New front door? think sturdy, stylish and energy efficient
A beautiful new front door not only adds significant curb appeal to your home, but it can also provide a great deal of satisfaction to homeowners as well--you see the door every time you leave or enter your home. One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a front door is to select a style and look that complements your home.
Front door styles and materials
Front doors typically are made of wood, steel or fiberglass. Each has its benefits:
- Wood doors: Wood has a more traditional look than other types of front doors. Wood doors are usually made with a solid frame with panels to offset swelling and shrinking that occurs with seasonal climate changes. Wood doors are a natural fit with many different classic architectural styles, such as ranch, split-level, colonial, cottage or Victorian homes. Wood doors are best installed in sheltered entryways where they are protected from the elements.
- Fiberglass: Fiberglass front doors have a wood grain texture that is molded into the door and match well with many different architectural styles. Fiberglass doors also are a good fit for areas that have strong climate fluctuations because they do not shrink or expand with the weather. Fiberglass doors are a popular choice for homeowners who want a new front door that provides an added sense of security and longevity.
- Steel doors: In many parts of the country, steel doors are more popular than wood doors. The steel frames are extremely strong and can take nearly any type of abuse Mother Nature doles out. Steel front doors are found in many tract and semi-custom homes, and they also work well with urban contemporary home styles.
Aluminum and composite materials also are used in entry door construction. Entry doors often also include sidelites and square or elliptical transoms.
There are many different trusted door manufacturers, and your local woodworking shops also can manufacture custom front doors. Some of the most trusted names in the industry are Jeld-Wen, Masonite, Pella and Anderson.
Durability and energy efficiency
One thing to keep in mind with wood doors is that they can be scratched or dented more easily than other types of doors, so they might not be the best type of door in areas of high use. Fiberglass and steel doors, however, are extremely durable and are very resistant to nicks, dings and scratches, so they are a good fit for high-traffic areas.
Insulated fiberglass and steel doors typically offer better energy efficiency than wood doors, but since the entryway is a small part of your building's envelope, energy savings are minimal. Heat is usually lost through poor weatherstripping, not the door itself.
Pricing for a front door
Front door costs can range from marginal to extremely expensive depending on the type of material, complexity of construction, and options such as leaded or stained glass. Cost for a plain, smooth-faced fiberglass or steel door can be as low as $250, while custom-made, double-wide wooden front doors can cost a few thousand dollars. Wood doors cost more by species; for example, single mahogany or cherrywood doors usually start at around $1,000. Wood doors can be stained in an infinite range of colors, and other types of doors can be painted in any color desired.
A professional contractor or salesperson can help you define the style that works best for your home, as well as choose a door that fits your budget. Use the form on this page to find a local contractor who can help you choose and install the proper type of entryway door.