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Timber is a classic front-door choice – it’s simple, timeless, and durable and can work within any home design. There are many types of timber to choose from, and they can be treated in a variety of ways – with paints and stains suited to the specific type of door.

When selecting the timber for your door, you’ll choose between paint-quality and stain-quality doors, which simply means doors that have been prepared specifically to be painted or doors that are ready to be stained.

But which is better? Painting or staining? We’ve outlined the differences to help you make the right choice for your home. 


Stain-quality (SQ) timber is a popular option for those wanting a timber door, as it’s the option that best lets the natural look of the timber shine through, which is often a big factor in choosing a timber door in the first place. 

SQ timber can be stained, and the stain will change the colour of the timber but leave the grain patterns largely untouched to allow the natural look of the timber to be the main feature.  

The success of staining will depend on the porosity of the timber, which is why cedar is a great option, as it’s a soft wood with a light colour that effectively absorbs the stain. American White Ash when stained is a very attractive option that is aesthetically pleasing and absorbs wood stains well.


If you’re looking to significantly change the look and feel of your timber door, i.e. move it away from its natural state, you’ll want to go with paint-quality (PQ) timber. This type of timber can be painted to any number of colours or finishes, which means it’s popular with those looking to make a statement but will disguise the look of the timber underneath.

It’s important to be aware, however, that PQ timber can come with certain characteristics, most PQ doors have finger joints, lamination’ or bog/filler, this prevents the timber from looking good if stained. It is also important that you ensure that the door is painted correctly.

For an interior PQ timber door, they tend to have MDF/customwood panels.

As always, when it comes to choosing how to treat your front door, it’s best to engage an expert who can help you determine the best option for your particular door, material and circumstances. 

Get in touch with the Parkwood team and we can help you select the perfect door for your home.

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