Whether for energy, security, style or simply to give the exterior of your home a boost in visual appeal, front door replacement is a fairly straightforward task that can do wonders in adding value to your property. It’s also an effective solution to keeping your energy costs to a minimum.
Before you begin ripping your old front door off the hinges, it’s a good idea to get a plan in place and make some decisions around styles and materials. To keep things simple, we’ve put together a practical guide to door replacement full of tips and tricks to help you plan your project.
Your front door is the first thing people see when they look at your property: it instantly draws attention and plays a big role in the first impression your home gives off to guests, neighbours and passers-by.
By default, it will undoubtedly have an impact on the market value of your home.
However, front door replacement does more than enhance the curb appeal of your property.
Homeowners commonly have their doors replaced for one of the following reasons:
Over time, daily use can wear down your door, leading to energy waste and higher utility bills. To keep the heat in and the costs down, a front door replacement may be in order. A strong insulating front door will act as a seal to stop the heat from inside your home escaping and keep the outdoor weather where it belongs.
Wear and tear
Exposure to the elements can take its toll on a front door. However, a damaged, worn-down door does nothing for the curb appeal of your property. Replacing a front-door can be the pick-me-up your property needs to enhance the visual appeal of the exterior, but it can also be essential in preventing further damage to your home.
A broken door is a burglar’s dream. If you spot rust, cracks, dents or holes on the door itself or surrounding frame, a replacement will be necessary to protect your property from unwanted intruders.
When maintained properly, a front door can last for decades. Depending on the condition of your front door, you might only need to repair a certain element as opposed to replacing the entire thing. As you would expect, the costs for repair are lower than replacement.
There comes a time, however, when replacing your door makes more sense than repairing it.
In many cases, a full replacement will be in order to ensure maximum efficiency and improved security. If you notice any issues, it’s best to address these quickly to determine the type of service you will need. This could include:
Rust accumulates on door hinges when moisture is allowed to build up on the metal – it’s a perfectly natural occurrence, but one that can cause your doors to creak and function less smoothly. The good news? Rust can be removed to help your door open without difficulty. If the rust is too far advanced, you can simply fix new hinges onto an old door.
Top tip: While you’re here, we do recommend inspecting the condition of the door itself. If the rust has worn down the hinges, has water damage impacted anything else? It’s best to know before you buy the hinges whether there are further issues that need addressing.
Old wooden doors are prone to panels splitting due to a build-up of wax, varnish or dirt that prevents them from expanding and contracting. Cracks and breaks in wooden front doors are to be expected but can be repaired within a reasonable time-frame.
Again, this will depend on the extent of the damage – if various panels have split over time and your budget allows, a full front door replacement will provide the peace of mind that your door is robust and resilient.
A door is only as strong as the frame it sits in. If a wooden doorframe has suffered from ongoing exposure to water, the material will begin to warp and eventually rot the worse it gets.
When rot is caught early enough, you can usually get away with repairing the affected area on the door or frame. If left untreated for too long, rotted wood will threaten the integrity of the door – in which case, door replacement will be unavoidable.
Repeated usage over decades will inevitably cause a door to come loose from its hinges, especially if the door is made from heavy materials. When the door does not align properly, it can cause issues in the functionality of the door and compromise the security of your property.
If you have found that the hinge screws just turn in the hole but don’t grip when you try to tighten them, it’s best to call a professional to assess the situation and advise on the best option for replacing or repairing your door.
As well as making a good impression and matching aesthetic of your property, the entrance and exit to your home should be carefully chosen to protect you from the elements, reduce your energy bills and keep your family safe.
Size, material and durability are all vital aspects to consider ahead of the project. You will also naturally be considering the costs of all options.
Here are the key elements to bear in mind and guide you in your choices when replacing a front door:
Size of the door
The last thing you want is a loose-fitting door or one that won’t even fit into the frame. When measuring your door, be careful to consider and record:
- The height and width of your door
- The jamb width (the measurement from the bottom of the interior trim to the bottom of the exterior trim)
- The exterior opening width (the opening from the exterior side of the door)
- Rough opening width (the opening of the interior side of the door)
Top tip: We recommend measuring the width of the door at three different points – the bottom, the middle and the top, and taking the shortest number when purchasing a new door to ensure a neat fit.
The type of door you choose will depend on a number of factors. The style and age of your property, your budget and how secure you need it to be will ultimately influence your choice. These are the most commonly used materials in front door replacement:
A hardwood door is built from multiple types of wood. This style is popular amongst homeowners seeking an authentic front door. Unlike uPVC, wooden doors can be painted and are more flexible when it comes to resizing. If the door is too big, it can be planed down to fit and if too small, you can use packers to fill out the frame.
Unplasticised polyvinyl chloride is a safe plastic material that is highly popular for homeowners as it’s affordable, water-resistant and reliable. Though the cheapest option, they are generally more secure than conventional wooden doors as they can’t split. It’s worth noting that uPVC doors don’t tend to look the best on older, more traditional properties.
Composite combines a number of materials to tackle the issues commonly faced with other doors made from timber or uPVC. Typically made from a mix of wood, PVC, insulating foam and reinforced plastic, a composite door has a higher thermal resistance and tends to be more durable and secure. The price tag does reflect this as composite doors are often the most expensive option – nevertheless, it’s the most long-lasting too.
Fibreglass front doors are not only popular for their weather-proofing qualities, but they’re also incredibly durable and resistant to rot, rust, dents and scratches. Those seeking to enhance security will find fibreglass a strong choice, but they aren’t the most affordable on the market. This material is also more difficult to trim, so is not suited to exterior doors of custom sizing.
What does replacing a front door entail?
The process of replacing a door will differ depending on the type of door and the scope of the project. For example, if you are having a custom door designed, you will need to factor in the time and costs that come with this into your budget.
Even if you intend to purchase off-the-shelf, the first step should be to measure the space to determine the exact specifications for both the door itself and the frame if you are replacing as part of the project. If the door is not made-to-measure, it may need to be trimmed or sanded down to fit the frame.
The next step will be to fit the hinges to the frame and secure locks and latches to the door.
Top tip: According to British Standard BS3621, external doors should have both a regular lock and a latch, so don’t forget to include both in your shopping list when replacing your front doors.
Do I need to replace my door frame?
If it’s a simple case of switching your old door for a new model and your frame is in fully functioning order, there will be no need to replace it.
However, if you notice signs of wear and tear such as cracks or warping, ask a professional to investigate. There’s a good chance it will need to be replaced to prevent further damage.
For those getting a custom door built from scratch, a new frame may also be necessary for matching the style, shape and size of the new door.
Can I replace my own front door?
While front door replacement is a simple task for a contractor, the inexperienced homeowner will take a whole day or more to complete this DIY project. This will come at a cost, which will vary depending on the material. In most cases, it’s worth the price to ensure the entry to your home isn’t an easy target for intruders.
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