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Hardwood Veneer / MDO / HDF / High Pressure Decorative Laminate HPDL


There are a multitude of choices when it comes to selecting the face of a door to address the aesthetics desired for any particular project. Along with the performance criteria there are also criteria for the appearance of a door which is clearly defined by industry standards that all follow the Hardwood Plywood Veneer Association (HPVA) guidelines.

Doors will in most cases have what is referred to as a backer, sub-straight or platform that is glued to the actual face material and then glued to the door core construction. The backer is typically a one piece HDF or two piece edge glued plywood that adds stability and strength to the face and also eliminates possible telegraphing of the core components. Veneer by standards is usually 1/50 of an inch thick.

There are three main classifications or grades when it comes to veneering options.

  • PREMIUM GRADE (AA GRADE): Typically specified for projects that seek the highest level of quality and workmanship. Premium grade veneers can also come with a premium price.
  • CUSTOM GRADE (A GRADE): Specified for high quality workmanship. This is typically the standard when specifying veneers.
  • ECONOMY GRADE (B GRADE): Seldom specified for architectural projects.

*If no grade is specified than custom grade is the default.


Veneers for Transparent Finishes.For these door faces the following is required to be specified.

  • Specie. There are numerous foreign and domestic species available. It is highly recommended to check with the supplier to ensure the specie is in fact available.
  • Cut. This is the appearance of individual pieces of veneer and how they are cut or spliced from a log. More information can be obtained in the “Veneer Cuts” page.
  • Matching. This determines how the individual pieces are placed adjacent to each other on the face. More information can be obtained on our “Veneer Matching” page.
  • Assembly. This determines how the veneer flitches will be assembled on the face.

More information can be obtained on our “Veneer Assembly” page.

There are several publications available that cover many veneering options, specific specie description and attributes to help on this subject.


Materials for Opaque Finishes.

  • Medium Density Overlay (MDO), Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), or hardboard (HDF). These types of materials provide the best option for achieving a finely smooth and less porous surface for painting.



  • High Pressure Decorative Laminates (HPDL): We offer several colors and finishes from all the laminate manufacturers worldwide. Edges of the doors can be laminated to match, painted or stained. High gloss laminates should be avoided because they tend to accentuate natural telegraphing of door components.

Please see our “Other Face Options” page to obtain more information on these and other products that are available. If there is no reference to a specific material, please contact us.