Adding Value to Your Home: How to Choose the Right Front Door

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/12/16 2:57 PM

Topics: Rehab Home Design Saving Money First Time Home Buyer Home Improvement Homeowner Tips Curb Appeal Energy Efficiency Home Value

The front door. The focal point of your home’s exterior. Entry doors have a lot to live up to. They have to be tough enough to withstand temperature extremes, precipitation and intruders, as well as boost curb appeal. Entry door replacements are one of the top home improvements for value, recouping anywhere from 82-91% of their cost. Here’s how to determine what kind of front door fits your needs.

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Options are endless on styles of doors, but for door material, you only have a few options. Regardless, what your door is made of is the most important decision of the process. Here are the pros and cons of each material type.

Wood

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Wood doors are classically attractive and often the go-to choice for high-end projects, because you can never really duplicate the look of real wood.

A wood door is also the most expensive choice, ranging anywhere from $500 to $2,500 depending on size, wood type and core. An engineered-wood core minimizes warping and is a lower-cost alternative to a solid-wood door.

Wood also requires the most maintenance, as it needs to be repainted or refinished every 1-2 years to protect it from the elements. Because of their susceptibility to moisture and extreme temperatures, wood doors often have shorter warranties than other door materials.

Steel

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If home security is your top priority as a homeowner, steel is the way to go. This door material is stronger than wood and fiberglass doors, doesn’t crack or warp, and is typically the least expensive door option. Maintenance is pretty minimal as most steel doors are finished with a baked-on polyester which requires periodic repainting.

If you live near saltwater or in a particularly wet climate, steel is not a good fit for you. Steel is quick to rust when exposed to excessive moisture. Another downside is it’s not the best option for heavy traffic entryways.

Though it’s successful in deterring burglars, steel doesn’t hold up very well to normal wear and tear. With heavy use, it’s susceptible to dings and dents which are hard to repair and/or cover up.

Fiberglass-Composite

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Fiberglass doors are often the top choice for homeowners who live in humid or harsh climates and desire low-maintenance in their home materials. This material is tough, maintenance-free, typically carries a long warranty, and can mimic the look of real wood.

Because fiberglass doesn’t expand or contract with the weather changes, a fiberglass-composite entry door can go a couple decades without a touch-up.

According to the Department of Energy, a windowless door made of fiberglass offers five times that insulating value of a similar door made of solid wood.

Fiberglass falls below wood and above steel in the affordability component. Purchasing this type of door for an older home may mean you have to spend a bit more money, because most models are manufactured with the door frame attached, for which you’d need to call in a specialist to install.

Whether you’re looking for energy efficiency, home security or a great aesthetics, you have several front door options to boost your curb appeal and your home value.

Thinking of making some bigger exterior or interior home improvements? Download our free Rehab & Construction Guide for loan options that allow you to roll the costs of your remodel/renovation into your mortgage loan.

Download: Rehab & Construction Guide

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