In most cases, families will enter their homes through the garage or a side door. Consequently, we don’t pay much attention to the front door, but we should. The front door plays an important role in energy efficiency and home security. When it comes to saving money on energy bills most people are gung ho about replacing inefficient windows, fixing the roof, and servicing the furnace and HVAC. What’s then left is bypassing exterior doors. Replacing your front door can also add value to your home. Read further to see if you need to replace your front door.
When an exterior door is shut, there shouldn’t be light coming through the threshold or frame. If light can get through it means that drafts of hot and cold air can. Not to mention, tiny creepy crawlies and rodents will enter as well. Upgrading the weatherstripping will address the problem temporarily. Seals must be replaced on an ongoing basis to eliminate drafts altogether. A draft means it’s time to replace your door and frame.
Over the lifetime of a door, it is susceptible to wear and tear and ends up not functioning as well as it once did. Some damage is just unsightly, but difficult to repair. Repaired front doors don’t look good either. Inspect your exterior doors for the following types of damage:
A dent can compromise the structural integrity of all exterior doors including entry doors and patio doors. Off-the-shelf, standard, 24 to 26 gauge steel over wooden frame doors are not particularly sturdy. Consequently, it doesn’t take much to damage them, especially if we are in the habit of kicking them open when our arms are full of groceries. Repeated kicking over the years weakens the door and it will eventually break, apart from looking terrible.
Rust is a sign of moisture inside the wooden frame which is starting to rot. The insides of cheaper doors are not galvanized. This means that the door is not protected very well from moisture and is structurally unsound. It also means that the door is no longer a reliable security barrier.
Older solid wood doors, especially when not treated with oil or varnish, have a tendency to split. Years of expansion and contraction through summers and winters will cause untreated doors to weather, warp, and crack. Painted doors will peel and moisture will find a way under the paint. The splitting, cracking, and peeling are also taken as an invitation by termites and other wood damaging insects. There is a great deal of effort needed to restore solid wood doors and painted wood doors so it may be cost-effective to replace them.
Older doors have a tendency to leak. Air leaks cause the HVAC to work harder and longer to maintain internal temperatures, driving up energy bills. External doors should be part of the thermal envelope surrounding the home. Any openings or warped and ill-fitting doors keep the envelope open, thereby leaking air.
Replace older doors with modern, energy-efficient doors that will properly insulate your home. When shopping for new doors be sure to check their energy performance ratings. Energy ratings are provided by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). Take a look at their site to learn more about door energy ratings before you replace your front door.
One very good reason to install a new door is that your old one is old-fashioned or plain ugly. Door designs, trends, and patterns have changed. It is important to maintain curb appeal even if you don’t plan on selling your house soon, so the front door is important. Your home’s curb appeal is important to the value of the other homes in the community that may want to sell. Another truth is that hanging a door is an art form, so knock on a professional’s door for help.
Additional Reading: Selecting New Exterior Doors – Energy Saver
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