You rely on your front entry door to multitask. It should keep your home comfortable on hot or cold days, provide security from weather and would-be intruders, and give your home curb appeal. With frequent use and constant exposure to the elements, entry doors withstand a lot to protect your home.
A solid front door can last up to 30 years, especially if you maintain it and replace the gaskets and weather stripping several times during its lifespan. At some point, however, even the most solid doors may need to be replaced. How do you know it’s time to consider a front door replacement? Look for these three signs to tell you that your front door is ready to retire.
The 3 Signs That Point to Entry Door Replacement
Some Arlington homeowners take their entry doors for granted. After all, you use yours day in and day out, and you may not even notice a problem with it. These clues can give you a heads-up that you need to take action soon.
1. Your Door Is Not Working
What if, over time, your door is harder to open and close? It could be a problem with the hardware, but it could also indicate another issue. Here are some of the causes of a nonfunctioning front door:
- Foundation settling – As your house settles, your door may no longer have proper alignment. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of shaving the bottom of the door or correcting the foundation, but other times, it can cause your entry door to warp.
- Swelling – Hot, humid environments can cause doors, especially those made of wood, to expand, making them stick in the door frame. Consider the weather as the cause behind your door woes.
- Too much slamming – If your front door takes a beating, it can cave under pressure. If you or your family slam the door frequently, the door can crack or warp. Wood doors may even develop stress fractures along the grain.
2. Your Door Does Not Look Its Best
Does your door face direct sunlight? Exposure to UV rays can do a number on the integrity of your door material. Older doors were not engineered to stand up to continuous sun damage, and they can deteriorate or fail in the sometimes-extreme Virginia climate.
Moisture also takes a toll on your front door. Wood doors and door frames can show signs of rot; look for soft, crumbling, or splintered wood. Watch out for mold, mildew, and insect infestation, all of which indicate that new door installation is a priority.
Storm doors, especially those with dings and dents, can even rust in the humid air, making them look shabby and compromising their security. If your storm door has fog or frost between the glass panes, it may be time for a new one.
Curb appeal is another consideration. If you have a home improvement project to upgrade the exterior, your door may no longer match the new look. Even if your door still has some life left in it, you may want to replace it with one that goes with the updated design.
3. Your Door Is Not Energy Efficient
A door needs to be secure, look good, and work, but it also should keep out drafts. The easiest way to tell whether your door fails to live up to your expectations is to pay attention.
Start by looking at your door frames. Do you see any light coming through the door? Next, feel the air around your door. Can you feel a draft? You may want to hold up a match or lighter to see whether it stays lit.
These draft tests may mean you should replace the weather stripping. However, if you have done that recently, it could be the door itself that needs replacement.
Of course, you can always look at your power bills to tell whether you are spending more than you should for heat or A/C. Some utility companies provide you with information comparing your energy usage to the average home in your area or your past use.
Higher-than-expected power bills may not indicate that your front door is the problem, but replacing it can be part of the solution.
Door Materials to Consider
Once you conclude that a new door installation is in your future, you may want to weigh your options. You can find doors in several materials, and each has its benefits. Let’s look closer at the typical kinds of doors that Arlington homeowners choose.
Wood doors may be the most common, but they are not always the most practical or affordable. For example, a solid wood door and door frame is frequently a custom home improvement project, costing more than you had budgeted and taking longer than you realized.
Wood requires a lot of maintenance, especially if in direct sunlight. You may have to reseal, sand, or refinish it several times in its lifespan, and that’s no guarantee it won’t succumb to other concerns like rot, stress fractures, or insects.
If a custom wood door isn’t possible, you may consider a wood veneer over an engineered wood core. These tend to be more affordable and energy efficient than a traditional solid wood front door.
These front doors deliver a lot of bang for the buck. They require little to no maintenance to perform and look their best, and they can mimic the look of solid wood, right down to the grainy texture.
Fiberglass is an intelligent choice for the sometimes-swampy climate of this part of the state, and these doors are well insulated to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer.
Another reason that you should consider fiberglass is the price point. These doors cost a fraction of a solid wood door and usually come with a great warranty.
When it comes to security, a steel door is the gold standard. Steel entry doors are incredibly durable, standing up to extreme weather better than other door materials.
Some steel doors have a wood core, while others have a steel core for even greater reinforcement. They may have a polyester or vinyl finish that can require repainting periodically.
Usually made of aluminum, storm doors can extend the life of your entry door by protecting it from damage and the elements. Some storm doors have glass panels, while others may give you more security with protective grilles.
Benefits of Front Door Replacement
Now that you know what signs suggest you need a new entry door, you should look at the benefits you can enjoy with this home improvement project.
Security is at the forefront of most homeowners’ minds. If your home has an older door with inadequate locks, it feels like an invitation for burglars. You can get the sturdiness and durability of your old door locks with a newer entry door.
Newer doors may be more compatible with smart technology. If you want to have smart locks, use a keyless entry system, or control your door through a phone app, you may not be able to retrofit your existing door with these features.
Return on Investment
Replacing doors or windows can be a big undertaking, but that money you spend is an investment in your home. When you list it to sell, you should recoup that investment. Potential buyers see the value of a secure, durable entry door that they can count on to do its job and look great at the same time.
Real estate agents know how important curb appeal is to attract buyers to your property. Don’t you want your home to wow them before they even step inside?
Elevate Your Style
A run-of-the-mill door is practical, but does it match the rest of your home? The appearance of your front door can make or break the overall design. If you plan on updating your home’s exterior, you should consider making door installation part of the project for a cohesive, finished look.
Let in the Light
With a solid door, your front hall or foyer can be dark and dreary. Consider a door with windows to let in natural light. You can choose from clear, frosted, or pebbled glass to suit your preferences.
If you don’t want to give up your privacy, you may want a door with glass panels above your eye level. That way, you still get light during the day, but you can stop nosy neighbors from peeking in.
Leave Door Replacement to the Professionals
New entry door replacement is not the most straightforward home improvement project. Rather risking miscalculated measurements or unexpected issues when you remove your old door, talk to Nova Exteriors about door installation in Arlington.
Call us at (703) 386-7949 to get started. Our team can come to your home to provide a free estimate and discuss our process so you know what to expect. We can even help you with financing options to make door replacement possible.
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