Entry Door Buying Guide
Whether you are building or renovating your home, entry and exterior doors can make a definite statement about you and your home. However, because these doors are exposed to the elements and typically are used frequently, they often show their age prematurely.
The Evolution of Entry Door Systems
Older doors are often made from wood or wood veneer, materials that have the warm, natural look and feel that many people prefer but are vulnerable to the weather and heavy wear & tear. Also many older metal doors are susceptible to surface peeling.
However, entry and exterior doors have changed significantly during the past 20 years. Homeowners may now choose from a wide-range of options. Hundreds of types, styles and sizes are available, from conventional wood models to high-tech alternatives made of fiberglass, composites, and steel.
One significant change with entry doors is that you can now buy an entire Entry System. With an entry system, a door is pre-hung in its frame, the door’s bottom edge interlocks with the threshold, and weather stripping encircles the door’s perimeter. The hinges and lockset are designed as part of the system, and sidelites are an integral part of the door. With a system, all components are designed and machined to work together reliably and with uncompromising energy efficiency.
- The most common
- May be the best choice if security and durability are top priorities
- Steel units are stronger than wood or fiberglass doors & won’t crack or warp
- Generally less expensive
- Generally energy efficient
- Natural-finish stock and custom wood doors come in oak, cherry, walnut, mahogany, maple, fir and pine
- Paint-grade doors come in several softwood varieties, such as pine and western hemlock
- Versatile and beautiful
- Generally tough and maintenance-free
- Generally energy efficient
- Smart choice for harsh or humid climates
- Can have the look of wood with wood-grain texturing and can be stained to match oak, cherry, walnut, and a variety of other woods
Why Should I Replace My Entry Door?
There are many benefits associated with replacing older inefficient doors in your home. For instance the vast improvements in door design and manufacturing techniques have made new doors extremely energy efficient, esthetically pleasing yet very affordable.
Save money on your energy bill
(especially handy in Atlantic Canada). A new door properly installed will keep the cold out and the heat in. This will cut the electricity, oil or gas costs to run your home.
Help the Environment
We all must take the environment seriously. By reducing overall heat loss in homes across the country, the less demand there will be on our energy grids. This will ultimately lead to less pollution in the environment.
With drafts eliminated your family will enjoy their home more.
With drafts removed opportunities for illness are reduced. Old doors often will leak allowing for moisture to enter the home. This moisture may lead to mold and mildew & their associated health problems.
Current doors and entry system designs can significantly improve the look of your home. The pride you have in your home can be matched to the look of your new doors. The entry to your home is one of the most visible areas, and it will be the first thing that visitors and guests see when they come to your home. An elegant entry can give your home a whole new look and appeal.
Some Best Practices:
Here are some best practice guidelines when searching for new or replacement entry doors and systems.
- Measure your old door to know the height and the width
- The choice of wood, fiberglass, or steel as a surface material has the greatest impact on a door’s appearance, cost, durability and security
- Ensure your new door is manufactured to rigorous standards of energy efficiency to ensure your home conserves heat in the winter and cold in the summer
- Look for the ENERGY STAR® rating
- An entry door or system can be seen from both the street and the inside of your house, so it is recommended that you look for entry doors or systems to match the look of your house from the outside, and the décor of the interior spaces
- Check that the weather stripping seals properly and that the threshold interlocks with the bottom edge of the door
- Look for low-e glazing on window units. For added security, some manufacturers offer glazing designed to resist break-ins. Decorative windows with real lead or brass caming cost more than ones with imitation
- High-quality steel and fiberglass doors have a thermal break – often a vinyl strip or part of the wood frame — that separates the inside and outside door skins. This prevents outside cold and heat from being conducted through the skin and frame, and frost from forming on the inside surface
- Make sure the door swings in the direction that you want it to before purchasing it
When Should I Replace My Entrance Door:
Generally speaking it may be time to replace your door or entry system if any of the following occur:
- Door has a series of cracks
- Door has become drafty and energy inefficient
- Door has delaminated
- Door jambs and/or threshold have begun to rot or decay
- Door sticks and is hard to open
- Door will not seal when closed
- Repairs will cost as much as new door
- You want to refresh the look of your home
- Door is leaking
- You wish to improve security