Choosing a Front Door

There are many options to choose from when deciding on a front door. Learn the facts so you can choose the best one for your needs.
wooden doors are most often used for custom design

wooden doors are most often used for custom design

Figure A


Wooden doors are most often used in custom or specialized design situations since they are easiest to manipulate. With the countless options (mahogany, side lights, transoms, decorative glass, etc.) you can custom design the specific look you want for your entryway. Another design advantage is that decorative transparencies such as glass are easier to install in wooden front doors.

A disadvantage to having a wooden exterior door is that over time, exposure to the elements can cause the wood to warp, resulting in a break in the door's air-sealing capabilities.


fiberglass doors achieve traditional look of wood

fiberglass doors achieve traditional look of wood

Figure B

These paneled doors can take a beating without incurring dents. Not only are fiberglass doors more durable than their wooden counterparts, they can also be stained in order to achieve the same traditional look of wood. And thanks to an insulated core, fiberglass doors give added protection from the elements. Keep in mind that fiberglass front doors may cost a bit more than wood, but the long-term energy savings can help offset the difference.


metal or steel front door adds security

metal or steel front door adds security

Figure C

Metal front doors have insulated foam within the panels and steel on either side and are the safest of the three options.
One of the main problems with a metal door, however, is denting that's hard to repair. This can result in the need for a whole door replacement.

Types of Seals

exterior doors are sealed by compression or magnet

exterior doors are sealed by compression or magnet

Figure B

Compression sealed doors use a flexible PVC gasket that fits along the four sides of an entry way. When the door is closed, the gasket is compressed into place to form a tight seal.

Magnetically sealed doors are made of metal or steel and have a magnetic seal similar to those found on refrigerator doors. They are a more expensive option, but they're extremely energy efficient.

Next Up

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