Exterior Doors

Practical protection meets divine design

One of the easiest ways to give your home a face lift and add curb appeal is to freshen or replace your entry door and any other exterior door that can be seen from the street, such as your garage door. In fact, painting these two to match can be an easy way to tie the outer décor of your home together. For an even more cohesive look, select doors made of similar materials and with similar textures or patterns. You could even add similar windows to both. (And, if you really want to bring everything together, you could have these windows reflect the shape of other windows at the front of the house.)

Advertiser Links for chandeliers

For a grand entrance door, consider a solid wood like mahogany or cherry. This has a rich, elegant feel to it, and the weight is very dramatic. You may have to have this specially made, but custom entry doors are an excellent addition to the exterior of your home.

Some homeowners also add a screen door to their main entryway. Usually, this goes on the outside of the main door, but there are options for the inside, too. Screen doors allow you to leave the main door open for better airflow or a more open atmosphere, while still keeping bugs, dirt and other outdoor elements out of your home.

If you live in an area with extreme weather, it's also important to add storm doors to your home. Just like a storm window, a storm door is installed on the outside of your regular door to add protection from wind, rain and snow.

Of course, while the front of your house might be your main concern, you will eventually want to deal with any other entry doors, particularly a back door leading to a deck or patio. Sliding doors are perhaps the most popular option for such entryways. A sliding glass door is an easy way to let light into your kitchen or back entryway, and a sliding screen door allows the fresh air in while keeping the bugs out. A sliding door is also convenient for children. Most sliding doors include locking mechanisms, and many come with the option of a metal reinforcing bar for extra security.

Front door: Your front door is one of the first things people see when they come to your home, so it is an important design feature. You may choose a solid front door, a front door with a small window, a front door with a peephole so you can see who is visiting, a full glass front door or any other style – predesigned or custom-made.

Front doors come in many colors but can also be painted to match the other elements in the exterior of your home. Many people also hang festive decorations on their front doors, so consider what you might want to add at holiday time when you are shopping for a door – is there room to add a hook without interfering with or damaging the door?

Back door: Back doors are often much the same in style as front doors, with perhaps less ornamentation. However, style is of greater importance if the door accesses a main room of the house or can be seen from the road or driveway. In some cases, the back door may even be the main entranceway into the home. If it's going to get a lot of use, you'll want to invest more money in a stylish, functional door that can withstand the wear and tear. Regardless of whether it gets a lot of use or not, be sure that your back door has the same security features as your front door. It is still an access point to your home and, therefore, a potential source of danger from burglars. If you have selected a back door with a window, you might consider adding curtains or blinds to prevent unwanted eyes from peering in.

Patio door: Since the patio is a hub for entertaining during the summertime, it's important that your patio doors run smoothly and are easy to open and close. This will ensure that your guests can get in and out easily and you can bring trays of food and drinks out to friends without worrying about the door. Sliding doors are perfect and popular for access to patios. Be sure that your sliding door has a stopper attached to it (or to the frame) so the door can't slam against the wall if it is opened too quickly. Sliding glass doors are practical and affordable, so you can spend more time on the patio with friends and less time working to pay off an expensive door!

Pet door: The dog door and cat door have evolved from what they once were. Pet doors are no longer the dirty, scruffy flaps in the door that let in breezes, bugs and dirt. Today's dog doors and cat doors are more secure, more stylish and more energy efficient. You can even get an electronic dog door that works much like an electronic garage door. Attach a special device to your pet's collar, and it will electronically send a pass code to the electronic pet door, which will then let your pet in or out. Some even allow you to limit your pet's access (in but not out or vice versa) or lock the door altogether .These are truly the kitty and doggie doors of the future!

Even the classic flap has been improved, however. Models are now available for installation in walls, allowing you to put your pet door where it is most convenient, like in the laundry room or mud room, even if there is no exterior door. Another model can be installed in screens, so you can convert your patio door into a pet patio door.

Just as your pet is a part of your family, your pet door can now be a seamless part of your home décor.