While many modern homes have a standard layer of insulation throughout, one area of the home that tends to be a weakness is the external doors. Most doors are not designed with insulation in mind. Instead, their utility is based on security. That said, it is quite possible with modern designs to obtain well-insulated front doors that can moderate temperatures, provide security and offer a pleasing aesthetic.
Types of Exterior Doors
Fiberglass doors are very much in vogue these days. They are both lightweight as well as extremely strong and practical for front door or external door usage. Fiberglass doors have a long history of being resistant to the elements and are easy to paint and match to a house’s exterior décor. Their thickness provides a notable barrier to outside temperature as well. However, fiberglass doors do not take impact very well. Ultimately, with significant enough impact, fiberglass doors will crack and begin to break, which has always been an issue with security and attempts at forced entry.
Steel doors, on the other hand, are far more secure when installed as a solid unit without view panels. These doors can easily be provided with insulation layers included within the door’s assembly, and they provide a very solid security barrier. However, the insulation can be compromised when view panels are added to these doors. Alternatively, aluminum doors can also be crafted for home needs as well as providing high-performing insulation as well. They avoid many of the corrosion issues that might happen with steel and moisture, but this door choice is not very common. The price point on aluminum doors can be fairly high.
Of course, this is always the standard solid wood door, but these tend to be in the higher price range as well. Wood has regularly provided good insulation, fending off heat and cold outside, but the wood needs to be regularly maintained to prevent premature damage on the external side.
Don’t Forget the Assembly
Note, insulation doesn’t just begin and end with the door itself. The door frame is just as important. More cold and heat get through a poor door system between the frame and door than any other area aside from the handle. That includes renewed and maintained weather-stripping, as well as using or replacing a door threshold to make sure there are no gaps. Door thresholds often take significant abuse with traffic over time, and gapping can appear within a few years of installation when poor products are used in assembly.
How to Choose Doors
What is the best exterior door for insulation is dependent on a given home, what a homeowner wants to have for design, effectiveness in insulation for the climate the home is located in, and doing some market research to understand what is available. Homeowners can really help themselves by nailing down a few items ahead of time including:
- Taking time to do some field research going to stores and looking at the types of doors available on the market. Take some time to look at hardware and matching frame assemblies as well to understand what comes with a door package.
- Spend some time examining how doors can leak air in different locations around the door itself. This is key in understanding why thresholds and frames as well as weather stripping make such a difference even if a door itself is insulated.
- When ready to install, let a professional team perform the work. There are a lot of simple but critical mistakes one can make if not installing doors on a regular basis, which is a common problem with do-it-yourself kits, even if the replacement door is the same as the existing one.
- Other door frame damage can compromise a door, even if a new one is replaced. So be prepared that when a door is replaced, the frame will be replaced with it. Anticipating this additional need gives folks a better idea of what the cost will be in total versus being surprised during mid-installation.
Insulated Door Expertise is Available Locally
Energy Kingston Exteriors has been providing Kingston and the surrounding area with professional exterior door and window installation services for more than forty years. We take pride in what we do, our combined experience and skill are clearly displayed on every single project. So if you’re tired of the high utility costs for a warm winter and a cool summer and you want to upgrade your exterior doors give us a call or Contact Us and we would be happy to arrange an on-site estimate.