Your front door makes an entrance, both literally and figuratively. Entry doors are your guests’ first taste of your personal style, and all exterior doors should lend an inviting and pleasing ambiance to your home’s exterior. Front doors are intended to protect you while you’re indoors, so any door designs you consider should be beautiful, functional and durable, as well. Here are a few things to consider while you search for the perfect front door:
What material is best for my front door?
Many styles combine materials, but what matters most in terms of visual appeal is the surface material. While deciding which type best suits your needs, keep in mind your budget, exterior design theme and any durability or security concerns.
• Wood: Wood adds an organic warmth when simply stained, or it can be painted to complement your exterior color scheme. Either way, there’s a reason this is the most popular choice of material for exterior doors. Look for wooden doors with a durable stain and a clear finish, such as polyurethane. High-gloss sheens provide the best protection against moisture absorption and swelling.
• Steel: Your most affordable option, steel is a prime pick for security and durability. If you choose to replace your old entry with a steel one, keep in mind they come with pre-drilled holes for hinges or with hinges already attached. This means the location of the hinges on your new door must match the existing frame.
• Fiberglass-Composite: If you live in a humid area or one that experiences harsh weather, the durable combo of fiberglass-composite is a great option. They’re also affordable and tend to carry longer warranties than other materials. Similar to steel, fiberglass-composite comes with pre-drilled holes for hinges, so you’ll want to make sure they line up with your frame if you’re purchasing a replacement.
• Aluminum: If you’re looking for a custom-built front door, aluminum is a great choice. It should feature a baked-on enamel finish that doesn’t require touch-ups and isn’t prone to rust. However, be prepared to spend a little more for your custom entryway as these tend to be the second-most expensive choice after solid wood.
What should I know about insulated exterior doors?
Exterior doors should provide a barrier against the elements. When shopping, look for an entry with foam insulation or double-panel glass to maintain heat and bar against the cold. Weather stripping is also important for keeping out drafts and debris stirred up by the wind.
What kinds of hardware should I install on my entry doors?
As far as aesthetic value goes, there’s a wide variety of doorknobs, locks and more that ranges from modern to contemporary, traditional to luxurious. As for security, it’s recommended you at least add a deadbolt that extends one inch or more beyond the edge of your entry.
Security can be a big concern, and some additions that can help protect against forced entry are deadbolts, chains and steel doors. Though they’re beautiful and provide lots of natural light, it’s best to avoid window panels on or near your entryway as they can make your entrance an easy target. If you do have windows near your entrance or on your front door, be sure they’re extra sturdy. Further measures include adding a home security system or even an all-metal security door that covers your home’s entrance.
What else should I consider when choosing my entrance doors?
While shopping, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. It’s also important to be aware of specific tips and tricks like these that will get you the best results:
• It’s best to purchase your entire entry system from the same manufacturer. This ensures every piece will work together properly, and if you happen to experience problems it should be easier to request a replacement.
• Look for low-e coating on your glass. This protective layer minimizes the amount of UV and infrared light that can pass through.
• Make sure your weather stripping seals properly and no drafts, debris or moisture can get through.
• Look for an Energy Star label when comparing materials. This will help you choose more energy efficient door designs.