How to Choose a Front Door

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Whether you opt for imposing double doors or a more modest entrance, one particular door material adds extra value at resale: The only house project that recoups more than 100 percent of its cost is installing a steel entry door, according to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value Report 2010-11. If you opt for fiberglass, only 60 percent of the cost of the door and its installation are recoupable in a home sale. Steel doors carry lower price tags than fiberglass options, but cost should not be the only determinant in your front door selection. Durability, aesthetics and price should all guide your final decision.

  • Choose the installation style. If you’re matching existing dimensions, buy a slab door. If you want a different size, you’ll need to buy a pre-hung door and replace the frame along with the door.

  • Determine which material will best suit your needs. Wood, steel and fiberglass are widely available, but some stores offer MDF (medium-density fiberboard) and composite varieties. Homeowners in high-end homes typically prefer authentic wood doors, but because wood warps, fiberglass-wood composite doors work better. Choose MDF wood if you want an environmentally friendly door that resists warping and has a uniform finish; select fiberglass if you want the appearance of wood without the high price tag and maintenance. Pick steel for its low cost and strength.

  • Match the design to the architectural style of the house. Select a more intricate design for traditional homes, but opt for an uncluttered door for contemporary homes. Retailers offer doors to complement the look for every style of house, from Tudor to cottage designs. If you don’t like the available colors, pick your own shade in an exterior formula and roll the paint on the surface. Cool colors recede and add serenity, while warm colors advance and add energy.

  • Decide which glass style fits your home's interior and exterior. If you opt for clear glass, you’ll have an unobstructed view of the outdoors -- but the outdoors will have an unobstructed view of you and your family, too. Textured glass offers more privacy while still allowing light to flood the entryway. Choose energy-efficient glass to increase your energy savings; add sidelights on both sides of the door for extra style and light.

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