Home Hardware
Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal and Security with a New Exterior Door. Here’s How.

Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal and Security with a New Exterior Door. Here’s How.

An entry door is one of the first things people notice when they visit your home. It makes an instant impression and shows off your sense of style. Equally important, an exterior door is part of your home’s security. Consider materials, styles and measurements to ensure you get the best door for your home.

Decide on Your Door Type

When choosing a door type, there are three main options, each with their own advantages.

Steel Entry Door

Construction: A steel door has a wood frame filled with either polyurethane foam or polystyrene insulation. The steel moulded outer skin comes in a wide variety of styles. This type of exterior door offers good insulation and security. Make sure the door is an exact fit to the door frame as trimming a steel door isn’t feasible. Custom sizing is available but can be quite expensive.

Finishing: A steel door has a baked-on, primed finish that requires painting to prevent rust. Many models are factory pre-painted in white, but custom colours are also available and becoming more popular.

Maintenance: Durable and resistant to fire, warping and cracking, a steel entry door is a low-maintenance option. Care is required to avoid denting or scratching, but you can also repaint a steel door to improve or update its appearance. ​

Fibreglass Entry Door

Construction: A fibreglass door also has a wood frame filled with polyurethane foam or polystyrene insulation, with a wide variety of moulded fibreglass skins to choose from. Similar to a steel door, trimming a fibreglass door is not possible so make sure your door is an exact fit to the door frame.

Finishing: A fibreglass door is available in a smooth or wood-grain texture, and it can also be painted or stained. When a stain is applied, a fibreglass door closely resembles natural wood.

Maintenance: Durable and energy-efficient, a fibreglass exterior door requires little maintenance. It is a good choice for most climate conditions, though it does have a tendency to warp in high humidity.

Wood Entry Door

Though less commonly used some people prefer the natural look of an exterior wood door, but it does require more maintenance and is more prone to warping or bowing. Some wood entry doors are made of solid wood, while others have an engineered-wood core with a veneer.

Painting your door is a great cost-effective way to complement the colour scheme of your home. Staining is also an option: it will enhance the warmth and character of the wood, but it’s less durable and more expensive than paint.

Speak to your local building centre for exterior wood door options.

Other Types of Doors to Consider

In addition to the three types above, there are a variety of entry door types designed to meet specific needs and areas of your home.

Storm Door

A storm door sits in front of the entry door. Its purpose is to protect the entry door from the elements, provide ventilation and increase energy efficiency. In general, storm doors:
  • Often have large glass panels
  • Often feature screens for ventilation in warm weather
  • Sometimes combine both a screen and glass panel together
  • Are available as pre-hung door kits for easier installation
  • Are available in various materials including PVC and aluminum
  • Always open outward
  • Come in standard widths of 32”, 33”, 34” and 36”
  • Can also be special ordered to any size

NOTE: It’s important to make sure your storm door pairs properly with your entry door. ​

Sliding Patio Door

A sliding patio door is useful where space for a swinging door is limited. A sliding patio door:
  • Features a screen for maximum ventilation
  • Is offered in popular widths of 5’ and 6’ and 80” high, but larger widths and heights are available
  • Is made almost entirely of glass, so energy-efficient glass (Low-E and Argon) is recommended

One of the most popular sliding patio door styles consists of one sliding panel and one fixed panel. Two-panel doors are popular, but four-panel double doors are also available. These are more energy-efficient and element-resistant, making them ideal for extreme weather areas.

NOTE: Due to the large amount of glass, consider security measures such as multi-point locks, security bars and anti-theft devices.

Swinging Patio Door

A swinging patio door is similar to a French door in that it generally consists of two doors, though some feature three doors. Swinging patio doors are available in three different configurations, and each style is known by a more common name. These are outlined in the three sections below.

Garden Door

With a garden door, one panel is fixed and the other operates in either inswing or outswing. An in-swing garden door usually has a sliding screen. The door panels are separated in the middle by a fixed centre post.​

Double Door

With a double door both panels operate in either inswing or outswing (both will move in the same direction). There is no screen and no centre post. Instead it has what is called a floating astragal: a type of tee-moulding that covers the gap between the two doors and attaches to the door that closes last. Note that in some cases double doors are not covered by manufacturer’s warranties for air and water infiltration. ​

Terrace Door or Garden Venting Door

In this configuration, one panel is an outswing and the other opens partially at intervals for controlled ventilation. Terrace doors also feature a fixed centre post between the door panels.

Additional Features of a Door

When choosing an exterior door, consider these additional features to create a custom style and protect against the elements.


Sidelights are panels (with or without glass) placed on one or both sides of a door. Sidelights:
  • Are usually a minimum of nine inches wide and the same height as the door
  • Act as a frame for the entry door and can help create a custom look
  • Can create a striking focal point at the front entrance
  • Are available as mini steel or fibreglass panels with or without glass
  • Can be direct set glass without a panel supporting the frame to create more light
  • Can be operable to create a wider entrance for moving large objects in and out of your home

Door Transom

A transom is a decorative single panel that goes over the top of a door. It is:
  • Usually filled with a glass panel
  • Available in various configurations including rectangles, semi-circles and ellipses
  • Available with various lite and trim options
  • A decorative accent that can help create a custom look for your entryway

Door Sill

A door sill is the bottom horizontal section of an exterior door frame and is a vital part of the entrance. A door sill:
  • Requires proper installation techniques for the flashing and sealing
  • Provides a seal to help prevent water and air infiltration
  • Is most commonly aluminum over a wood or composite door frame (In a steel entrance system)
  • Must meet the minimum NAFS-08 standard for air and water infiltration


Brickmould is moulding used around the door. It fills the gap between where the door and the wall of the house meet. Some entrance systems are sold with the brickmould, which is available in a wide variety of styles and widths to complement the overall appearance of your home. ​

Lingo to Learn When Choosing a New Front Door

Learn common exterior door terminology to help make the right choice for your home.

Slab Door: A slab door is an unframed door without hinges or hardware.

Pre-hung Door: A pre-hung exterior door is a complete, ready-to-install system with door slab, hinges and outer frame. The frame includes thresholds and weather stripping. Most entry doors are sold as an entrance system.

Inswing/Outswing: An inswing door opens inward and an outswing door opens outward.

Left Hand vs. Right Hand Door: Open the door and stand with your back to the jamb that has the hinges. If the door is on your right, it’s a right-handed door. If the door is on your left, it’s a left-handed door.

Master Exterior Door Measurements

When purchasing your new exterior door, it’s a good idea to get up-to-speed on terminology and standard entry door measurements.

Rough Opening: the size of the opening that a pre-hung door will fit into

Net Frame Dimension: the full width of the frame

Jamb Size: the depth of the frame, not the width, covering the sheathing or siding and wall stud

Masonry Opening: the space between the bricks on the front of your home as they surround the door (if applicable)

NOTE: Though more expensive, you can also order a custom size door if your door opening is an unusual size. A better option might be to modify the existing frame opening if feasible.

Exterior doors are subject to the National Building Code, which stipulates that doors opening to the outside may not measure less than 32 inches wide and 75 inches high, though most common door heights are 80 inches or more. Municipalities may increase the required width and height stipulated in the Code but never decrease them. Doors that require wheelchair access must be a minimum of 36 inches wide.

Finish Your Entry Door in Style

There are a variety ways to personalize your entry door and increase your home’s curb appeal. Consider these finishing touches to create an attractive, coordinated look.

Versatile Stain and Paint Finishes

Painting or staining your new door is a great way to add character to your home’s exterior. Go for a traditional wood stain, a classic colour like white, or opt for a bold colour for some modern flair.

NOTE: Make sure the door you install is suitable to stain. Steel exterior doors cannot be stained. ​

Sturdy and Stylish Door Hardware

Door hardware comes in a variety of styles from simple to ornate. Various finishes are also available such as satin nickel and antique brass. Browse the options when choosing everything from hinges, knobs and knockers to the lock, doorbell and house numbers. ​

Decorative Glass Accents

Is there an applicable link for this? Decorative glass panels, sidelights and transoms are a great way to add customized style. There are thousands of designs available ranging from simple flat glass with silkscreened images to embossed lites with brass or zinc caming. Terms you may come across include:

Lite: A pane of glass in a door. A door may have one large lite or multiple lites.
Divided Lite: Panes of glass that are divided or give the appearance of being divided.
Grille or Caming: Plastic, wooden or metal detailing that creates the appearance of divided lites. ​

Tips for Energy Efficiency

When you install your new exterior door, you’ll want to make sure it’s energy-efficient to save on costs and create a comfortable interior.
Note: ENERGY STAR-Approved products may be eligible for government rebates.
  • A thermal break is part of the door sill, usually made of PVC: It forms a barrier between the inside and outside to stop the transfer of heat or cold, and to provide additional insulation
  • Weather stripping helps prevent outside air from leaking in and vice-versa, which in turn helps to keep energy costs down
  • Look for double or triple-pane glass with a low-emission coating and argon gas-filled glazing: This will significantly reduce heat loss and drafts and help to filter harmful UV rays

A new entry door can significantly refresh the look of your home’s exterior. It can also improve your home’s energy efficiency, comfort and security. But installation can be a challenge, as the majority of problems are a result of improper installation. Explore our selection of exterior doors and request a free Home Hardware Home Installs consultation.

IMPORTANT: Make sure to check the warranty terms and conditions for the slab or pre-hung exterior door you purchase. Improper installation could void a door’s warranty.
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