Replacing or repairing a door is usually a straightforward home improvement project, but a professional contractor can be invaluable. Doors are not all equal. Each door has its role to play in the functionality and design scheme of the home. Consider the following types of doors.
- Entry doors, particularly the door that the homeowner uses for guests and visitors
- Side doors, which often offer easy access to the kitchen
- Patio doors that open onto a place for relaxation and social gatherings
- Doors that access the garage or other additions to the home
Entry doors, particularly front doors, are more than just pieces of wood or metal. They represent the boundary between the interior and exterior of the house. They should be both welcoming to guests and a strong deterrent to intruders. For most homes, the entry door is the centerpiece of exterior design.
A damaged and worn door detracts from the house’s overall look, hurting curb appeal and, in the worst cases, conveying a sense of neglect. If the door sustained damage during a natural disaster, home invasion, or other traumatic events, it could stand as a reminder of vulnerability and loss.
Damage to the lock or door mechanism can be inconvenient as well as unsightly. If the door doesn’t open or shut entirely or easily, it can:
- impede access to older individuals or those with disabilities
- let in cold or warm air, putting strain on the climate control system
- announce vulnerability to any would-be intruders
- make a poor first impression with potential buyers if the house goes up for sale
Whether a homeowner is replacing a door for aesthetic reasons or repairing structural damage, the choice of a door and the choice of a contractor to handle door installation are both important so that homeowners can take pride in—and feel safe in—their homes. The right door can make all the difference in helping a homeowner feel at home.
The Door Replacement and Installation Process
If you make no substantial changes to the door frame, the process of replacing a door should ideally take place within one working day, often in as little as a few hours. The planning and design phase for a door replacement or installation could take longer.
Be sure to consider the details of any installation project before ordering the door and any other materials, such as a threshold, custom lock, or screen door. Consider the following factors when planning door installation.
According to the International Residential Code (IRC) guidelines, front doors should be 36 inches or more in width to allow access for people, wheeled carts, wheelchairs, and most items of furniture.
The International Residential Code also requires doors to be at least 80 inches in height (six and a half feet). If the base of the door needs to be raised or lowered, for instance, to accommodate steps or a porch, the door frame might also need raising to be IRC-compliant. You should also check your local building codes.
Common materials for doors include wood, steel, and fiberglass.
- Wood is an ideal and inexpensive material for interior doors.
- Steel is a strong choice for exterior doors that suits homeowners who want more security.
- Fiberglass doors resemble wood doors but are long-lasting and, not surprisingly, provide good insulation.
You can couple entry doors with a screen door or storm door. A glass door is ideal for homes with a view or for homeowners who want to see who is approaching the door. A screen door allows airflow for natural cooling.
You may need to decide whether to include a window in an entry door—and, if so, what size and type of window. Your choice will depend on the view, the need for privacy, and the lighting and aesthetic style of the house interior.
A small window placed high on the door lets light into the house while preserving privacy and preventing intruders from gaining access by breaking the glass. A larger window allows for a more expansive view of the front yard but exposes the room to the risk of damage or vandalism.
Exterior doors will almost invariably include at least a simple door lock integrated into the doorknob. For heightened security, adding a deadbolt and chain will make the door resistant to lock-picking. Electronic locks with keypad entry or fingerprint entry can allow for keyless access.
Door locks on interior doors are usually less sturdy than exterior locks and are common in bathrooms, bedrooms, and other rooms that expect privacy.
Be sure not to overlook the direction that the door will swing. For a replacement door, keeping the exact hinge placement as the old door will eliminate any surprises. If the new door swings in a different direction or from a different side than the old one, make sure that its opening path doesn’t interfere with any other doors and furniture or that other obstacles do not block the door’s path.
Choosing a Professional Door Installer
Although installing a door may sound like it involves just screwing in a few hinges, it requires both experience and expertise to hang straight and level. Aligning the latches and deadbolt prevents them from sticking or failing to latch after seasonal temperature changes.
A qualified door installer is also invaluable in:
- Planning the door installation
- Ensuring the quality of the door and components
- Helping homeowners find a door that matches their aesthetic and functional needs
Don’t settle for a door off the shelf at a big box door. Get a door that’s a custom fit. Finding a qualified contractor to install a door may add some time and expense, as with any home improvement project, but having it correctly done the first time will be well worth it.
A Professional Door Contractor in Fairfax, VA
Are you looking for a door for your Fairfax home or business? At NOVA Exteriors, we are a trusted home improvement company stocking a wide range of high-quality doors. For residential, commercial, and emergency door Fairfax installation and nearby areas in Northern Virginia, call us at (703) 322-1500 today for a free consultation.
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