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Statement-Making Front Doors

Front porch of a house with a large wooden door.

Considerations when shopping for a new front door

Your front door should make an impact. After all, it’s both a focal point as well as an introduction to the personal style of those living behind it. When it comes to looking for a front door, whether you’re building a new home or simply replacing a current door, aesthetics play a part. But you also need to consider what your door is made out of.

Exterior doors need to stand up to a lot of wear and tear. So your door should be durable, in addition to providing security. Energy efficiency is another feature to consider, as well as maintenance, and of course, cost. Read on for the low-down on three popular exterior door materials.

Wood

While generally thought of as a go-to for traditional style homes, wood doors work with everything from transitional to contemporary aesthetics.

Wood doors are all about character—and have more of it than their fiberglass or steel counterparts. You’ll find wood door options with recessed or louvered panels to doors with inlays, beveled designs or ornate carvings. 

Wood tends to hide scratches and dents well; plus, you can sand and re-stain minor damage. On the flip side, you’ll need to stain and refinish a wood door annually to help protect it from the elements. And when it comes to energy efficiency, wood doors aren’t as efficient as steel or fiberglass. 

If a wood door appeals to you, keep in mind that these types of doors are generally the most expensive; a door with an engineered wood core and a wood-veneer exterior will be more budget friendly. 

Fiberglass

Fiberglass doors provide a trifecta of benefits, as they’re exceptionally durable (they don’t chip or dent), low-maintenance and energy-efficient. These doors stand up to moisture, making them resistant to warping, rotting or rusting—and ideal for humid climates. 

And if you like the look of wood, you can have that with a fiberglass door (without the cost). They’re available in paints or stains that mimic the appearance of wood doors—plus, you don’t need to worry about painting or staining them over time. 

Steel

Steel doors are one of the most budget-friendly options. While steel doesn’t allow for much personalization in terms of intricate details, it’s a good choice if your priorities are security and durability. 

Steel doors require minimal maintenance; they won’t rot or warp over time. However, they can dent with heavy use and can also scratch easily. And while they’re energy-efficiency, they’re less energy-efficient than fiberglass doors. 

Additional Considerations

While landing on a door material is the main decision when selecting a door, you’ll also need to decide whether you want a solid door or one with glass windows. 

If privacy is important to you, then a solid door is the way to go. If you prefer more of an open vibe, or want sunlight to filter in through your door, then opt for glass windows. (Alternatively, you could also go with a solid door and glass sidelights.) 

And, of course, you’ll need to choose a color. Depending on your door material and style of your home, you may want to stick with more of a natural look. Or you could go for something that pops, like a bright, welcoming red, an elegant black or a peaceful green. 

 

Wood front door with 6 small windows at the top. A wood door is a top pick for adding character.
Turquoise fiberglass door. Get the look of wood with a fiberglass door.
Sleek, modern style front door with a large stainless steel handle. Want durability? Consider a steel door.
Front porch of a house with a red wood door. Put out the welcome mat with a bright red door.

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