Exterior Doors: Types, Materials, & Extras
Well-chosen exterior doors can add value to your home with improved appearance, energy efficiency, and function. It’s important to select the right styles and materials to get the most out of your exterior door investment, so we’ve laid out the basics. Take a look at your options below.
Types of exterior doors
The type of doors that will best fit your home will depend on their purpose. Front and patio doors add the most aesthetic, while storm doors are primarily function-based. Most doors fall into one of three categories:
- These refer to both front doors and other exterior doors. Whether you’re replacing them or searching for the perfect fit in a new construction project, style matters. The main entry door can complete a home’s appearance with color, shape, and function.
- Styling tip: as you think about the entry door elements that will fit best in your home, consider using colors or materials that add a subtle contrast between the door and the rest of the exterior.
- A patio door usually leads to a patio. The most common patio doors are sliding-glass, which invites in the natural light of a large window. Light can open the space both inside and out of your house.
- Styling tip: keep the location of your patio door in mind as you consider your options. Is it visible from around the property? How will it look from the interior?
- Common in the Midwest and other storm-prone regions, storm doors are installed over existing doors to protect your home from weather damage and allow air circulation. They can also help keep out pests with screen and glass panels. Storm doors mostly provide function, but design variations are available.
Materials for exterior doors
A quality door of any material will likely get the job done; the materials below have more similarities than differences. However, there are a few helpful things to know about each of them.
- Steel – Recommended by Yanish
- This is a strong choice for security. Steel is heavier than other materials and can be more expensive, but proper sealing and installation can offer safety and a long life for your door.
- Fiberglass – can have a tendency to warp, storm doors can void warranty
- Another leading material for security, fiberglass doors also dampen sound to keep your interior (and exterior) quieter. They do not require finishing to maintain excellent thermal regulation and energy efficiency—an advantage over steel and wood doors.
- Wood (solid core) – heaviest
- Wood is one of the most common materials used in front doors, offering newer design options as well as traditional styles. Solid-core timber doors differ by the material used in the core. While hollow-core wood doors generally cost less, they will almost always under-perform compared to a solid-core door.
- Lightweight and excellent at soundproofing and temperature maintenance, UPVC has become a noteworthy modern alternative to traditional door materials. They tend to cost more, but their many benefits are hard to find all-in-one (without adding expensive extra features!).
- Mostly used for aesthetic purposes, glass doors offer fewer practical benefits but can still make for a great investment—their energy efficiency increases drastically with the addition of a second glass pane. Glass is used most often in sliding patio doors and as accent panels on doors made of other materials.
Accessories and customizations
Now that you have a basic understanding of the materials and types of exterior doors, don’t forget to consider the rest of your options. With customization, your opportunities are endless. Think about these additions and spaces for design, which could add the perfect finishing touch to your doors.
- Pet doors/screens
- Door knockers
- Blinds (for transparent doors)
- Door viewer/peep-hole
- Door stops
“Entry Door Buying Guide” (May 2016).
“Types of Door Materials” (Not dated).