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Sketches & Plans

The entry door is the beginning of your journey through a house, "It's the first part of the house that anyone going through the house looks at closely. Ideally it should emphasize the character of the house," he adds. For new and old homes alike, the front door is a key focal point.

Unfortunately, because they are exposed to weather and heavy wear, entry doors often show their age prematurely. Older doors are made from wood, a material that has the warm, natural look and feel that most people prefer but is vulnerable to the elements. Season after season of sun and rain eventually warp, crack and bow wood, as the sun's ultraviolet rays break down wood's natural lignin, and moisture repeatedly shrinks and swells wood fibers. As a result, when given enough time, wood doors give up the ghost.

Luckily, entry doors have changed significantly during the past few years. Homeowners may now select from a wonderful smorgasbord of options when shopping for new entry doors.Different types and sizes are available, from conventional wood models to high-tech alternative engineered timber doors.

One significant change is that, unless you're looking for a bare-bones door replacement, you may buy an entire "entry system." With an entry system, a door is pre-hung in its frame, the door's bottom edge interlocks with the threshold and weatherstripping encircles the door's perimeter. Hinges and lockset are designed as part of the system, and sidelites often flank the door. With a system, all components are designed and machined to work together reliably and with uncompromising energy efficiency.

Another change in the door industry is that the lines that once distinguished one door-building material from another have blurred. A wood door isn't necessarily entirely wood anymore. In fact, some wood doors have steel interiors, and steel doors have wood exteriors. A fiberglass or steel door may have a wood frame. And nearly any door may have a core of foam insulation.

Even so, for the sake of discussion, it helps to consider doors according to their primary face material. The choice of wood, fiberglass or steel as a surface material has the greatest impact on a door's appearance, cost, durability and security.

Nearly all doors--wood and non-wood alike--are termed either "flush" or "paneled" doors. Flush doors are flat and smooth on both faces. Paneled doors have rectangular recesses--panels--framed by horizontal rails and vertical stiles. Panel construction originated with wood doors to minimize cracking and warping by giving panels enough room to shift as they expand and contract with changes in moisture. Doors with doorlites (windows) have panel construction with one or more lites substituting for panels.

30mm wall to wall clearance advised for installation of frame

Packers may be required if opening of frame is not square