All About Front Doors

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Your front door is one of the key elements of your home’s exterior, not just as a big part of your curb appeal, it’s also crucial in keeping your home safe. If you’re looking to replace your front door or selecting a new door for a new home, it’s important to know typical front entry door specifications, related terms, and options you may want to select for your new door.

How to Choose the Right Front Entry Door for Your Home

When you build or redesign a home, selecting the paint colors, building materials, and styles that suit your tastes the most help to make your home a reflection of your own personality. The same level of care and attention should also go to your front door, considering it’s the first thing visitors will see when they arrive at your home.

Selecting the right entry door for your house can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, armed with the information outlined below, it can be a fun and rewarding process.

Helpful Front Door Terms

When you’re shopping for a new front entry door, there are several terms you’re likely to hear quite a bit. Understanding these terms is the first step in knowing how to select a great front entry door.

  • Astragal: Vertical molding that seals the gap between closed double doors.
  • Brickmould: The molding that trims the outside edge of the door’s frame.
  • Casing: Molding that fills the opening between the door jamb and the home’s interior walls.
  • Clad: An insulating layer that’s added to the outside of the door to prevent weather damage and visually enhance the door.
  • Inswing: When the door swings into the interior of the home.
  • Jamb: The upright part of the door’s frame.
  • Left-Hand Door: When a door’s hinges are on the left side when facing toward its exterior.
  • Lite: A pane of glass and frame that’s install built into a door.
  • Outswing: When the door swings into the exterior of the home.
  • Right-Hand Door: When a door’s hinges are on the right side when facing toward its exterior.

Overview of Front Door Installation Types

The installation style determines what type of door you need to purchase, as well as the amount of labor that goes into installing it.

Prehung Front Doors

Prehung front doors come with the hinges and frame pre-attached. They also have pre-cut holes for the doorknob and the strike plate, which is the metal plate that the door bolt goes into when the door locks. Prehung front doors are convenient and will ensure that the frame and door align properly for the best result.  

Front Entry Slab Doors

Slab doors are those without the frame or hinges built-in. When installing a slab door, you need to have an existing frame and hinges already in place to attach the door to. Slab doors often come stained or painted and they typically have holes pre-cut for the knob and deadbolt. A slab door is usually a less expensive option than a prehung front door, but you’ll have to get the door to properly fit your existing frame. 

Which Type of Front Door Material is Right for Your Home?

There are a few considerations to make when determining which front door material is right for your home. Some materials are better than others at withstanding extreme weather conditions, such as snow, wind, rain, and extreme heat while others provide a better aesthetic for your home. Other factors you want to consider when selecting your front door material include general maintenance and upkeep, longevity, and the overall cost of that material.

Wooden Front Doors

Wooden front doors can add classic charm to your home’s exterior, but there are some downfalls to wood doors. Most notably, wood has a tendency to absorb moisture which can lead to warping, swelling, or even rotting. To prevent this, wooden doors need to be sealed immediately after they’re installed and it’s important to reseal them regularly. Wooden doors also sag over time and require regular maintenance to keep them functioning properly. We recommend choosing Fiberglass or Steel entry doors for the utmost satisfaction.  

Fiberglass Entry Doors

Fiberglass is the best choice when you’re looking for a door that requires little to no maintenance. Fiberglass doesn’t scratch or dent easily, and it doesn’t generally react to extreme weather conditions. They’re known to be the most energy-efficient type of door.

Steel Entry Doors

Steel entry doors are typically the most affordable choice when it comes to door materials. Steel is sturdy and provides greater security than wood or fiberglass. Steel doors are quite energy-efficient and do a great job of keeping warm air indoors during cooler months.

Exterior Door Measurements

Knowing the measurements of your entryway is a vital part of purchasing the right front entry door for your home. When you measure your doorway, make sure to stand in front of the door with the door open away from you. Take the following measurements:

  • Width: Measure the width of your door’s opening at the top, middle, and bottom and use the widest measurement to determine your door’s width.
  • Height: Measure the height of the inside of the door frame from the bottom to the top of the rough opening — the recessed part of the frame where the door sits when closed. Repeat this measurement on the other side of the door and use the highest number to determine your door’s height.
  • Depth: Measure the thickness of the door itself, as well as the width of the rough opening in your door frame. These numbers should be similar but be sure to use the highest one when recording your measurements.

Standard Front Door Sizes

In the U.S., the standard entry door size is 80″ x 36″ but in some homes, doors may be as tall as 109″ and as wide as 42″ in homes that feature modern or luxury designs or 96″ on some newer homes. Double doors are sometimes narrower at a width of 30″ or 32″. U.S. building codes stipulate that single front entry doors must be no less than 32′ wide by 78′ tall. The standard depth, or thickness, is 1 3/4″.

Entry Door Features & Options

While the door itself is an important feature of your home, it’s the elements that come together to create your door’s design that give it curb appeal. When purchasing a new front entry door, consider some of the features and options listed below.

Double Front Doors

If you have the space to accommodate double front doors, they’re a great way to create a grand entrance for your home. They’re a great complement to wide foyers and large front patios. In addition to being visually appealing, double front doors offer easier access to your home when moving large items in or out.

French Doors

French doors are double doors that feature large windows on both doors that run from the top to the bottom. These doors allow plenty of natural light into your home while adding classic beauty to your house both inside and out. French doors can be fully customized to suit the style of your home.

Glass Options for an Entry Door

Adding glass to your front entry door is a great way to add style while letting natural light flow into your home. At Thompson Creek, you can choose from a variety of window sizes, shapes, and styles for your front door.

Front Door With Storm Doors

The addition of a storm door is a great way to let natural light into your home on warmer days and protect your front door from the elements in harsh weather. At Thompson Creek, we can customize storm doors to suit your tastes with a multitude of frame colors, decorative glass styles, and custom hardware.

Front Door Colors and Finishes

The color or stain you select for your front door is one of the most important decisions you make throughout the design process. We can help you select from a range of neutral and classic colors or wood stains to complement the exterior of your home.

Front Door Hardware

You have several choices when it comes to your door’s hardware. A bolt and lever handle adds modern style to your door, while a one-piece door handle and bolt adds estate-style elegance. An electronic keyless entry system is a convenient option if you prefer not to carry keys.

When to Consider a Custom Front Door

If your home features a non-standard front door size, a custom front door is usually the best solution. At Thompson Creek, our team can custom-build doors to fit in most entryways. In addition to being the perfect fit, custom doors give you more control over design. With a custom door, you’re able to select every unique detail of your door, including windows, hardware, and security features.

How to Buy a Front Entry Door

Selecting and buying a new front door is easy when you work with Thompson Creek. Our team can help you select from an assortment of prehung doors. We’ll also work with you to select the hardware and colors that suit your home best. To learn more about our selection of front entry doors and custom design services, contact us and we’ll be in touch with more information.

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