How to Choose the Perfect Front Door for Your Home:
- Choose the Door Function
- Decide on a Hanging Option
- Measure for Door Width
- Select the Glass Style
- Pick a Paint Color and Finish
- Choose Your Hinge Finish
- Decide If You Want a Sidelight
- Select Your Deadbolt and Door Handle
- Plan for Installation
What Is an Entry Door?Your entry door is one of the first things a guest sees when they come to visit. With so many different combinations of styles and materials, you can easily personalize your entrance with an exterior door that suits both you and the architectural style of your home—taking your home from drab to fab in a simple weekend.
Selecting the right front entry door is important for many reasons. Visually, it plays a crucial role in setting the entire style for your home. It gives your home curb appeal and makes a great first impression. You also want to select a door that provides strength and security. Careful consideration should be given to the material of both the door and the frame.
How to Choose the Perfect Front Entry Door for Your HomeLook for an entry door that speaks to your style and gives a great first impression of your home and your family. Your home deserves more than a generic door hanging on the discount rack at your local home improvement store. Follow these steps to choose one of the beautiful custom doors from Rustica:
1. Choose the Door FunctionThe type of exterior door that you need largely depends on the function of the door. Entry doors, while commonly referring to front doors, often include patio doors, storm doors, garage doors, and sliding doors. It’s important to first define the door’s function. For simplicity, we’ll focus on front doors since they have the biggest impact on your home.
What is the best material for a front entry door?The best material for the door depends on its function. For most front doors, you want to select a material that is resistant to sun, wind, and rain, while also providing a level of security. While many doors are made of metal and fiberglass, most custom home builders and DIY remodelers prefer genuine, high-quality wood grain.
What are the best front entry doors for security?If security is a primary concern, steel entry doors are common as they tend to be more secure than other options available in the market.
2. Decide on A Hanging OptionThe next step in choosing the perfect door is to decide whether you will get a slab door or a pre-framed or pre-hung door. A slab door is a good option if your door frame is in good condition and you aren’t adding any elements like sidelites. A prehung door should be considered if the existing frame is rotting or damaged.
This is also the time to decide on the style of door. You may want a door that swings open, making a French door an attractive option. Another choice could be to capitalize on the current trend of double doors, giving your front entrance a grand, distinguished look.
3. Measure for Door WidthWhen selecting your replacement entry door, you need to decide whether you are going to use your existing frame size, or if you are going to add in sidelights. If you want to avoid reframing, be sure to measure the door width. Typically, you just need to measure the width of a single door to make sure it fits.
What Size Door is Right for Your Entry?The right size door for your home depends on its architectural style. Evaluate your space and choose a proportional door size. If the home has a small front porch, then a smaller door without sidelights may be appropriate since they could extend beyond the width of the porch. On the other hand, if your home has a grand entrance you may want to consider going with a wide-scale visual and choose a set of double French doors.
4. Select the Glass StyleWhile a solid door can provide more security, implementing glass panels is a great way to invite light into your home. Glass can be incorporated into the style of your door in a number of ways, including in the door directly, in the sidelights, or both.
The glass style you choose can affect the amount of privacy you have and the kind of light that comes into your home. Clear glass will let in natural sunlight, whereas frosted glass will let in a soft, diffused light. Several different styles are available including frosted, tinted, fluted, crested, palm, heirloom, etc.
5. Pick a Paint Color/FinishCarefully consider the paint color or finish of your entry door. If you want a natural look, you should opt for a solid wood door. Cheaper alternatives include wood veneer, giving your door the look of solid wood, whether it is wood, steel, or fiberglass-composite.
If you choose to paint your door, you should go with either a light or dark color as they are more eye-catching than a medium shade. Whichever color paint you choose, make sure to use a latex exterior paint that provides protection from the elements. If your door is steel or metal, try to find a paint that provides some level of rust protection.
6. Choose Your Hinge FinishWe all know how important it is to have the right barn door hardware and sliding door hardware for interior barn doors and pocket doors. The front door is no exception—in fact, it’s arguably the most important door of your entire home. The finish you choose can drastically change the style of your entry door. A flat black or oil rubbed bronze provides a charming rustic vibe, while a chrome, French antique, pewter, or nickel finish gives this exterior door a more modern feel.
7. Decide If You Want a SideliteThe next step is to decide if you want a sidelite, which is a narrow window beside the door. Sidelites (or sidelights) can be installed on one or both sides of the door. Think about what works for the size of your entrance and the style of your home. One of the main reasons that homeowners choose sidelights is to let natural light into the home. Keep in mind that if you do not currently have sidelites, you will likely need to enlarge the opening and reframe when installing your new front door.
8. Select Your Deadbolt and Door HandleThe door handle contributes to the style of the door and provides aesthetic balance. You want your door handle and deadbolt to complement each other, as well as the hinges and the door itself. While you can always choose a traditional lever or knob, don’t be afraid to go bold and pick something that stands out. When selecting your deadbolt, consider choosing a mortise lock that is installed directly into the door, as it provides an extra bit of security to your home.
9. Plan for InstallationOnce you’ve decided on your entry door options, it’s time to start planning for the installation. The installation costs and time required depends on the type of door.
Replacement Front Door Slab - Depending on the condition of your existing door frame, you may be able to simply replace your door with a new one that fits.
Pre-Hung Front Door Replacement - Another option is to select a door that is already attached to the frame. This would simply require you pull out the existing frame and door and replacing it with the pre-framed door.
Front Door with Reframing - Adding sidelites or installing a door that's a different size will require some construction. You’ll need to enlarge the opening and measure for a new frame. You may want to consult with a contractor for assistance.
How much does a contractor charge to install a front door?The cost of installation will vary depending on which kind of door you select. On average, installing a front entry door costs between $100-$1500. If you choose the DIY method, you can save substantially on labor. There are many resources online that can teach you how to install a front door. However, depending on your skill set, it may be worthwhile to pay a professional to avoid any problems. A professional can minimize the headaches that can come with home improvement projects. Contractors typically charge around $70-150 per hour, but this will vary depending on your location and the complexity of the project.
How long does a door installation take?The time it takes to install an entry door depends on the type of door. Pre-hung doors and door slabs are much easier to install and can take anywhere from one to five hours. Intensive reframing projects can take up to a day or more. The installation of sidelites can take an additional 3 to 4 more hours.
Front Door MaterialsThe material that you select for your entry door will have an impact on its durability, security, and overall appearance. The most common materials for exterior doors include wood, steel, and fiberglass-composite.
Wood - A wood door is aesthetically pleasing, especially if you are going for a natural look. Rustica’s anti-warping lumber is the highest quality in the industry. When it comes to making a first impression of your home, nothing tops a genuine, high-quality wood door.
Steel - If want a highly secure door, you may want to consider steel. Steel doors can be a good option in areas with high humidity and lots of rain. However, steel doors are susceptible to rust. If you choose to paint a steel door, you may need to repaint every few years due to chipping and scratching.
Fiberglass-Composite - Fiberglass-composite doors are another option. They are secure and are unaffected by rust. However, many fiberglass doors are not as energy efficient as other materials, offering a lower level of insulation. Cold weather can cause some fiberglass doors to crack, which looks unsightly and lets in cold air.
What are the best exterior doors for cold weather?While aesthetics is important, you want to make sure your front door is functional as well. The extreme weather that the exterior is exposed to can affect its energy efficiency. This is especially true in homes that battle cold weather in the winter. Many doors are insulated to help keep the elements out. When deciding on a door that will be affected by cold weather, you should consider the type of seals on the door.
Compression Seals - Doors that are compression sealed have a flexible PVC gasket on all four sides. When the door closes, these flexible gaskets compress creating a tight seal around the door. This helps prevent drafts and keeps your warm air inside during cold weather.
Magnetic Seals - For better energy efficiency, then consider doors with magnetic seals. These seals are used primarily on steel or metal doors. However, this can make your front door look and feel like a refrigerator door.
Thermally Broken Frame - Thermally broken frames have an insulated, reinforced polyamide bar installed into the frame. It’s an effective insulation method commonly used with aluminum doors.
Find the Perfect Front Door at RusticaWhen it’s time to select your next front door, think carefully about what you want to accomplish and the statement you want to make. Are aesthetics or security more important? What style are you trying to achieve? The answer to these questions will be the guiding factors throughout the decision-making process.
Your Rustica front door will last for several decades, so you want to make sure you pick something you love. Carefully go through these steps we’ve outlined so you can choose the right door that provides the functionality, security, and artistic statement that makes your home unique. Your entry door can be the final piece of the puzzle that completes the entire style of your home.