Custom Front Doors: What to Look For

Whether you’re trying to upgrade a home that you’re living in or trying to increase the value of the one you wish to sell, you may have looked into a nice custom front door. This makes sense too as a good front door is a focal point of the entire front of your home – and is often one of the first things people see.

Because they are customized they can come in all sorts of styles, colors, and intricate designs. If you’ve set aside the budget to invest in a new front door to your specifications, then here are a few things you need to look for.

custom front doors

What Terms to Know

Before you can get into the ins and outs of a new custom exterior door, there are a few terms you need to understand first. These terms have to do with the overall construction, and knowing them will allow you to articulate and understand what you want in your new upgrade.

Some of these terms can be pretty self-explanatory – for instance, terms like inswing, outswing, left hand, and right hand. The swing refers to which direction the door swings – this is either in or out, while the handedness of the door is the location of where the hinges are. Since a right-handed door opens on the right, then the hinges are located on the left and vice versa.

The lite is the portion of the door that is made up of glass. If this portion is divided up, then it’s merely called a divided lite. Other terms that you should know that are more directly tied to the aesthetics are things like brickmould, caning, and grille. The brickmould is the molding that is around the door that fills in the gap where the house and door intersect.

Caming refers to the strip that joins and divides the glass, while the grille is the overlay on the door that gives the appearance of divided lines – this can be in either metal, wood, or plastic. Other common terms that are not directly related to customer doors but rather to doors, in general, are things like casing, stops, jambs, and sills.

The casing is merely the trim that goes around the perimeter of the door, covering up any of the exposed frames. Jambs are the actual frame around the door, where the hinges are attached. The stop is a small piece of wood that surrounds the perimeter of the frame, stopping the door from swinging in or out too far. While the sill is merely the bottom plate of the door.

Difference in Materials

Now that you know some of the terms related to custom exterior doors, you should know that they come in a variety of different materials. There are roughly four primary types of door materials: steel, fiberglass, wood, and wrought iron. Each type has a host of advantages and disadvantages. Steel front doors are best known for their high durability in the face of brutal elements.

They also have a well-fitted set of frames with a thick core – making it more insulated than other materials like wood. Because of their tough exterior they require little in the way of maintenance, along with having a high resistance against shrinking, swelling, and warping. Fiberglass, on the other hand, is notable for being particularly easy to install because of its light weight.

Despite this lower weight it actually has comparable durability and insulation of steel version so it also works well in extreme climate environments. These doors can also come in different textures, mimicking real wood. Finally, a fiberglass exterior door is also known for having some of the highest warranties on the market.

This is a result of its composite construction being highly resistant against dents and scratches. Wooden doors are probably the most aesthetically pleasing to the eye. They also come in a wide range of prices depending on the type of wood purchased. These doors can be stained or painted, allowing for people to customize them even further.

Specialized frame and panel construction help fight against swelling caused by humidity and temperature changes. The toughest type of exterior door though has to be the wrought iron models. These are extra durable and safe because of their heavy duty construction. Because of their enormous weight, they are more expensive and difficult to install.

blue style custom front doors with brick siding

Front Door Styles

After you have the material you want, you need to now look at what you probably considered from the get-go – that different styles that they come in. As mentioned before, picking a good door can greatly improve the curb appeal of your home because it’s one of the first things that you see.

One of the most sought-after models are the traditional or classic models – these doors typically come with a multitude of raised panels anywhere from a couple to a dozen. They also have intricate glass inserts that can have a rainbow of different colors. Cottage style doors, on the other hand, are also really popular, especially those that are going for a more pastoral look.

Being much simpler, this style usually has a single window pane on the top. They may also be outfitted with many raised up rectangular panels across the bottom. Rustic style doors are similar, as they work best on homes that have a cabin or brick exterior. Typically made of wood, these can come arched or rectangular. These typically have scored lines and clear glass panels.

For a more popular and contemporary look, there is the modern variant. These doors are often minimalist in design and noticeably larger than most other door types. Arched doors can be in some of the above styles, but can also be considered a design of their own. Their curved shape gives them a distinct look all of their own.

Other things to consider when purchasing a custom door is the inclusion of sidelights – these narrow windows surround either side of the entry door. The benefit of this is that it allows for the streaming of natural light into your home. They also come in a variety of different styles and sizes.

white style custom front doors with windows

Final Thoughts

When on the market for a new custom door make sure to know all the lingo before going in. By doing so you ensure you aren’t bamboozled or confused into getting something you don’t want. From there you need to know the ins and outs of the range of materials these exterior doors come in – steel and fiberglass are cheaper and well insulated, while wood has a great look to it that is completely unmatched.

If you want something extra tough and durable, go ahead and go for a cast iron model. Picking the style is merely what you think looks best, and there are plenty of designs out there. A custom front door can be an exciting project because it’s something you and everyone will be looking at for years to come.

Get Stylish and Energy Efficient with Feldco

Keep your home energy efficient with Feldco’s replacement doors. You’ll get superior craftsmanship, ease of maintenance, and endless design possibilities with our custom front doors. We’ve been open since 1976 because we’re the number one choice for Chicago homeowners and home exterior projects. Speak to a product specialist today and get a free quote.

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