You probably know that the front door is the most important feature of your home. It creates a first impression and sets the standard for the rest of your home, so choosing a replacement door will require thorough research and careful consideration.
To achieve the best possible fit, you’ll want to match your home’s architectural style and blend it with your own personal taste. You’ll also need a product that will provide security from break-ins, protection from climate and temperature changes, and one that will provide years of trouble-free service.
We’ve put together some of the most common questions we’ve encountered from our customers. It’s likely that they’ll be all the questions you wanted to ask about entry doors too.
1. What is best – a fiberglass, steel or wood door?
There are pros and cons to each material. Steel has been around for a long time and is well-tested. Although fiberglass is a relatively new material, it’s already proving to be energy efficient and durable. Of course, wood is still the most popular for its high-end look and resistance to wear and tear. Here’s a breakdown of pros and cons for each:
Fiberglass doors are strong, durable, dent-resistant, maintenance-free, energy-efficient, and best of all, affordable. They hold up well in harsh Canadian winters and even mimic the look of real wood. They’re generally available in a smooth surface and embossed wood grain texture. They can be stained or painted to match your architectural style or your personality.
To avoid bending in bad weather conditions, a Multipoint lock is recommended. Fiberglass can crack under severe impact.
Steel doors offer the best security and durability among the three material options. They are the most structurally sound with a strong inner frame made from wood or steel. They are filled with foam insulation to provide good insulating value, and they won’t crack or warp. Steel doors are usually smooth or have an embossed wood grain pattern that are coated with a baked-on polyester finish.
Steel doors can be easily dented and scratches can rust if not repaired quickly. Adding glass may reduce their energy efficiency by allowing heat loss.
Wood doors provide an elegant, stylish look that other materials try to copy. They are the most wear-resistant, dent- resistant, and minor scratches can be repaired easily. A solid wood door with a heavy wood frame also provides greater strength than other materials.
They cost significantly more than fiberglass or steel and require regular painting or varnishing to maintain their attractive appearance.
2. How much privacy can you get with decorative glass?
Adding decorative glass to your entry door allows you to create a unique, artistic look to the front of your home, but privacy may be a concern if you don’t choose wisely. The Alberta Door Systems products used at Ecoline Windows and Doors offer a wide variety of designs and opacity to meet your needs.
Every door system provides a Glass Privacy Level rating so you can clearly identify which collections offer the most privacy. All decorative glass selections are rated between 7 and 10 (where 10 is totally obscure glass.) This would apply to single- and double-door systems, transoms and sidelites.
Remember, some decorative glass includes ornaments made from smaller transparent glass pieces. The more intricate the detail, the more glass pieces will be used, and privacy will be reduced.
Obscure glass is available in three textures to completely block any unwanted attention. Clear glass can also be used but to ensure privacy, you should consider installing mini blinds between the glass. They can be raised, lowered or tilted to allow natural light in during the daytime hours or closed at night.
3. What is better – a Patio door or Garden door?
The distinction between a patio door and garden door is that a patio door slides while a garden door swings open. Often the decision to choose one style over another is because of size and space restrictions.
A garden door is more secure as a deadbolt can be used and it can also include privacy glass. Mini-blinds can be placed between double glass panes for privacy. Additional energy-efficient features such as double- and triple-pane glass, weatherstripping, Low-E glass coatings, and an Argon gas fill are also available. A garden door will require a wider and thicker frame so the window area is reduced and so is the amount of light that comes into the house.
A patio door provides additional protection for families with children and pets. The sliding door is much more difficult to open so there’s less risk that small children or pets can get out unsupervised. Optional mini-blinds can also be added for privacy and Low-E glass coatings are also available. The narrow frame needed allows for a larger glass area that can let more natural light into the room. The locking system offers less protection from break-in that the deadbolt feature on a garden door.
4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of putting mini-blinds between the glass?
While mini-blinds are a popular feature among homeowners, there are pros and cons to including them between the glass panes in your door:
- Beautiful, streamlined look.
- Blinds don’t bang against the door when opened and closed like those installed with an interior curtain rod.
- The glass is easier to clean without a curtain or blinds to get in the way.
- There are no hanging cords for children to get hurt with.
- Kid- and pet-friendly—they can’t pull on them or bend them.
- They offer privacy against prying eyes.
- They reduce the energy efficiency of the door. Glass is a poor insulator, so to double-paned windows are used with argon gas between the panes to improve efficiency. A Low-E coating can also be applied to reflect heat from sunlight. If you add mini blinds between the glass, you can’t include argon gas which significantly reduced their efficiency.
- If you buy a triple-pane window to include both the argon gas and mini blinds, the costs could be prohibitive and you’ll still get a lower U-factor than a triple-pane window without blinds.
- Blinds can still get dusty as there are small holes in the frame to allow dust to penetrate. Even with the ability to remove a glass pane, cleaning them can be complicated and difficult.
- The mechanism that allows the blinds to operate can break. If you have a removable pane of glass, you’ll be able to access them to do a repair but it will be very costly. For units without this access, the only options are to live with a broken blind or replace the entire door.
5. What type of lock system is best?
Keeping your family safe from intruders should be a high priority when purchasing a replacement entry door. Rather than adding an unattractive deadbolt or inferior chain lock, you’ll be happy Ecoline’s Multi-Point Lock System will be included with your door.
Once the door is closed, the door automatically locks with a 20mm latchbolt. The deadbolt is engaged with a quick turn of the key that also activates top and bottom latchbolts (3-point deadbolt locking system.)
The lock system also includes these features:
- Capability to fit both 6′-8″ and 8′ doors.
- Durable mortise construction with reinforced locking system return.
- Security against forced entry with 10 to 20mm latchbolt projection.
- Locking points engage without lifting the handle.
- Non-handed latch that can be reversed.
- Gasket prevents air infiltration.
- The multi-point lock system helps protect the door panel from warping.
6. What type of warranty comes with a replacement door?
Ecoline Windows provides a comprehensive warranty on all materials and installation. Installation work provides coverage that it will be free of installation defects for 15 years. Other covered items include:
- Seal failure of insulated glass
- Tempered glass
- Vinyl (PVC) components
- Door installation is level, square and plumb
- Rough opening insulation
- White vinyl wrapped frames and components
- Steel slabs warranted against defects
- Factory applied color paint
- Insulated thermal unit warranted against failure
- Blinds Shades between insulating thermal unit
- Factory applied colour stain
- Exterior caulking
- Aluminum cladding
- Pressure cracks
Making a decision about what type of replacement entry door you should invest in can be a little intimidating. With all the material, glass styles, hardware, energy-efficient and safety features available, there are thousands of combinations to choose from.
Plan on spending some time researching all your options and consult with the experts at Ecoline Windows and Doors to get the right fit for your home. By investing time now, you’ll see significant dividends for your effort later.