Exterior front doors are an important part of your home's envelope, keeping you safe and comfortable. Front doors also play a key role in how your home looks to anyone driving or walking by your home, commonly known as curb appeal. There are many factors that go into picking the right doors for your home. We have lots more articles to help you find the perfect door for your home … but read this article first!
- Tips for Ordering an Exterior Door
- Front Door Styles & First Impressions
- Custom Doors for Custom Homes
Unfortunately there are many websites that appear professional so readers assume that the writer is an expert in the topic they're writing about. This simply isn't the case. Most website content is not written by knowledgeable people – web content is written primarily by writers and often, they unknowingly communicate information which is wrong, incomplete or misleading. This is exactly why the articles on this website are written by home professionals with hands-on experience. Here's a very scary example from a relatively new website.
After reviewing the reprint rights for this article, it's appropriate not to include direct excerpts (original article, Choosing an Exterior Door) so here are my thoughts on the article.
Replacing Your Front Door
Remodeling Magazine’s annual 2010 Cost vs. Value Report (my review, 2010 Remodeling Trends to Guide You) included a new home feature, a steel front door. They emphasized that exterior steel doors will recover the investment when you sell your house.
What's fun … is this survey was published about 9 months after the article (hmm?). Over the years when I owned my handyman business, I've come to believe that some products are included in these surveys based on manufacturer money. Here's what this article claimed:
- Exterior steel doors are a quick and inexpensive fix if you're selling your house soon. What they don't mention is the long term value of these doors is questionable because they don't hold up to the weather as well as fiberglass or wood doors.
- Based on my experience running a handyman business, exterior steel doors are a low end product used by builders to cut costs. There aren't as many styles to pick from so they're not a good fit for homes in the in mid-range to high end homes.
- The real message which is missing from the article is … replacing a front door that is worn or outdated can help you sell your home faster and for a higher price.
Installing an Exterior Door?
Yikes, to suggest that homeowners have the skills to hang a door is wrong! No one should hang an exterior door as there are too many things that can go wrong. Exterior doors should be replaced with a pre-hung door from the manufacturer, to insure the door fits snugly inside it's frame. Doors are tricky to install because they must be level in 3 different dimensions to swing open and close/lock properly.That takes a lot of skill with using levels and shimming the door inside it's rough opening.
Facts are facts but they need to be used correctly. The cost to install a basic door with no sidelights (vertical panels that can be included to the left/right/both sides of a door) or transom (glass above a door or window) is the same regardless of the type of material the door is made from.
- A simple steel door costs about $400 at big-box retailers and $1,200 installed … per the article, or $800 for the installation which is about right.
- A fiberglass door which the article says will cost $150 to $600 at big-box retailers … but quotes Remodeling Magazine saying “… the cost of a fiberglass entry-door replacement project at around $3,600”?
- Not a fair comparison! You can install a $400 fiberglass door for the same $1,200 as steel.
How to Make Your Exterior Doors Safer
Safety is a huge selling feature for homeowners and especially women. Stating that a steel door “… offers the strongest barrier against intruders” is ridiculous. When someone breaks into a home, the part of the door that fails is the door jamb which is always made of wood. It's usually the screws holding the lock strike plate that are compromised, so the you should add a deadbolt lock and/or upgrade to a heavy-duty or high-security strike plate with 3 to 4 inch screws to insure the door is secured into the rough framing.
This diagram from the Arlington, TX police department (www.arlingtonpd.org).
Maintaining Exterior Doors
This is a common problem for many, many homeowners. Every exterior door has some wood components as that's how you get a snug fit. There is a thin strip of wood about a quarter of an inch that wraps the 4 sides (top, bottom, left and right) of a door and these must be painted to protect them from swelling when they get wet and/or wood rot. With my handyman business, a lot of our customers like to do the painting after we've installed a door or windows and we try to explain this requirement. Invariably they forget and we have to go back and plane the door so it will close!
Gobbledy Gook at It's Best!
While it's not my intent to bash a competitor's web site, it is my goal to educate homeowners so they can make educated decisions about their homes. There really are just a few trustworthy sites with great information about the home, some that will always provide more in-depth information than we can provide here at Home Tips 4 Women. How we communicate these sites is undecided because they're both great resources but they've cluttered their sites with advertising making them difficult to read, i.e. the old 2 page article is now 8 pages with 20+ ads per page.