Front entry doors are one of the most important parts of your home, the first part that visitors see. Your front door should be stylish and well maintained, creating a great first impression and showing that you really take price in your home. Whether you opt for the security of steel doors or the traditional beauty of wood entry doors, choosing a durable, stylish and easily maintained door is of paramount importance.
When buying a new front entry door, there are a few things that you should keep in mind to make sure that you spend your money wisely, finding a door that performs every task you ask of it and more, combining security, durability and appearance with price.
The Appearance of Your Front Entry Door
One of the most important aspects when choosing a front door is the appearance, because the entry door is often the first part of the home encountered by guests. Your front door should match in with your home and tie your external design theme together. For example, a rustic entry door, complete with cast iron door furniture, will look great on a period home but will look horribly out of place on a modern dwelling.
Most of the common materials used to manufacture front doors have a huge range of styles and options available, but the most versatile medium is still wood. Apart from the choice between the different types of wood, from warm pine to rich mahogany, you can use a variety of paints, stains, varnishes and waxes to really enhance the beauty and make the grain of the wood the central feature of your front door.
If you want a door that is a little easier to maintain and is more secure than wood, steel doors and fiberglass entry doors are available in an imitation wood finish which, while not withstanding close attention, are good enough to enhance an architectural theme.
For modern homes, uPVC front doors or powder-coated steel are sleek and contemporary, and require little maintenance, keeping their appearance for many years.
Front Entry Door Furniture and Panels
The other decision with front entry doors is whether you want to include glass panels, which, apart from breaking up the panels and adding elegance, allow natural light to flood into the home. However, security and privacy concerns also come into play, determining whether glass panels are practical, although you can buy frosted or etched glass if you don’t want people looking into your home.
Most homeowners like to add a few twists and embellishments to their doors, and adding address plates, door handles, doorknobs and doorknockers can really individualize your home. You can choose anything from Victorian brass to Gothic iron, although you should ensure that the door furniture matches your theme; an ornate brass lions head looks overblown and ostentatious on a modern door!
We would all like to spend a few thousand dollars on an elaborate hardwood estate door, but many of us simply do not have that kind of money and have to shop around the lower end of the budget range. This really isn’t a problem, because you can find some excellent discount front entry doors, but you have to remember that cheap does not mean the same as good value; if you buy a cheap entry door that need replacing after a couple of years, then you haven’t saved any money.
If you opt for low price wooden doors, bear in mind that you will have to paint or varnish them frequently, especially in harsher climates. Steel doors and uPVC doors are often fitted with security locks and handles, and they are one area that you should not skimp upon. Avoid doors with hardware manufactured by companies with no track record and look for the reputable names, such as Chubb, Yale, ASSA and Schlage.
Shopping online can uncover some real bargains, because online retailers do not have the high overheads faced by a bricks and mortar retailer and can pass bulk discounts down to their customers.
Security and Durability
These two aspects are closely related, and are part of the process of buying a front door that is sturdy and secure enough to stand up to the attentions of criminals, while shaking off the worst that the elements can throw at it. Wooden doors can suffer in extreme climates, developing rot in wet conditions, and shrinking and warping in the heat of the summer. Fiberglass doors are extremely elegant and weather-resistant, but can be susceptible to brute force attacks. Vinyl doors are very resilient to harsh weather, but strong direct sunlight can make the vinyl brittle and discolored.
In areas where security is the overriding concern, steel or vinyl front doors are the best option, giving you peace of mind knowing that you are doing everything possible to protect your family and property.
The durability of your door also depends upon how often it will be used. For example, many homeowners rarely use their front door, preferring to use the rear door for day-to-day entry, meaning that you may be able to get away with a slightly cheaper discount front door. On the other hand, if your front door is going to be subjected to constant use, then it is a good idea to spend a little extra and buy a quality door that can shake off mistreatment.
Entry Door Insulation
For many homes, keeping warm in winter or cool in summer is of paramount concern, and ensuring that your front entry door is properly insulated is a major part of this. For instance, steel doors are notorious for transmitting heat and raising your utility bills in the winter, as they allow a significant percentage of the heat to escape from your house.
Vinyl front doors are the best-insulated and let very little heat escape, although fiberglass is also a decent option. Wooden doors are good insulators, but you must make sure that there are no gaps between the door and the frame or between the door and the floor, because these dramatically reduce the efficiency. If you opt for French doors, make sure that the glass panels are double or triple glazed for extra energy efficiency.
In crowded neighborhoods, well-insulated doors also keep the noise out, allowing you to enjoy a little peace and quiet in your own home.
Front Entry Door Pros and Cons ?
Steel Front Entry Doors
- Very secure, especially when fitted with stout, three point locks
- Very reasonably priced
- Powered coated steel doors resist weather and physical damage very well
- Can be covered with a wooden veneer and fitted with door furniture
- Steel doors are very heavy, so they are not a great option for the elderly or families with young children
- Do not have the elegance of wooden or fiberglass doors
- Poor insulators
- Steel doors are difficult to customize with door furniture
- The most elegant option, available in a huge array of styles and finishes
- Cover the full budget range, from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars
- Reasonably well insulated, as long as there are no gaps around the frame
- Easy to customize with door furniture and other embellishments
- Need frequent treatment or adverse weather will cause them to rot, warp and crack
- Are susceptible to brute force if a criminal tries to break in, so look for three point locking and high quality locks
Fiberglass Entry Doors
- Can be finished in a wood texture, looking almost as authentic and stylish as real wood
- Very well insulated and able to shake off adverse weather
- Durable under normal use, although they don’t offer the same level of security as steel doors
- Fiberglass doors are still extremely expensive, although prices are falling as they become more popular
- Difficult to customize and add embellishments and fixtures
- It is very difficult to find a manufacturer who will custom build a door if you have a non-standard frame size
Vinyl Front Entry Doors
- Very cheap to buy and easy to fit
- Extremely well insulated against cold and noise
- Easy for children and the elderly to use
- Can throw off bad weather, although h bright sunlight can cause the uPVC to deteriorate
- Very secure if fitted with high quality locks and internal locking mechanisms
- Are not the best looking doors and can lack character and individuality
- Difficult to customize with door fixtures and fittings
Front Entry Doors – Finding the Perfect Combination
Buying the best front entry door for your home is a matter of knowing exactly what to look for, allowing you to find the perfect type. A well-chosen door will help you to impress visitors and protect your family and property, the combination of functions making the front entry door one of the most important parts of your home.
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