Your home’s entryway is the first thing that your guests see when visiting, but it’s also a major element for establishing your home’s curb appeal. Your front door is an expression of your personal style and protects your home and family from the harsh weather.
So how do you choose the best front door for your home?
If it’s time to update or replace your home’s entryway door, this post compares materials and explores the features of entry doors, to help you make a perfect choice.
Types of Entry Doors: Wood, Fiberglass, Or Steel Which Is Right For You?
Entryway doors are made out of three materials: wood, fiberglass, or steel. There are benefits and drawbacks to each.
Wood doors are durable, beautiful, and provide the high-end look that all the other materials try to emulate. Solid-wood doors offer excellent insulation, last for years, and are best at resisting wear and tear. Wood is the most popular choice among homeowners, especially for high-end projects. Want to make a statement with your entryway? A wood door is the perfect choice.
Wood exterior doors are generally the most expensive option. Prices range from about $500 up to $2000 or more, excluding custom work. Wood requires regular maintenance. You’ll need to repaint or re-stain every few years to keep it protected from warping or splitting.
Look for Forest Stewardship Council certification and your door’s Energy Star rating. If your new door has these two certifications, you can rest assured you are buying the highest quality, environmentally-friendly product for your home.
Fiberglass Exterior Doors
Fiberglass exterior doors come in a variety of colors, styles, and finishes. Manufacturing techniques have advanced, so today you can purchase fiberglass doors that perfectly mimic the look of natural wood.
If you’re looking for a maintenance-free material, fiberglass is an excellent choice. It doesn’t react to the climate, so it never expands or contracts with weather or temperature changes. Fiberglass never needs painting or staining and can withstand 15 to 20 years of normal use. Fiberglass door are built around an energy-efficient foam core.
In terms of price, fiberglass doors fall squarely between wood and steel. Most models sold at big box stores ranging in price from about $150 to $600.
Steel Entry Doors
A basic steel entry door can be found for as little as $150, not including hardware, lockset, paint, or labor. A mid-grade steel door can be purchased for around $400 at most big-box retailers.
When it comes to protecting your home, steel is the strongest material, but it is not much stronger than solid wood, or a high-end fiberglass door. The low cost makes steel an attractive option. However, there is a compromise; steel tends to have a shorter usable life than either wood or fiberglass.
While steel has a reputation for durability, Consumer Reports found that under daily use and normal wear and tear, both wood and fiberglass outperform steel. However, steel entry doors are prone to denting. The damage is difficult and expensive to fix. If your door is going to be subject to major traffic, heavy use, or weather extremes, you may want to consider wood or fiberglass.
Features Of Entry Doors
Manufacturers offer many style options for panel and glass designs, sidelights, transoms, and grille patterns. As a general rule, the more elaborate the door, the higher the price. Here are some features to consider.
This is more functional than aesthetic. This keeps the door weather-tight over its lifetime without having to install a new sweep to the bottom to keep out rain and drafts.
Glass inserts add style, but they also increase the cost. You have several options, including stained glass, frosted glass, beveled glass, etc. However, glass inserts can also impact energy efficiency. Look for double or triple pane inserts to reduce this.
Rails and Stiles
These are the vertical and horizontal pieces that brace a wood door. When made of solid wood they may eventually warp or bow. Look for a door that uses laminated wood covered with veneer for the rails and stiles to provide the best protection.
Your window and door specialist can help you to understand the options available and any additional costs involved.
Finally… Matching Your House!
Your entry door is a key element of your home’s curb appeal. It’s where you greet your friends and family, and it protects your home from the weather. The “right” door is a combination of functionality and aesthetics. Work with your designer, contractor, or window and door specialist to find the perfect door to match your home’s design.
Today, you have more choices than ever before. With a little research and help from your team, you’re sure to find the perfect entry door to meet your needs and aesthetic.