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6 tips for selecting doors for the way you live

by | Dec 07, 2016

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Many of the conversations professionals have with homeowners about security, comfort, efficiency and aesthetics include a focus on doors. Designers, builders and remodelers try to help their clients select doors and accessories that fit their lifestyle and help them feel proud of their home and happy in it. Some of the features they consider key in choosing the right doors include:

#1 Security
“We start by asking the homeowner what priorities they have for the function of the door,” says Dallas-based remodeler Kerry Brennan. “For entry doors, security is always a top priority.”

Fiberglass and steel doors are good options for homeowners who prioritize security because they are both exceptionally strong and won’t crack like wood. For best results, use composite jambs and locks with screws set into the frame, not the jamb, to prevent the door from easily being kicked in.

#2 Weather-resistance and durability.
Fiberglass and steel entry doors resist the elements much better than wood, which can warp, rot, shrink or crack without regular maintenance.

BAW-2P-154-bty_v1-571x1024“A fiberglass door doesn’t have the same problems as a wood door,” says Brennan. “It isn’t as hot as steel doors or the iron doors that are very popular right now. The intense Texas heat won’t be a problem with fiberglass.”

Wayne Atkins, president of Sterling Custom Homes in Dallas, agrees. “I am really a big fan of fiberglass exterior doors.” He said he most often recommends these doors to his clients. “They don’t move or expand and contract like wood doors. I tell homeowners that they will be much happier over time.”

Both Brennan and Atkins know a value when they recommend it– a replacement fiberglass entry door retains 82% of its value at resale. (According to Masonite and other manufacturer research.)

In the case of tall entry doors, Brennan points out choosing the right locks can also help maintain the door’s longevity. He recommends installing a three-point locking system to keep the door rigid. “You don’t get warping over time like you do with a center single-lock,” he says.

#3 Energy efficiency
Doors are an important part of your building envelope and should contribute to energy efficiency rather than take away. Steel and fiberglass doors typically have more insulating value than wood doors. Articulating sills allow the sill plate to be raised over time to maintain a tight seam between the sill and door.

#4 Framing the view
Interior doors are often considered a functional piece, but Atkins notes, “they are an important element in helping frame spaces.” Consider how they’ll look in a room and what you’ll see through them.

The outdoor living area can seem more accessible through a large door with no obstructions in the glass, adds Brennan, “So you feel like you’re in your outside living area even when you’re inside washing dishes.”

#5 Privacy and Sound Control
“I also always talk to my clients about solid core versus hollow core, explains Atkins. “In particular, I point out the benefits of solid core doors for sound control.”

If your budget doesn’t allow for solid core doors throughout the house, he advises homeowners to prioritize solid core doors in bedrooms, bathrooms and other spaces where privacy and sound control are important.

#6 You, Me and the Dog
Children, the elderly and those with arthritis find door levers easier to use than knobs that tend to require more strength to operate. Knobs, then, are a better choice for restricting young children from spaces. For frequently used hardware, choose materials that don’t easily show signs of wear, such as brushed finishes.

Atkins notes homeowners can also have both style and function when they want man’s best friend to have a door of his own. “I tell clients if they want to install a doggie door, the one that looks best with it will be the ¾ view with panels at the bottom.”

Designers, architects, builders, remodelers and realtors recognize how important doors are for making their clients feel proud of their homes and comfortable within them. They can help homeowners assess the form and function to choose doors, hardware and accessories that fit their lifestyle. With the right guidance, homeowners can consider all the ways that doors make an impact on the home and make selections that will fit their lifestyles.