Make a great first impression with a beautiful exterior door. Learn the key terms and different materials available to make the best choice for your home.
In order to make an informed choice, you need to learn some of the lingo:
A door that opens in
A door that opens out
For an I/S door, hinges are on the left. For an O/S door, hinges are on the right (when the door is viewed from the house's exterior).
For an I/S door, hinges are on the right. For an O/S door, hinges are on the left (when the door is viewed from the house's exterior).
A pane of glass in a door
Panes of glass that are or appear to be divided
Plastic, wooden or metal assembly in a door that gives the appearance of divided lites
Strips for joining segmented glass
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Steel doors have energy-efficient foam core insulation and are fully weather stripped by the manufacturer. They're highly resistant to shrinking, swelling and warping. Their tough steel construction will withstand years of extreme weather conditions with minimum maintenance. The doors can be purchased with predrilled door knob and lockset holes, making installation even easier. Steel doors come pre-primed and ready to paint.
Fiberglass doors offer the same energy-saving and easy installation qualities as steel doors. They have wood grain texture molded into the door so they give the appearance of a real wood door when painted or stained. Their high-quality composite construction makes these doors resistant to all sorts of weather as well as scratches and dents. They're an excellent choice for extreme climates and high-traffic entrances.
Wood doors offer the most traditional look, while their substantial weight adds a sense of security and sturdiness to your home. These doors may be painted or stained for a natural, warm appearance. Wood doors are usually made using frame and panel construction to counteract the effects of climatic or seasonal changes. Wood species vary from inexpensive composite to fir or walnut.
For maximum savings, look for ENERGY STAR qualified entry doors.
There are plenty of accents available to help you fully customize your entryway to your liking.
All door types are available with decorative glass. While most doors have insulated glass for energy efficiency, others may have beveled, silk-screened or stained glass with genuine brass caming (joining strips for segmented glass). The glass may be one large lite or have a grille that separates the glass into several lites.
Sidelites are available for all types of doors. Use one sidelite on either side of the door or have one on each side.
Transoms are available for all types of doors, in three distinct shapes: arch, ellipse and box.
Some doors have adjustable blinds made inside the glass pane.
Patio doors, including French and sliding glass doors, range from 5 to more than 12 feet in width. The selection of patio doors is as diverse as their sizes:
French doors are available in the same materials as sliding glass doors and more. They're also available in steel and fiberglass, with the same characteristics as those found in traditional entry doors of the same material. French doors are available with either left- or right-handed inswing (I/S) or outswing (O/S). You can also purchase units where both doors open. These units are available with or without brickmould stops in the center.
They're like big picture windows, where the doors are large panes of glass mounted in a frame with rollers. They're manufactured from a variety of materials including: