Exterior doors are an integral part of the home design process. Not only should they match the style of your home because of their prominence, but they also have to be weather resistant and secure. It is of the utmost importance to have a strong understanding of what the process of selecting a door entails and what options are available so that you make the best choice for your home.

What Kind of Door Do I Want?

The three main factors to consider when choosing a new exterior door are security, energy efficiency, and style. Doors function as an entry point, but they should only be accessible to homeowners and their guests. It is paramount that your new doors be equipped with enough safety features, such as special locks or unexposed hinges, to ensure that you feel comfortable and secure in your home.

Doors should also protect the home’s occupants from environmental factors. The most energy-efficient doors keep indoor air from seeping out and shield the interior of the home from outdoor air. For the most energy-efficient doors, look for an ENERGY STAR label, which signifies that the door meets or exceeds standards set by the US Department of Energy.

Each home has a unique aesthetic, and a mismatched door creates discord in a design scheme, so purchase a door that blends seamlessly with the overall style of your home. Pay special attention to materials, colors, and customizations, like glass inserts.

Which Door Material Should I Use?

Fiberglass, wood, and steel are currently the three most popular door material options. Each one has its own set of benefits and limitations, so be sure to choose one that best fits your needs. For an in-depth look at door materials, check back later this week for a new blog post from us detailing each kind.

Should the Door Swing In or Out?

Traditionally, most exterior doors swing inward; however, the popularity of outward-swinging doors is on the rise—particularly in hurricane-prone areas, because they provide better defense against powerful winds; an outward-swinging door cannot be blown in. But while outward-swinging doors are beneficial in windy climates, they could pose a problem in areas that experience heavy snowfall. If too much snow accumulates in front of the door, it could prevent homeowners from being able to push the door open from the inside.

A lot of people used to be hesitant about outward-swinging doors due to their exposed hinges, which could attract potential intruders. Advanced hinge technology and construction in recent years have nearly eliminated this threat. Plus, outward-swinging doors are impossible to force or kick in, which adds an extra layer of security.

What Type of Door Lock Works Best for My Needs?

A dead bolt is absolutely necessary for ensuring the safety of your home. A dead-locking latch bolt will prevent burglars from being able to open the lock with a credit card. Most homes utilize lock sets with a Grade 2 security rating. A Grade 1 rating is commercial duty and the most secure, but it will most likely be much more expensive. Anything rated a Grade 3 is probably not secure enough to risk installing on your exterior doors.

Locks also come in an array of styles. Ranging anywhere from under $30 to over $300, locks can be totally basic or extremely fancy and high tech. When choosing a style, consider your price range, your safety preferences, and the overall look of your house and door.

Will the Door Come With a Warranty?

Types and lengths of warranties vary from installer to installer, so make sure to ask different door installation professionals about warranty options before making your final decision on a door and an installer. Warranties can cover the costs of a variety of issues and can last anywhere from a number of years to the lifetime of the house. Door installation can be a costly process, and getting a warranty can prevent the need to pay more money for unforeseen complications down the road.

While a door may seem like just one small step in the home renovation process, the kind of door installed will affect the safety, energy efficiency, and appearance of your home as a whole. Ultimately, you should consider each of the aforementioned questions and address any of your own concerns with a door installation professional before deciding on what door will best complement your home.

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Sources: Better Homes and Gardens; DIY Advice; EBSCO Research; ENERGY STAR; Fine Homebuilding; This Old House.

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