Exterior Door Buying Guide

Entry doors are 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. 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 exterior doors.

Find the Perfect Exterior Door

With a variety of materials and styles to choose from, the perfect exterior door is waiting for you. Find one that makes a serious style statement.

Check out your local Lowe’s to see what’s available and talk to our experts to make it all fit together.

Exterior Doors 101 

Doors have their own special language:

  • Inswing (I/S): A door that opens in.
  • Outswing (O/S): A door that opens out.
  • Left Hand: Hinges are on the left for I/S doors, and on the right for O/S doors (viewed from the lawn).
  • Right Hand: Hinges are on the right for I/S doors, and on the left for O/S doors.
  • Lite: A pane of glass in a door.
  • Divided Lite: Divided panes of glass.
  • Grille: Plastic, wooden, or metal assembly in a door that gives the appearance of divided lites.

Traditional Entry Doors

Door technology has come a long way since the first humans hung skins at the front of a cave. Be sure to explore all your options before you choose.

Steel Doors

They have energy efficient foam core insulation and are fully weatherstripped by the manufacturer. They are 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 doorknob and lockset holes, making installation even easier. Steel doors come pre-primed and ready to paint.


Fibreglass Doors

You can get the same energy saving and easy installation qualities as steel doors with this option. 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 make 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

The most traditional option, wood doors have a 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.


Patio Doors

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

Sliding Doors

Almost like huge picture windows you can walk through, the doors are usually huge panes of glass mounted in a frame with rollers. They are manufactured from a variety of materials.


Aluminum Doors

They’re usually the least expensive, with all-aluminum construction that is rust-resistant and easy to maintain.


Vinyl Doors

For low maintenance and great energy efficiency, pick vinyl doors. The tough vinyl frames are easy to maintain and look new for years. Most vinyl patio doors offer low-e insulated glass and factory installed weatherstripping for maximum energy efficiency.


French Doors

They’re available in the same materials as sliding doors and more, with options like steel or fibreglass. They come with the same characteristics as those found in traditional entry doors of the same material, available with either left or right handed inswing or outswing. You can also purchase units where both doors open. These units are available with or without brick mould stops in the centre.



There are plenty of accents available to help you fully customize your entryway, depending on your needs and desires.


All door types are available with decorative glass. While most doors have insulated glass for energy efficiency, others may have beveled, silk-screened, or stained glass with genuine brass caming (joining strips for segmented glass). The glass may be one large lite, or have a grille that separates the glass into several lites.



Sidelights are available for all types of doors. You can use one sidelights on either side of the door, or have one on each side.



Transoms are horizontal beams, bars, or crosspieces that separate the door from a window above. They’re available for all types of doors and come in three distinct shapes: arch, ellipse, and box.


In-Glass Blinds

For a sophisticated, smooth look, you can have adjustable blinds made inside the glass pane.


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