1. YOUR DOOR STICKS WHEN OPENING AND CLOSING
The best time to replace a front door is when it sticks as you open and close it. It may get stuck in the winter and be easy to open and close in the summer. In that case, there might be gaps or openings around the door frame where light comes in from the outside.
2. YOUR DOOR HAS DRAFTS
A drafty door brings air leaks into your home and puts additional strain on your HVAC system. You’ll want to replace your entry door to save money on your energy bills each month and make your home more comfortable inside.
Besides feeling uncomfortable air in your home, you may also know if your door has drafts by holding a candle or lighter near the door frame. A flame that flickers toward the outside indicates an air leak or holes. In that case, you’ll need a new door to eliminate these uncomfortable, costly drafts.
3. YOUR DOOR IS WEATHERED
Over time, your door can suffer from wear and tear from excessive use and various weather conditions. A solid wood door expands and contracts as the temperature changes. As a result, it develops cracks and warps throughout the panels, making them challenging to open and potentially letting in drafts.
Inspect your door for cracks, gaps and uneven surfaces to know when to replace your front door. These imperfections can let drafts into the home and compromise the door’s structural integrity.
4. YOUR DOOR IS LOOSE ON ITS HINGES
As you open and close your door, you may notice that the hinge squeaks. Sometimes, a squeaky door is easy to fix with a screwdriver and some lubricant. On the other hand, the door might be failing if you need frequent repairs to its hinges. A failing door leaves your home more vulnerable to intruders and is challenging to use. In that case, you’ll want to call a professional to replace your front door with a sturdy, functional hinge.
5. YOUR DOOR HAS A LACK OF SECURITY
Besides protecting your indoor living space from exterior drafts, the front door also guards your home against break-ins. A weak, broken door is easy to pry open when no one’s watching. On the other hand, modern steel doors are sturdy and weather-resistant. They also come with various lock options, such as keyless entry or durable lock-and-key bolts, to increase your property’s security.
As a result of replacing your front door, you can have peace of mind when you’re asleep, at home or away.
6. YOUR DOOR HAS CRACKS AND BREAKS
A door with visible cracks and breaks reduces your home’s curb appeal and makes your property more open to break-ins. Cracked or broken door frames also let drafts into your indoor living space and put additional strain on your HVAC system.
You’ll want to replace your entry door if it has any signs of damage on it, such as rust, dents, cracks or holes. It’s also time to replace your front door if it doesn’t lock correctly. This will prevent easy access by intruders.
7. YOUR DOOR HAS MOISTURE DAMAGE
A wet, weak wooden door welcomes insects, rot, mold and mildew into your home. You’ll want to change your entry door to enhance the curb appeal and protect your property from future damage. Consider replacing your wooden front door with more durable material, such as steel or fiberglass.
8. YOU WANT A DOOR WITH UPDATED STYLE AND CURB APPEAL
The front door is the focal point of your home’s exterior, and it makes an excellent first impression on guests and potential homebuyers. Consider replacing your worn-out door with an attractive, energy-efficient one to add value and character to your property. If you’ve already upgraded your landscaping and added a fresh coat of paint to the interior, a new entry door may be the final element to attract buyers if you want to sell your home soon.
Other Signs That It’s Time to Replace the Front Door of Your Home
Home Improvement Tip: Consider upgrading your front door if you notice any of the following problems:
1. There’s Space Under or Around Your Doors
When windows are shut, light shouldn’t be peeking through the frame or casing. Likewise, when you close your exterior doors, light should not be coming in around the threshold or frame. Keep in mind that, if light is shining through, other undesirable things can get in as well, which may include drafts, water, insects, and even rodents.
Drafts of cold or hot air, which are more common in older homes, can also be a sign of a gap around the framing and can seriously affect your comfort. Simply updating your weather stripping may correct the problem, but you should think of that as just a temporary repair, as these seals need to be replaced periodically. If you’re feeling drafts season after season, it’s time to replace your front door.
2. Your Front Door is Damaged
Doors are subjected to a lot of wear and tear throughout their lives and can be damaged in various ways. Consider a front door replacement if you notice any of the following types of damage:
Dents: If your door contains dents, its structural integrity may be compromised. Residential doors bought at big-box home improvement stores typically consist of 24 to 26-gauge steel over a wood frame, which is not particularly sturdy. Just one gentle kick — which many use as a method to open the door when our hands are full — can create a large, unattractive dent.
Rusting: If your door is rusted, this means moisture has likely made its way inside to the existing frame and is causing rot. Lower quality or builder grade steel doors are not galvanized on the inside. When moisture makes its way through the seams of the door, rust will start to deteriorate the door from the inside out. This will make the door structurally unsound and not strong enough to protect your home from easy, unwanted entry.
Splitting and peeling: Solid wood doors are known to age particularly poorly. As they have expanded and contracted over many summers and winters, they tend to become cracked, warped, and weathered. If your wood door is splitting and the paint is peeling, this will allow moisture to get inside the wood and cause rot. This may also attract termites and other wood-destroying insects.
Squeaky hinges: As you may know, squeaky hinges can be silenced by applying a little lubrication. However, this noise may signify a more serious problem — that the door itself is beginning to fail. If you notice squeaky sounds from the hinge locations, take action as soon as possible, as hinge-related issues can make it much easier for intruders to force open the door.
5. Your Energy Bills Are Increasing
The exterior of your home serves as a thermal envelope, and any openings or holes in this envelope, including doors, can be a source of air leaks, particularly if the doors are older. These leaks will force your HVAC system to work much harder to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures, and your energy bills will increase as a result.
If you have an older front door, you may be able to lower your heating and cooling bills by replacing your door with a new energy-efficient model, which can combat inefficiency with its superior insulation properties. By upgrading your door installing an energy-efficient option, you will quickly recoup the expense by incurring lower cooling and heating costs.
Front Door Materials
These durable, maintenance-free doors are a suitable option for humid or harsh climates. They imitate the appearance of wood with their wood-grain textures, and stains are available that resemble a variety of woods including cherry, oak, and walnut. Beneath the surface, there is a framework of rails and stiles, and polyurethane-foam insulation fills the voids in the framework.
If your biggest priorities are durability and security, a steel front door is a great choice. Steel models have more strength than fiberglass or wood doors and will never warp or crack. And if they sustain any dings or dents, you can easily pull and putty them using an auto-body repair kit.
Steel doors are also the most affordable when comparing door costs. However, if you choose to add premium hardware, materials and sidelights, the costs are similar to that of a wood door system.
Steel doors feature an inner wood or steel frame and the cavities within it contain dense foam insulation. They also tend to have a steel frame and 24-gauge skin, although some higher end doors have heavier-gauge steel such as 20-gauge or 22-gauge. The surface is typically smooth or features an embossed wood-grain pattern.
Steel doors are also generally coated using a polyester finish that is baked on, which you will have to repaint periodically. Higher-quality models feature a vinyl coating like those found on vinyl-clad windows, which provides better weather resistance. Some models even feature a coating of wood fiber or laminated wood veneer.
Doors made of aluminum consist of an insulation core covered in a metal skin. Aluminum doors are different from other door systems in that they can only be purchased through dealers. Every aluminum door is custom-built to fit your opening and a variety of color and style options are available. They feature an enamel finish that is baked on, which means that you’ll never have to paint them and they’ll never rust.
Wood is a common material for residential front doors, with beauty and versatility being its greatest advantages. You can find custom wood doors and natural-finish stock in cherry, walnut, oak, maple, mahogany, pine, and fir. Paint-grade doors also come in softwood varieties including western hemlock and pine.
Stock wood doors usually consist of an engineered wood core covered in wood-veneer skins, a configuration that minimizes contraction and expansion, which can lead to warping. These doors are a more affordable alternative to solid wood doors.
Solid wood doors are the most expensive, with hardwood being the most expensive type of solid wood. They are also high maintenance. Paint and stain fades over time, so wood doors need to be refinished every few years. Wood is a porous material, so they also do not provide the same energy efficiency as other materials. When searching for a good pre-finished wood door, make sure it has a clear finish and a durable stain. High-gloss sheens are best for painting doors. Regardless of the finish you pick, also apply it to the bottom and top edges — this way the wood door will not be able to absorb moisture, which can cause swelling at the door edge.
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