Your front door is the focal point of your home; it’s the first thing people see when they visit, and it can offer great curb appeal. But there’s more to your front door than just how it looks. Performance, durability, and security are all things to consider if you’re looking to replace your front door.
Image courtesy of The Holmes Group
The Performance Basics
The most basic function of your door is that it should open and close properly without jamming or sticking. If it jams or sticks, it may not lock securely. When this happens, it’s always best to contact a professional to re-set the door and fix the issue.
Another important function of your front door is that it stops water from coming in, and air from leaking out. Check the weather stripping at the bottom of the door. If it has damage, or if you notice water coming in, it’s time for an upgrade. A drafty door is another telltale sign that a replacement is needed. Run your hand around the edges of your door, or light a candle and hold it to the door to see if the flame flickers. Remember – air escaping from your home is costing you on your energy bills!
Image courtesy of Effect Homes
How durable your front door is will depend on what material your door is made of. The top 4 materials are wood, fibreglass, vinyl and steel. Wood doors are more traditional, but they are losing their popularity because they’re not as durable as fibreglass or steel. They look great and definitely have curb appeal, but like all wood, they need to be maintained. The temperature can fluctuate so much in cold climates, causing the wood to shrink and swell. If the finish on the wood is not regularly maintained, the frame will rot away. Wood doors are also the most expensive option.
Vinyl doors are very common, durable and are often paired with the vinyl windows in whole home packages. You have an ensured match for the look and performance this way and the bigger the order the more you will save. When they first came out I used to see “chaulking” as UV rays degraded the finish on vinyl but that was dealt with a number of years ago and now UV resistant is a standard feature.
With fibreglass doors you’ll often get the look of wood, but for a fraction of the cost. Fibreglass doors come in a variety of textures and can be painted. They don’t warp, split, dent, rust or rot, and can be insulated which is great news for those living in harsh climates.
A steel door is still a popular alternative to a wood one, but the quality varies widely, so you need to do your research. Steel doors are made with a wood frame that’s filled with polyurethane foam, and covered with a steel skin. The foam acts as a thermal barrier and the wood frame acts to stiffen the slab and make it easy to attach hinges, handles and locks. But like the wood door, the wood frame needs to be maintained. One advantage of the steel door is that it is perfect for magnetic stripping. This will seal against the cold, just like in your fridge. Steel doors are strong, durable, don’t require a lot of maintenance, and are a good option when looking at cost.
Image courtesy of Rinaldi Homes
The most obvious function of your front door is to keep intruders out, so you’ll need a strong and durable door, with a solid frame that can’t be kicked in. Then there’s the locking system. You can have the best framing around your door, but if the locking system isn’t good, the deadbolt can snap.
I like an automated smart lock. This allows me to operate the lock remotely, comes with an integrated alarm to the deadbolt and lets me know if there is unauthorized access no matter what I am doing.
There are a number of other factors to consider if you’re shopping around for a new front door. Is your door a standard size or will you need a custom order? Does the framing need to be replaced? Is there any special work required for installation? No matter what your door costs, if it’s not properly installed, you could end up wasting your money. So, make it right – buy quality and call a professional for the installation.
Image courtesy of Claysam Homes