What Should I Consider When Buying an Exterior Door?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Paul Flint & Company, Joy Fera
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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When buying an exterior door, your first consideration should be whether you need the door only or the entire entry system. Entry door systems include the door, lockset and all the hardware you'll need for installation. Next, you should determine whether you need the exterior door to open left or right. This matters because you should choose the side that makes the most sense depending on the layout of your entryway. Finally, think about the door style and material that best suits your house and location.

Fiberglass exterior doors are quite common today and are usually considered to be a good all purpose type of entry door. Front entry fiberglass doors may include a window panel in an attractive shape such as an oval. A steel exterior door can give a cool modern look to a house. In addition, steel is a strong and durable material. It's worth noting that in many cases, systems for exterior doors today are often mixed in materials. For example, a steel door may have a wood inner core or a wood outer frame.


A wood exterior door can give a pleasant, rustic look to a home with a wood or brick exterior. However, a big drawback of wood exterior doors is that they may crack or bend as weather changes from cool to warm and wet to dry. The two main surface types of doors are paneled or flush. Wood doors with raised panels on their surfaces may reduce or prevent the effects of weather on the wood. Flush doors refer to those than are smooth and flat in surface texture.

A paneled exterior door may get dustier than a flush one, so you should consider how much time you want to spend cleaning the door. If your house is plain in its exterior design, you may want the detailed texture that a paneled exterior door can provide. If your home is quite ornate or detailed on the outside, then the plain smoothness of a flush door could work better.

Sliding glass doors, or sliders, are still popular today for an exterior door option off a backyard patio. They are also called patio doors or exterior sliders. Sliding patio doors are known for being sturdy while also letting a lot of light into homes. Look for exterior sliders that open and close easily and have an inside lock at ground level for extra security.



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