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Choosing an Exterior Door

Think of the outside of your home as a picture. Stand on the street in front of your home and look at it as though viewing a piece of artwork. Let your mind's eye put a frame around it, with your house centered inside. What is the focal point of that picture? Nine home owners out of ten would say that the focal point is the front door. After all, it's right in the center. It dominates the palette. The door is the access to the life that goes on inside that home. And yet, many homeowners give little thought to what a door contributes to the overall picture of their homes' exterior.

When one element is that important to the look of the overall picture, shouldn't it be given a little bit more attention? Look at that 'picture' of your own home again. What does your front door say about your home? What do you want it to say about your home? When you've answered those questions, you've taken the first step to choosing an exterior door that will make your home 'picture perfect.'

Customize and Design a Unique Exterior Door

Every aspect of your exterior door contributes something to that picture, from the materials it is made of, to the color, size, shape and style. If you are fortunate enough to be able to design and build your home from scratch, this is the perfect opportunity to create a look that is unique to your own tastes. Why not think outside the box? Design an exterior door that is customized to match. Make your door larger than standard size, so that it truly dominates the picture of the façade of your home. Customizing things like glass color, etchings, decorative bars, scrollwork, and even shape will make your picture worthy of being considered fine art. If you're simply looking to replace an existing exterior door, you can still customize a look that speaks to your individual taste.

And don't think that artistic quality means sacrificing functionality. Your door can be picture perfect, while still offering the best in working attributes. Consider building enhanced security features right in. Materials can be incorporated to suit your own particular environment, whether you live in a wet, dry, frigid, or tropical climate. Your door can be built to last for years and to withstand anything Mother Nature sends its way.

Understanding exterior door terms

When choosing an exterior door, it also helps to understand some associated terms, such as:

  • Inswing (I/S) and Outswing (O/S). This simply refers to which way your exterior door will swing: outward (toward the outside of the house) or inward (toward the inside). I/S is more prevalent, and many homes are built to accommodate I/S doors. However, your exterior door can be designed to swing outward if you prefer, or if your home design requires it.
  • Right-hand and Left-hand. These terms refer to the side of the door where the hinges are located. Hinges are on the left for an O/S door, and on the right for an I/S door.

What about other considerations when choosing your exterior door? Perhaps you want to venture away from the standard thickness of 1 3/4" for a thicker, heavier door. Maybe extra insulation is important to you. The type of door handles/knobs that you choose also have a big impact on the overall look of your door, and ultimately, your home.

So stand back one more time and have a look at that 'picture' of your home. Can you envision your dream door?

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