New front entry door with windows.

First impressions count, whether it’s because you’re selling your home, or simply welcoming first-time visitors. But did you know that curb appeal should include your front door? Aesthetics are the number one reason homeowners upgrade their entryway, but it’s not the only consideration.

Problems with Older Doors

An aging exterior door is more prone to warping (if wood), air leakage, and water infiltration. When the home was constructed, and consequently when the door was installed, also determines quality and energy efficiency. Newer construction, say within the past 20-30 years, may include a builder-grade door of lesser quality over a solid wood door, which was more typical of a home built in the 1950s. Regarding the latter, wood is trending now more than ever as consumers lean toward a more natural look, says Evan Taylor, a senior project consultant here at G. Fedale.

Comparing Front Door Options

Aside from wood, a fiberglass door will offer the highest energy efficiency, provided it’s of high quality. Bear in mind if incorporating glass panels or stained-glass transoms, will add to the price and will compromise energy efficiency. Fiberglass doors can mimic the look of real wood. Steel is always an option if cost is a concern.

Our preferred manufacturer when it comes to exterior doors is ProVia. Their wide variety of options readily match any price point or desired look.

Storm Doors

Should a homeowner add a storm door? The choice is one of preference, although it can provide an added layer of security. An existing storm door will likely have to be replaced if the main door is being replaced. The installation involves full-tear removal, meaning the framing will likely require replacement as a part of the overall project. Storm doors, particularly fiberglass, do create the potential for trapped heat, something not welcomed on a hot summer day! A split storm door facilitates the inclusion of a screened panel to release some of that hot air.

How To Tell If You Need a New Door

Air gaps, light gaps, and warping are telltale signs. Take a moment to examine your door when it’s locked. Examine how the top and bottom fit into the frame. Be wary of a handyman who suggests that a rotted section is best remedied through repair.

Today’s exterior doors lend more than beauty and efficiency, they can also be technologically functional. When integrated with smart technology, just about any door becomes offsite programmable. A decorative, oversized handle should be avoided if this state-of-the-art feature is desired.