How to Choose a Functional and Stylish Exterior Door For Your Home

If you are tired of your plain and boring exterior door, it is time to find something new that will change the outward appearance of your home. With so many different doors on the market today, choosing an exterior door can be a very daunting and time-consuming task. You have to consider many different factors when you are comparing all of the various designs and applications that are available today. As you know, the right windows and doors provide security and can also increase the value of your home. Here are some tips on how to find the right exterior door for your residence that will look great without compromising your home security.

Which Material is Best?

The three most common materials used to make exterior doors are steel, fiberglass, and wood. Before you start comparing styles, you need to settle on which material is best. Each material has its pros and cons. Here are the pros and cons of each material so that you can make an informed decision:

Steel

If you are looking for the strongest barrier, a steel door may be the way to go. While these doors are very strong, if you live in an area where rain and snow is common, you have to consider the fact that you will have to replace your door within 5 to 7 years. If this is not a problem for you, steel doors come in several different styles that are contemporary or traditional in design. As far as costs go, steel doors can be affordable but will cost a pretty penny to repair when damaged or dented.

Wood

Wood is the most common material used to construct exterior doors. When you choose a solid wood door, it can be extremely expensive. In fact, wood doors can cost between 3 and 5 times more than a steel door. One of the main reasons why wood is such a great choice is because it can be handcrafted and unique. Wood is easiest to work with and this means that it is easiest to customize.

Wood doors do require a lot of maintenance over time. There may be scratches, warping, and paint fading you will have to deal with. With this being said, maintenance does not cost as much as it would with a steel door.

Fiberglass

If you go with fiberglass, you will be able to choose from a wide variety of different styles that will blend with the exterior design of your home. Fiberglass doors are the closest to maintenance-free and are ideal for homeowners who want to reduce their upkeep. It also does not expand or contract in adverse weather conditions, making fiberglass a great choice for longevity. Priced between inexpensive steel doors and expensive wood doors, fiberglass is great for those with a strict budget.

If you take time to choose the right replacement windows and doors, you can reduce your energy bills, increase your home security, and raise the value of your home with a single investment. Compare all of the styles available and keep in mind that the right exterior door goes beyond just looks.

Design Tips for Choosing New Windows and Doors

If you are thinking about home renovation, installing new windows and doors is one of the quickest ways to update the look of your home while adding new and improved functional features. Older homes with original features offer authenticity, but over time those original features wear out and don’t function properly. Here are a few design tips to consider when renovating.

Style of The House

When looking at new windows and doors, consider the style of your house. Since these features are visible from the outside, it’s important that they coordinate to the style and look of the house. For instance, if your home is an English traditional, windows with smaller panes will look more authentic than windows with large spans of glass. If your home is contemporary or modern, large spans of glass with few panes will look better. Old craftsmen style homes were typically built using windows with mostly vertical mullions and panes, rather than vertical and horizontal. If you keep the building features   closely related to the style of architecture, upgrades won’t look like add-on features.

Lines and Shapes on The House

All houses have specific architectural elements that distinguish their style. For example:

Traditional styles – little ornamentation, simple roof lines, symmetrically spaced windows
French styles – moldings, pitched roof lines, curved top windows
Craftsman styles – porches, pitched roof lines, vertical paned and dormer windows
Spanish styles –  curves, arches, flat tiled roof lines, arched doors and windows
Modern styles – square or rectangular roof lines, doors and windows, no panes in glass

If you are adding new windows and doors to your house, it’s important to repeat the lines that are existing on the house. For instance, if you have a beautiful Spanish house with arched doorways and windows, repeat that shape. Don’t add new elements that are square or rectangular.

Types of Windows

Windows are functional elements that serve a useful purpose. Choose new styles based on your needs for function. There are two types of windows – fixed and movable. Fixed windows do not open, while movable ones do. There are various styles and types of movable windows:

  • single hung windows – open from the bottom up
  • double hung windows – open from the bottom up and from the top down
  • sliding windows – slide open either vertically or horizontally
  • casement windows – hinged at one side and open by swinging in or out
  • awning windows – resemble casement windows, but hinged at the top or bottom
  • jalousie windows – resemble awning windows, but with narrow strips of glass

Decide on the type of window that serves your needs best. The types may vary in different parts of the house, but keep the overall style the same and make sure it’s functional for the area.

Types of Doors

Doors, like windows, are functional elements that serve a useful purpose. Most doors fall into two categories – hollow core and solid core. Interior doors that divide rooms inside the house are typically hollow core doors, meaning they have a hollow center and are lighter weight. Hollow core doors come in paint or stain grade materials and can easily be painted or stained. Exterior doors are typically solid core doors, meaning they are a solid material from front to back. It helps if exterior doors are solid for security reasons. There are many beautiful exterior doors that are part or all glass, however they won’t provide the same level of security for your home. In today’s market, there are many great door styles, shapes and materials to choose from, so whatever you choose make sure you follow the style, lines and shapes of the house and make sure it’s the best functional choice for the area.