Replacing Exterior Doors

New exterior doors can increase your home's value through greater curb appeal. When upgrading your exterior doors, there are many details to keep in mind. From architectural style to interesting details like a knocker or decorative glass, there are many ways you can transform a basic front door into a grand entrance. Keep the following tips in mind to help select the door that is right for you.

Watch video: Find out how exterior doors can improve your home's curb appeal.

Material Matters

Exterior doors are available in an incredible variety of designs. From traditional steel to ornate, hand-carved wood, you can find a door for any taste or budget.

  • Steel — Steel is the most affordable option today and is a good choice for most climates. It offers strength and durability and requires only minimal maintenance and upkeep. Dress up a steel door with decorative glass inserts.
  • Fibreglass — Fibreglass doors come in an immense variety of styles with or without decorative glass inserts, and many offer the look of real wood at all budget levels. Fibreglass is built to withstand any climate and requires minimal maintenance.
  • Wood — If your home calls for a stunning entry statement with a handcrafted touch, wood may be the best material for you. Wood doors should be repainted or refinished every year or two to prevent splitting and warping, and they are best maintained under a proper overhang.

Read more: Learn how to care for and protect your exterior doors (PDF)

Beauty is in the Details

There are a number of features to consider with any exterior door choice.

  • Door Configurations — Entry doors are available in many configurations to make the most of your entrance. Choose a single door, or a double door to create a grand entrance with twice the opening space. Add a sidelight or two to give the illusion of a larger entry, or bring additional light into your foyer.
  • Door Swing — Doors are available as inswing (I/S) or outswing (O/S) models. This simply refers to which way your exterior door will swing: outward (toward the outside of the house) or inward (toward the inside). Most homes are built to accommodate inswing doors; however, your entry door can be designed to swing outward if preferred.
  • Door Handing — This refers to the direction that the door swings. When viewed from the outside, if the hinges are on your left side and the door is pushing away from you, it is a left hand (LH) inswing. If the hinges are on your right side and the door is pushing away from you, it is a right hand (RH) inswing.
  • Panel Type — Choosing the right panel type and glass option will help you transform your home into the showplace you desire. Doors are available as an all-panel style or with a glass panel insert.
  • Glass Options — The glass you select for your door can add both style and performance benefits. You can choose from performance features like impact-resistant glass for storm concerns, or Low-E glass to improve energy efficiency and provide UV protection. Style features include decorative glass, or textured glass and blinds between the glass for added functionality and privacy concerns.

Understanding Door Slabs versus Prehung Systems

A door slab is simply the door itself, whereas a prehung system includes the door hanging within its own frame. A prehung system will include all of the parts, like the door frame and hinges, needed to install the door. If you already have a good door frame in place, then you may just want to replace the door slab.

Measuring and Installing

Once you’ve selected either a door slab or a prehung system, make sure you get the perfect fit by properly measuring. The most reliable method includes removing any interior or exterior trim to expose the true opening and then measuring it. Determine prior to installation what the actual finished floor height will be and adjust the rough opening if needed to accommodate a taller unit height. Measure in three places to ensure that the opening is level, square and plumb.

Watch video: Learn how to properly measure an exterior door for replacement.

How to measure a door slab:

  1. Take three horizontal measurements and record the smallest measurement. This is the width.
  2. Take three vertical measurements and record the smallest measurement. This is the height.
  3. Measure the thickness of the door. (Normal thickness is around 1-3/4″.)
  4. Measure the hinge locations from the top of the door to the top of the hinge. (Normally three hinges)
  5. Measure the hinge width and height.
  6. Remove the door handle (and deadbolt if it exists) and measure from the top of the door to the centre of the bore (the hole).
  7. Measure the distance from the edge of the door to the centre of the bore (hole).

How to measure a prehung door:

First, measure the door slab following steps 1 and 2 of the above section, "How to measure a door slab."

  1. Take three horizontal measurements of the rough opening and record the smallest measurement. This is the rough opening (R.O.) width.
  2. Take three vertical measurements of the rough opening and record the smallest measurement. This is the rough opening (R.O.) height.
  3. Take one horizontal measurement of the door jamb (thickness of the jamb). This is the jamb width.

Regardless of which door you choose, make sure it fits tightly into the frame with no more than a 1/8" clearance between the door and the frame. This will help prevent drafts and reduce heating and cooling costs.

After you have purchased your JELD-WEN exterior doors, you can find installation instructions here:

Watch video: This is an overview of replacing an exterior door, detailed instructions are available through the above links.

Entries Featuring Patio Doors

Some exterior doors are considered patio doors. Typically these doors are glass panels that slide, swing, or even fold open, and they are typically used as an entry point to a patio or backyard space. If you do not find what you're looking for in our exterior door offering, please refer to our selection of patio doors.

Get Started!

Now that you have an understanding of the many features and options available for entry doors, we hope you're ready to select the type that best fits your needs. Begin your search by browsing our exterior door selection for inspiration.

The information contained on this page is provided solely for general informational and/or educational purposes, and may not be applicable to all products, applications, climates and other factors. Please consult with your licensed contractor, architect, dealer, or local building code official for information relevant to your geographic region and project. JELD-WEN makes no representation or warranty that this information is applicable for your circumstances. JELD-WEN disclaims all liability associated with the use or transfer of this information.

Related Articles

Explore the World of Windows and Doors with Insightful Articles
Energy star

High Performance Windows and Doors –...

Read More

Sustainability in Your Home

Read More

Top 10 Reasons to Choose JELD-WEN

Read More
We can help you with your requirement, Feel free to reach out to us.

We can help you with your requirement, Feel free to reach out to us.