Exterior doors play a significant role in the home. They welcome guest and keep the elements and unwelcome visitors out.
Before you choose what exterior door to install in your new home, you need to understand how well your door protects and insulates your home, how it stands up to time and the elements and how much it cost. If you have any questions about the right front door, ask your builder’s sales rep what material works best and which types they offer.
Material matters when it comes to the quality and cost of any aspect of a home — and exterior doors are no exception. “The main decision to make when it comes to a front entry door will be material,” says Sarah Mueller, a writer for Pella Windows and Doors.
Choosing between all the options for a sturdy door can feel overwhelming, but fiberglass, wood, aluminum and steel have unique advantages and drawbacks you should explore before deciding.
For people buying homes in harsh or humid climates, fiberglass doors are affordable, durable and look nice. Fiberglass doors mimic the look of wood and are filled with foam insulation to prevent heat loss through the door. Fiberglass doors come with long warranties and do not warp.
Fiberglass doors are a great option if you do not want to frequently repaint exterior doors. Because fiberglass exterior doors are inexpensive, they are also a good option for people who like to redecorate or want to have some flexibility in their front door.
Wood doors are the most common type of exterior door. “Wood offers natural beauty, which is both traditional and elegant,” says Mueller.
“Although wooden front doors may typically require more upkeep, mahogany or walnut entry doors can provide a stunning appearance that isn’t available with other materials.” This door material gives homes a handcrafted touch that cannot be duplicated in fiberglass or steel. Wood veneer doors start at just $200, while a truly luxurious solid wood door can cost up to $2,000.
Wood doors do need repainting every few years to prevent damage from the elements. Look for careful detailing and thickness when shopping for a wood door. Generally, the thicker the panel and more intricate the carvings and molding, the better quality the door.
Steel doors are the most affordable type of exterior door available. Starting around $150 per door, steel doors are stronger than wood and fiberglass doors and owners do not have to worry about cracks and warping.
“Steel can be more easily dented or scratched than fiberglass or wood and can also be a temperature-sensitive material, making it warmer or cooler to the touch depending on the air temperature,” says Mueller.
Steel doors usually come as part of a pre-hung system, so if you want one, you need to make sure your builder lines the hinge units on the door to match the hinges on the door. Steel doors have a baked-on polyester finish that does chip and needs periodic repainting, especially if you live in an area with extreme temperatures or high humidity.
If you want to invest in a low-maintenance exterior door, choosing an aluminum door might be the right option for your home. An aluminum door has an insulation core, covered in an aluminum skin and a baked-on enamel finish. These doors never rust or need painting and almost always come with a 20-year warranty.
Aluminum doors do not come cheap, though. Unlike other exterior doors, homeowners have to buy a custom-built aluminum door exclusively through a dealer, so talk with your builder. Aluminum doors typically start around $600 per door.
Before you buy an exterior door, you need to weigh the cost of the door with its ability to weather the elements and protect your family. Choosing the right exterior doors makes a good first impression on guest while lowering your maintenance and utility cost.
After graduating in 2016 from The University of Texas with a degree in English, Sanda Brown became a content writer for the BDX with a focus on website copy and content marketing.
At the BDX, Sanda helps write and edit articles on NewHomeSource.com, writes website copy for builders, and manages a team of freelancers that work on additional content needs.