Buying front doors can often be daunting, given the many options available. However, our guide is designed to alleviate this challenge by assisting you in selecting entrance doors that precisely meet your specific needs and requirements. With our guidance, you can confidently purchase, ensuring the chosen exterior doors are ideally suited to your home.
Pre-hung Vs Slab Front Doors
Regarding door installations, there are two primary types to consider: pre-hung and slab doors. Both options offer excellent benefits and have the potential to update and transform your home. However, it is essential to understand each type’s characteristics and determine which is the ideal choice for your specific needs.
By exploring the details of pre-hung and slab doors, you can gain valuable insights and make an informed decision. This knowledge will help you select the perfect door installation that aligns with your preferences and enhances your home’s overall aesthetic and functionality.
Pre-Hung Front Doors
Pre-hung doors are a convenient option as they are assembled in their frame, making installation straightforward. These doors are particularly well-suited for new construction projects, replacing damaged door frames, or homes requiring weather-tight doors. In addition to the edge, pre-hung doors include essential components such as hardware, hinges, and a pre-cut hole for the doorknob.
The pre-assembled nature of pre-hung doors makes them easier to install than slab doors. Although they may require two people to handle due to their weight, the overall installation process is generally faster. This makes pre-hung doors a time-efficient choice when it comes to door installation.
Slab Exterior Doors
In contrast to pre-hung doors, slab doors consist solely of doors without hinges, knobs, or a frame. They offer greater design flexibility and are a cost-effective choice, particularly when you require customization or plan to install only a limited number of doors. Additional components such as a metal strike plate, shims, mortises, hinges, and a doorknob must be purchased separately when opting for a slab door.
Compared to pre-hung doors, slab doors are lighter in weight and come at a lower cost, making them a budget-friendly option. They provide more creative freedom in terms of design and style. However, it’s important to note that installing a slab door may require additional effort and time, as it involves assembling the necessary hardware and components.
Always Take a Few Measurements Before Buying Front Doors
When determining the size of a new door, it’s crucial to consider three key measurements:
- The height of the rough opening refers to the vertical distance from the floor to the top of the door frame. The rough opening is typically around 2 inches taller than the actual door to allow for proper installation.
- Width of the rough opening: This measurement represents the horizontal distance between the side walls that will accommodate the door. Similar to the height, the rough opening is typically 2 inches wider than the door itself.
- Jamb depth: The jamb depth refers to the thickness of the door frame from its back to where it meets the wall stud of your house. It helps determine how far the door will extend into the wall when closed.
Before taking measurements, it’s important to remember a few considerations:
- Rough openings are generally 2 inches wider and taller than the door being installed to ensure sufficient space for installation.
- The door jamb size corresponds to the width of the frame from the back to the front, where it meets the wall stud.
- The net frame dimension represents the complete width of the door frame.
By taking these measurements accurately, you can ensure your new door’s proper fit and installation.
Standard and Special Order Sizes for Exterior Doors
When buying front doors, it is essential to consider the measurements to ensure a proper fit. Here are some standard dimensions for exterior doors:
Standard Exterior Doors:
- The most common exterior or front door size is 36 inches wide by 80 inches tall.
- Other standard dimensions for exterior doors include widths ranging from 30 to 42 inches and heights ranging from 80 to 96 inches.
- Nominal sizes for single exterior doors include 30 inches by 80 inches, 32 inches by 80 inches, 34 inches by 80 inches, and 36 by 96 inches (standard for newer homes).
- The rough opening for a single door should be 2-1/2 inches wider and 2 inches taller than the actual door.
Nominal Size Double Exterior Doors:
- Double exterior doors come in sizes such as 60 inches by 80 inches, 68 inches by 80 inches, and 72 inches by 80 inches.
- You can design a door that fits your specific needs for custom or special-order exterior doors.
- Special-order door heights can range from 72 to 96 inches or even taller, with widths up to 48 inches for single doors.
- Special-order doors offer features like extra width, custom hardware, decorative Glass, and more.
Always Consider The Swing of the Entry Door
Imagine yourself standing outside facing a door. Inswing and outswing doors determine the direction in which the door opens relative to your position.
- Outswing Doors: When you have an outswing door, it will open towards you. This means that as you push or pull the door, it swings inward towards the interior of the building, toward your direction. Outswing doors are commonly used for security reasons, as the hinges are on the exterior, making them more difficult to tamper with from the outside.
- Inswing Doors: Conversely, inswing doors open away from you. When you open an inswing door, it swings away from you and towards the exterior of the building. Inswing doors are the more traditional option commonly used in residential settings.
Both outswing and inswing doors are available in left- and right-handed configurations. The configuration is determined by the position of the hinges when facing the door from the outside. A left-handed door has hinges on the left side, while a right-handed one has hinges on the right side. This configuration is important to consider when choosing the door that best fits your needs and the layout of your space.
Terms You Need to Know When Buying Exterior Doors
Consider investing in custom front doors, front entry doors with sidelights, storm doors, or any other type of exterior door. In that case, understanding the following terminology will help you make an informed decision:
- Inswing (I/S): Refers to a door that opens inward towards the interior of the building.
- Outswing (O/S): Describes a door that opens outward away from the interior and towards the exterior of the building.
- Left Hand: This applies to an inswing (I/S) door with hinges on the left or an outswing (O/S) door on the right. The term “left hand” or “right hand” is determined when facing the door from the outside looking into the home.
- Right Hand: Refers to an inswing (I/S) door with hinges on the right or an outswing (O/S) door on the left.
- Lite: Represents a pane of Glass incorporated into a door.
- Divided Lite: Denotes panes of Glass that are divided or appear to be divided within the door.
- Grille: Refers to plastic, wooden, or metal details that appear divided into lines.
- Camping: Describes the strips used for joining segmented Glass in doors.
- Brickmould: This signifies the moulding used around a door (or window) to fill the gap between the door and the wall of the house.
- Slab Door: This represents a rectangular slab made of wood, composite, or steel that does not include hinges or other hardware.
- Pre-hung Door: Refers to a complete door ready for installation, including a door slab, hinges, and an outer frame that fits into a prepared doorway.
Front Door Materials
When it comes to front door styles, there is a wide range of options available. While most entry doors perform well in terms of functionality, the choice of materials can significantly impact their strengths and weaknesses. The three primary materials commonly used for front doors are fibreglass, steel, and wood. Each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
- Fibreglass: Fiberglass doors are known for their durability, low maintenance requirements, and resistance to warping, cracking, and rotting. They can mimic the appearance of wood or other materials and offer various design options. Fibreglass doors also provide excellent insulation properties and can withstand various weather conditions.
- Steel doors are highly secure, offering superior strength and resistance against forced entry. They are also durable, low maintenance, and energy-efficient. Steel doors are often more affordable than other materials and available in various styles and finishes. However, they may be susceptible to dents and scratches and can conduct heat and cold more easily than fibreglass or wood.
- Wood: Wood doors are renowned for their natural beauty, warmth, and versatility. They can be customized with intricate designs and can complement various architectural styles. Wood doors offer excellent insulation and can be repaired or refinished if damaged. However, they require regular maintenance to protect against moisture, warping, and pests. Wood doors can also be more expensive compared to fibreglass or steel options.
Whether you’re interested in modern front doors, iron front doors, contemporary front doors, craftsman-style front doors, or custom front doors, we can assist you in selecting the ideal front door design, colours, and accents to suit your preferences. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of different materials, along with your desired aesthetic and functional requirements, to make an informed choice that enhances the appearance and performance of your front entry.
Steel Front Doors:
- Tight-fitting frames and energy-efficient core insulation: Steel doors are known for their precise fit within the door frame, which helps to minimize air leakage and improve energy efficiency. Many steel doors also come with insulation cores that provide additional thermal protection.
- Double- or triple-panel insulating Glass: Some steel door models incorporate double- or triple-panel insulating Glass, which helps to reduce heat transfer and improve the door’s overall energy efficiency.
- Weatherstripping: Steel doors are fully weatherstripped, meaning they have seals and gaskets that provide a high level of protection against elements such as rain, wind, and drafts. They are highly resistant to shrinking, swelling, and warping, making them suitable for various climates.
- Low maintenance: Steel construction is highly durable and requires minimal maintenance, making it an ideal choice for harsh weather conditions. Steel doors are less susceptible to warping, rotting, or insect damage than wooden doors.
- Easy installation: Steel doors often come pre-drilled with options for door knobs and lockset holes, making the installation process more accessible and convenient.
- Pre-primed and ready to paint: Steel doors are typically pre-primed, allowing homeowners to paint them to match their exterior aesthetic quickly.
- Insulating value: Steel doors generally offer good insulation properties, providing better thermal efficiency compared to wooden doors.
Wood Front Doors
- Heavy and sturdy with a traditional look: Wooden front doors have a substantial feel and impart a classic and timeless aesthetic to a home’s exterior. They are known for their solid and sturdy construction.
- Paintable or stainable: Wooden doors can be painted or stained to achieve the desired finish. Painting allows for customization and the ability to match the home’s color scheme, while staining preserves the natural grain of the wood, creating a warm and inviting appearance.
- Range of wood species: Wooden front doors come in a variety of wood species, ranging from more affordable composite options to higher-end choices like fir or walnut. The choice of wood species affects the door’s appearance, durability, and cost.
- Suitable for protected or shaded areas: Wooden doors are best installed in areas that are more sheltered or shaded from direct exposure to harsh weather elements. This helps to preserve the wood’s integrity and protect it from excessive moisture or sunlight.
- Intricate and thicker construction: Higher-end wooden front doors often feature intricate designs and craftsmanship. They tend to have thicker door panels, measuring more than an inch in thickness. This thickness enhances the door’s durability, insulation, and resistance to warping.
- Frame and panel construction: Wooden doors commonly employ frame and panel construction, which involves multiple pieces of wood assembled to create a sturdy and stable door structure. This construction method helps counteract the effects of weather or seasonal changes, minimizing the risk of warping or shifting.
Fibreglass Entrance Doors
- Easy installation: Composite front doors are designed for easy installation, making them a convenient option for homeowners or contractors.
- Suitable for extreme climates and high-traffic entrances: Composite doors are known for their durability and resistance to extreme weather conditions. They can withstand heat, cold, moisture, and high-traffic areas without warping, cracking, or deteriorating.
- Energy-saving qualities: Composite doors offer similar energy-saving qualities as steel doors. They provide insulation and help to maintain consistent indoor temperatures, reducing energy consumption and improving the overall energy efficiency of the home.
- Wood grain texture: Many composite doors are manufactured with a grain texture that mimics the natural appearance of real wood doors. This allows homeowners to enjoy the aesthetic appeal of wood without the associated maintenance requirements.
- Long warranties: Composite doors typically come with longer warranties compared to wood and steel doors. This reflects the confidence manufacturers have in the durability and longevity of composite materials.
- High-quality construction: Composite front doors are constructed using high-quality composite materials, which are resistant to various weather conditions, scratches, and dents. They offer excellent durability and require minimal maintenance to keep them looking their best.
Wrought Iron Doors
- Durability and weather resistance: Iron front doors are specifically built to withstand the elements. They are highly resistant to weather conditions such as rain, wind, and extreme temperatures, making them a reliable option for long-term use.
- Safety and security: Iron front doors are renowned for their exceptional strength and security features. They provide a robust barrier against intruders, offering peace of mind and enhancing the safety of your home.
- Customizable designs: Iron front doors come in a variety of designs, allowing homeowners to choose a style that complements their home’s architecture and personal preferences. These doors can be further customized with different types of Glass, decorative elements, and hardware options like handles and locks, enabling you to create a unique and personalized entryway.
- High-quality craftsmanship: Iron front doors are typically crafted with meticulous attention to detail and exceptional craftsmanship. This ensures that they not only provide security but also add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your home’s exterior.
- Expensive and heavy: It’s worth noting that iron front doors are generally more expensive than other door options due to their premium materials and craftsmanship. Additionally, their weight can pose challenges during installation and relocation, requiring professional assistance and specialized equipment.
Front Door Accent
When choosing a front door, it’s important to consider various elements that contribute to its overall appearance and functionality. Here are some key features to keep in mind:
- Deadbolt: A deadbolt lock provides an extra layer of security for your entry door, enhancing its resistance to unauthorized entry.
- Door Knocker: Door knockers add a touch of elegance and personality to the door. They come in various materials like brass, bronze, and satin nickel and can be personalized with a family name or initial.
- Door Viewer: Installing a door viewer, also known as a peephole, at a suitable height allows all family members to see who is at the door before opening it.
- Doorbell: Choose a doorbell that suits your style, ranging from simple button styles to wireless options with decorative interior chimes.
- Front Door With Sidelites: Sidelites are additional glass panels placed on one or both sides of the door, providing more natural light and aesthetic appeal.
- Glass Styles and Shapes: Decorative glass options are available for front doors, ranging from insulated Glass for energy efficiency to bevelled, silk-screened, or stained Glass. Glass can come in different shapes, including a single large pane or divided by grilles into multiple lines.
- Handleset: A handle set includes the lock cylinder, latch, strike plate, handle, lever, or knob for the door. It is often purchased as a complete package for the door’s exterior and interior sides.
- In-Glass Blinds: Adjustable blinds integrated within the door’s glass pane offer privacy and light control without the need for traditional window treatments.
- Kick Plate: A metal kick plate installed at the bottom of the door protects the finish from scuff marks caused by shoes and adds a polished and stylish touch.
- Panel: A recessed panel design on the door conveys a traditional style. The six-panel design is a classic and timeless option.
- Transom: Transoms are decorative accents placed above the door and come in three shapes: arch, ellipse, and box. They are available for all door types and can add visual interest and architectural flair.
When it comes to patio doors, French doors, and sliding glass doors, you’ll find a diverse range of sizes to accommodate different spaces and design preferences. The width of these doors typically ranges from about 5 to 13 feet. This wide range allows for flexibility in fitting various openings and accommodating different architectural styles.
Whether you have a smaller patio or a spacious entryway, you can find a patio door or French door that suits your specific dimensions. Sliding glass doors, known for their expansive glass panels, also come in various sizes to provide a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.
It’s important to consider the available space and the desired functionality when selecting the size of your patio doors. Larger doors can create a dramatic and open feel, allowing ample natural light to enter and enhance the visual connection to the outdoors. On the other hand, smaller doors can be a practical choice for tight areas or where space is limited.
French Front Doors
- Materials: French doors are available in the same materials as sliding glass doors, including steel and fibreglass. This allows you to choose a material that suits your preferences regarding appearance, durability, and maintenance requirements.
- Characteristics: Steel and fibreglass French patio doors share similar attributes with modern front doors made from the same materials. This means you can expect tight-fitting frames, energy-efficient core insulation, weatherstripping, and durability.
- Left- or Right-Handed Configuration: French doors can be made with left- or right-handed configurations, allowing you to choose the door that best suits your space and preferences. This applies to inswing (I/S) and outswing (O/S) options, providing flexibility in how the doors open and operate.
- Brickmould Stops or Trim: French doors can be available with or without brickmould stops or trim in the center. Brickmould refers to the moulding used around the door or window, filling the gap between the door and the wall of the house. This feature can enhance the visual appeal and finish of the French doors.
Sliding Glass Exterior Doors
- Aluminum: Sliding glass doors made of aluminum are cost-effective, resistant to rust, and easy to maintain. They are a popular choice for their durability and sleek appearance.
- Clad-Wood: Clad-wood sliding glass doors provide the natural look of wood on the interior while featuring a protective coating on the exterior made of vinyl, fibreglass, or aluminum. This combination offers the warmth and beauty of wood with enhanced weather resistance and durability.
- Vinyl: Vinyl sliding glass doors are known for low maintenance and durability. They are built with insulated Glass with low-emissive properties, improving energy efficiency. Additionally, factory-installed weatherstripping enhances their ability to resist drafts and optimize energy efficiency.
- Wood: Wood sliding glass doors often represent the highest quality option but are also the most expensive. They exude timeless elegance and offer the natural beauty of wood. Wood doors can be crafted precisely and are often chosen for their premium aesthetic appeal.