Choosing the Right Entry Door for your Home

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  • Mark Hladky
  • Choosing an entry door, or a front door, may seem like an easy decision.  However, choosing the right entry door requires a surprising amount of forethought.   Doors are made of different materials for different environments.  They can be sheltered by porches or fully exposed.  More than an aesthetic choice, entry doors are the first line of defense against break-ins.  The following will compare in-swinging and out-swinging doors, the benefits of different materials for doors and door frames, and how exposed a door is.

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    In-swinging vs. Out-swinging Doors:

     

    In-swinging:

    Many front doors are in-swinging.  In-swinging doors may provide visitors with the feeling the home is embracing them when they enter.  The hinges of an in-swinging door are not exposed and are protected by the door and the door frame.  Unfortunately, if someone were to break into an in-swinging door, the forced used to break in may damage the doorframe and the walls around the door.

     

    Out-swinging:

    Out-swinging doors open outwards.  So, if an out-swinging door is violated, it is less likely to damage the doorframe.  However, the design of an outswing door means that the hinges are accessible from outside the house.  With out-swinging doors, it is necessary to purchase special hinges.  One example of these hinges is set-screw hinges, which have a screw to hold the pin in place that is only accessible when the door is open.

     

    Door and Frame Materials:

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    Wood:

    Wooden doors are often more aesthetically focused.  The type of wood used may be chosen for aesthetic reasons such as the way the grain looks when stained.  Although wooden doors may appeal to homeowners because of their looks, wooden doors require more maintenance.  They are susceptible to rot and show signs of environmental wear.

    Wooden door frames are more common than wooden doors.  In many cases, wooden door frames are fine, but they do suffer the same weaknesses as wooden doors.  In areas where insecticides are sprayed or salt is scattered to help with snow, it might be best to use a composite door frame because composite will not mold or rot.

     

    Composite and Fiber Glass:

    Fiberglass doors are more of an “all-around” buy for entry doors.  They are cheaper than wooden doors and often more insulated than metal doors.  Fiber glass doors can be stained.  They are more durable than wooden doors.

    Composite door frames are great in humid areas.  They do not rot like wooden frames, and they are more resilient to insecticide sprays and salt.

     

    Metal:

    Metal Doors are the most variable types of door.  There are many grades of metal doors, and so, before purchasing a metal door, it is best to research that specific door.  Some metal doors are thin and uninsulated, while others are thick and insulated.  It is best to research metal doors individually.

     

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    Different Environments for doors:

    When purchasing an entryway door, it is important to understand the exposure that door will receive.  There are some doors, such as doors with large windows, that are better used in areas with less exposure.  It is important to note that safety glass and laminated glass are used in door windows, and they may be important to research for a purchase.  There are three types of exposure: fully protected, partially protected, and unprotected.

     

    Fully Protected:

    A fully protected doorway is a door that has a large porch in front of it.  These doorways are protected from exposure and so having a glass outer door or large windows is acceptable.

     

    Partially Protected:

    Partially protected doorways may have a small porch.  In partially protected doorways, the top half of the door is protected, and so that part is safe for windows.  However, the bottom half will likely see environmental wear.

     

    Unprotected:

    Most homes have at least unprotected doorway.  Unprotected doorways have no porch or cover.  Durability is most important for unprotected doorways.

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