The front door of any house is the dividing point between the inside of the home and the outside. That’s obvious. It is also the usual point of entry, and the place at which people get their first impression of your home. It’s like an initial focal point that they see. This is one of the reasons that many people favor custom made front doors rather than those you simply buy off the shelf or out of a catalogue. It will help to identify you as a person and make sure you aren’t run of the mill.
The type of front door you choose will depend on a number of factors ranging from security to décor and style.
Of course if your front door leads straight the street, or to an unenclosed yard, then security will be the prime consideration, wherever in the world you live. But style is vital in other ways. Not only will you want a door that matches or blends with the architecture of your house, but you should also aim for it to have some sort of relationship with the interior of your home. For example, while you might be yearning for a sleek, modern chromed metal door, if you have traditional furniture, or if the house is built in a traditional Colonial style, it isn’t going to work.
So before you go shopping for a new front door – whether you are planning to have it custom made or not – be sure you know what you are looking for.
Wooden Entry Doors
There are front doors that are made of wood, and then there are custom-made wooden doors designed to take pride of place at the front of your home. If you’re keen on the latter, then look for well established companies that really do produce good looking, high quality products. And since you’re going custom-made, dare to be a bit different.
The US, West Virginia-based Emerald Doors specializes in both original design and reproduction doors using traditional methods of construction. It is not surprising to find that many of their doors feature stained glass or leaded glass panels, since the business started out as a stained glass company. Having made countless glass panes for other people’s homes and for churches in various parts of the world, the owners wanted their own stained glass front entry door. Unable to find the quality they wanted, they made their own. Now they have a full-on factory and they specialize in doors – not all of which feature stained glass.
YesterYear’s Vintage Doors (www.vintagedoors.com) which is based in Northern New York, also manufactures custom entry doors, all of which are beautifully handcrafted. There is no mass production in their factory. If you have seen a design you like, perhaps in a magazine, they will even build it for you. They are pet lovers too, and will incorporate a wooden pet door in your custom-made solid wood door.
The Canadian-based Secondwind Timber company also manufactures custom entry doors, but theirs are from wood that has been reclaimed. Some are solid, while others incorporate glass panels of various types. The wood used includes old Douglas Fir, Alaskan Yellow Cedar, and Western Red Cedar.
Metal Entry Doors
Metal front doors may be made of various types of metal, including both iron and steel, and aluminum.
Whilst wrought iron might seem a more obvious option for garden gates than house front doors, an ornamental wrought iron entry door can look absolutely charming. Based in Alabama, Old Iron Doors (www.oldirondoors.com) has been custom-making new iron doors for more than four years. Crafted using a combination of tried and tested engineering techniques and modern technology, the doors are solid, safe and extremely good looking.
Another New York company, Universal Iron Doors (www.iwantthatdoor.com) hand forges steel entry doors and then hand paints them to give them special effects. These doors feature dual-paned glass that is hinged on frame so that it can be opened and cleaned. The doors themselves are filled with polyurethane foam for insulation purposes. Their door jambs have an integrated threshold that won’t wear like wood tends to do.
Synthetic Materials for Entry Doors
Various synthetic materials are also used to make front doors. One of the most popular is fiberglass which can be molded to make it look just as though it has a wood grain.
Launched in Ohio in 1962, Therma-Tru Doors (www.thermatru.com) has been making entry doors from fiberglass for quarter of a century. To prove that their doors are as any other type of door – if not stronger – the company has had the doors impact-rated, tested to make sure water won’t infiltrate them, wind tested and also tested for thermal deflection. They maintain that the fiberglass entry door type is “the only growth area within the door industry”.
The Californian-based Plastpro Inc. (www.plastproinc.com) also manufactures fiberglass entry doors. They haven’t been doing it for as long as Therma-Tru, but like Therma-Tru they also manufacture in Ohio. They boast a wide selection of different door styles and sizes, as well as frames, which include full-length composite designs that can accommodate arch and radius-top doors.
Pay Attention to Style
We don’t all live in houses that have been built in a specific style, but if you do, or if you are building a traditional-style home of some sort, aim for accuracy in terms of front door styles. Here are a few guidelines:
• Late Georgian entry doors were made of solid wood, often with six panels. They were painted a dark color, normally bottle green or black.
• Front doors of Victorian houses were also often painted bottle green or white, and they frequently incorporated stained or etched-glass panels on the sides.
• Panels of Edwardian doors were often painted in a lighter shade to the panels.
• Art Deco entry doors also often feature stained glass, but usually at the top of the door. They often had vertical panels as well.
• The sky’s the limit with contemporary designs, so you can have a lot of fun choosing your custom made front doors.
Pay Attention to Quality
Custom-made should spell well made, so make sure you get what you are paying for.