Replacing Your Front Door

Replacing Your Front Door

Your front door is the first part of the house that a person looks at closely. For both new and old homes, the front door is a key focal point. Front doors often show age early on because they are exposed to weather and heavy wear. Older doors are usually made from wood, which has the warm, natural look and feel but are vulnerable to the elements. Sun and rain will eventually warp and crack the wood.

The good news is that entry doors have changed quite a bit over the past few years. There are now many options, from conventional wood doors to high-tech alternatives made of fiberglass composites, steel or a combination of materials.

One significant change is that you can now buy an entire “entry system”. With an entry system, a door is pre-hung in its frame and all components are designed and machined to work together reliably and efficiently.

Additionally, door-building materials have evolved. A wood door isn’t necessarily entirely wood anymore. Some wood doors have steel interiors. A fiberglass or steel door may have a wood frame. And doors may now have a core of foam insulation. The choice of wood, fiberglass, or steel as the primary door material will have the most impact on appearance, cost, durability, and security.

Nearly all doors, wood and non-wood alike, are termed either “flush”, with a flat, smooth surface on both faces, or “paneled”, which have rectangular recesses.

When replacing an existing door, measure the door’s actual width, thickness (normally 1 ¾”) and height (normally 6’8”). If you’re buying a complete entry system and are replacing the jamb as well as the door, measure the thickness of the existing jamb, from the inside of the exterior molding to the inside of the interior molding (this equals the wall’s thickness). Stand inside, and note which side the knob is on. If the knob is on the right, you have a “right- hand” door; if it’s on the left, you have a “left-hand” door.

If buying a wood door, look for high-quality wood, durable finishes, and careful detailing. Generally, better wood doors have more intricate carvings and moldings with thicker, wider frames and panels.

With an entry system, be sure all the components are from the same manufacturer. Distributors may assemble systems and so parts may not be designed to go together. Be sure all weather-stripping seals tightly and the threshold interlocks with the door’s bottom edge.

High-quality steel and fiberglass doors have an insulated separation that prevents outside cold and heat from being conducted through the door’s skin and frame.

Even if it costs a little more, a high-quality door will pay you back with smooth operation, energy efficiency, low maintenance and a great look for years to come.

About the Author

Brandon Lau grew up in Kailua and currently resides in Honolulu with his wife Andee and children Caylah, Elijah, and David. His eighteen years in real estate led him to become a Partner at ChaneyBrooks Choice Advisors. Over the past 10 years he has developed the team and systems that has created a high level of service and value for his clients.

What differentiates Brandon and his team is his consultative approach to real estate. He advises clients with relevant data and expert insight to help them make the best choices in real estate. Good choices in planning for long term dispositions, negotiating for the best price or knowing when not to pursue an investment are ways his consultative services will give you an advantage in the marketplace. His bottom line is providing service with the utmost integrity and expertise.