What greets visitors to your home before you do? It’s your front door. An attractive main entrance door says, “welcome” and stands as the focal point of your home. The most common choices for exterior doors are steel, wood, and fiberglass. Here is some basic information on each of these options.
Steel — most popular
Most exterior doors (90%) installed in homes today are made of steel. Metal doors are durable, secure, and well-insulated. They are the most resistant to the effects of weather, and their strength gives an added measure of security. They are also attractively priced. That doesn’t mean that choosing a steel door means settling for a plain look. You can get a range of door finishes and multiple decorative looks with glass and brass details. About the only thing that can detract from a steel door is that over time, it can become marred and dented.
Wood — looks and tradition
With all the features and benefits of steel doors, you might wonder why anyone would choose anything else. Owners of restored older homes who want to stay faithful to the period may view a wood door as a necessity in order to maintain their home’s authenticity. A homeowner of a new home built in a traditional style may prefer the visual integrity of a wood door. Although wood doors are subject to warping, expanding and contracting, and cost more, they have a richness and elegance that transcends time.
Fiberglass — best of both
Exterior doors made of fiberglass can look like wood, yet have the qualities of steel. They are durable with a compression molded composite surface that won’t dent, crack, split, or splinter. They resist shrinking, swelling, and warping with temperature changes and the solid polyurethane foam core gives greater insulating value than wood. Prices of fiberglass doors fall somewhere between steel and wood.
All three door options: steel, wood, and fiberglass are available in different styles, configurations, and sizes. Regardless of which you choose, your front door will accent the distinctive character of your home for years to come.
In the previous paragraphs, we discussed the choices of materials for exterior doors. Once you’ve selected your door you can turn your attention to the hardware — and that can mean more than just picking out the basic doorknob.
Here are some other options:
- A decorative doorknob
- A doorknob with a deadbolt or keyless entry system incorporated into one unit
- A doorknob with an ornamental or protective plate around the keyhole
- A door handle with a thumb latch
- A lever set
There is other hardware that you can add to your door including a kick plate, letterbox, doorknocker, door viewer (peephole), decorative nameplate, house numbers, and doorbell.
Even a relatively plain door can be enhanced with a touch of brass, and bright brass and antique brass are popular favorites for door hardware. Other finishes such as pewter, stainless steel, copper, and wrought iron are also available. If you have an older home, do a little searching on the Internet and you’ll find sites devoted to antique looking door hardware. Whatever finish you choose your door hardware should be treated to resist corrosion and tarnishing. Adding several pieces of hardware in the same metal and finish will give your exterior door a consistent unified look.