Your front door is the first impression that you get to make when someone visits your home, which means that many of us want to choose the most attractive door possible, to cast your house in the best light. Should you however be basing your choice on how the door looks, rather than how it performs? The short answer is no, because choosing a front door purely on looks, might be something you regret in the long term when it fails to meet it’s functional requirements. We’ve put together some guidelines below on how to buy buy the best exterior doors for your home, to help you to choose a door that will meet your practical as well as aesthetic needs.
This factor is probably the most important of all considerations when buying your new door. While a solid wood door may look lovely you should be aware that if it gets wet, it is at risk of swelling and then subsequently shrinking as it dries out. A well designed and professionally fitted door will need to be carefully installed to ensure that the gap between your door and it’s frame is a consistent size, ensuring a snug but not tight fit between the door and the door frame. The constant expansion and contraction of a wooden door, that can be caused by it getting wet, will mean that it the door is more likely to become stuck on the frame, or to develop gaps which will let in air.
With the above in mind, our advice would be to only install a solid wood door in areas that are very much under cover, so that they won’t get excessively wet, or cold. If your door isn’t covered, then an alternative to a real solid wooden door, would be to go for a composite door which will have fewer of the issues that can be caused by damp and cold. A composite door will still look great, however it will need very little maintenance, unlike wood. A UPVC door will suffer even less than a composite door from issues surrounding damp, however they can be unattractive, with none of the rustic appeal of a wooden door.
Do you want your door to have any glass? This is the next consideration to bear in mind when selecting a new door. You should be aware that any glazing will inevitably mean that you more draughts around the door, however glazing can be very practical for seeing who is outside and importantly for letting in light. You may prefer to have double glazed windows to each side of the door and a peephole instead. This is certainly down to preference as the best doors are still very secure even with glazing. A good compromise between the translucent benefits of clear glass, and the privacy aspect of a non-glazed finish, can be to install frosted glass that will still let light in, but won’t allow anyone to see into your home.
No matter what type of door you choose you need to ensure that it has excellent security features. That means installing a good lock (even a double lock if necessary) or choosing a door that comes with the best lock you can afford. Some of these will have bolts that are at the top and bottom and some will have self locking mechanisms. Be aware that some doors can be manipulated through the letterbox to be opened from the outside unless you double lock them. Not only will a high quality lock give you peace of mind that your home is secure – having locks that reach a high standard can even save you money on your home insurance premiums. Generally a five lever mortice deadlock conforming to BS 3621 will be the minimum standard required to get a discount on your home insurance premium.
The colour that you choose for your door is of course down to personal preference. You can choose almost any colour for your door regardless of the style or material you choose, however one advantage of going for a wooden door is the fact you can repaint it any time you like, without having to replace the door. Many of the plastic or composite doors are made in white which is a very safe option, but for an attractive look to the front of your home, try a colour such as green or red. Your front door is highly visible, and therefore an important centrepiece when it comes to defining the style of your home. In summary, don’t go for the best quality door possible that will suit your needs – choose well and it should last as long as your home does.