I Hate Embossed Wood Grain on Interior Doors!

Embossed Wood Grain

Why do manufacturers of synthetic wood interior doors insist on stamping a wood grain into their products? Doors made from pressed board are the worst culprit. The door panels in traditional wood interior doors are planed and sanded as smooth as possible. If you bought a solid wood door and found it to have a raised and prominent grain, you would send it back as being inferior and unacceptable. Pressed board doors are certainly less costly than solid wood doors and have the advantage of not swelling and shrinking as much as wood doors. The panels do not “pull back” from the stiles and rails so the paint does not crack away at that point. But the raised wood grain can make them look cheap.

I do know why manufacturers of pressed wood and synthetic wood doors favor the embossed wood grain.

It is hard to manufacture pressed wood or any other synthetic product that is perfectly smooth. Minor imperfections are hard to prevent. The embossing disquises the manufacturing irregularities and that helps hold down costs. But doors made of “barn board” quality wood is not what you would expect to see in a well built house. It might be okay for exterior siding, but not for a home’s interior.

Thankfully, more and more manufacturers are offering smooth faced pressed board doors and at reasonable costs. Do yourself a favor and make sure you specify a smooth finish on your interior doors. Your home’s appearance and value will be enhanced by doing so.

I hope this information is helpful to you. You might want to get yourself a copy of my best-seller, Designing Your Perfect House. It is chockfull of valuable tips and advice that will save you many times the cost of the book on your house building or remodeling project. You might also like The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live. It will show you how to make your home a happy place.

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Bill Hirsch | Architect

Bill Hirsch


  1. internal doors on December 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I think they favour it due to cost alone! I agree 100% it is not nice to look at in the least.

  2. Dennis Wahl on August 8, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Who manufactures solid core doors with the raised, embossed, wood grain pressed board verneer? In our condominium complex all the doors to the units open into an open,interior corridor. All the doors are the same, and some need to be replaced. The condo complex was built in 1979. We would like to replace them with the same type/style. They are all painted the same, so they are not ugly or cheap looking.

    • Bill Hirsch | Architect William Hirsch on August 16, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Dennis – There are a number of door manufacturers that make that type of door. One that comes to mind is Jeld Wen.

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