Your home's exterior is the first feature your guests see and the front door says a lot about your home’s particular style. Its finish and material gives visitors their first glimpse into your taste. It’s practically impossible to rectify a bad impression made at the front door.
Tract-home builders have known this for years; even in the cheapest house, they’ll never cut corners on the front door. They know that a strong impression of quality here subtly colors a visitor’s perception of the whole house.
There are lots of subtle ways to demarcate a front entrance.
Another traditional strategy places the door in a recess, on a projection, or under a roofed porch.
An entryway is the focal point of a home's facade and the front door, its most prized asset.
Dressed with a fine lockset and handsome knocker, the door extends a friendly welcome while also discouraging intruders and shutting out the weather.
Entry doors must be tough enough to withstand wind, rain, scorching sun, and would-be intruders, yet handsome enough to make a good first impression.
It's the first thing we grab when we arrive and the last thing we touch when we leave. So it's easy to understand why many of us still like our doors to be made of wood. Nothing else matches that material's warmth and satisfying weight or offers so many design options. Steel doors are stamped; fiberglass pops out of a mold. But a wood door can be custom crafted in virtually any shape or size and incorporate whatever molding profiles, panel configurations, glazing options, or carvings that you please.
Is it protected from rain?
A wood door holds up best, and requires less maintenance, in a covered entryway. To be effective, that roof should project at least half the height of the door, including its sill and any overhead windows, such as the transom shown on the right. If the roof is 10 feet above the door's landing, for example, it should project 5 feet. Also, the roof's width should be at least 1½ times the door’s width.
Is it exposed to the sun?
Doors that bake in the sun for more than 4 hours a day will quickly lose their looks without routine care. Clear-coated doors must be recoated every one to two years, and painted ones require a fresh coat every five to six years.
Is the sill high enough?
It should clear a porch landing by 4 to 6 inches to prevent built-up snow or pooled rainwater from causing rot.
Is fire a concern?
Check your local building codes, particularly if you live in a place prone to wildfires. A few doors are rated to withstand 60-minute infernos.
How cold does it get?
Standard 1¾-inch-thick wood doors have an R-value of about 2.5, close to that of a double-pane window. That's far lower than a foam-filled fiberglass or steel door, but with tight weather stripping you can boost its ability to stop air infiltration.
Talk Like a Pro When it comes to your Door
- Width comes first. Give your door dimensions in feet and inches; first the width, then the height.
- Use the lingo. A door 3 feet wide by 6 feet 8 inches tall, the most common size, is called a "three-oh, six-eight."
- Know your right from left. Doors, like people, come left-handed and right-handed. A right-hand door has its hinges on the right side when you look at it from the outside. A left-hand door has its hinges on the left.
What is the First Impression from each of these doors?