First Impressions Matter
The perceived value and curb appeal of your newly remodeled or custom home begin with the exterior appearance. Choosing the right front door for your home is very important because it links the aesthetics of the outside of your home to the inside space. Your front door must also be secure, energy efficient, and durable enough to stand up to the variable weather in the Washington, DC area.
Exterior doors are available at various price points, in different materials, in many styles, and with countless features. You can have a front door custom-made for your home or select a "stock" door. With all these options, how do you choose the right front door for your home?
Materials Used To Make Front Doors
A front door must be able to withstand the elements year-round and still look good, so picking the correct material for your climate is key. You should also look for a door that meets or exceeds the ENERGY STAR guidelines, which will help you save on heating and cooling costs for your home. Exterior doors are made of wood, fiberglass composite, or steel. Here are the pros and cons for each type of material.
Front doors made of wood offer beauty and versatility as they can be made from fir, pine, mahogany, maple, oak, cherry, walnut, alder, and more. Each species has a range of characteristics, like grain, color, and sap content that contribute to its unique appearance and performance.
Exterior wood doors are available in pre-made or "stock" versions, or you can have one custom-made for your home. Many stock wood doors are wood veneer over an engineered wood core. This type of construction minimizes warping, expansion, and contraction that happen in solid wood doors.
Be aware that exterior doors made of wood can be expensive and will require maintenance. The wood must be regularly refinished with stain or paint, and sealed properly to preserve its natural beauty.
Stained Wood Door
Painted Wood Door
Fiberglass composite doors are extremely durable and are almost maintenance free. Fiberglass doors have the look and feel of genuine wood, and can be stained to match cherry, oak, walnut, or mahogany, or they can be painted virtually any color. Inside, they have a foam core that offers excellent insulation properties for energy efficiency. Since this material is so durable in all climates, these doors often come with long warranties, and they are relatively affordable.
Steel offers strength for superior security and durability in most climates. Steel doors cost the least, too. These doors have an inner frame of wood or steel and a foam insulation core for energy efficiency. Most steel doors are coated with a finish that provides rust-resistance that should require only minimal maintenance through the years.
STYLES Of Front Doors
Choose a front door that fits with the overall architectural style of your home. Add sidelights, which are vertical pieces of glass to the side of an entry door, to allow in natural light. To let in sunlight without sacrificing privacy, incorporate a transom window, which is glass placed horizontally above the door frame, into your design. Or, you can add both sidelights and a transom window for a truly custom look. Most manufacturers offer clear or decorative glass to fit your taste while providing the level of privacy you need. Here is an overview of various styles of front doors with accompanying photos that illustrate different levels of customization.
1. All-Panel Front Door
An all-panel front door is made of rails and stiles that are inserted into a frame. This type of door offers the most privacy and security, as there are no integrated glass panels. Adding sidelights and/or transom windows to an all-panel front door will give you the ability to see who is outside and will allow natural light into your home.
2. Glass-Panel Front Door
A glass-panel front door is comprised of rails, stiles, and glass that are inserted into a frame. This type of door allows plenty of sunlight to enter your home, and you can choose from 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and full views. Manufacturers offer a variety of options for the glass - textured, tinted, or decorative - so that you can have the look and level of privacy you desire. Energy efficient glass is offered by most manufacturers so your home can stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. You can also choose from options such as impact resistant glass, tempered glass, or sound reducing glass.
3. Dutch Or Stable Front Door
A Dutch or stable door is made from two pieces so the upper and lower sections can operate independently. This type of door evokes a nostalgic charm and allows you to let in fresh air while keeping children and pets safely inside. A mechanism known as the "quadrant" allows the doors to be latched together so they can be opened or closed as one unit for safety.
At Meridian Homes, we specialize in luxury renovations and custom home building in the Washington, DC area. Our mission is to create exceptional residences that exceed expectations. Our highly personalized design process and careful management of every project have earned us a reputation over many years for outstanding client service and solid, beautiful craftsmanship. Contact us today to begin your custom home or remodeling project.