Where to Specify Different Door Surface Types

Whether an interior door works in a project has everything to do with its surface type. Changing the surface material can actually change the look and function of a wood door. Here, we will take a look at various surface types for doors and discuss which ones work best in various commercial projects.

Popular Types of Wood Door Surfaces

Hardwood Veneers

Nothing can substitute for the beauty and warmth of natural wood. The right stain can take any wood species, from birch to mahogany, to just the right shade for your design. For painted doors, paint-grade poplar makes a great choice. Generally, hardwoods are more dense and therefore resist scratching and denting more than softwoods.

aspiro wood veneer illustration

Softwood Veneers

By custom request, Masonite Architectural can provide softwood veneers such as fir. Both hardwood and softwood work well for stile and rail doors.

Reconstituted Veneer

This human-made wood veneer can be created to mimic colors and grain patterns of natural wood, but give a more uniform look. Depending on what wood species you want it to look like, a reconstituted veneer might offer a more budget-friendly alternative.

High-Density Fiberboard

High-density fiberboard (HDF) makes for a durable option for interior doors, offering a dense, paintable surface.

Medium-density Fiberboard (MDF)

This door surface contains glued wood fibers, which are denser than customary particleboard. The smooth surface makes MDF perfect for painting. It can even be router-carved for a completely custom look.

Medium-density Overlay (MDO)

Medium-density overlay (MDO) gives premium adhesion for factory-applied paints. At Masonite Architectural, MDO is exclusive to our AspiroTM Series premium painted doors.

Molded Panel

This smooth hardboard is available in a variety of familiar design choices featuring deep embossments and simple, pleasing lines.

High Impact Door Surfaces

High-impact surfaces are specifically engineered to withstand intense use. Combine them with impact edges to prolong the life of a door.

HPDL Surfaces

Decorative laminates are made from kraft paper and resin pressed together. A laminate surface is highly customizable and works with just about any type of door core. High pressure decorative laminates (HDPL) provide an extremely durable surface, great for high-traffic areas.

LPDL Surfaces

Low-pressure decorative laminates (LPDL) are made from similar materials to HPDL but attached to the substrate using lower pressure and higher temperatures. The result is a budget-friendly door with a quick turn-around time, best used in lower traffic areas.

Best Door Surface Types for Different Projects

Hospitality Projects

Hospitality design projects run the gamut in terms of budget and size, so you have to approach each one individually. What they have in common, however, is their quest for a peaceful, home-away-from-home environment. Premium painted MDO work well for hotel guest rooms, while select wood veneers offer a high-fashion look for bars and banquet rooms.

Another great choice, unique to Masonite Architectural, is our West End surface. It complements contemporary and modern styles with smooth, hardboard surface doors with distinct embossments.

hotel room with open door

Healthcare Facilities

When specifying doors for healthcare projects, we usually think first about core type — STC-rating, fire rating or lead-lined — but the door surface contributes significantly to performance. High-impact or HPDL surfaces protect doors against heavy traffic and potential damage from hospital equipment. They’re also easy to clean and disinfect, especially when paired with a top & bottom clean edge. A wood veneer or choice laminate makes a strong impression for lower-traffic spaces like administrative offices and hospital staff conference rooms.

Schools and Classrooms

Durability is the name of the game for education design projects. Paintable MDO or choice laminates can work in tandem with all of your school door performance requirements, like fire-rating and STC-rating. The growing interest in school safety and attack resistant openings has generated a full line of these products; specify the doors in laminates, impact surfaces or wood veneers. Custom laminates also make a fun addition to classrooms, allowing the doors to be printed with school colors or mascots.

Office Projects

Office projects often prioritize function over form, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find the ideal interior door surface. Wood veneers make a strong impression, especially with stile and rail doors. When budget is a bigger concern, painted MDF stile and rail doors make a good alternative. Impact and HPDL surfaces are a great idea for areas where equipment might bang into doors, like mailrooms or storage areas.

How Door Designs Influence Wood Surface Decisions

Your decision about types of door surfaces may also hinge on whether you want stile and rail doors versus flush wood doors, and whether you prefer painted or stained doors. Not every surface type is available for every Masonite Architectural door, so your best bet is to speak to your rep to choose the best option for your project.

While both functionality and design factors are crucial to a successful project, surface type makes a big difference to both. Performance factors need not stifle your creative vision or your client’s taste.