When your friends and family come to visit you, they park, walk to your house, ring or knock, then stare absently…at what? If they are staring at a tired, old, fiberglass colonial door on your home, maybe it is time for a change. People will spend an incredible amount of money on components of a home and miss the mark when it comes to their front door. If you want to stand out in a cookie cutter neighborhood, adding a custom door to your home may be a good option.
What to choose
When looking into custom doors, you will be surprised at the options you can choose. The wood selection alone can make your head spin. If you do some research and have an idea of the finish you want on the door, it will help you sort out what type of wood to choose.
If you are painting one of the faces of the door, the painted face should be made of wood that accepts paint well and has a very neutral color. Poplar is an excellent choice for interior faces that will be painted. It is very neutral, ranging from white to pale green. If left unfinished, poplar will gradually yellow to a very unattractive yellow/brown. Vertical grain fir has become an industry standard for the veneer on the exterior side of painted doors.
If you will be leaving the faces their natural color under varnish or if you will be staining, most match the door material to their interior trim. Matching materials is not a hard and fast rule of any sort, so feel free to take a look at your options. Classic woods for used for doors are: mahogany, oak, maple, walnut, pine, fir and alder. Any wood can be utilized as long as it is reasonably stable.
Stability is a measurement of the movement, or expansion and contraction of lumber. Wood cellular structure is much like a handful of hoses all bound together. As water fills the hoses, the hoses change their shape by expanding. The hoses will expand more in diameter than in length, which is why wood, like the hose, expands more in width than length. That expansion is why doors get stuck during wet weather. The doors expand in their opening towards the strike side of the door and begin to rub on the jamb.
Your heating system also has a role in the stability of your entry door, high inside heat against high outside humidity will cause unstable doors to warp. One side of the door is exposed to moisture; the other is being constantly dried out. Exposure to the elements will also adversely affect the longevity of your door. Too much sun or regular exposure to rain and the door will begin to deteriorate.
Choosing the right material for the door, and finishing the bottom and top of the door, will substantially reduce the adverse effects of expansion and contraction.
The style you choose can change the style of your whole house. If your house is of a neutral design, adding a craftsman or shaker style door will drive the initial appearance toward either of those styles. Colonial or modern/contemporary are also very common forms. All have commonalities in panel numbers, adding glass, and whether the panels have curved details. The combinations of panels, glass, and arrangements are incredibly numerous, so seek out a custom door or millwork company and get to know all your options.