Rose Tarlow is noted for pointing out that “if eyes are the windows to our souls, then windows are the eyes into the soul of a house.” Following that same logic, what are entry doors, then? They’re really the direct pathway into the heart of your home. And because of this, it’s important for you to choose the right entry doors.
The most prominent entry door for most houses is the front door, but it’s also possible to have side doors or back doors. An entry door is just that – it’s any walk-in point of entry for your home. And the right entry doors do more than just allow for easy access. They also provide for enhanced security and privacy, plus they add to your home’s curb appeal.
Leading door manufacturers like Pella and ProVia offer a nice selection of entry door products in a range of materials, styles, textures, and functionalities. But when homeowners are shopping for a new or replacement entry door, one of the first things to decide is which material choice will work best for your personal preferences and budget. The most popular materials for entry doors in America are steel, fiberglass, and wood; let’s take a closer look at each.
Fiberglass entry doors are a practical choice for many homeowners. These products range in price from moderate all the way up to some premium options that come with a realistic-looking, embossed wood-grain texture. Fiberglass doors handle wear-and-tear better than steel, they’re unlikely to dent, and can be painted or stained. One negative about fiberglass is that it can crack as a result of a forceful impact.
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Steel doors are typically the most common, accounting for roughly half the entry door market in the U.S. In addition to being very durable and low-maintenance, another main attraction to steel doors is the fact that they’re the least expensive out of the three major entry door materials. On the other hand, steel doors aren’t always as weather-resistant as fiberglass or wood doors, and they can be vulnerable to denting. Door scratches can also lead to rust if they aren’t addressed in a prompt fashion.
Wood tends to be the most expensive entry door material option, but it also delivers the authentic aesthetic value that many other materials seek to mimic. Wood is also a natural insulator, and solid wood entry doors are indeed an energy-efficient choice. Wood doesn’t dent either, and scratches are relatively simple to repair. In addition to its higher up-front cost, wood also requires more regular maintenance than either steel or fiberglass entry door products.
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There’s a wide variety among modern entry door products these days, to the point that it can almost be said that no two doors are exactly alike. There are options for panel designs, glass features, grille patterns, transoms, and more. As a general rule of thumb, the more elaborate the design, the higher the price tag for your entry door will be. Here are a few features that homeowners like to consider when shopping for entry doors.
Glass windows, inserts, and sidelights are certainly an attractive feature to consider, but it should also be noted that including glass features will also add to your entry door’s cost. If you’re looking to include some glass in your door that’s included anywhere near the doorknob or handle, you should definitely also plan to include deadbolt locks for the sake of safety. For that matter, deadbolts are a smart choice to include for any entry door, regardless of any other features. Glass inserts can also result in reducing the insulating value of your door, but you can help to negate this offset by going with double-pane or triple-pane glass.
Rails and stiles are the horizontal and vertical parts that actually serve to brace a wood door. One thing to be mindful of is the fact that wooden rails and stiles – even those made of solid wood – can eventually bow or warp. To address this potential issue in a proactive manner, it’s a good idea to look for rails and stiles made with laminated, veneered wood.
An entry door with an adjustable threshold tends to be able to maintain its weather-tightness better over time. As the door settles, expands, or contracts over time, you can simply adjust the threshold to keep a tight seal. Otherwise, it might be necessary for you to add a new sweep to the bottom at some point to help prevent the intrusion of any moisture and/or drafts.
Steel entry doors don’t typically offer a ton of style options, but if you open up your potential selection list to include fiberglass and wood entry doors as well, then the opportunities for style customization increases considerably. Here are a few of the more popular entry door styles on the market today.
In the same sense that “normal” is just a setting on your dryer, the term “traditional” can sometimes be hard to define when it comes to entry door styles – in many cases, “traditional” is in the eye of the beholder. Even so, traditional exterior doors do typically have some things in common. They’re typically more simple and symmetrical, include some number of raised panels, and have pre-hung hardware.
Modern exterior doors usually emphasize a more minimalist approach in terms of design – there’s usually not a lot of scrollwork or embellishments. They’re also recognized by sleek, straight lines and geometric details. Modern doors are more well-suited to contemporary homes, and they often include long, straight door handles, stainless steel features, and if the glass is included, it’s usually in a geometric, repeated design.
The craftsman style is a popular look for homes ranging from cottages to large mountain retreats. These doors are either made from real wood or embossed wood-grain fiberglass, and often features straight lines with a look that’s Shaker-inspired. Some craftsman doors feature a window or larger glass insert at the top, usually outlined in wood. There may also be two or three raised, rectangular panels across the bottom.
Rustic doors can commonly be found on homes or cabins featuring wood, brick, or stone exteriors. These doors are usually made of wood, and may be either traditionally rectangular or arched. These doors are often thick and heavy, and they also have bulky, oversized hardware to match. Raised panels, clear glass, and scored lines can also be found on rustic doors.
The arched style can overlap with over entry door styles. The distinction is that arched doors have a curved shape at the top, rather than simply defaulting to flat lines. Arched doors can also include one or more of these common features: bold windows, double doors, and/or intricate or vintage hardware. Arched doors are almost always made from natural wood.
Skywalker Windows & Siding only features & installs the best exterior features for your home or business, including premier door products from Pella, ProVia, and West Window Corporation. And no matter what type of doors you’re looking for, Skywalker has all the needed tools, experience, and know-how to make sure your doors are installed right the first time! Connect with us today at (336) 265-9595, and experience the Skywalker Windows & Siding (& Doors!) difference for yourself!
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