In part one, we discussed the benefits of a door replacement in terms of meeting goals such as energy efficiency, weather protection, and curb appeal. But just because there are many door materials and styles to choose doesn’t make replacement absolutely necessary in every case. Consider these factors before shopping for a new door.

Age of your current door. Home remodeling resource Improvement Net estimates the average life span of a door to be anywhere from 20 to 50 years, depending on the type of the door. If your door has totted up quite a number of years in service and has begun to show signs of damage, replacing it may well be in order.

These signs, in particular, should signal you that it’s time to search for a professional door replacement contractor:

  • Visible cracks
  • Noisy hinges
  • Drafts
  • Issues with opening and closing

Your home conditions. Where you live will very much factor into the functionality of your new door. If you live in a coastal area, for instance, the constant salt spray from the sea may damage your doors. Thus, it’ll make sense to coat them with protective finishes. If you live in a dry desert area, on the other hand, dirt may build up on the hinges and other accessories – which may also damage them over time.

Where energy savings are concerned, your climate zone is another important consideration. What works for a hot area, after all, does the opposite for a cold region. The key to finding the right values for your specific locality is to consult ENERGY STAR and understand the function of the differing energy performance values.

Your willingness to do maintenance. Some materials require a lot of maintenance; others, not so much. Wood doors, for all their classic appeal and natural energy efficiency, need painting every so often. They are also more prone to rotting, warping, or cracking than other materials. Steel is a better option where maintenance is concerned, the only real downside being that it can easily get scratched or dented.

Fiberglass, on the other hand, can mimic the look of real wood without the predisposition to damage. And like steel, it is also very durable – while requiring the least maintenance.

But how exactly do these materials have to be installed, and what should you look out for? We cap off this series with a discussion of some important installation considerations.