Monday , January 17 2022

Entry Door Buying Guide

Entry Door Buying Guide

Often more than just front doors, entry doors can also be used in back or on the side of a home. It is only because the front entrance of the home demands the most attention from the street that it gets the most attention in the marketplace.

No matter where you put it, here is what to consider when purchasing an entry door according to


  • Online: Whether you ultimately purchase at a store or online, both options are important for initial research. Save time and money by doing some research online and by visiting a store to see what you’re buying in person. For instance, manufacturer sites have good descriptions of materials as well as full product catalogs. They also can help you find a local retailer, and even if you can’t find the exact door you want, similar models will give you a good idea of its overall construction and finish.

  • Energy Efficiency: Wood doors generally fall behind steel and fiberglass doors when it comes to insulating value. When models are Energy Star-qualified, it means they have been independently tested and certified, and often feature tighter-fitting frames and energy-efficient cores. For Energy Star-qualified doors with glass, this means they often boast double- or triple-panel insulating glass to reduce heat transfer. What you may not know is that doors are a tiny part of the surface area of your home, meaning you may not save as much as you think. Entry doors typically don’t allow significant amounts of warm air to escape—heat is usually lost through air leaks around the door not through the door itself.

  • Installation: Also known as “door systems,” entry doors come pre-hung and are often pre-drilled for a door knob and deadbolt. If you are simply replacing a door, rather than having it replaced as part of a larger remodeling project, you most likely want the new door to be the same size as the old one. If you do choose a larger door or add sidelights, the door frame around the door will need redone — a job best done by a contractor. A pro may also be needed to install same-size doors, unless you’re a skilled carpenter.

  • Safety: Many crooks kick doors in to access a home. But unless your door is hollow, it isn’t the door itself that allows burglars in. It actually takes a quality door lock to deter home invasions and burglaries. Overall, there is little difference in strength among door materials. However, beefed-up locks and strike plates can greatly increase a door’s kick-in resistance. Other ways to strengthen an exterior door:

    • Use a lock with a 1-inch-long deadbolt and a reinforced metal box strike.

    • Use 3-inch-long mounting screws so they go into the framing beyond the door jam.

    • Do not forget about the door that leads into your home from the garage.


  • Fiberglass: Available with a smooth surface or an embossed wood-grain texture, fiberglass is a practical choice for most people. An edge treatment on some models makes them look more like real wood.

    • Pros: Resist wear and tear better than steel; can be painted or stained; are more moderately priced; dent-resistant; require little maintenance.

    • Cons: Can crack under severe impact.

  • Steel: The most popular door type, this type of door accounts for about half of the market.

    • Pros: Relatively inexpensive, but can offer the security and weather resistance of fiberglass and wood doors; require little maintenance; energy-efficient, but adding glass panels cuts insulating value.

    • Cons: Do not resist weather as well as fiberglass and wood doors; prone to dents, which are hard to fix; scratches may rust if not painted right away.

  • Wood: Provides the high-end look that other materials try hard to imitate.

    • Pros: Solid-wood doors are best at resisting wear and tear; least likely to dent; scratches are easy to repair.

    • Cons: Relatively expensive; require regular painting or varnishing to look their best.


Dozens of options for panel and glass designs, grille patterns, sidelights and transoms are offered by today’s manufacturers. Keep in mind that the more elaborate the door design, the more pricey the door will be. Here are some features to consider when shopping around:

  • Adjustable Threshold: An important feature that helps keep any door weather-tight over time. Without it, a new sweep to the bottom of the door to seal out rain and drafts would be needed eventually.

  • Glass: Although attractive, glass inserts definitely add to the cost of a door. They also cut the door’s insulating value, although double- or triple-paned glass can reduce that effect. If you’re purchasing a door with glass near the doorknob or with glass sidelights, be cautious. Consider adding a double-cylinder dead-bolt lock, where a key is needed to open it whether you’re inside or outside. This will deter a burglar as they will not simply be able to break the glass and reach in to open the door. Keep in mind that some municipalities ban double-cylinder locks because they may make it harder to get out in an emergency. Check with your local building department, and always leave a key near the interior lock.

  • Rails and Stiles: Otherwise known as horizontal and vertical parts that brace a wood door, rails and stiles that are made from solid wood may eventually bow or warp. Instead, look for ones made of laminated wood covered with veneer, which provide the highest resistance to warping.

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