There is a saying in the door industry, “Do you want to buy your first door or your last door?” meaning the construction of your door does matter. The first thing you should determine is what kind of door you want. Do you want steel, fiberglass, vinyl, or wood?
When considering a steel door, which tends to be the most common entry door, you should factor the gauge of the metal. This refers to the thickness of the door. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the metal will be, and thicker is always better. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the thicker metal doors will have a higher energy efficiency rating because the metal is thick enough to support itself. What this means is that a thinner metal door has to have wood or other fillers that are not good insulators. The heavier gauge doors can be completely foam filled, reducing the amount of thermal bridging. Typically the doors you will find at your local box store are going to be between 26- and 28-gauge doors. Any door that is at least a 24-gauge would be considered a good steel door.
When considering fiberglass doors, which have become more popular in recent years, it’s not as easy to tell what’s good and what’s not so good. This is why we have partnered with certain manufacturers who have been around for a long time and stand behind what they produce. It is because fiberglass doors are designed with durability and efficiency in mind that the upfront cost could be worth the investment.
When considering a wooden door, there are multiple factors that should be given some thought. Of all the doors on this list, wood doors are going to be the least efficient and require the most maintenance. For example, in the Midwest, we go through periods of high heat and high humidity. This could cause a wooden door that hasn’t been properly maintained or sealed to swell, causing it to stick. If you choose to go with a wooden door keep in mind that, while the species of wood used to construct the door will come into play, the finish and maintenance will end up playing an even larger role in the longevity of the door.
Vinyl doors are typically used for patios. Vinyl doors offer high energy efficiency and are an economical choice. However, not all vinyl doors are made equal. A good vinyl door will be enhanced with some type of metal, such as aluminum or stainless steel, to reinforce the frame from deflection. Fusion-welded frames are also a sign that the product is going to be of better quality.
Regardless of which door you choose, there is another critical element you need to consider: hinges! Any of the doors discussed above will be heavy if they are of quality. To ensure that your door will operate correctly for many years, you will want to make sure that your door has the correct number and type of hinges. Ball bearing hinges are a good sign that you are looking at a well-made door, but adjustable ball bearing hinges are even better. They will allow for fine-tuned adjustments that may need to be made in the future.
The number one reason a door or window fails is because it was installed incorrectly. Failures come in many forms. The obvious would be that the door isn’t shutting correctly, or the locks won’t match up to the latches. The biggest thing that we see that goes unnoticed for long periods of time is that the doors weren’t installed with the proper flashing. There is z-bar flashing that can be seen above the top brick mold of the door if it was installed, but the one that is often left out is the sill pan flashing, which goes under the door.
It depends on the door. If the door is a common door without a lot of upgrades, it can be a quick process. Generally, less than a week. If it’s a highly customized door, it could take up to two months.
Yes, you can reuse an existing lock set, but they don’t always match up and may require the door or jamb to be mortised out. Mortise is a slot or a recess, usually rectangular, cut into a piece of wood.