What should you pay attention to when choosing an exterior door for your home?
The choice of door woodwork is one of the most important decision. Not only does it influence aesthetics of the building, but also its energy efficiency and thus the amount of money one spends on heating bills. People who are faced with choosing the best exterior doors should consider a few fundamental aspects. This article will provide answers to issues that you should pay attention to when choosing an exterior door.
Exterior doors could be classified due to the type of material used. We can find exterior doors made of steel, synthetic material, fiberglass or wood.
Wooden exterior doors
Those are the most common types of doors. However, it is important that they are made of good technical quality materials. Usually, deciduous timber is chosen such as oak or mahogany, but also coniferous timber is used such as pine or spruce. The primary advantage of wood as a raw material for exterior doors is its high durability as well as good thermal insulation. In addition, low thermal expansion is counted as a plus.
If you decide to choose wooden exterior doors, it is worth to check what kind of material they are made of. Firstly, wood should be dried beforehand and knots or other flaws should be removed as they might influence its firmness.
How are wooden exterior doors built?
The door frame is made of solid wood that is three-coat glued. The door frame could be made of steel as well, while the door wing will remain wooden. The door wing is made of board. Particular elements are connected with screws or are nailed. Stiles are constituents that are responsible for hardening of the wing as well as they prevent the wooden doors from buckling. Aluminum inserts located in the corners of the frame could be also applied as an additional protection.
Door filler is a space that is located between the boards. It can be filled with a material that has insulating properties such as polyurethane foam or Styrofoam. A wood-based board can serve as a door filler as well. The filling material should also provide excellent parameters connected with sound insulation from the outside.
Door panels are usually wooden and they are available in a single as well as multi-layered options.
Wooden surface is traditionally finished through polishing and impregnation of the wood in addition to the lacquering. Particular paints or enamels are used. Sometimes, doors can be covered with vinyl or veneer.
The production technology is largely based on modern processing methods that allow to produce woodwork with various designs.
The major disadvantage of wooden doors is its mechanical resistance and the fact that they might buckle. They are also sensitive to either low or high temperature and they rather poorly protect the house from a burglary or a fire.
Steel exterior doors
Steel doors have an enormous advantage of being resistant to mechanical factors that is why anti-theft elements are made from it. What is more, they have good anti-burglary parameters, yet poor acoustics.
Exterior doors have a range of criteria on which we can adjust them to our requirements. The most important are:
-width – the width of an exterior door should not be less than 90cm. Why such a value? It is all about comfort as at least two people should freely fit through the door. Doors that are too wide could be problematic as too much heat can escape from the room.
-height – when it comes to the height of the door it is accepted that 2m is the right value.
Coefficient of heat transfer is usually indicated on the door or the label. It explains whether the door has the right thermal parameters and how much heat will escape through it. It is of crucial importance in a passive as well as low-energy buildings.
Acoustic insulation is particularly significant for exterior doors. If we want to avoid the infiltration of sounds into the room it is worth to buy a door with acoustics below 30dB.
When it comes to the lighting, there are many applications of it on doors. It could be located on either wing with one lighting or two extensions with lighting or there could be the top lighting as well. The top lighting could be mixed with the side one.
Doors with the side lightning can have extensions located on a different or the same wing frame. Triple glazed glass is frequently used, however, a higher standard can be also applied and it purely depends on the client’s preferences.
Top lightning should be used on doors that are much more higher than standard ones. Frequently, lightning is made in version that cannot be opened. The top panel should closely reflect the design of the door. When it comes to the choice of glass, colorless glass works really well, however, people who appreciate the visual effect can choose a colored glass.
Anti-burglar exterior doors
Exterior doors should be solid enough to protect its inhabitants from external threats. When choosing such doors, we should remember that doors should have right certificates. Anti-burglar doors are assigned into different classes of resistance and there are classes from A to C. Doors from the class A and B have a higher burglary resistance. When it comes to security aspects used in anti-burglar doors, it is primarily its composite structure that is supposed to hinder their damage. Their construction is strengthen through the use of hardened rods, additional bolts and hinges. The amount of minimum 2 solid locks is crucial. One can also consider an automatic locking system.
It is worth deciding to buy an anti-burglar wing that does not look massive as it can be a huge advantage for inhabitants having a surprise effect for potential burglars. Moreover, less massive door simply fits better with the whole house.
However, anti-theft carpentry does not mean no glass-panels. A tempered or laminated glass is used that even when broken does not shatter.
As far the installation of the anti-burglar carpentry is concerned, it is best to entrust it to a professional company that will insert it in the correct way as the door should be reliably fitted.
When choosing an anti-burglar carpentry we should pay attention to the casing as the best option are steel casings that are deeply anchored in the wall.
The installation of an exterior door
Doors should not be installed during the building or redecoration stage as they could be damaged while performing actions or carrying objects into the home. A better solution is to wait until the most basic works are finished. Of course, if the external doors are not embedded, the entrance is secured with a provisional door.
Doors opening outside or rather inside?
The crucial advantage of the wing opening towards the inside of the building is the esthetical aspect. Such types of doors look elegantly and can also perform a decorative function of the elevation. When this option is chosen, hinges are invisible. However, the drawback is the visibility of the threshold as well as problems with door tightness. It should be kept in mind that with the wing opening inside rainfall or snow might get into a room.
On the other hand, the wing that opens outside, esthetically speaking, looks less attractive, yet has its merits. First and foremost, there is no risk of rainfall or snow getting inside the room. However, the drawback is the difficulty, especially in winter, to keep the lower edge of the door clean.
The most popular used glazing
Exterior doors can have glazing that significantly improves their esthetics. It can be for example:
-a brown reflective glass – used in the glazing unit. It allows to subtly reflect the light. It is worth to match an appropriate fitting to it.
-a graphite reflective glass – used in white, blue or gray shades types of doors. The glass lightly and subtly reflects the light presenting at the same time its graphite color.
-a colorless reflective glass – rarely chosen by customers, is used with a transparent as well as masking colors doors. Its important feature is a highlight permeability.
-two-way mirror glass – coloristically it resembles the graphite glass, yet it has much stronger reflection. From the outside, it looks like a silver mirror, however, from the other side it allows to observe what is happening outside the door. It is commonly used to increase the safety of inhabitants.
How to choose locks?
Exterior doors should be equipped with solid locks that restrict the unwanted access to the house. The best solution are multipoint or electric strikes locks. Electric unbolting of the locks is controlled by the corresponding switch, remote or keyboard.
The replacement of the front door
During the replacement of the front door you should follow a few simple rules. First of all, safety is of the highest importance. The wing should be replaced as soon as possible in order to avoid a risk of unauthorized people having access to the building. You should take measurements beforehand in order to determine the size of the door frame. However, you should remember during the dimensioning of the front door that the threshold will be mounted on the level of the finished floor as well as that side mounting clearances between doorposts and a wall should be around 1 cm.
If the wing has a non-standard dimensions we must take into account extra expenses. The worst scenario is when the opening for a door is too small than the carpentry that was chosen. This involves the need for additional wall forging to embed a new door frame.