Doors 101

Which Front Door Is Right for You

You may pass through it several times a day. You hardly give it a second thought. We are talking about your front door. Although it may be something you rarely think about, be sure that those who come to your home do so. Will they be impressed? Is it something you are proud of? Your front door is such a visible signal to the world. It’s important to get it right. If you are thinking you need a change, then here are some ideas.

The Big Picture View of Your Front Door

A good place to start if you intend to change your front door is out on the street. What do visitors see now? What would you like them to see? Just how big a project are you considering? Will the doorway need to be changed or enlarged? Or is it just a replacement for the door as it now exists? In this review, you would probably be wise to ask the opinion of an experienced friend. Our consultants are also available to give you no obligation advice on just what is possible.

Appearance vs. Security vs. Energy-saving

People have been adding doors to their dwellings for several thousands of years. In doing so, they have had to balance several different factors. How can you make the door secure so that the wrong people cannot enter? At the same time, how can you make a door that will look attractive both inside and outside. Perhaps with greater emphasis in the last century, we have also been more concerned with how we avoid energy losses in order to keep our homes at a satisfactory temperature.

Thankfully there has been a great deal of research to find out how new materials can be used to meet all these challenges. This research is ongoing and we now have a wide array of high-quality doors.

How to Brighten your Hallway

If you would like a brighter hallway, then the best way is to introduce more natural light. Even the smallest panes in the front door or doorlites can be a big help. If you use opal or frosted glass this avoids any privacy or security concerns.

If you would like to have much more light in your entrance hall, then there are two major ways this can be achieved. Both will probably involve installing a new framework for the door. A transom above the door is very impressive. Alternatively sidelites on one or both sides of the door will bring in a good deal of extra light.

What Features Do You Need

In thinking about your door replacement project, you will have to decide what needs to be done and what you would like to be done. For example, if the door frame needs replacement then you would be advised to discuss with one of our consultants what are the options. If on the other hand you really wish to replace the door with something similar then your choices are very much easier.

A critical step is to determine exactly how much you wish to spend on this project. This may limit the choices available to you particularly with respect to what type of door fits your budget.

Steel Front Doors

If security and durability are your top priorities, then a steel door is your best bet. They will not crack or warp and are stronger than wood or fiberglass doors. Steel front doors will usually be the cheaper alternative. They reduce energy loss by having the internal cavity filled with high density foam insulation. Such doors are available with a variety of external coatings including a baked on polyester finish.

Fiberglass Front Doors

Fiberglass doors are tough and stand up well to harsh or humid climates. They can simulate the look of wood with wood-grain texturing which can be stained to match a variety of woods. In the interior they have a framework of wooden rails, which includes a wooden edging to accommodate the lockset. They have interior insulation of polyurethane foam.

Custom Wooden Front Doors

If you have particular ideas on the design of your ideal front door, then a custom wood door may be the solution. There is no better way to get the authentic look and feeling of wood. You have much greater freedom of choice with such a door. It will be more expensive than the other materials but you can get exactly what you want. Capturing your ideas is best done by working with an experienced consultant who knows what is possible.

Further reading

You will find much more detail on these choices in an article from This Old House entitled How to Pick a Front Door.

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