Exterior doors have three main functions; security, style and insulation. And unlike interior doors, they have to stand up to the ravages of sun damage, extremes of heat and cold, wind, and swings in humidity without warping, shrinking or swelling. They also have the added challenge of having one half subjected to exterior conditions while the other half is exposed to very different interior conditions.

Front Door

Traditional solid wood doors make a beautiful statement. If you want a wood door, spend the extra money and get a good one. The best ones are custom made – well built- and you get exactly what you want. Wood doors will last longer if you provide a shelter with an entryway or an overhang. If you’re planning on painting your front door, a fiberglass door is less expensive than wood in addition to being very energy efficient and once it’s painted it’s hard to distinguish from wood.

Sliding Doors

Sliding glass doors are great for bringing the outdoors in, they are easy to incorporate, and they seal tightly. One side moves while the other is stationary. For consistency, it’s a good idea to choose the same material as the windows. And don’t forget to add retractable screens. These hide against the stationary part when you don’t want them and easily lock into place when you want to open the doors. Also consider multi door units if you’re looking for open spaces.

French Doors

French doors are swinging doors with divided lights. Both doors are operable giving you the option to really open up your home. And don’t worry about screens, there are also retractable screens that retract into the door jamb that work with French doors. Since these don’t seal as tightly as sliding doors, make sure that the weather-stripping is particularly good.

Garage Doors

People are finally seeing garage doors as an extension of the style of their home. From a performance standpoint, you can choose either insulated, or non-insulated garage doors. If you’re going to supply your garage with conditioned air, insulated doors are the better choice. Better quality springs, motors and tracks are worth investing in since they are the moving parts that get worn out with use. Common materials are wood, fiberglass and aluminum.