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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > Buying Guides > Exterior Door Buying Guide

Exterior Door Buying Guide

Exterior Door Buying Guide

Your entry door is the first thing people notice when they come to your home. It makes a statement and sets the tone for the rest of the house. Is your door sending the right message? If not, let us help you select the right door for your home. You'll learn the key terms you need to know as well as different materials available for doors.

EXTERIOR DOOR TERMINOLOGY

Doors have their own special language. In order to make an informed choice about a new door, you need to learn some of the lingo:

  • Inswing (I/S): A door that opens in
  • Outswing (O/S): A door that opens out
  • Left Hand: For an I/S door, hinges are on the left, and for an O/S door, hinges are on the right (when the door is viewed from the house's exterior)
  • Right Hand: For an I/S door, hinges are on the right, and for an O/S door, hinges are on the left (when the door is viewed from the house's exterior)
  • Lite: A pane of glass in a door
  • Divided Lite: Panes of glass that are or appear to be divided
  • Grille: Plastic, wooden or metal assembly in a door that gives the appearance of divided lites
  • Caming: Strips for joining segmented glass

TRADITIONAL ENTRY DOORS

Steel doors have energy-efficient foam core insulation and are fully weather stripped by the manufacturer. They're highly resistant to shrinking, swelling and warping. Their tough, steel construction will withstand years of extreme weather conditions with minimum maintenance. The doors can be purchased with pre-drilled door knob and lockset holes, making installation even easier. Steel doors come pre-primed and ready to paint.

Fibreglass doors offer the same energy-saving and easy installation qualities as steel doors. Fibreglass doors have wood-grain texture moulded into the door so they give the appearance of a real wood door when painted or stained. Their high-quality composite construction makes these doors resistant to all sorts of weather as well as scratches and dents. These are an excellent choice for extreme climates and high-traffic entrances.

Wood doors offer the most traditional look. The familiar look and feel of a well-crafted wooden door sends an inviting message of home and hearth. The substantial weight of a wooden door adds a sense of security and sturdiness to your home. These doors may be painted or stained for a natural, warm appearance. Wooden doors are usually made using frame and panel construction to counteract the effects of climatic or seasonal changes. Wood species vary from inexpensive composite to fir or walnut.

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PATIO DOORS

Patio doors, including French and sliding glass doors, range from 5 to over 12 feet in width. The selection of patio doors is as diverse as their sizes:

Sliding doors are like big picture windows. The doors are usually large panes of glass mounted in a frame with rollers. They're manufactured from a variety of materials including:

Aluminum doors are usually the least expensive. Their all-aluminum construction won't rust and is easily maintained.

Vinyl doors are low-maintenance and energy-efficient. The tough vinyl frames are easy-to-maintain and look new for years. Most vinyl patio doors offer low-emissive, insulated glass and factory-installed weather stripping for maximum energy efficiency.

Wood doors are normally the highest quality and the most expensive patio doors. Wood patio doors offer the same natural aesthetic qualities as traditional wood doors with the added bonus of a full view through the large pane.

Wood-clad doors are wooden doors and frames with a vinyl, fibreglass or aluminum coating on the exterior face of the door. The coating serves as an armour to protect the wood from the elements and still allows you to have the look of real wood inside.

French doors are available in the same materials as sliding glass doors and more. They're also available in steel and fibreglass, with the same characteristics as those found in traditional entry doors of the same material. French doors are available with either left- or right-handed I/S or O/S. You can also purchase units where both doors open. These units are available with or without brick mould stops in the centre.

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