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An Insulated Steel Door Will Keep Home Snug, Safe

Expanding the Choosing the Best Front Door for Your Home

QUESTION: I should replace my old leaky front door. I want one that is decorative and attractive yet energy-efficient, secure, and maintenance-free. What is the overall best type of door to install?

ANSWER: An insulated steel front door would meet your needs. I installed one with super-efficient etched and beveled glass in my own home, and the reduction in drafts and outdoor noise was very noticeable.

An Insulated Steel Door Will Keep Home Snug, Safe 1

With advanced manufacturing processes, insulated steel doors are now difficult to distinguish from real wood doors. The crisp edge definition creates sharper shadows and relief for an authentic appearance, giving your entryway an elegant and stylish look.

When it comes to finishes, there are several stainable simulated deep wood-grained options available for steel doors. These finishes can also be painted to match the exterior of your home. One particularly popular design is called Signature, which features a real natural oak wood veneer permanently bonded to an efficient insulated steel door core. This combination offers both durability and aesthetics.

To make your front door unique and attractive, various glass options can be added. You can choose from leaded or brass cames, etched, beveled, frosted, glue chip, and many more. If comfort, energy efficiency, and noise reduction are top priorities, opt for double or triple-pane low-emissivity glass with insulating inert argon gas in the gap. This combination significantly enhances the door's performance while adding a touch of elegance to your entryway.

Security is another crucial aspect to consider when choosing a front door. Insulated steel doors are one of the most secure designs against potential intruders. The steel skin is difficult to break, providing an added layer of protection for your home. Many doors now come with heavy wood or ABS plastic lock blocks that are incredibly rugged and further enhance security.

In recent years, new features have been introduced to increase security levels even further. For example, the Alert Lock is a door with a built-in battery-operated burglar alarm. When the door is locked, the alarm is set. Any shaking of the door sets off a loud alarm for two minutes. The sensitivity of the alarm can be adjusted to eliminate false alarms, giving you peace of mind knowing your home is protected.

Additionally, a multi-point deadbolt lock can further enhance the security of your front door. This locking system hooks into the frame in three locations from top to bottom and is operated by a durable rack-and-pinion system hidden inside the door. All of the parts of these locks are made of heavy solid brass, ensuring longevity and reliability.

One of the advantages of steel skin construction is that these doors are not only secure but also highly efficient and virtually maintenance-free. Many steel doors have insulating foam injected into the hollow core, providing an insulation value of up to R-9. Another design uses a preformed rigid foam piece that is bonded inside the door during construction, further adding to its energy efficiency.

Steel doors remain airtight regardless of humidity changes due to their resistance to expansion and contraction. To ensure maximum insulation, it is recommended to choose a steel door that uses magnetic (refrigerator-type) weatherstripping seals. Another advantage of steel doors is that the sill can easily be adjusted up and down with a screwdriver to compensate for the settling of your house.

If you are considering replacing your front door with an insulated steel one, make sure to consult a buyer's guide. Update Bulletin No. 769 provides a comprehensive list of 13 insulated steel front doors, detailing the type of insulation and lock block, styles, glass options, security features, prices, and installation instructions. To receive this bulletin, please send $2 and a business-size self-addressed stamped envelope to James Dulley, Los Angeles Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244. If you wish to receive the bulletin more quickly, you can also contact Dulley via email at [email address].

In conclusion, when it comes to selecting the best front door for your home, an insulated steel door offers a perfect balance of appearance, energy efficiency, security, and low maintenance. The variety of finishes, glass options, and security features allow you to customize the door to match your personal style and provide the necessary protection for your home. Consider investing in an insulated steel front door to enhance both the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your entryway.

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