Get the Front Door You Always Wanted

A front door is one of the first things people see on a home. It’s something most homeowners use multiple times every day, coming to know all its intricacies and scuffs and flaws. For something that takes up such a small fraction of a home’s exterior surface, the front door makes a great design impact.

If you’re considering a new front door, there’s a lot more that goes into it than just tossing a new door in the back of a truck and driving it back to your home to hang it up. Here’s everything you’ll want to consider:

How to Get the Front Door You’ve Always Wanted

Project: Adding a new front door.

Consider the sun. Which way does your home face, and how much direct sunshine does your door get? If your door faces east, west or even south, for example, the direct sun on your door will limit your options in terms of what material you should choose. That’s because the sun’s intense rays can cause hairline cracks in wood and warp over time. This is more of a concern for doors that are 8 feet or taller.

If you have a porch or an overhang, or your door faces north, you don’t have to worry about material selection. For the industry standard one-year warranty on wood doors to be valid, homeowners are required to have an overhang that’s half the size of the door. So, if you have an 8-foot door, you need an overhang of 4 feet.

What door material should you choose?

Once you determine the sun’s direction, it’s time to choose the material of your door. The three most common are fiberglass, solid wood and a sort of layered hybrid. There are other options too, such as metal and glass.

Wood. If you have a porch or an overhang that extends at least half the height of your door, a solid wood door is an option.

Solid wood doors, the most expensive option of the three common types, are considered top of the line by most. “Solid wood doors are like pieces of furniture,” says Yuri Nekrasov, the business development manager at Doors for Builders, a company in Chicago that specializes in solid wood front door manufacturing and design.

Oak and walnut doors are good and common, but Nekrasov says by far the best species is Honduran mahogany wood. It’s a very hard wood and survives exterior conditions better than other species. “It takes a beating,” he says. “It’s considered top of the top.”

Hybrid. These doors have solid wood styles and rails, but the panels are made from a sandwiched construction of foam and plywood. Then everything is covered with a wood veneer. If you lack an overhang for shading but still want a rich wood look, hybrid doors are recommended. They also come with customization options. The downside is that since they are still covered in wood, they need to be refinished and touched up every couple of years. Plus, Nekrasov emphasizes the importance of the quality of the solid wood chosen for the styles and rails. “Some people try to do poplar on the inside with a veneer of mahogany,” Nekrasov says. “It’s not going to help. It’s the wood on the inside that matters. That’s what’s going to warp and move.”

Fiberglass. While there’s no such thing as a no-maintenance door, fiberglass requires the least maintenance of the three. Fiberglass doors are slightly less expensive than solid wood doors, too, but you’ll have fewer customization options, and while they can be made to look like natural wood, up close you’ll be able to tell the difference.

What door style should you choose?

 Just like architectural and interior styles, front door style options are countless. Professionals will recommend that your door style fit the overall style of your home’s architecture and interiors, but many great custom door designs break these rules.

Look through photos on Houzz of different front door styles — Craftsman, Shaker, traditional, contemporary, for example — to find doors that you’re drawn to and that might work best for your home. Do you like rectangular versions or ones with arches? Do you like solid doors or ones with raised panels? Do you like a clean look or something more artsy with intricate wrought iron detailing? Do you want a bright color or a dark stain?

If you want a door that matches your home and interior decor but aren’t confident enough to make a style choice yourself, consider hiring an interior designer to help you choose a door style, hardware and finish that will blend seamlessly with the rest of your home. “If you have money and time, hiring a designer to help is the safest way,” Nekrasov says.

If you are looking for more information about how to get the front door you’ve always wanted, click here! Otherwise, give us a call and we can discuss your next project!