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How to Match Existing Woodwork

Doors are a vital feature of any home. While the primary purpose is functionality, the door's style also has an essential role in keeping a home's aesthetic cohesive. A new wood door should match the current design and woodwork.

Need Help Matching Stains?

How to Match an Existing Stain

When you replace a wood door, the new stain should match the existing color. Keep the stain from the previous door so that you have something to reference.

Test the Wood Type

Before applying any color to the door, try it on sample wood pieces with similar construction since stains will appear differently based on the wood type. Having a sample piece with the existing stain helps when you need to compare colors.

Choose the Type of Stain

When choosing stain types, you have several options that allow you to find one that matches your project requirements. Stain types include:

  • Oil

  • Gel

  • Varnish

  • Lacquer

  • Water-soluble dye

  • Metal complex dye

  • Water-based

Find the Right Color

A basic understanding of color theory can help you begin the process of stain matching. Knowing how specific colors mix and look in different lighting makes you more accurate with your stain matches.

Assess the current stain color to determine if it is light, medium or dark. Find two or more stain colors that could match the color you need. In a separate container, blend some of each color to create a new pigment. Then begin applying the mixture to your sample wood pieces.

You can experiment by mixing different stain samples until you find the one that matches the most accurately. If the door you are matching is veneer, you can color match using dyes on veneer scraps.

use dyes on veneer scraps to match the color of a door

How to Find the Right Veneer

Finding a new veneer door replacement to match the existing woodwork is simple. Door veneers are available in several materials, including oak, walnut, birch and other special materials. When you know the existing door's material, you can find a veneer door made from the same or similar material. In addition to the veneer type, you also have to decide on the cut and match you want.

Choosing the Cut

Manufacturers can cut doors in various ways to give you a different grain appearance. Choosing a specific cut style can help you control the door appearance you envision. Several popular cut styles for veneers include:

  • Quarter: A quarter-cut veneer will have a straight grain pattern, so the stripes are even to each other. Quarter-sliced veneers are cut perpendicular or at a 45-degree angle to a tree's growth rings.

  • Plain sliced: A plain sliced veneer will have slight changes in the grain appearance, with the center often producing a cathedral effect. Manufacturers cut down the center of a log so the slices parallel the innermost growth rings.

  • Rotary: Rotary cut veneers have varied grain patterns due to the cutting method. A rotary cut consists of cutting logs outward-in while they are rotating.

  • Rift cut: A rift cut is a technique usually reserved for oak. It gives a narrow stripe pattern that is often uniformly straight without potential flake appearances. Though it is similar to a quarter cut, a rift cut generally provides the straightest grain appearance.

Choosing the Match

Constructing your veneer door can happen in several ways to create different grain patterns. If the existing woodwork has a specific design, your new door should match the pattern. Choosing a matching style ensures the new door follows previous woodwork. You could have the door arranged in three matching types, including:

  • Balance match: Veneer doors with a balanced match have a uniform width and symmetrical appearance. The grain has the same features, so the door's appearance has a strong balance.

  • Book match: With book matching, each piece looks like opened book pages. Every other veneer piece flips to mirror the one before it, creating a symmetrical and pleasing pattern.

  • Slip match: All slip match veneers are side-by-side with the pattern facing the same direction on each one.

Stain vs. Veneer: How to Tell

To know whether a finish is a stain or a veneer, you must understand the difference between the two. A veneer is a thin layer of real wood applied to the door. Generally, the veneer is made from high-quality wood that works well with stains. 

You can try sanding a small section to see whether your doors have a veneer. If you see the wood grain, it is veneer and not laminate.

Laminate is a human-made product — often plastic — printed to look like natural wood. Laminate doors cannot be stained, so you must paint them your desired color.

When Should I Paint vs. Stain for Door Color?

Painting and staining are two effective options for getting a door to look how you want it. Both have advantages, but one option may work better for your applications. Consider the following factors when deciding whether to paint or stain your custom door:

  • Durability: Stain is more durable than paint, which can chip or scratch depending on your use. However, you can increase either finish's durability by adding impact edges. Stain is more resistant to peeling and chipping. Despite this, paint offers more protection for the wood beneath.

  • Style: Paint and stain can evoke various moods and styles. Stain often looks more timeless, rugged, sophisticated and warm. Paint can bring in a more modern look that matches a unique sense of style.

  • Cost: Stained doors are often more expensive than painted ones because it takes more skill to apply the stain correctly. However, it can be more cost-effective because of its increased durability. In comparison, paint is thicker, requiring fewer coats than stain. Depending on your budget, wither might work well for the project.

  • Color preference: Paint has a larger range than stain colors. While you can get stains in various shades, how they look on your door will depend on the wood species, cut and application process. Paint is also easier to cover with a different color when you no longer want the existing color.

  • Door usage: Another effective way to determine whether painted or stained doors are better for your project is to consider the industry. For example, painted doors are popular in the hospitality industry, while offices or residential spaces could benefit from either option.

Why Does My New Wood Door Need to Match the Door Stain of the Existing Doors?

New wood doors should match the existing doors and woodwork in a home or building. Residents, customers or whoever uses the building must see these doors daily. While you might not think of it immediately, the doors in a commercial or residential space play a crucial role in whether design elements look cohesive, and people in these areas often will notice. Aim for doors and finishes that go well with your existing design.

Find a new door at DoorStop New York

Find Your New Door With DoorStop

We at Doorstop are dedicated to helping you with all your door needs. Whether you need veneer wood doors or custom doors for your project, our team can help. We will ensure your doors match the existing woodwork in your project and that you receive the supplies when you need them. Request a quote for wood doors now!

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