Tips for Choosing a New Exterior Door for Your Home

When your front door needs replacing, this can be a good time to upgrade to a door that's more secure or one that is more attractive overall. Choosing a front door is not always as easy as you might assume, simply because there are so many choices available to you. This is why it's good to take your time and note all the features they offer:

1. Energy efficiency

While a wood door may look attractive, steel and fiberglass external doors may be more energy efficient and work better to insulate your home. Wood often conducts cold and heat, so it may let in hot air during the summer and cold air during the wintertime. If you live in an area with extremes in climate, opt for a steel or fiberglass door.

2. Security

Steel is typically considered the strongest material for safety, but if you must choose wood, opt for a strong, dense variety. This would be oak or maple, versus bamboo. The thickness of a door also affects its durability, so be sure you choose a solid wood door versus one that is hollow if you must choose wood.

The doorjamb itself also affects its strength, so you might upgrade the doorframe at the same time as you have a new door installed. A steel frame might be stronger than your current wood frame, and a deeper deadbolt can keep the door from being kicked in. 

3. Glass

It's not unusual for a front door to have some type of glass window or insert, to let in light and to make the door more attractive. However, glass can be more easily broken than the door itself. Be cautious about glass near the doorknob, as a thief can break the glass and then reach in and unlock the door.

If you must have glass on the door, look for leaded glass or glass block, as these are thicker and harder to shatter than standard glass. When you have glass inserts or sidelights on either side of the door, be sure they're set back from the doorknob enough as well, and that they're too narrow for someone to enter this way after breaking the glass.

Note too that you may want to check if there are limitations to the type of door and lock you can use on your home; some areas may ban certain deadbolts as they make it more difficult to enter in case of an emergency.