Doors for entryways must be strong enough to withstand winds or rain, hot sun and intruders who might be in the area, and yet attractive enough to give an impressive first impression. Unfortunately, meeting those needs isn’t easy for the majority of front doors. Most older ones are made of wood or wood veneers, both of which warp, crack, and delaminate in the years of exposure to the elements. Metal doors won’t last forever. The surface of older steel doors may peel.
Whether that describes your front door, or you are looking to swap the solid doors for one with glass panels which provide more light, you’ll find plenty of options available. There are modern wood doors that can withstand the elements better than the older ones and fiberglass and metal doors that look like wood but provide greater security and typically cost less.
How to Restore a Front Door
Sometimes replacing a door means simply exchanging one door, called a slab or blank in exchange for a new. However, in certain situations it is necessary to take out and replace the door’s frame, which includes the door jambs and threshold particularly if the wooden members are beginning to rot.
Although the door’s frame is sturdy however the wall studs which it’s attached to may be sagging and fall out of square. This can make it difficult in closing and opening the doors. If you’re trying to make a wood door that is compatible with an out-of-kilter frame, you’ll have to plan the top and the bottom edges or even cut the edges to ensure that the door hangs properly. This is the only option for wood doors; fiberglass and metal doors aren’t able to be cut or planed.
Prehung Front Doors
The majority of new doors are prehung and that means the door is mounted on hinges in a frame that is new (these systems also include some form or weatherstripping). Prehung doors are an ideal option for frames that is bad or if you’re getting rid of the frame because you’d like to widen the opening.
If you’re replacing your existing door with a prehung unit be sure to determine whether you need a left- and right-hand doors. Stand in the doorway and turn your back to the outside. If you see the lockset to your right, you have a right-hand door.
To determine the right jamb size, take measurements of the height and width of the door jamb between the edge of the casing. You can add 1/2 inch the frame height , and add 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch for the length. The length of the door can be measured across its face. Most doors are sold as 3-0 (36 inches) or greater.
Door Replacement Kits
An alternative to replacing the entire frame is to employ door replacement kits, such as Replace Door Systems from Pease Industries. Here, the door is prehung on the frame of steel that is connected to the existing one. The benefits include simple installation as well as the additional security provided by the steel frame. However, these kits slightly reduce the opening that they originally had as they are available only in several sizes and cannot be placed over jambs that are rotting.
Front Door Designs
The majority of manufacturers offer a range of door styles, and you’ll find a broad selection at home centers, lumberyards, along with door sales. Create your own door. Certain manufacturers let you choose the type of panels and glass options you want. However, these doors need to be custom ordered and will are typically two to eight weeks to arrive. A third option is having a local woodworker or millwork shop create a wooden door in accordance with your requirements. However, there are disadvantages to this method, namely time and cost.
Best Materials For Front Doors
Perhaps the most important decision is the type of door constructed of. Most combine several materials; for example, many steel and fiberglass doors are constructed with wooden frames. But it’s the surface material that is the one that affects the appearance quality, durability, security and also the price.
Doors made of wood are the most popular. Versatility and beauty are their strength. Natural-finish stock and custom wood doors are available in oak cherry, walnut, mahogany, maple, fir, and pine. There are also paint-grade doors with a variety of softwood species, including western and pine hemlock.
A large portion of the doors in stock are made up of veneers of wood over an engineered-wood core. This setup reduces the expansion and contraction that cause warping. At about £200 or so for the initial phase this is a reasonable alternative to solid-wood doors. Look for tough furniture-grade wood at least 1/16 inch thick; anything thinner damages too easily.
Companies such as Lamson-Taylor, Pella, and Simpson discourage Bowing and warping by laminated two pieces of wood to form the stiles and rails. Split construction is also used for door panels, however they feature an insulation core. This creates a wood door with an insulation value of about R-5 compared with R-2 for conventional versions. These doors run between £300 between £300 and £500.
Solid-wood doors are the most expensive. A 6-foot-wide by 8-foot-high, six-panel pine door runs at least £600, while doors made of hardwood are more expensive. Expect around £2,000 to 4000 for a total system which includes a prehung door with its frame and hinges, locksets, doors with sidelights, as well as weatherstripping.
If you are looking for prefinished wood doors, look for durable stained and clear finishes such as polyurethane. Sheens with high gloss provide the best protection for painted doors. No matter what finish you pick, apply it on the sides of the door at the top and bottom. This stops a wood door from taking in moisture and swelling.
Be sure to look for precise detailing. In general, the more intricate the carvings and moldings, and the wider and thicker the rails and stiles the more attractive the door. It is the same with the thickness of the panel. For instance, the premium doors made by Nord come with 1 3/8-inch-wide panels contrasted with the 9/16 and 3/4-inch panels found on lower-end models.
Steel doors are your ideal choice if security and durability are important to you. They are more sturdy than fiberglass or wood doors, and they won’t break or be warped. In the event of dents or dings, the doors can be removed and puttied using an auto body repair kit.
Steel doors also cost the least: Prices start around £150 for a 3 foot-wide x 6-foot 8-inch-tall paneled door without glass or hardware. A steel-door with sidelights and top-quality hardware can nearly equal the cost of a wood-door however.
All doors made of steel have an inner frame that is made of wood , or for stronger strength, steel. The frame’s cavities have been filled up with high-density insulation. High-end doors generally include a 24 gauge skin and a steel frame, though there are some that offer stronger-gauge steel (represented by a lower). The skin is typically smooth or has embossed wood-grain designs.
The majority of steel doors are coated with a baked-on polyester finish that requires regular repainting. The most expensive versions have an elastomeric coating that is similar to the ones on windows that are vinyl-clad for greater weather resistance. Some even have a stainable wood-fiber coating , or on more expensive versions, a laminated-wood veneer.
Doors made of steel usually form part of prehung systems. But if you’re simply taking the door off its hinges and hanging an entirely new one, you must remember that steel doors come with hinges attached or holes for the hinges predrilled. The hinges on the door must match the hinges on the frame of the door. Certain doors have an additional hole that is predrilled for the hinges. This allows for minor modifications to be done prior to installing the doors.
Also, if you select an embossed wood grain, make sure it runs horizontally on the rails and vertically along the stiles. Make sure you check the warranty. Certain manufacturers may void the warranty when you put in an aluminium storm door alongside the steel door. The reason is that heat accumulation between the doors may result in the exterior peeling.
Fiberglass-composite doors are durable and maintenance-free and are an ideal choice for those living in harsh or humid climates. They replicate the appearance of wood through texturing using wood and can stain to complement cherry, oak as well as walnut as well as a range of other woods. Below their molded surfaces is a framework of rails and stiles made of wood, including edges of wood for the lockset. The voids of the framework are filled with polyurethane foam insulation.
Fiberglass-composite doors carry long warranties. For instance, Pease Industries backs its models for as long as you own the property. Since installation has an impact on longevity, these lengthy warranties are usually only available on full entry systems, which include the frame.
The affordability is another benefit. Expect to pay £200 for a 3-foot-wide , 6-foot 8-inch-tall door that is not equipped with hardware or glass. Since accessories are priced identical regardless of material the fully loaded fiberglass entry door can cost as much as £4,000.
Like steel doors ensure that the embossed woodgrain pattern runs horizontally on the rails and vertically on the stiles, just like the real wood grain. And if you’re only installing the door, be sure the hinges line up with the frame that’s already in place.
Like steel doors, have an insulation core covered by an exterior skin made of metal. In contrast to other door designs, however, aluminium versions are only sold through dealers. Every door is built specifically to fit your specific opening.
Manufacturers have a wide range of options. The doors of the Armaclad collection by Hess Manufacturing, for example, come in dozens of styles and colors, with smooth or wood-grain finishes.
Aluminium doors have a baked-on enamel finish, which means they don’t require painting and don’t rust — which is the reason for the 20-year guarantees that are typical. You can also match the color and style of your door by installing the aluminium storm door. The benefits of aluminium storm doors aren’t inexpensive, however. Starting at £600 doors made of aluminium can be the most expensive option, following solid wood.
How to Purchase a Front Entry Door
If you decide to purchase the door on its own or the complete door and frame system Keep these shopping strategies in mind
To ensure that the entry system is complete Make sure all the components originate from the same maker. (Many systems are constructed by distributors with parts that may not be compatible.) Make sure the weatherstripping seals properly in addition to ensuring that the threshold has a lock with the lower edge of the door.
Look for low-e glazing on window units. To increase security, certain manufacturers have glass made to deter burglaries. The windows that are decorative with real lead or brass caming cost more than ones with the fake stuff.
Doors made of high-quality fiberglass and steel have a thermal break -which is usually a vinyl strip or a piece of wood frame that separates the inside and outside door skins. This stops temperatures and cold outside from being conducted through the frame and skin as well as preventing frost from building on the inside.
Selecting the best front door will result in a smoother operation, less maintenance as well as energy savings. Also, you’ll enjoy a classy entrance that will make a good first impression that will last for years to come.