Exterior Entry and French Doors

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Entry doors include front doors, side entrances and French doors. The primary purpose of entry doors is to provide a barrier against outside forces, whether wind, rain, cold or intruders.

Appearance is a factor when choosing exterior doors. The right door can greatly improve your home's curb appeal. With this in mind, many entry doors include attractive designs and features such as grilles, glass designs, transoms and sidelights.

Types of Entry Doors

Exterior doors come in three basic varieties: steel, fiberglass and wood. Of the three, wood is the most expensive choice. Steel and fiberglass entry doors are usually finished to look like wood.

Steel has a steel frame filled with polyurethane foam. The cheapest option for exterior doors, steel entry doors require little maintenance. However, steel dents easily and scratches can rust over time.

Fiberglass provides a durable entry door at a reasonable cost. Fiberglass doors require less maintenance than wood and provide better insulation. A fiberglass door can be painted or stained and resists dents better than wood, but fiberglass can crack if struck with sufficient force.

Wood entry doors provide the look that steel and fiberglass imitate. Scratches on wood can be repaired easily, and wood provides better dent resistance than steel. Wood exterior doors require regular painting or staining to maintain their appearance. French Doors

French doors, or patio doors, are glass doors that slide open.

While attractive, French doors lose heat faster than other types of entry doors. Glass does not work well as an insulator, and glass doors are best suited for warmer climates. If you live in cooler climes, consider French doors that have multiple panes of glass or contain low-conductivity gases between the panes to cut down on heat loss.

Glass Doors and Safety

When considering full or partial glass doors, consider your home's security. Glass panels close to doorknobs and locks can be broken in order to gain access to a home. Some glass doors contain shatter-resistant glass. A transparent film covers the glass, holding glass shards in place if someone tries to break the pane.

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