Door Buying Guide

What you need to know before you start shopping for new doors. Find out how a new front door increases your home's value and view.

8 Benefits of New Doors
Get the biggest bang for your home improvement buck.

You’ll have a hard time finding a project that brings as many benefits – and stretches your investment dollar farther – than new doors. Here are some of the benefits you’ll start enjoying from day one:

  1. Increased home value. New windows and doors can return homeowners 71 to 78 percent of the project cost upon resale. 36
  2. Enhanced safety and security. Doors with multipoint locks are harder to break through than those with only one lock.
  3. Improved comfort. Energy-efficient, well-sealed patio and entry doors can help reduce cold drafts and hot spots in your home.
  4. Reduced dust and allergens.  Blinds and shades tucked between the panes of glass stay protected from dust, helping to reduce allergens in your home.
  5. Improved energy efficiency. A new door can keep your furnace and air conditioner from running as much, helping you save money by improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  6. More peace and quiet. Insulating frames and triple-pane glass help reduce the noise from traffic, lawn mowers and barking dogs.
  7. An enhanced view. New doors can dramatically improve the beauty of your home – inside and out.
  8. Less time spent cleaning. Today's doors are designed with convenient features that make it easier to clean places that used to be harder to reach.

How to Choose the Right Door
5 things to think about as you shop.

A patio or entry door plays an important role in framing the moments that matter to you most, making every day a little brighter and more comfortable. With a wide variety of styles available, you can choose the right one for your home.

As you start shopping, consider these five things to help you focus your search:

  1. Lifestyle. Keep the people, places and things in your life in mind as you shop for a new door. Need to keep blinds and shades out of reach of little hands or paws? Do you redecorate frequently? Is there a particular view you’d like to preserve or create? And what about regional considerations – does your area see extreme temperatures?
  2. Budget. Until you have a particular product and installation method in mind, it’s hard to estimate your total cost. When you’re ready to start planning your budget, schedule an in-home consultation to get a better idea of what a new door will cost.
  3. Material types. It's important to consider the material type of your door. Here are the most popular options:
    • Wood creates a warm, natural look and can be stained or painted to complement your home’s style.
    • Fiberglass is proven to protect your home against extreme heat and cold, while also offering the look of a painted wood window.
    • Vinyl offers added energy efficiency, low-maintenance and affordable quality.
    • Steel entry doors provide exceptional durability that protects your home against the elements.
  4. Styles. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of styles, including hinged, French and sliding doors. If you’re not sure which one to choose, don’t worry – an expert can help match you with the right door.
  5. Features and options. You can personalize your door with options that bring added beauty and performance. Try out different stains and finishes, add stylish nickel hardware, or select a patio door with grilles tucked between the panes of glass. Learn more about ways you can customize your door.

4 Main Material Types Learn about the materials that make doors work harder.

Each door material type has its own unique attributes and distinctive styles. When choosing between wood, fiberglass, vinyl and steel, think about the features and benefits that are most important to you, then select an option that works with your budget and lifestyle.

Consider wood if the following benefits for patio doors are most important to you:


  • Unmatched beauty that comes from a natural, warm look.
  • Design flexibility, with products that can be stained or painted to complement your home.
  • A low-maintenance exterior finish that resists fading and helps protect the exterior for years.
Consider fiberglass if the following patio door benefits are most important to you:

  • Exceptional strength and durability. 
  • Ability to withstand extreme heat and subzero cold. 
  • The quality look of painted wood with low-maintenance features.
Consider vinyl if the following benefits for sliding patio doors are most important to you:

  • Energy efficiency and relief from high heating and cooling costs.
  • Easy-care frames – no painting, staining or refinishing.
  • Affordable quality that’s easy on your budget.
Consider fiberglass or steel if these entry door benefits are most important to you:

  • A durable entry door that's easy to maintain.
  • Exceptional protection against drafts and leaks.
  • Smooth surface that creates even color when painted.

Types and Styles of Doors
More choices mean more ways to find the right door.

A wide variety of patio, entry, storm and garage door styles and finishes are available. So choosing the right option will depend on your personal preference, the style of your home, the purpose or function of the door, and your budget. Here are the main types you can choose from:

Door Features and Options
Personalize your door with the features you want.

Finishes and colors
If you like color choices, you’re in luck. Doors are available in a wide range of finishes and colors to complement both the interior and exterior of your home. Depending on the patio door or entry door, you may be able to choose from dozens of options to find the one that’s right for your home.

Performance features
New innovations, including weathertight technology and more durable frames, not only keep your home protected against drafts and leaks, but keep your entry door looking great for years.

Glass collections
Decorative glass options help bring your entry door the added style, privacy or natural light you’re looking for.

Sidelights and transoms
For even more natural light and curb appeal, consider adding sidelights and transoms around your entry door. There are a variety of shapes and styles to create the dramatic entrance you’ve always wanted.

Between-the-glass blinds, shades or grilles
Pella offers wood doors with snap-in technology, which lets you easily change your blinds, shades or grilles whenever you want a new look. And because they’re tucked between the panes of glass, they won’t harbor dust and allergens like typical door fashions do.

Grilles
Grilles create the look of individual windowpanes, giving you the most authentic look of true divided-light doors. There are several door grille types, so you can choose one that best fits your home’s architectural style. Some grilles-between-the-glass make the door easier to clean, too.

Hardware
Door hardware can be as beautiful as it is functional. You’ll have your choice of today’s most popular finishes to coordinate with other decorative finishes in your home – such as light fixtures and cabinet hardware.

Trim for wood doors
From Colonial to Craftsman and Ranch to Provincial, you can choose from a variety of interior and exterior trim options that give you fresh new ways to frame your view. The more styles available, the more likely your doors can stay true to your home’s architectural style and décor.

Energy-efficient glass options
Choosing the right glass for your region and your home is as important a decision as any you’ll face when buying a door. For optimum energy efficiency, choose two or three panes of glass. And look for doors with Low-E (Low-emissivity) insulating glass with argon between the panes to block more of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. For maximum energy performance, choose products that meet ENERGY STAR® requirements.

Screens
Door screens are important to your home’s light, ventilation and view. Today’s innovative high-transparency screens are practically invisible, which helps you bring the outdoors in. Pella’s retractable screens (available on certain products) roll up and down like a shade to maximize your view and allow more light into your room.

Door Energy Efficiency 101
How to find energy-efficient doors.

Improved energy efficiency is a benefit everyone expects when they install a new door. But there are a lot of factors, including proper installation that will eventually determine how much improved performance and comfort you’ll see in your home.

Here are five things to look for:

  1. Glass. Double-pane glass insulates almost twice as well as single-pane, while triple-pane glass maximizes your energy efficiency.
  2. Installation.  Proper installation will help prevent air infiltration and even costly water damage to your home.  If installed incorrectly, your windows may not operate properly.
  3. Placement. You can increase your window's energy efficiency by selecting specific Low-E (Low-emissivity) glass coatings for different areas of your home. These are layers of thermal protection inside insulating glass that help:
    • Reflect summer heat and retain interior cooling.
    • Reflect winter cold and retain interior heat.
    • Block harmful UV rays to help prevent fade damage.
  4. Region. Your home’s geographic location and climate help determine what kind of windows you choose and what glass options can enhance your energy efficiency.
  5. Frame construction. Your choice of door frame influences your window’s overall energy efficiency.
    • Wood frames are excellent insulators – they conduct less heat or cold into your home.
    • Fiberglass composite material offers insulating properties similar to wood. It won't warp in the summer, or turn brittle during winter.
    • Multichambered vinyl frames reduce heat loss for added energy efficiency – and they’re exceptionally easy to care for.
    • Aluminum is inexpensive and durable but has a poorer insulation rating, meaning the frames conduct more heat or cold into your home.

Look for the Labels
For the greatest energy-saving potential, look for doors with these two labels:

 

ENERGY STAR® certified. This designation means the government has certified that the product meets or exceeds energy performance standards in your state.1

The NFRC label. The National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) is a nonprofit organization for the window industry that developed an energy rating system based on whole-unit product performance – not just the glass performance. It's the only reliable way to determine the entire window’s energy performance and compare products side-by-side.
 
The NFRC label includes two important ratings:
 
1. The U-Factor represents the heat rate that flows out of the window each hour. The lower the number, the better the glass insulates.
 
2. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rating measures the amount of solar radiation that enters as heat. The lower the number, the less heat the glass allows in.

Talk with a door expert
When you’re ready, let the professionals come to you.

Shopping for patio and entry doors isn’t something most people do every day. That’s why it’s important to talk with a professional who can help make sure your project goes off without a hitch.

An in-home appointment is a great place to start. Think of it as shopping from the comfort of your home. Your representative will ask you what you’re looking for in a door, show you samples and take the necessary measurements. Once that’s done, they’ll have the information needed to provide you with a quote. In most cases, the quote and the visit are free.

4 Answers You’ll Want to Have Handy

When you call to schedule your in-home appointment, the representative will ask a few basic questions to get a feel for your home and your project:

  1. How many doors do you plan on replacing?
  2. What is your home type? (e.g., ranch, two-story)
  3. What year was your house built?
  4. Do you prefer a certain material type? (e.g., wood, fiberglass, vinyl or steel)

During your appointment, your representative may ask you about preferred door styles and features, how much you’ll use the product, whether you have children or pets, and other questions focused around your lifestyle.

9 Questions to Ask During an In-Home Consultation for New Doors
Get answers to these important questions.

When it comes to shopping for doors, don’t leave any stone unturned or question unanswered. It’s your home, after all. And you want to trust that your project will be done right and according to your expectations.

A company’s answers to these questions will help you determine whether they’re the right partner for your project:

  1. How long has your company been in business?
  2. After finalizing my order, how long until installation day?
  3. How long do you estimate the installation to take?
  4. Do you finish the interiors after installation?
  5. How do I know I can trust the installers you send into my home?
  6. Do you have any recent projects I can see?
  7. What happens if I run into an issue after the products are installed?
  8. Why should I choose your company?
  9. What discounts or financing offers can you offer right now?

To help you better prepare, here are two other lists of questions you’ll want to ask door replacement companies before you make a final decision:

Questions for the
contractor / installer

Questions about
warranties

You may be interested in ...

Scheduling an in-home consultation

Shop for doors from the comfort of your own home.

Planning your budget


Review the 7 most common factors that affect your project cost.

Understanding your installation options

From do it yourself to do it for me, here's how to choose the right installation method for your project.

 

 

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Window Installation