When you are designing or remodeling your home, you face a host of choices. One of the most impactful decisions you will make are the features of your entry doors. These doors not only welcome guests and create a beautiful aesthetic, they can also give you security and peace of mind. Let’s explore a few important features so you can begin choosing what’s right for you.
Top manufacturers, such as Marvin, offer exterior doors in a variety of materials, most prominently fiberglass, steel, wood, and clad wood. Selecting a material that meets your needs is one of the first decisions you will make, but the true style of your door is in the details.
Exterior doors can be simple panel models, or they can be outfitted with beautiful glass insets, elegant muntins (this is the wood or metal that separates panes of glass), or removable grills.
The best exterior door manufacturers offer a wide array of design options and additional exterior door features from which to choose. Here are a few options that will add style, and value, to your home.
We love the elegance of glass inserts; they certainly help boost your curb appeal, and you’ll love the effect from inside your home as well. Typically, these inserts feature one decorative panel, protected by two pieces of tempered glass or impact-resistant glass.
Both materials are strong, durable, and much safer than regular glass. Tempered glass doesn’t shatter into sharp pieces; it crumples. If impact-resistant glass should break, its pieces stick to an inner layer of plastic that slides between the two outer panels of glass.
You can also opt for sidelights (typically narrow windows that flank the door) and/or transoms (horizontal windows positioned above the door).
Homeowners usually have two major concerns when it comes to glass inserts: security and energy-efficiency.
Regular glass can lower efficiency. However, the panels of tempered or impact-resistant glass in a door’s insert create an insulated airspace, helping keep the elements out and your heat and conditioner air in. In terms of security, impact-resistant glass is just that: resistant to impact. It would take considerable time and effort to break in, and burglars usually look for easier targets.
This feature allows you to keep your exterior door weather-tight over the years. You can adjust the threshold, so it fits snugly against the door to keep out drafts, rain, and snow. It should be just loose enough to allow you to open and close the door without wearing down your weatherstripping.
Energy Efficiency Upgrades
Air leakage from doors can be as high as 11%, and a miniscule ⅛ inch gap under your exterior door lets is as much cold air as a 2.4 inch hole in your wall. Brrr… During a Midwest winter, that’s a big problem!
Fortunately, top manufacturers integrate energy efficiency into their exterior doors. The materials themselves can help fight the elements and keep your indoor temperature stable. Many also offer features like double-paned tempered glass with low-e coating, interior foam cores that create an insulating barrier, weatherstripping, and more. Eighty-percent of those offered by Therma-Tru, are ENERGY STAR rated.
Exterior doors can also make your home smarter! With smart locks, for example, you can take advantage of PIN codes, security tokens, biometrics, multiple access solutions, automatic locking, and alarm integration.
Leading manufacturers also offer doors that integrate with your smartphone/smart home system. Marvin, for example, gives users of its gorgeous Multi-Slide Door the opportunity to install an automatic remote control or wall switch. They can operate the door with the touch of a button.