The term entry door itself is broad. It can mean anything from a plain single slab door to a stunning unit consisting of prehung double doors, sidelites, and a transom or every combination in between. Whether your home is new or old, the entry door is much more than a means for entrance and exit. Entry doors make a statement. The first and the main focal point, not only revealing, but also emphasizing, your homes character. The cost of an entry door or entry door unit will be nullified by the amount of appreciation that it will bring to the value of your home.
Entry doors are manufactured with a variety of materials, each one serving a purpose and filling a need in its own unique way. Let’s first point out that wind, rain, snow, heat, cold, humidity and the sun are major enemies to any exterior surface, and take their toll regardless of the material. With the application of any exterior door it is suggested that you should implement an overhang and a storm door to negate the effects of the elements. Steel and Fiberglass doors are touted as having a higher R-value than wood doors. R-value measures the heat conductivity of material. The higher the R value, the better the material serves as insulation. Even though R-values may be technically higher in steel and fiberglass doors, other factors such as the empty space between the frames around glass and poor hanging may greatly lessen the insulation value of these doors down to an equal or lesser value than wood doors. Steel doors are advertised as providing strength and security. The down side is that a steel door is only as strong and secure as the thickness of the steel applied to the door. We have seen a demonstration with a long sharp knife cutting straight through the thin residential grade steel doors. Other drawbacks are denting, rusting, and regardless of insulation, heat or cold will travel throughout the steel to the inside door surface. Fiberglass composite is a good choice for doors that will have constant exposure to severe or humid condition, but fiberglass will still fall victim to the sun by becoming brittle over time. When combined with a nice stain and a durable finish the visual beauty of wood doors is hard to beat. With the proper care and some maintenance an exterior wood door can last fifty to one hundred years or more. Exterior wood doors are best manufactured from woods such as White Oak or Mahogany.
Once you have selected the material best suited to your area and its conditions, you must determine how simple or elaborate your design will be. How much room you have to work with will dictate the size of your entry system. Whether you install a simple single door or a dramatic double door entry unit with sidelites and a transom, keep in mind that small does not necessarily mean cheap and often will produce big results.
What type and style of door to choose will be your next decision. The choices of door type consist of flush, flat panel, raised panel and glass or a combination of panel and glass. The styles vary and are numerous. An example of style might be a raised four panel door with two 12” five lite sidelites and an 18” single lite transom attached. There is no exact formula to guide you, only what looks good to you.
When selecting your door or entry system you must not forget about function. A beautiful entrance will be of no use if it does not do its job of keeping out the elements while also adding security. Take some time to study your choices, and be sure to make solid common sense decisions. Check to make sure that the weatherstripping seals well with all the entry systems parts, look for good quality insulated glass, and make sure the bottom edge of the door lines up and interlocks with the threshold. The manufacturing processes and materials available today make it possible to make your selection based not only on climate but also security and design. Remember, the only limitation is your creativity.