The doors that you enter must be durable enough to withstand wind as well as rain, scorching heat, and would-be intruders, however, they should be attractive enough to make an excellent first impression. Unfortunately, achieving these needs isn’t easy for many front doors. The majority of older doors are constructed of wood or wood veneers that both break, crack, or delaminate over time, exposed to the elements. Metal doors don’t last forever either, as the surface of some older doors may begin to peel.
If that’s the case for your front door or you would like to exchange a solid door for one with glass panels which provide more light, you’ll find many options. There are doors made of wood that can withstand the elements better than previous versions, as well as metal and fiberglass ones which look similar to wood, but are more secure and usually cost less.
How to Replacing a Front Door
Sometimes, replacing a doors means simply exchanging one door, which is referred to as a slab, or blank one, for another. However, in certain situations you’ll have to remove and replace the old door frame, which includes the threshold and the jambs for the door particularly if the wood members have begun to rot.
Even if the original door frame is good but the wall studs the door is nailed to may become sloping and move out of square. This makes it hard in closing and opening the doors. If you’re trying to make a wood door to fit an out of place frame, you’ll need plane the top and bottom edges, or perhaps trim the edges to ensure the door can be hung correctly. This is only an option for doors made of wood; metal and fiberglass doors can’t be cut or planed.
Prehung Front Doors
Most new doors are prehung that is, the door hangs on hinges that are part of a brand new frame (these systems also include some type of weatherstripping). Prehung doors are a great option if your old frame is bad or if you’re getting rid of the frame because you’re trying to increase the opening.
If you’re replacing the old door with a prehung model be sure to determine whether you need a left- side or right hand door. Place yourself in the doorway, and look outward. When the locking mechanism is on your right, you have an right-hand entrance.
To select the appropriate jamb size, measure the width and height of the existing door jamb between the inside sides of your casing. You can add 1/2 inch the frame length and 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch to the width. The dimension of the door’s width is measured across its entire length. Most doors are sold as 3 inches (36 inches) or wider.
Door Replacement Kits
An alternative to replacing the entire frame is using door replacement kits, such as Replace Door Systems from Pease Industries. In this case, the door is prehung within a small steel frame that is connected to the existing one. The benefits include simple installation as well as an added level of security from the steel frame. However, these kits slightly reduce the opening of the original and are available in only a few sizes and cannot be used over jambs that have rotted.
Front Door Designs
Most manufacturers offer dozens of door styles. there’s a variety at lumberyards, home centers and door dealers. Or, design your personal door. Some manufacturers allow you to specify the types of panels and glass options you want. However, these doors need to be custom ordered and will require between two and eight weeks to arrive. A third option is to let a local woodworker or millwork shop design and build a door made of wood according to your specifications. However, there are disadvantages to this method, namely the time and expense.
Best Materials For Front Doors
Perhaps the most important choice is what the door you choose to use is composed of. Many doors blend several materials; as an example, a lot of fiberglass and steel doors have wooden frames. However, it’s the material on the outside that most affects appearance the durability, appearance, security and cost.
Doors made of wood are among the most popular. Versatility and beauty are their strengths. Natural-finish and custom wood doors come in oak, mahogany, cherry, walnut and maple as well as fir and pine. Also, paint-grade door options are available in a variety of softwood types, including pine and western hemlock.
Many stock wood doors consist of wood-veneer skins that are layered over an engineered wood core. This configuration minimizes their expansion as well as contraction which cause warping. With a price of £200 or less to begin, they’re a low-cost alternative to solid-wood doors. Choose tough furniture-grade wood with a minimum thickness of 1/16 inch Anything less thick will break too easily.
Companies such as Lamson-Taylor, Pella, and Simpson stop arching and warping by joining two pieces of wood to form those stiles and rails. Split construction is also utilized for door panels, however they come with an insulation core. This creates a wood door with an insulation value of around R-5, compared to R-2 for conventional versions. The doors are priced at £300 between £300 and £500.
Solid wood doors are the most costly. A 6-foot-wide by 8-foot-high 6-panel pine doors costs at minimum £600, while hardwood doors can be more costly. Estimate around £2,000 to 4000 for a total system which includes a prehung door with its frame, hinges, locksets, the weatherstripping, and sidelights.
When looking for prefinished wooden doors, make sure you choose durable colors and clear finishes like polyurethane. Sheens with high gloss provide the best protection for doors that are painted. No matter what finish you pick, apply it to the sides of the door at the top and bottom. This prevents a wooden door from absorbing moisture and expanding.
Also look for careful detailing. As a rule, the more intricate the carvings and moldings, and the larger and more thick the rails and stiles the better the door. This is also true for the thickness of the panel. For example, the high-end doors of Nord feature 1 3/8-inch panel compared with the 9/16- and 3/4-inch panels on low-end models.
A steel door is your best option if security and durability are important to you. Steel doors are more durable than fiberglass or wood doors and won’t be damaged or break or. Damages or dings that occur on these doors can be removed and puttied with an auto-body repair kit.
Steel doors are also the least. Prices start at about £150 for a 3-foot-wide x 6-foot, 8-inch-tall door that is not fitted with glazing or hardware. A steel-door design with sidelights and top-quality hardware will be nearly the same cost of a wood-door system however.
All doors made of steel have an inner frame that is made of wood , or for better strength steel. The cavities within the frame have been filled up with high-density insulation. The best doors usually feature a skin of 24-gauge and frames made of steel, although some offer heavier-gauge steel (represented by a smaller number). The surface usually is smooth or features embossed wood-grain patterns.
Most steel doors have a baked-on polyester finish that requires regular repainting. High-end versions come with a vinyl finish similar to the one on vinyl-clad windows to give them a better resistance to weather. Some even have a stainable wood-fiber coat or, for really high-end versions the laminated wood veneer.
Steel doors are typically part of prehung systems. However, if you’re lifting the old door off its hinges and putting up a new one, remember that steel doors have hinges that are attached or holes for hinges predrilled. The hinges area on the door should match the hinge area on the existing door frame. Certain doors have an additional hole that is predrilled for the hinges, which permits minor changes to the hinge before you hang your door.
Also, if you opt for an embossed wood grain, ensure it runs horizontally across the rails and vertically on stiles. Finally, check the warranty. Certain manufacturers will cancel it in the event that you replace an aluminium storm doors with that steel one. The reason for this is that the heat buildup between doors can cause the finish to peel.
Fiberglass Composite Doors
Fiberglass-composite doors last a long time and are maintenance-free, making them the ideal choice for homes with harsh or humid climates. They replicate the appearance of wood using wood-grain texturing and can be stained to match oak, cherry as well as walnut as well as a range of other woods. Beneath their molded surface is an underlying structure of wooden stiles and rails with wood edges to the lockset. The framework’s voids are filled with polyurethane foam insulation.
Fiberglass-composite doors come with long-lasting warranties. For example, Pease Industries backs its doors for as long as you own the home. Because installation is a factor in longevity, these extended warranty periods are typically limited to full entry systems, which include the frame.
An additional benefit is affordability. Expect to shell out around £200 for a 3-foot-wide , 6-foot 8-inch tall paneled door with no glazing or hardware. However, since accessories cost identical regardless of material and a fully-loaded fiberglass entry system will cost about £4,000.
For doors made of steel, make sure that the embossed wood grain pattern runs horizontally on the rails and vertically along the stiles just like the real wood grain. If you’re installing only the door, make sure the hinges line up with the frame you have already installed.
Doors made of aluminium, similar to steel units, use an insulation core covered by a metal skin. In contrast to other door designs However, the aluminium models are exclusively sold through dealers. The door is made to suit your opening.
Manufacturers have a wide range of options. The doors in the Armaclad collection from Hess Manufacturing, for example, come in dozens of styles and colors with wood-grain or smooth finishes.
Aluminium doors are baked-on enamel finish, which means they never need painting and will not rust — which is the reason for the 20-year guarantees which are standard. It is also possible to make sure that the color and style of your door by installing the Aluminium storm doors. All these benefits don’t come at a cost, but. At prices that start at about £600 doors made of aluminium can be the most expensive alternative to solid wood.
How to Buy a Front Entry Door
No matter if you purchase the door alone or the complete door and frame system, keep these shopping tips in mind:
For complete entry systems make sure that all parts are from the same company. (Many systems are assembled by distributors and contain parts that do not always work.) Make sure that the weatherstripping seals are in place as well as that the threshold interlocks with the bottom edge of the door.
Check for low-e-glazing on windows. For additional security, certain manufacturers provide glass that is designed to deter burglaries. Decorative windows with real brass caming or lead cost more than ones with the fake materials.
Quality fiberglass and steel doors feature a thermal break usually a vinyl strip or a part of the wood frame that creates a barrier between the inside and outside skins of the doors. This stops outside cold and heat from passing through the frame and skin and prevents frost from developing on the inside.
The right door for your front will result in a smoother operation, less upkeep, as well as energy savings. You’ll also have an elegant entrance that creates a stunning first impression for the years to follow.