Front doors are the workhorse of your house. They anchor the exterior design of your home and protect you from the outside world while standing up to all weather extremes. When it’s time to replace a front door there’s a lot to consider.
When Do You Need a New Front Door?
It may be time for a new door if you’re experiencing any of the following:
• Water damage at the bottom of the door – the longer it remains unrepaired, the more moisture is wicked up through the interior of the door and the more damage
• Door has become difficult to operate – moisture or extreme temperatures cause the door or frame to warp or fail completely
• Repairs have failed – when previous fixes no longer do the trick the door is at the end of its useful life
• Exterior remodeling – while updating siding, roofing, windows or painting is a good time to choose a coordinating new door
The Mechanics of Door Replacement
When the frame around the door is sound, you may be able to replace the old door with a new model. If swapping an old wood door for a new one, you will probably have to plane the top, bottom or sides of the new door for it to fit the existing jamb correctly. This is only possible for wood doors.
But many times, the entire door unit – which includes the door jambs and threshold – will also have to be replaced to assure a proper and plumb fit. A kit that includes all these pieces is known as a pre-hung door (shown above). If switching to any type of door other than wood, pre-hung is virtually your only option.
It’s a wise move to replace the entire door system because this is an opportunity to inspect the interior of the walls around the frame, and repair any damage found and shore up insulation and water protection. But if you prefer to keep the original frame – such as with historic homes – a custom door can be crafted. Here is an example of a custom door made by Mosby Building Arts’ carpenters. This level of carpentry can become costly, but may be worth it to preserve architectural integrity.
Choosing the Right Door Material
Along with selecting the door style that compliments the look of your home, you will decide which type best fits your needs. Here is an overview of door materials:
Wood Door – this is the most common door material, prized for its beauty and versatility. Wood species like oak, cherry, walnut and mahogany are beautiful with a stain finish, or you can choose paint-grade varieties like pine or western hemlock to take a painted finish. Choose from solid wood doors or wood veneer over an engineered core, which minimizes contraction and expansion and provides an opportunity to up the insulation factor.
Steel Door – this is a great choice when security, durability and low maintenance are your priorities. These doors are strong and tend to not crack or warp, and ding and dents can be repaired with an auto-body repair kit. The interior of a steel door is made of wood or steel filled in with foam insulation. Exterior finish options include baked-on polyester (which needs periodic repainting), vinyl-clad for greater weather resistance, stainable wood-fiber coating or laminated wood veneer.
Fiberglass Door – this is a super durable and virtually maintenance-free choice, good for homes in areas with dramatic and harsh weather changes as found in the MidWest. As illustrated above, they can mimic many species of wood grain, and look like a wood door when stained. The interior of the door is filled with polyurethane foam insulation, and tend to carry impressive manufacturer warranties.
Aluminum Door – this is a sturdy, rust-free door with an insulated core and baked-on enamel finish that makes it maintenance-free. It is considered a custom door, built to your specifications to fit the opening, so it is the most expensive option after a solid wood door, but the long manufacturer’s warranty verifies its lasting value.
Because there are so many factors to weigh when choosing a replacement door, you benefit from working with an experienced remodeling company. In Metro St. Louis, the professionals at Mosby Building Arts will assist you in choosing the perfect door for your needs, and also properly installs the door, backing the work with a strong warranty. Learn more about Mosby exterior remodeling. To get started, call the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact them here.