Do you take your home’s exterior doors for granted?

When was the last time you thought about them—other than that time you locked yourself out or you were trying to decide what colour you should paint them?

It’s time to get serious about your doors.

Let’s consider the characteristics you demand from them but know little about:

  • Easy access (reliable, smooth operation)
  • Security (strength and durability)
  • Lower energy costs (thermal resistance)
  • Safety (protection from fire, intruders, animals, inclement weather)
  • Light and ventilation (windows, sidelights, screen doors)
  • Curb appeal (improved look and home value)

If the doors in your home are damaged, broken, rotting or no longer meeting your needs, it’s time to consider replacements.

With a better understanding of the essential elements you require and a review of this Comprehensive Guide, you can make informed decisions about which exterior door replacements are best for your home.

1. Door Styles and Materials

There are three primary styles of exterior doors for residential use:

  • Entry Doors
    Front Entry Door
    Available in steel insulated and fiberglass composite. Can be installed as a single or double door system with a right- or left-hand swing. Double doors can use dual hardware or on a single door with a latch for single-door operation.

    • Steel insulated exterior doors
      entry doors
      mimic the look of wood paneling through a high-definition embossing process. Provide strength and durability, requires little maintenance, can be painted and are the most affordable option available. Exterior steel entry doors with glass are available in several styles and configurations. See Entry Door Glass Options below.
    • Fibreglass composite exterior doors
      Fibreglass composite door
      are available in a variety of finishes including a wood grain or smooth finish that can be stained. Extremely durable, can withstand most any climate and are maintenance-free. Optional glass can be included. An entry door window frame replacement may be available to change the look without a full door replacement.
      Solid, raised panel styles include: 1, 2, 3, and 4 raised panel sections, round-top/camber top and planked. Factory paint finishes are available in 24 unique colours.
  • Patio Doors
    kitchen sliding doors
    Sliding doors (one side operable to left or right.) Available with a vinyl-clad ECO reinforced steel frame. Includes an air-tight double perimeter seal, nylon ball bearings that adjust for smooth operation, and one-inch sealed glass for optimal thermal and wind-load resistance. Units come with an anodized screen track with stainless steel rollers.
  • Garden Doors or French Doors
    Double patio french doors
    These are double doors with glass inserts and are typically used to open to a deck, patio or rear yard garden area. Available as venting, clear Low-E glass, clear bevel or with pencil grills, internal grills or built-in mini blinds. Hinge options include inswing (typical design to swing toward the inside of the house) or outswing (toward the outside of the house), single operable door (swing right or left) or dual operable (hardware on right or left with centre opening.)

2. Entry Door Glass Options

Entry Door Sidelights Transom

Glass options can take an ordinary front door and make it the focal point of your home. Combined with replacement windows, a new matching entry door can provide the final component to achieve a stylish front elevation.

All window options are made from two tempered glass panes with a third pane sealed between them. Choose from these style and performance options:

  • Decorative glass—Handcrafted styles include: Beveled glass, stained glass, caming (zinc, patina or brass banding between glass sections like the lead in leaded glass) and wrought iron.
  • Obscure—Available in a variety of textures and transparency for privacy and safety.
  • Low-E Coating—For improved energy efficiency and UV protection.
  • Impact-Resistant—For protection against severe wind and weather conditions.
  • Mini-blinds or Shades—Built in between the glass for privacy and as a maintenance-free option.
  • Grills—Decorative inserts are built in between the glass to add style and dimension. Available in painted or stained finishes.

All entry door replacement glass frames are reinforced to provide an air-tight, water-tight seal for optimum energy efficiency and protection.

  • Sidelights—Full-length panels for one side or both sides of the entry door. Available in finishes and glass styles to match the door.
  • Transom Windows—Built above the main entry door and available in rectangle, round-top or radius shapes.

3. Trim and Hardware Options

Entry and French Doors:

Choose from four Lever-handle designs with built-in Multi-Point Lock System. Heavy-duty lock mechanism automatically engages the deadbolt and two latchbolts with the turn of the key for enhanced security, reduced air filtration and door panel warp protection. Available in brass, polished nickel, black and pewter finishes.

Choose from standard or heavy-duty, ball bearing door hinges. By selecting the premium ball bearing type, you can expect long-lasting durability and smooth, quiet operation. They’re also available in four finishes to match other door hardware.

Patio Doors:

  • Standard handle
    patio sliding door handles
    C-handle with interior lever lock. Optional exterior keylock and multi-point lock available. Comes in white, black, ivory or sandalwood.
  • Optional Euro-style handle—Smooth, rounded handle with integrated single-point keylocks built-in. Optional multi-point lock available for heavy-duty protection and two locking points. Comes in white, black, brass, nickel, satin nickel and bright chrome.
  • Optional Internal Mini-Blinds—Sealed between insulated glass panes. Easy-to-operate slide lever raises and lowers blinds with the tip of a finger. Available in a wide variety of colours and wood grain finishes.
  • Optional Grid Pattern Glass Designs—Colonial- or Prairie-style glass designs provide the look of decorative grills without the need for maintenance.

4. Installation Process

replacement door installation

a. What every homeowner must know about replacement door installation.

Proper installation depends on a number of key factors:

  • Accurate measurements
  • Properly shimmed/adjusted to be square and plumb
  • Reinforced door jamb
  • Properly aligned latch and dead bolt to strike plate
  • Tight fitting seal and weatherstripping

It’s common for seasonal temperatures and humidity changes to affect the door operation due to house shift , expansion and contraction. Adjustments may be needed. To check for changes and air infiltration, hold a lighter near the door frame. The door is installed properly when there is no flame flicker.

b. Understanding door slabs versus prehung systems.

There are two types of replacement doors available:

  1. Door slabs—this is only the door component and does not include a frame. This is typically used when the existing framework is sound and can support the new door.
  2. Prehung system—this is an all-inclusive package that includes the frame, hinges and hardware to hang the door without an existing frame in place.

c. How to take replacement door measurements.

Your contractor will probably take door measurements for you, but it’s important to understand how it’s done so you’ll have a better understanding of what is needed.

Measuring a Door slab:

  1. Record the smallest of three horizontal measurements to get the width.
  2. Record the smallest of three vertical measurements to get the height.
  3. Take the thickness of the door (typically 1-3/4″.)
  4. Measure the three hinge locations from the top of the door to the top of the hinge.
  5. Note the hinge width and height.
  6. Remove door hardware (handle and deadbolt) and measure from the door top to the centre of the bore hole and from the door edge to the centre of the hole.

Measuring a Prehung Door System:

  1. Measure the width and height of the door (see above).
  2. Take three horizontal measurements inside the door opening and keep the smallest figure. This is the rough opening width. (R.O.)
  3. Record the smallest vertical measurement of three to obtain the rough opening height. (R.O.)
  4. To obtain the jamb width, measure the horizontal thickness of the jamb.

To minimize drafts and heat/cooling loss, there should be no more than 1/8″ clearance between the door and the frame.

d. How to install a door.

    1. Remove packaging (including skidboard and duplex nail/removable plug.) Leave security plate and shipping straps until directed to remove them as they will keep the door system aligned properly.
    2. Inspect for any cosmetic damage, squareness and correct product.
    3. Inspect the rough opening and adjust to accommodate the finished interior floor height.
    4. Install the sill pan.
    5. Install the door buck (wood, metal or masonry doorframe used to support the door during installation) or prepare stud-framed wall.
    6. Install the door by:
      • Remove pre-hanging clips
      • Apply sealant to back of trim
      • Temporarily fasten in place with nails or screws
      • Shim jambs, at strikeplate, and between sidelights and the wall (if applicable) until the door is square in the opening.
      • Place nails/screws through holes provided—don’t set yet.
      • Once door is square, then securely fasten in place.
      • Removing pre-hanging clips, test door swing and adjust as needed.

e. What to expect from Ecoline Windows.

To provide a complete finished project to any window replacement project, the experts at Ecoline Windows will custom order and deliver replacement doors for your home, follow the proper installation instructions and offer a warranty on installation.

5. Warranty

We offer the following labour and product warranties for your replacement door project:

      • Door Labour Warranty: 1 year
      • Slab Product Warranty: (white) 10 years
      • Glass Warranty (sealed unit failure): 25 years
      • Door Colour Warranty: 5 years
      • Door Stain Warranty: 5 years
      • Frame Warranty: 20 years

6. Maintenance Tips

To keep your exterior replacement doors looking and operating their best, you’ll want to keep them properly maintained. Follow these suggestions and your home will be the most talked about one on the street:

      • Cleaning:
        • Wipe down steel, fibreglass and wood doors regularly with a soft cloth and non-abrasive cleaner such as diluted dish soap or baby shampoo.
        • Wrought iron doors and trims can be cleaned with diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap.
        • Wash windows and glass panels with glass cleaner.
        • Clean out dirt and grime from sliding patio door track with a toothbrush or wire brush. Then vacuum the track to remove all debris.
      • Lubrication:
        • Lubricate hinges and door closers every six months with a few drops of penetrating oil. Apply to top of hinge between pin and housing so it permeates the entire fixture.
        • Sticking lock mechanisms can work smoothly after a spray of dry graphite.
        • Use a silicone-based lubricant to keep your sliding patio door track operating smoothly.
      • Inspection:
        • Check for loose hinge screws. Wood door frames dry out over time and screws become loose. Fill, redrill and replace screws.
        • Adjust pneumatic closer cylinder screws so the door closes against the stop properly.
        • Look for cracks in the frame or glass and replace as necessary.
        • Refinish any cracked, faded, chipped or peeling paint or stain finish.
        • Watch for fogging between glass panels that indicates the seal may have been broken. Call for glass replacement.
        • Inspect wood door frame for moisture damage or rotting.
        • Replace weather stripping that has gaps, cracks or discolouration.
        • Replace the bottom door sweep when it becomes loose, has tears or gaps, or gets ripped off.
        • Adjust or replace worn patio door rollers.

The doors in your home are subjected to a lot of traffic and wear and tear. Keep them looking and working their best with regular maintenance and inspections. Now that you’re more familiar with what to look for in exterior door replacements, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your own project.

Remember to make sure your new doors meet these criteria:

      • Easy access (reliable, smooth operation)
      • Security (strength and durability)
      • Lower energy costs (thermal resistance)
      • Safety (protection from fire, intruders, animals, inclement weather)
      • Light and ventilation (windows, sidelights, screen doors)
      • Curb appeal (improved look and home value)

Contact Ecoline Windows to review replacement door product literature, obtain a free on-site evaluation and price estimate today.