Blog > Category > Posted: 2023-Dec-06, Updated: 2024-Mar-14

9 basics to consider before shopping for a new door

a brown front door with side lite
Doors, an ancient symbol of security and hospitality, have gracefully evolved over centuries, adapting to changing aesthetics and technological advancements. Today, replacing your entrance door is not merely a functional upgrade but an opportunity to infuse your home with a renewed personality.

So many options to choose from

Doors have been a fundamental element providing security, weather protection, and a welcoming entrance for thousands of years. Today, with an overwhelming array of options in materials, colours, finishes, and configurations, choosing the right door involves careful consideration of both aesthetic preferences and functional requirements.

1. Material options

Modern fabrication and material advancements have popularized steel and fibreglass doors, prized for their strength, durability, and insulation. Steel doors, crafted from galvanized steel, resist warping but are prone to dents. Fibreglass doors, though slightly costlier, boast durability in challenging climates and can imitate natural wood grains. Wood doors, a classic choice, demand regular maintenance but offer a warm and distinctive aesthetic.

Steel doors

Steel doors are the most common type of replacement entry door sold today, they are strong, durable and affordable. Made from heavy-gauge galvanized steel, coated with zinc (to prevent rusting) and with a solid polyurethane foam core that provides superior insulation qualities. These doors are resistant to warping, shrinking or swelling, however, they are more vulnerable to dents and scratches than wooden or fibreglass doors.

Advanced metal stamping and embossing techniques allow steel doors to be made into a variety of stamped shapes and patterns and some manufacturers can even create faux woodgrain patterns. Many manufacturers have a broad selection of colours and glass inserts and some even allow for custom colours.

Fibreglass doors

Fibreglass doors are typically a little more expensive than steel doors, they are durable and very well suited to Canada’s sometimes nasty climate. Built with an energy-efficient solid polyurethane core, these doors provide great insulation properties and they will not rust, dent, split or delaminate.

As an alternative to wooden doors, these doors can be textured and coloured to resemble natural wood grains that will maintain their original, natural-looking beauty. As with steel doors, fibreglass door panels can easily be fabricated into a wide variety of shapes and textures.

Wood doors

The standard for thousands of years, wood doors are still a great option if you’re looking to create something unique for your home. Wooden doors are typically much more expensive than steel or fibreglass doors and there can be a significant price difference between inexpensive wood composite materials and higher-end hardwoods.

Natural wood products must be maintained regularly to prevent the paint from fading or peeling, and although wooden doors are prone to warping, splitting or cracking over time, improved fabrication techniques make them far more resistant to the pressures of humidity and temperature change than in the past.

2. The door frame

The integrity of a door's performance hinges on the quality of its frame and not all door frames are created equal. A robust and well-installed door frame is crucial for ensuring the smooth and consistent operation of the door throughout its lifespan.

In residential settings, door frames are commonly crafted from hardwood, and a thicker frame signifies a more solid foundation. While the industry standard is often an inch, some manufacturers go above and beyond, offering frames with a thickness of up to 1 ¾ inches.

Opting for a solid door sill over hollow chamber sills further enhances the overall stability of the door. Additionally, certain manufacturers provide anchored steel plates, a feature that contributes to both stability and performance, further emphasizing the importance of a well-constructed door frame in ensuring the longevity and functionality of the door.

3. Door configurations

Most door replacement projects are simply a case of replacing what’s already there, but there are plenty of possibilities available, as long as you are working within the same dimensions. Even if you desire a larger opening, it may be possible as long as it does not affect the structural integrity of your home. Talk to a door installation professional or consultant about your vision, and they’ll help you understand what will work, and what obstacles might have to be overcome.

Below are some typical door configurations to help you get started:

Door Configuration

4. Style of Door

Most door manufacturers offer a plethora of styles to match your home or to enable you to unleash your imagination. There are plenty of standard and modern styles to choose from. Be sure to tell your door consultant exactly what you want, they’ll be able to show you reference materials and caution you on the pros and possible cons of what you are looking for.

Below are some typical door styles to help you get started:

Door Styles

5. Glass in the door

There are perhaps thousands of styles and types of glass that you can consider for your entry door. And glass manufacturers are sensitive to your aesthetic, security and energy efficiency concerns. Choose from a huge selection of standard or customized designs in stained glass, frosted glass, obscured glass, print-on glass and more…

If you are looking for something special, talk to your door expert, they can help you find exactly what you are looking for. Below are a few links to some of our partners:

Novatech Glass Inc.

Verre Select Inc.


6. Colour of the door

Most entrance door manufacturers offer a broad range of standard door colours and finishes. Talk to a door specialist about the colour you want, some door manufacturers offer custom colours to match your exact specifications.

7. Hardware used for the door

Door locks, handles and even hinges should complement the design of your door, as well as match the style of your home.  Most door installation companies are partnered with many leading hardware brands to offer their clients a broad selection of locks, handles and hinges.

There are lots of different styles, shapes, colours and finishes available. Your door expert can show you samples and reference materials to help you quickly find and make a perfect choice.

8. Warranty

There are many entrance door replacement and installation companies in and around the Ottawa area that claim they have the best door warranty in the business. Unfortunately, in terms of warranty, the language used can be vague or suggestive and full of fine print that is difficult to interpret. Every door installation company is different and even companies that sell and install the same product will practice differing warranties.

The warranty is an important part of your front door purchase. So when talking to door installation companies ask lots of questions and don’t assume anything. It will be worth it in the long run.

  • How long is the product warranted?
  • Will labour and parts be covered through the life of the warranty?
  • Is the installation covered under the warranty?
  • Can the warranty be Transferred?
  • How long will it take to have someone assess a warranty issue if there is one?

Useful Links:

9. Installation

Installation is the most important part of an entrance door installation. It’s crucial that the installers are trained professionals who are up-to-date with industry standards, work efficiently in the safest way possible, and use the right tools.

One way to make sure that an installer is an expert is to make sure they are SAWDAC or WindowWise certified. Professionally certified installers adhere to strict installation guidelines and use only top-quality materials and supplies to ensure the highest level of quality and greatest energy efficiency possible.

What your entrance door colour choice suggests

Compare doors - Wood, Fibreglass, Metal

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Need more information?

Upgrade your home's entrance with confidence. Want to know more, give us a call or request information via our contact form. We’d be happy to answer all of your questions.

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