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Ten tips to relieve door shopping anxiety for homeowners

by | Dec 07, 2016

If you ask your homeowner customers if they would rather shop for doors for their home or have a root canal, the answer may be the latter! Door shopping angst can be a long, painful process for homeowners and their builders, architects or real estate pros. Not to mention that the doors they choose for both interior and exterior, reflect their lifestyle and create a long-lasting impression.

Despite the fact that doors can comprise up to 800 square feet of wall space in a home, most people don’t think about them until they are in the late stages of construction or have to replace existing doors — then it’s down the rabbit hole! This is confirmed by research commissioned by Masonite and other manufacturers, in which consumers describe sorting from among rows and rows of similar-looking white doors on websites, and then in big box stores, and trying to decipher terms such as “swing” “anodized” and “polyurethane core.”

Be armed with the right advice for consumers, so you can guide them and make it less of an overwhelming chore. This will also help you stay on time and budget.

Follow the 10 tips below to reduce the anxiety of the door buying experience and leave homeowners with a confident smile every time they walk through their door:

  1. Needs. First, let’s consider how the old doors performed and when they didn’t. Technology and materials have likely changed since the last door was installed. There have been improvements in security, efficiency, wind ratings, impact resistance, and fire ratings, as well as features that better suite coastal applications. Maybe the homeowner always wished the entry door had a window, so they could see when those creepy solicitors were coming. Maybe they’d like a solid door this time (so those same creepsters don’t know they’re home). Pull together a wish list.
  2. Homework. Consumers complained they felt they needed to “Google” every term associated with doors. While looking up every word is a little excessive, the internet is a good place to start your door shopping process. Most shoppers researched available features, styles and colors online, and even narrowed doors or brands by price range. Finding doors online that seem to meet their needs will help them skip over those that don’t when they get to a showroom. To guide them in looking up terms, Masonite has a glossary[insert link to glossary] that cuts through the jargon.
  3. Style. Currently, the DFW region is trending toward transitional styles that include warm contemporary, simplified craftsman and a return of art deco. Make sure your door speaks the style language you do.
  4. Opportunities. “Look at the home’s framing to see if there’s opportunity to expand either up or out to make greater impact or suit your needs,” notes Dallas-based remodeler Kerry Brennan. “You may be able to have the grand entry you always wanted or widen the door to the laundry room to fit that full basket through it more easily.”
  5. Type. There are a variety of door types available, including standard hinged, bypass, folding (or bifold), pocket and French doors. Select the best type based on the space it requires, access it allows, and how it fits your design.
  6. Size/swing. To determine swing (which way the door opens), stand in the doorway facing outside, or in the case of interior doors, in the room into which it opens. If the lockset is on your right, the door has a right-hand swing. Detailed instructions for how to correctly measure the door opening (with or without the frame) are available online[insert link to Door FAQs].
  7. Material/Finish. The most commonly available door materials are fiberglass, steel and wood and each has advantages in certain applications. Doors also come in factory finishes, or can be stained and painted by the homeowner or installer. Choose the material with the features needed and consider how handy your customer is with DIY painting and maintenance. Masonite has an easy online guide to help homeowners sort out the style, material and construction options on interior doors[insert link to Interior Doors 101 on Doors 101 page] and as well as style, glass options and material choices for entry doors[insert link to Entry Doors 101 on Doors 101 page].
  8. Look and feel. Once the homeowner has completed all the steps above, you’re ready to pack their little lunchbox and send them on the intrepid trip to a showroom. Consumers overwhelmingly agreed they couldn’t buy a door without seeing it and feeling how it swings and latches. An in-person visit will give customers the opportunity to talk to the sales associate to find out what insight he or she has about particular doors.
  9. Bling. After the door or doors are chosen, it’s up to the homeowner to take on the task of dressing it up with hardware. Barbara Gilbert of Barbara Gilbert Interiors in Dallas says, “Furniture and wearable fashion are an inspiration for me when designing, and homeowners can certainly look to these trends when dressing their doors.” Currently, she says “gold is back with a vengeance.”
  10. Warranty. When comparing different doors, be sure you and your customers check out and compare warranties. Look for the most comprehensive warranty[insert link to Masonite's Warranties] available.

Generally, doors are both a functional and a design element that homeowners will have to live with, possibly for as long as they are in the home. Use these tips to help them choose doors that fit their design, budget and daily lifestyle to help take the pain out of door shopping. It will guide your customers to door selection that will satisfy their needs for years to come.