As noted, the architectural style of your home will narrow your preferred options significantly. If you have a Colonial, Cottage, Craftsman, Ranch or Victorian home, for example, you will want to choose from wooden doors with the same architectural details. But if your home leans more toward modern/contemporary, you can opt for less traditional styles and materials, such as steel.
Door Materials Wood - The most common type of doors, and typically the most expensive, they come in solid wood and engineered-wood core with a wood-veneer skin. Cherry, fir, mahogany, maple oak, pine and walnut, as well as pine and western hemlock, all make excellent door material. Solid wood doors cost the most within this material range, with the combination doors proving a less-expensive alternative. Also, the more detail on a door, the higher the price. If you plan to paint your wood door, choose a high-gloss sheen. Prefinished doors also are available if you prefer to keep the grain of the wood visible.
Aluminum - This type of door comes in just below solid wood in terms of cost because of its longevity, around 20 years, and lack of maintenance. It features an insulation core covered by a metal skin, and the baked-on finish keeps the door from rusting or needing to be repainted. A wide range of styles and colors are available.
Fiberglass-Composite - Another maintenance-free option, this type of door can provide the appearance of wood, through both the texture of the door and applied stains, without that material's cost or upkeep. It serves as one of the least expensive options available.
Steel - This type of door offers the ultimate in security, durability and affordability. Again, the surface of the material can appear wood-like in texture, or it can simply be smooth. Finishes range from baked-on polyester that requires periodic repainting to laminated-wood veneer at the premium level.
Other Factors to Consider
If you decide to choose a door with glass, either on the door or above or to the side, look for glazing and coatings that resist break-ins, muffle sound and protect your interiors from UV rays.
Steel and fiberglass offer superior energy efficiency over wood, with double-paned glass aiding in the efforts.
Before You Shop
Consider meeting with your professional handyman to discuss your options and get his or her advice. The weather in your area, the location of your door in terms of shelter and your desired level of required maintenance all should be considered when making this important decision. Your handyman also can take a look at your existing frame and let you know if you simply need a new door or if installation will require additional pieces in order to create an energy efficient and a secure entryway to your home.
Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.