Doors are said to be a smart investment for homeowners – a new door is worth sinking money into. But there may have been a few times when you’ve found yourself regretting your decision to get a new door installed. How, moving forward, do you make sure that you make the right door choice the next time around? What are the things to consider? Well, first, maybe you should look at what you hope to achieve by getting your current door unit changed out for a new one. Let’s start with the question: What, exactly, are your goals?

Energy Efficiency. Is energy efficiency one of the things you’re aiming for? If so, know that energy efficient doors are rated by the National Fenestration Rating Council, and certified by ENERGY STAR according to these performance ratings:

  • U-factor – the door’s capacity to insulate
  • Solar heat gain coefficient – the door’s ability to block heat from sunlight
  • Visible transmittance – how much light the door lets through
  • Air leakage – how much air passes through the door joints
  • Condensation resistance – how well the door resists the formation of condensation

You door ought to rate well on each of those metrics to be considered energy efficient. An energy efficient door should ideally be oriented towards the direction of the sun (in relation to your home), it should meet the required values for your specific climate zone, and it should adequately fulfil your energy needs.

Weather Protection. Doors should keep the elements out. Is this, to you, one of the more important aspects to consider? If so, then it’ll pay to know the differences and advantages of the various door materials in terms of performance versus the elements, such as:

Fiberglass. Many fiberglass doors are coated with a resin that limits the amount of exposure damage on the door. These doors are less prone to blistering, rotting, or peeling. In addition, they do not require re-coating very often despite having a long lifespan. Steel. Aside from the inherent strength of steel, doors made from this material are fitted with additional components that effectively keep the weather out. Hinge-sealed steel doors, for instance, have low air leakage rates – and they also protect against moisture. As an added option, you can get storm doors, which serve as interior doors, to provide extra protection.

Curb Appeal. On the other hand, you may just want to replace your door with a style that is more suited to your home’s architecture. If you live in a Colonial home, for example, classic French patio doors are a great choice. Swinging doors, alternatively, do a lot to soften the hard lines of a Tudor home. For Victorian homes, anything from a swinging to a sliding door works. The same goes for homes with contemporary or modern architecture. Or, perhaps, you prefer doors with a slim profile? Those would pair well with Ranch-styled homes.

What about very particular – and in some cases, personal – factors? Are they worth considering when you’re thinking of replacing your doors? Absolutely. In part two of this three-part series, we look at how you should tackle that.