Many manufacturers are taking the wood out of their doors and frames to help prevent water damage to the most commonly exposed areas of the door. They are removing the natural wood around door glass and from lower door jambs, bottom rails, and sub-sill and replacing it with an extruded composite, an injection-molded plastic, or a cellular PVC. There is a continuing trend to take out opportunities for rot in doors and frames. This prevents moisture from wicking upward to the rest of the door frame, as it would if wood were used. Door sills are also being enhanced to further prevent water intrusion past weather stripping by raising them or adding weeps and by substituting a man made material in the sub-sill.
Exterior doors have to fit snugly to seal out cold and heat, swing freely and quietly on their hinges, and lend a welcoming aesthetic to the home. Metal, wood, fiberglass, and wood composite doors each provide advantages in different areas. The cost of installing a new door in a residential structure depends on a number of factors, including size and type of material, raised or flush panels, veneer material, door core material, fire rating and finish.
Metal Doors are the most popular exterior doors.
Limitations: Easily dented, scratches can lead to rust, paint chipping is common, conducts temperature.
Advantages: Lower maintenance, no cracking or bowing, less expensive, energy efficient, good insulating value, secure.
Wood Doors have the natural beauty that many customers who want to preserve the original look and material of existing homes.
Limitations: Expensive, absorbs moisture, can peel or bubble, bow, warp, twist, will fade, not energy efficient, require regular maintenance.
Advantages: Beautiful wood grain, high end look, scratches easily repaired.
Fiberglass or Fiberglass Composite Doors look and feel much like wood. A polyurethane core free of chlorfluocarbon provides excellent insulation.
Advantages: Lowest maintenance, resists denting and scratching, offers wood grain look, will not rot, deteriorate, or rust. No cracks or bowing, energy efficient, can be painted or stained, will not warp, bow, or twist, good insulating value, secure.
Door Glossary of Terms
Astragal – A molding applied to the meeting edges of a pair of doors to protect against weather and / or fire.
Deadbolt – A lock bolt having no spring action, which must be operated by a key or turn piece.
Hand – All doors are handed from the outside or locked side. Determine if the door opens in or out (99% of residential doors open in). Standing on the outside –
If the door opens in and hinges are on the left, it is Left Hand (L)
If the door opens in and hinges are on the right, it is Right Hand (R)
If the door opens towards you and hinges are on the left, it is a Left Hand Reverse Bevel (LR)
If a door opens towards you and hinges are on the right, it is a Right Hand Reverse Bevel (RH)
Mortise Lock - Lock type which installs into a large mortise or pocket (typically 5 ˝” high x 4” deep) which has been cut into the edge of door, as opposed to a tubular (cylinder lock) which installs through round holes bored into the face and edge of door.
Strike – Metal plate installed in a shallow mortise on the door jamb and struck by the latch bolt when the door closes. May have a curved lip or a straight lip. Types include box strike, full lip strike, ASA strike, and combination privacy strike.
Alan Trauger is a Real Estate and Building Consultant for residential and commercial properties. Mr. Trauger has attained over 35 years of diversified experience and knowledge in construction, finance, and real estate. He has been involved in various facets of asset management, acquisitions, real estate work outs, property management, construction, inspection analysis, development, sales, leasing, and Ad Valorem tax appeal for over 25,000 single family and multi-family units and over 2.5 million square feet of commercial buildings. A Court Appointed Receiver and Expert Witness. An experienced and knowledgeable problem solver, understanding processes, and issues related construction and real estate.
Mr. Trauger’s wide spectrum of experiences, education, research, teaching, and publication of previous articles, commercial real estate market sales comparables, and textbooks enables him to assist property owners through the property assessment and tax appeal process.