What you need to know about exterior doors
Ideally, exterior doors should provide security and durability while complementing the look and design of your home. Entry doors are also an important line of defense in any home energy efficiency strategy; your front door as well as your patio doors should all be selected in part based on their ability to keep heat inside your home during cool weather.
Types of Exterior Doors
Broadly speaking, there are five styles of exterior doors to choose from: wood, fiberglass, PVC, aluminum and steel. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Wood exterior doors are becoming increasingly rare. Nowadays, they're usually found on vintage or older homes. It's rare for a builder to put wood exterior doors in new houses unless they're specifically requested by the customer. While wood doors have a classic appeal, they're just not as durable as doors made from other materials, nor are they very efficient at keeping heat in the house.
Fiberglass exterior doors are typically available in a complete range of styles and colors, offering excellent durability, impact resistance and energy efficiency. Though they are easy to maintain, fiberglass exterior doors have to be cleaned frequently and need their weather stripping replaced relatively often.
PVC is normally used to craft sliding patio doors rather than front doors. This is because it's lightweight, corrosion-proof and resistant to water and wind. However, its light weight makes it a poor choice for primary entrances, since it's not very resistant to impact. Aluminum doors are very similar to PVC doors and are also normally reserved for patios.
Steel exterior doors are strong, versatile and airtight. They are usually delivered encased inside wooden frames, and they can be customized to accommodate any number of windows. However, they're prone to the effects of sun exposure; though they can be repainted, it's very difficult for the average person to approximate the finish the steel door had when it was new. When steel doors show signs of wear, replacement doors are usually the order of the day – and that can be costly.
Add a Touch of Style
Exterior French doors are extremely popular with consumers because of their elegance. If your door frame is designed to accommodate them, exterior French doors make an excellent addition to any home. This door style features two doors which swing open, bordered by narrow panels of glass on either side.
Otherwise, most home improvement retailers offer you the opportunity to customize your exterior doors however you see fit. Get creative and use your good judgment and taste to create an inviting entryway to your home.