Homes - Exteriors

How to: Choose a front door

The front door is the face of your home. Learn how to make a good first impression by creating a welcoming exterior.

More than any other part of the façade, the front door acts as your home’s “face.” For both visitors to your home and passersby, it does a lot to add — or detract! — from the overall impression.

Even if you can’t afford to make any other changes to the exterior this year, upgrading (or at least sprucing up) your front door can provide a high return on your investment. Apart from the improved energy efficiency of a well-insulated and well-fitting door, you may be eligible for government rebates such as the Home Renovation Tax Credit as well as incentives for energy retrofits.

Steel doors are probably the most popular replacement doors, for several reasons. The first, of course, is that they are the least expensive option (though premium models can cost nearly as much as a solid wood door). Steel doors are durable, more secure than wood, and will never warp, twist or crack. Generally, the interior features a steel or wooden inner frame filled with insulating foam, resulting in a door that provides as much as five times the R-value of an ordinary wood door. However, for all their durability, steel doors are vulnerable to dents, and if the painted skin is breached by a scratch or severe dent, it can rust. And don’t combine a steel door with a storm door; heat build-up between the doors can cause the surface to peel.

Aluminum doors are a relative newcomer to the market and share many of the same advantages as aluminum siding, including a baked-on enamel finish that never needs repainting and won’t rust. There are literally dozens of styles and colours available, including wood finishes. You can also combine an aluminum door with a storm door without fear of the hazards of heat build-up. The main drawback is that, like steel, aluminum can dent, and since they are usually built to order, aluminum doors are more expensive than steel.

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