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6 steps to choosing a front door for a house with timber cladding

‘One of the hardest aspects of a front elevation is getting the timber cladding and the front door working in harmony’, says Urban Front co-founder, Nabil Assaf.

We know how easy it is to just match them or go for a very similar material.  ‘It’s definitely worth pushing the envelope a little and experimenting with different materials and colours. Obviously there will be times when matching is the right solution and that's just fine too’, he comments.

We've gathered together our top considerations below to help you choose a front door for a house with timber cladding.

Using kebony timber for both the door and cladding visually strengthens the simple form
Using kebony timber for both the door and cladding visually strengthens the simple form
This bright door really stands out against the cladding
This bright door really stands out against the cladding
Using Green to accent a mostly grey frontage
Using Green to accent a mostly grey frontage

Consider the finishes

  1. Is the cladding being left to weather or is it being treated or finished? This determines whether or not it’s necessary that the front door is a close match to the cladding. Usually if cladding is going to be left to silver, the finish of the door is easier to choose because essentially you could have anything.  If the cladding is going to be finished or keep its original colour, then matching or going for a painted finish works better. However, there is also the option to go for an opposite colour completely – for example – choosing a dark wood like fumed oak to work with western red cedar cladding. 
  2. If the house has a lot of cladding, it’s also worth considering not going down the hardwood look and going for a painted, bronze or steel finish. This works particularly well if the house has more than 50% cladding over the surface of it. Making this choice, breaks up the timber look and creates even more of a focal point.
  3. If the cladding being used is a colour or painted a colour like grey for instance, it is either worth matching the RAL colour or going a few shades darker or lighter depending on where the door sits on the houses elevation. Or another choice is to then go for a timber front door that is completely different to make the door stand out. For example, going for Iroko for the front door when the cladding is douglas fir.
Here the door is highlighted by stunning flint work and the rest of the building includes burnt cedar cladding
Here the door is highlighted by stunning flint work and the rest of the building includes burnt cedar cladding
The design of this house with stone and wood cladding lends itself to the bold choice of front door in a stand out oiled Iroko
The design of this house with stone and wood cladding lends itself to the bold choice of front door in a stand out oiled Iroko
This bright door really stands out against the cladding
This bright door really stands out against the cladding
6 steps to choose front door for house with timber cladding 1
6 steps to choose front door for house with timber cladding 1

Consider the rest of the Building

4. Another concern is if the house already has a lot of different materials going on like a wood lookalike cladding system, aluminium windows and zinc roofing. We tend to try and find the least used material to match to as it could look too balanced and that wouldn’t necessarily be the best end result.  For instance, if the house has corten window features and black cladding, going for either a black or corten finished door could work very well.

5. Is the cladding going to be horizontally or vertically boarded or even both? Its simple to go in the same direction, but the door can be more of a focal point if the boarding is going in a different direction. This also reduces the difficulty of matching the door exactly to cladding that comes right up to the door.  However if you have diagonal or a zigzag feature to your cladding, matching the front door to that might work better if there is no other aspect of the front elevation that could work with it.

Experiment with samples

6. We always find that it’s best to lay all the samples of the different materials down in front of you and also be aware of the fact that each material will take up a different amount of space on that frontage. Fine tuning with samples like this always helps to put the bigger picture into perspective.

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On the whole, it isn’t a decision taken lightly because cladding will also change in colour over time. Thinking about that will definitely help and if you feel that it is still too difficult, we can always help you. Just give us a call to discuss your project in detail.

This article is RIBA assessed reading material.

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