Best Practices for Repairing or Replacing Your Front Door

What to Know About Upgrading Your Front Door

Believe it or not, the garage has become the new front door for more than half the homes across America. Many people have even admitted to no longer carrying a key to their front door anymore.

If you’re one of those that no longer uses their front door like they used to, remember, it needs to be kept in good working order. Remember, it still plays an important role in your home’s security, energy efficiency and curb appeal.

Do I Need a New Front Door?

Knowing whether or not it is time to replace your front door or if all you need is a simple repair isn’t always as easy as you think. Answer the following questions to find out.

  1. Does your door open and close properly? Does it seal? Is there a draft or is water getting inside?
  2. Do you see rust or are there a lot of dings and dents?
  3. If there is glass in the door – is it foggy, cracked or broken?
  4. Is your door cracked, split, rotten or warped?
  5. Is your door jamb rotted? Or can you see water or insect damage?

When You Could Repair a Door Yourself:

  1. You are only replacing a single door and frame.
  2. You are only replacing the door and the hinges and lock are in the same location as the current door.
  3. You don’t run into any problems while the existing, pre-hung door is removed.

As with garage doors, front doors have various construction options and ensuring you select the best front door for your home is important. Homeowners even with experience in replacing an exterior door can expect to spend at least 5 hours on this project.

When to Call a Professional:

  1. You are upgrading a double door entrance.
  2. The door is in direct contact with the weather because there is no overhang.
  3. If you discover damage to the sub-floor, uneven sub-floor, or a sagging header.

Failure to address these issues can result in all of the problems listed above, such as sticking, water or air infiltration or even security issues.

Entry Door Material Options: Advantages and Disadvantages

Wood Doors



Elegant and unique. Custom Design options in any species. Doors can be sized to fit any opening.


Wood does not hold up to weather conditions such as rain, direct sunlight and hot and cold temperatures. The wood will rot, swell, crack, split and warp so regular finish maintenance is important to the door’s lifespan. These doors are generally not insulated.


  • Door construction
  • Grain species (some hardwood lumber will weather better than others)
  • Door thickness
  • Panel molding and sticking

Fiberglass Doors

wood-like fiberglass


Fiberglass entry doors are starting to become a more popular alternative to wood doors. The polyurethane foam core provides five times the insulating value of a wood door, which can lead to lower heating and cooling costs and improve the comfort of your home year round.

  • Available in wood grains for a painted wood look.
  • Will not warp, crack, rot or split like a wood door. Stands up to severe weather.
  • Generally, less expensive than wood.
  • Energy Star® qualified.
  • Can be painted or stained to match the exterior color scheme of your home.
  • Usually has a lifetime warranty.


If the door is grained fiberglass and stained improperly, it can look like plastic. It is best to purchase the door pre-finished from a dealer that offers a manufacturer finishing option.


  • Door construction
  • Warranty
  • Polyurethane foam core insulation
  • Energy Star ratings
  • Factory pre-finishing options

Steel Doors

steel entry door


Steel doors are an attractive and economical option featuring high-definition panel embossments with a smooth surface in a painted finish. It is insulated with a polyurethane foam core and Energy Star qualified.


Steel can rust or dent. In extreme temperatures, the surface of the door can feel hot or cold to the touch because of the increased thermal conductivity.


  • Door construction
  • Steel gauge
  • Energy Star rating
  • Manufacturer pre-finishing options


Entry Door Design Options

After you decide on construction material, the fun begins. There are many accessory options, such as decorative glass and hardware, available to enhance the look of your door. Exterior doors can be designed with full view glass panels, ¾ view, half view, ¼ view, with one sidelight or two, and even transoms. Glass options range from clear glass to decorative glass including textured and tinted options. Clopay® is the only manufacturer that offers matching garage door designs that coordinate with our entry door systems.

Use our Visualizer tool to try on a new entry door. Call us at 704-523-8063 for any entry door questions you may have.

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