How to Replace Exterior Doors – Things to Consider

Homeowners today frequently look for new opportunities to improve the comfort and value of their properties. Exterior or front doors are often a prime area for an upgrade. Whether it be for enhanced security, energy efficiency, style, or another factor, new doors can greatly increase the appeal of a home. However, it is important to get the details right. In this post, we’ll cover the key areas for consideration before embarking on an exterior door replacement project. 

Thinking About the “Why” 

The most important factor to consider is why you are replacing your door. The answer to this question will influence all other decisions during the process. There are a few core reasons why homeowners decide to replace their exterior doors: 

  • Energy Efficiency – With modern door materials and seals, it is much easier to keep heat or cool in. Old doors tend to leak air, which can raise your energy expenses each month. 
  • Security – Doors age just like we do and over time material like hinges, doorknobs, seals, and more will wear out. Older doors are more vulnerable to security threats. Modern doors tend to be tougher and sturdier, allowing homeowners greater peace of mind. 
  • Style – Older doors may look outdated with modern styles. New doors can refresh the look of a home along with adding new features such as sidelights, transoms, or windows within the door itself. 

3D Render Showing Door Security & Energy Efficiency Features

Knowing your core reason for door replacement will set you on the right track for a successful project. 

Know Your Budget Ahead of Time 

A piggy bank next to a stack of coins.

Along with knowing why you’re replacing a door, figuring out your budget is about just as important. Similar to the first question, budget impacts the scope of your project directly. Core considerations like design, materials, and quality of life features will heavily depend on how much you have in the piggy bank. Familiarizing yourself with your budget early on will help steer your conversations about a new door in practical directions, avoiding the temptation to look at features that are beyond your means. It also makes shopping for materials or working with a contractor much easier from the get-go. 

Deciding on Styles, Materials, & Project Scope 

A series of exterior home entryways.

Once a budget has been established, you can focus on the scope and scale of your project. This will involve questions including what materials to consider, what styles are in the conversation, and what features you can splurge for. There are various options in each of these categories, which we have detailed below: 

  • Styles – There are many door styles to consider including modern, farmhouse, craftsman, traditional, and custom styles. Whether you are going for a sleek streamlined look or an aged, antiquity vibe, there are plenty of options to consider. 
  • Materials – When it comes to door materials, options include steel, fiberglass, and wood. There are also less common options like aluminum and vinyl. The quality and features of these materials will vary, so it’s important to read up on them and match the best one to your project. 
  • Core & Extra Features – Core areas to look at include the quality and features of a door’s hinges, locks, doorknobs, and seals. If you’re considering windows or sidelights, you also want to ask about window quality, pane count, etc. Extra features to research are door coatings/paints, integrated security systems, and extra hardware like slide hatches. 

Doing your research and being knowledgeable about your needs and the options available will ensure the smoothest project possible and a door to satisfy you and your family for years to come. 

To Do it Yourself or Hire a Professional? 

An infographic depicting both professional and D.I.Y. home remodeling efforts.

Now that you’ve figured out why you’re replacing your door, what your budget is, and what materials and styles you’d like to go for, you can decide if you have the skills to execute it or if you need a professional. We’ve outlined the benefits and shortcomings of both DIY and hiring an expert below: 

  • DIY – The main advantage of doing it yourself is that you have direct control over your project timeline, the materials you purchase, where you purchase them (for pricing considerations), and more. However, you lose out on all-encompassing warranties, service agreements, and more.  
  • Professional Contractor/Company – While you get less control over pricing and more limited options depending on the vendor, working with a professional takes work off of your plate. You typically get the project done faster, receive a lengthy warranty, and can take advantage of seasonal promo-deals for optimal pricing/bundles. 

Again, whether or not to do a door replacement project on your own or with a professional depends on your own skillset, your desired features/perks, your project timeline, and your comfort with potentially handling repairs or returns yourself if something goes wrong. 

Moving Forward with Your Exterior Door Replacement

Here are the core considerations you should keep in mind before beginning an exterior door replacement project: 

  • Why you are replacing your door. 
  • What your budget looks like. 
  • The styles, materials, and features you want. 
  • Whether you have the skills to do it yourself or if you need a professional. 

Once you’ve figured each of these out, your project should be a smooth experience from start to finish. 

Deciding to go the professional route? West Shore Home offers industry-best door replacement and installation services. With a variety of styles, features, and a lifetime warranty, our value proposition is unmatched. To learn more and schedule a consultation, visit our contact page.