Sapele Doors Are Your Next Architectural Endeavor

Sapele Doors Are Your Next Architectural Endeavor

Learn how Sapele Doors Can Bring Life to Your Architecture

The first thing a visitor to your building sees is your front door. With ample research confirming the importance of first impressions, it’s safe to assume your entry door is a big influence on every visitor. And doors are not just about first impressions. We encounter them many times a day, every day, at home and at work. Doors become even more important in the architecture of theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, schools, and government buildings. These doors – interior and exterior – need to reinforce and harmonize with the status of these dignified buildings.

Sapele wood (usually pronounced “sa PELL ee”) is from the same family as mahogany, but is not an endangered species like true African or American mahogany. Of the various “mahogany-like” woods, sapele – often called “sapele mahogany” or “scented mahogany” due its aroma similar to Spanish cedar – is the closest sustainable wood to true mahogany in beauty, strength, and durability. So it’s no surprise that doors of sapele are among the highest quality custom wood doors available today, bringing unsurpassed beauty and durability to your architectural designs. Combining the craftsmanship of Revival Sash’s master woodworkers with our advanced production technologies, the sapele custom doors we create are unrivaled in function and elegance. Here’s why:

Appearance of Sapele Doors:

Sapele has been a highly valued wood for centuries, partly due its wide range and depth of color, dependent upon where and how the trees were grown. Sapele, like mahogany, has a distinctive warm coloration, ranging from orange to gray to the rich red to reddish-brown seen in furniture. These hues darken slightly over time and polish up to a rich, high luster. The grain of sapele can be highly figured or have a more restrained striped or ribbon character, depending upon how the boards were cut.  Sapele takes stain well and, because of the trees’ large size, raw boards are often long, wide, and knot-free. This has made the wood a favorite for use in boatbuilding, furniture, cabinets, paneling, flooring, and even automotive interiors.

Workability of Sapele:

Sapele doors benefit from the wood’s excellent working and finishing characteristics, regarded by many as among the world’s premier woods not only for doors, but for fine specialty items and furniture. Although easily cut and sanded, it’s hard enough to resist dents and scratches. With a glossy finish, sapele’s depth of light reflections seem to change colors when viewed from different angles.

Durability of Sapele Doors:

Sapele, like mahogany, is extremely durable. Due to its closely-spaced grain, it has outstanding stability with almost no shrinkage, swelling, or warping compared to other hardwoods. This makes sapele doors an excellent choice in areas of high humidity. In fact, sapele has been very popular with builders of musical instruments who require woods of extreme stability. Highly resistant to rot, infestation, and decay, sapele is easily maintained with basic cleaning, sanding, or refinishing. Doors made of this wonderfully durable wood – actually stronger than true mahogany and 16% harder than red oak – will likely outlast the very buildings they adorn.

Types and Costs of Sapele Doors:

All of today’s sapele is sourced from various areas in West Africa and produced by certified sustainable tree farms or recyclers and labeled by the FSC (International Forest Stewardship Council) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. This desirable wood is in high demand in both Europe and Asia, so limited supplies can make sapele doors more expensive than other common hardwoods. But since sapele doors typically outlast all others, their life-cycle cost is less than those that need frequent replacing.


Sapele doors are exceptionally reliable, beautiful, and functional. They bring a timeless beauty to any architectural design that – regardless of character, use, or style – will endure for generations to come. Contact Revival Sash about adding a custom sapele door to your building or visit our factory in New York City to view our quality pieces.

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