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YOUR HOME; Replacing a Door on a House

Increasing Curb Appeal with a New Front Door

Real estate brokers often emphasize the importance of curb appeal when it comes to selling a house. While features such as siding, shutters, windows, and landscaping contribute to a home's overall appeal, the front door is often the focal point. Homeowners looking to enhance their curb appeal can achieve a significant transformation by simply replacing their old, dull front door with a new, low-maintenance, and energy-efficient one.

Architect Aris Crist believes that the front door is not only crucial for enhancing a home's elegance but also for providing security. Historically, the front door has been a representation of a house's strength and beauty. For those seeking the most extravagant and costly options, exotic woods like teak or mahogany are recommended. These doors are typically 2 1/4 inches thick and often feature raised details or intricate hand carvings. They are often complemented by leaded, etched, or stained-glass windows or sidelights. However, these luxurious doors can cost more than $12,000 installed.

YOUR HOME; Replacing a Door on a House 1

For homeowners with more modest budgets, there are various affordable yet equally functional and appealing options available. Solid wood entry doors made of oak are commonly found in older homes. While they require regular maintenance, including sealing and annual painting, they provide excellent insulation. The prices for oak doors can range from $200 and up, depending on the chosen style and accessories.

Those seeking low-maintenance and highly secure options may prefer steel doors. Steel doors do not warp, decay, and require minimal maintenance. Their hollow centers are filled with polyurethane foam, providing insulation. Additionally, they typically feature a magnetic sealing strip around the perimeter, forming an airtight seal between the door and the steel frame. While steel doors may get dented easily, they are relatively affordable and practical.

Fiberglass doors are also gaining popularity due to their low maintenance and excellent thermal properties. Like steel doors, fiberglass doors do not chip, crack, or warp. They can be painted or stained to resemble wood grain. However, they are more susceptible to surface scratches or gouges.

Regardless of the door material chosen, it is crucial to install the door and frame together as an integrated system. Even doors sold with frames often use the existing doorway's sill or add a sill after frame installation. Manufacturers like Pella Corporation offer steel and fiberglass door and frame packages that are factory assembled and tested for water and airtightness. These packages come with aluminum-clad frames, eliminating the need for painting and providing structural integrity. Pella's steel and fiberglass door systems typically range from $330 to $5,000, depending on additional features like transoms and sidelights.

When selecting a new front door, homeowners must consider the tradeoff between light and security. Doors with small windows at the top usually do not compromise security. However, doors with sidelights can be vulnerable. To maximize security, opt for doors with an asymmetrical sidelight arrangement, placing them only on the hinge side of the door.

For those looking for a quick and convenient replacement, steel doors are often recommended. These doors come pre-hung in a metal frame, perfectly sized to fit the existing door opening without removing the wood frame. Installing a steel door typically takes only about an hour. The magnetic metal strips around the sides and top of the door, along with the interlocking metal strip on the bottom, ensure an airtight and watertight seal. Basic metal doors can be installed for as little as $549, while doors with windows and leaded glass can be found for under $1,000.

By upgrading their front doors, homeowners can significantly improve their home's curb appeal. Whether opting for extravagant exotic wood, durable steel, or low-maintenance fiberglass, a new front door can enhance both the aesthetics and security of a house. With various price points and styles available, everyone can find a front door that suits their budget and personal preferences.

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