Your front door is the first chance you have to make an impression on everyone who enters your home. As such, the door should be decorative yet functional. Entry doors are typically constructed of wood, steel, fiberglass, aluminum or a combination of these materials. The standard size of an entry door is 3 feet wide by 6 feet, 8 inches tall.
The most sought-after entry door is one made of solid wood, usually made from oak, fir and pine. However, even these strong woods have a tendency to warp and deteriorate if they are exposed to moisture over long periods of time. Solid wood doors are also the most expensive front-door option, starting at $1,000.
For homeowners who still want an authentic wood look but are on a budget, door manufacturers are now making fiberglass or aluminum doors outfitted with hardwood panels. Wooden doors are popular in raised-panel, flat and etched styles.
Solid wood entry doors are the still the most popular, but aluminum entry doors are catching up in popularity because they are less likely to warp and provide greater security.
Aluminum doors are the most resilient entry door option currently on the market. They have an enamel finish baked right onto them, so they require little upkeep, hardly ever need painting and won't likely rust or dent. Aluminum doors are lightweight (so they are easier to install than solid wood doors), but they are also very durable. They can be quite expensive - they will run you approximately $600 to $800.
Glass doors offer a view like no other. Available in swinging and sliding designs, glass doors are most commonly seen leading to decks and patios. In the past, homeowners had to sacrifice insulation for a good view. Today, most glass patio doors are made with two glass inserts and one screen slider.
Screen doors are used in combination with solid exterior doors in order to let you safely open up your home to air and light while still preventing insects from entering. When shopping for a screen door, you should look for one with a strong metal screen that will permit adequate air flow but that can't be cut or punctured easily. A secure screen door also needs a solid lock and strong hinges.
Storm doors are installed over exterior doors to further protect your home from the elements. They aid home insulation by creating an extra layer of air space between the entry door and the outside world. Storm doors are typically made out of aluminum or vinyl and come in various styles. Some are designed to be removed entirely and stored during the summer, while others have removable or sliding glass panes that can be replaced with screens during the summer.
Pet doors are ideal for pet owners who are tired of hearing Fido continuously scratch at the door. These doors install into your home's exterior door and allow pets the independence to go from the indoors to the outdoors when you're not home. They come in two popular styles: flap doors, which have soft vinyl flaps that a pet can push open with its head; and electric doors, which are automatically activated by a sensor on your pet's collar.