite?  That would be simply for looks.  This is a great performing frame but it’s not going to look quite as real as actual wood.  This product would do very well with Fiber Classic doors.

Remember your exposure.  Remember to make sure that you’re specifying the right material.  You can have the greatest door in the world, if you put it on a frame that’s going to fail, your door unit is going to fail.

Exterior Door, Preparation, Stainable
Updated on March 7, 2019

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