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There are a multitude of strategies you can employ when it comes to upgrading the exterior of a home, from repaving the driveway to landscaping to new paint. “However, installing a new exterior door is one of the quickest ways to make a big first impression,” said Wendy Cline, owner of J&B Construction. This cost-effective option not only gives a home added curb appeal, but it also offers several other advantages. “Up-to-date materials and construction give newer doors exceptional overall durability and superior insulating properties, which can create an entrance that is not only attractive, but functional too,” explained Wendy.

The first step is to choose a door that compliments the architecture of the home. For example, six-panel varieties are best suited for a colonial house, while a leaded-glass type is ideal for a Victorian. “You’ll also want to select a color that conforms or contrasts with the siding, trim and shutters for a smooth design,” she said. Brighter hues, such as red, orange or yellow, add vibrancy to the entrance, while softer shades of blue, green or purple give the exterior a refined, crisp look. Consider incorporating a door with a transom or sidelights to brighten a dark foyer with natural light.

Next is security. Newer technologies often make updated exterior doors more secure than older varieties. “Quality fiberglass and steel styles are especially strong and usually have locking capabilities that outperform older wood doors,” she said. Their new designs are layered to resist forced entry. A modern door is either molded from one piece on each side of the door or fused together by new techniques such as industrial lasers or updated adhesives, creating a stronger door. With up-to-date bolt-locking systems and wide-angled peepholes, upgrading your door, means upgrading your home security.

Third, is insulation. You will want to pay attention to energy efficiency when installing a new exterior door. New doors typically have better insulation properties, which allows them to hold heat in during the winter and keep it out during the summer. “Most steal and fiberglass doors are filled with polyurethane foam insulation and include built-in weather stripping on the bottom to create a barrier to withstand elements such as extreme wind, hail or snow,” Wendy said. To give you a better idea, a typical one-inch thick, windowless steel or fiberglass door usually has insulating properties that are five times greater than the same-sized solid wood door. In addition, some homeowners can claim tax credits on doors that carry Energy Star labels, which can make a more energy-efficient door an attractive option in the short and long term.

Finally, is durability. Steel and fiberglass doors have more durability compared to older wood models. They have reinforced cores that resist warping. The exterior construction and materials also prevent other forms of weathering in terms of chipping, peeling and bubbling. Steel, fiberglass and wood doors often last a lifetime, depending on the maintenance, while wood doors are more susceptible to weather damage and require more periodic repainting due to their natural material. Also, painting fiberglass or steel varieties using an oil-based paint serves as an added barrier against the elements. Alternatively, you can finish a stained-wood door using at least three coats of polyurethane with an ultraviolet formula to protect it for many years to come.