14 June, 2012

What You Need to Know about Upgrading Your Front Door

If an upgrade of your home’s front door is in your future, here’s what you need to know about the various entry door construction options and selecting the right door for your home, as well as choosing the right installer.

Entry Door Material Options: Pros and Cons


Elegant and unique custom design options in any species. Doors can be sized to fit any opening.

Wood does not hold up well to weather conditions like rain, direct sunlight, and hot and cold temperatures. It will rot, swell, crack, split and warp so regular finish maintenance is imperative to the door’s longevity. The doors are usually not insulated.

Door construction, grain species (some hardwood lumber will weather better than others), door thickness, panel moulding and sticking.


Fiberglass entry doors are increasingly popular alternatives to wood doors that typically don’t hold up to the damaging effects of weather and are not well insulated. The polyurethane foam core provides five times the insulating value of a wood door, which can lower heating and cooling costs and improve the comfort of a home year round.

  • Available in wood grains like cherry, mahogany, oak, and fir or a smooth surface for a painted wood look.
  • Won’t warp, crack, rot or split like wood. Stands up beautifully to severe weather, including wind, humidity, driving rains and snow.
  • Usually less expensive than wood.
  • Energy Star® qualified.
  • Can be painted or stained to match the exterior color scheme of the home. You can even stain the exterior and paint the interior.
  • Usually has a limited lifetime warranty.

If the door is grained fiberglass and stained improperly, it can look like plastic, so it’s best to purchase the door pre-finished from a dealer that offers a manufacturer finishing option.

Door construction, warranty; polyurethane foam core insulation for energy efficiency; Energy Star ratings; factory pre-finishing option.


Steel is an attractive, economical option featuring high definition panel embossments and a smooth surface in a painted finish. It’s insulated with a polyurethane foam core and Energy Star qualified.

Steel can rust or dent. The thermal conductivity is higher on a steel door than on fiberglass or wood, so the surface feels cold or hot to the touch in extreme temperatures.

Door construction, steel gauge, Energy Star rating, manufacturer pre-finishing options.

Entry Door Bling

Once you’ve decided on a construction material you may want to accessorize the look of your door with decorative glass and hardware. Exterior doors can be designed with full view glass panels, 3/4 view, half view, 1/4 view, with one sidelight or two, even transoms. There’s clear glass, textured glass, tinted glass and decorative glass. Clopay is the only manufacturer that offers garage door designs to coordinate with our entry door systems.

Clopay Arbor Grove Collection stained Mahogany fiberglass entry door with Prescott decorative glass and sidelites shown with coordinating Clopay Gallery Collection insulated steel garage door with wrought iron decorative windows and Ultra-Grain paint finish.

Try Before You Buy

According to Remodeling magazine’s 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value Report, entry door replacement ranks among the Top 5 home improvement projects nationwide, generating the highest return on investment at resale. So you want to make sure the door you choose is going to deliver the biggest bang for your buck.

Clopay painted Smooth Fiberglass entry door with Clarion clear glass and sidelites with Prairie Grilles.

Selecting a Professional Door Installer

Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to find a professional dealer to measure, order and install your new entry door. But before you sign on the dotted line…

  1. Find out how long the company has been installing entry doors.
  2. Go online to research the brand of entry doors the dealer carries. Manufacturer websites offer additional product information and images as well as a dealer locator identifying authorized professional installers in your area [One Clear Choice is the only authorized Clopay dealer in Denver.]
  3. Ask to see before and after images of previous installations as well as a list of customer references. Call them.
  4. Make sure the installer is bonded and insured and works for a reputable, local company.
  5. Check Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau to find out what other customers are saying and if there are any problems the company has had in the past.
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