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What to Consider When Buying Exterior Doors

Replacing your exterior doors is an upgrade that can pay for itself –or even make a profit–by increasing your home's value. And if you choose energy efficient exterior doors, you may reduce your energy bills.

But how do you know which door is right for you? That's why we created this guide.


Exterior doors are available in an incredible variety of designs to match any home. From the basic steel door to ornate, hand-carved wood doors, you can find one for any taste or budget. Plus, the addition of transoms and sidelights to your door can transform any home into a showplace.


Exterior doors are constructed from fiberglass, wood, steel or engineered composite. We’ve listed the advantages of each here to help you make your decision.

    Fiberglass – This material features both the feel and look of genuine wood, right down to the knots and cracks, with less upkeep. In fact, these doors are built to consistently withstand the rigors of any climate - hot or cold, wet or dry.
    Wood – Wood comes from trees that grow in a variety of species, such as fir, pine, mahogany or alder. Each species has a range of characteristics, like grain, color and sap content, which contributes to its unique appearance.
    Steel – An economical option, steel offers strength and durability and is a good choice for most climates. These doors are also treated to deliver superior rust-resistance. They will require only minimal maintenance (in especially moist areas, they may require minor upkeep).
    Engineered Composite – Engineered Composite doors are made with a patented technology that combines weathering resistance, durability and dent resistance. They are stable even in extreme temperatures.


There are a number of features to consider with any exterior door choice. And depending on which are most important to you can affect your decision.

    Security - When it comes to security, all three materials are acceptable. And while steel is stronger than wood or fiberglass, the difference is not significant. Regardless of which door you choose, you want to make sure it fits tightly into the frame with no more than 1/8" clearance between the door and the frame and is fitted with secure, high quality door locks. Not only will these features give you security, they’ll also help prevent drafts and reduce heating costs.
    Glass - If you can imagine it, chances are, someone is already building it. You can find exterior doors with glass panels of full view, 3/4 view, half view, 1/4 view, with one sidelight or two, even transoms. There’s clear glass, textured glass, tinted glass and decorative glass. We could name them all here, but that would take a while.
    Swing - Doors are available as inswing (I/S) or outswing (O/S) models. This simply refers to which way your exterior door will swing: outward (toward the outside of the house) or inward (toward the inside). Most homes are built to accommodate inswing doors. However, your exterior door can be designed to swing outward if you prefer, or if your home design requires it.
    Hinges - Hinges can be located on either the right-hand or left-hand side of the door. Generally, hinges are on the left for an outswing door while those on the right for an inswing door. But you can always have a door created to meet your specific needs.

We hope this guide has been helpful. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to answer any exterior door questions you may have.