By Bryn Huntpalmer
Your front door has the potential to increase your home’s curb appeal and property value, all while keeping your loved ones protected from potential intruders. Depending on where you live, your front door must also be able to withstand any punishment that mother nature has in store - from torrential rain, freezing blizzards, gusting tornadoes, violent hurricanes, and the blistering sun, it has to stand up to the elements. Those are some serious demands on a door! The decision can seem daunting, but by comparing the virtues of the three main options for door materials, you are certain to find one that meets all of your criteria.
Wood is the most common, and classic, choice for a front door due to its versatility and inherent beauty - and it certainly makes any home feel high-end. With a luxurious look and impressive weight, solid hardwood doors have no comparison. However, they do have the potential to stretch your budget (particularly with custom made doors). If you are looking to save a few dollars, while still having the beauty of natural wood, look for a stock wooden door with an insulated core. You’ll get the aesthetic you love with the added bonus of lowered utility expenses.
If safety is your top priority, look no further than steel. Steel doors are tougher than wood or fiberglass, will not warp, and can be repaired with an auto-body repair bit. On top of that, steel is an excellent choice for your wallet, typically being the least expensive of all door materials. However, contrary to common thought, steel doors do not have the longevity of other doors - especially in wet, tropical climates. If you live near the ocean, a steel door may only last five to seven years under normal wear and tear.
Fiberglass strikes a perfect balance between wood and steel. Most fiberglass doors are designed to mimic real wood grain and can be dyed to look like any type of wood. They do not expand or contract in humid climates, have fantastic warranties (assuming you use the complete entry system including the frame), require virtually no maintenance, and can be expected to last upwards of twenty years. Fiberglass doors are very light, but also very strong, holding up nearly as well to intruders as steel. Manufacturers fill spaces in the framing with foam insulation, giving you excellent energy efficiency as well. Fiberglass doors have virtually no downside!
Once you have settled on a door material, you can move on to the creative part—imagining all the ways to personalize your new front door. From color choice, to glass inserts, to hardware, there are so many ways to design your front door and make it match the style of your home . Your front door makes your home's first impression, it should make a statement. Emtek offers a beautiful array of door hardware that is guaranteed to make your front door a true piece of art that makes a great first impression for years to come.
Once you find the perfect combination of hardware, use the Retailer Locator on the Emtek website to find a local store near you.
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.