Smart Doors for Attractive Homes

Smart Doors for Attractive Homes
  • Opening Intro -

    Replacing a door may not seem to be a significant home improvement project, but a new door can prove more energy efficient and in many cases add value to your home.


Is your home crying out for a new door?

When selling a home, visual appeal is important — an attractive new exterior door can improve your home’s street presence, offering an invitation for potential buyers to stop their cars and come in.

Tax Credit

Yesterday, we mentioned replacement windows and the tax advantages of replacing them in 2011. Doors and skylights are also part of the same tax credit signed into law by President Obama in 2009. Even if your only project is replacing one door, you may be eligible for a tax credit.

Although you may want to hire someone to install a new door as you would with your windows, replacing an exterior door is a job most people can handle, a do-it-yourself project that can be completed on a Saturday morning. You’ll need to have several tools on hand to complete your entry door project including a reciprocating saw, miter saw, caulk gun, 2- and 4-ft. levels and a pry bar.[1]

Let’s take a look at some steps you should follow as you replace your existing door with a new one:

Perform an inspection — Often, homeowners replace a door because their current one is rotted, damaged or simply not the style they want. Inspect around the door frame for signs of rotting as the frame may need replacing before swapping out the door. Remove the door from its hinges and view the frame and the threshold. Signs of rotting or wear and tear means that you’ll need to have work done before a new door can be installed. Replace weather stripping, framing and the threshold before moving on.

Measure your current door — Likely, you’ll replace your door with one of the same exact size. If you change the door opening, then you’ll have to reframe accordingly, paying the higher price or use of your time to get this job done. Measure the width and height of your current door, rounding up to the next full inch. The standard door size for an exterior door is 36 inches by 80 inches. You’ll also want to measure the jamb width, rough opening and masonry or exterior opening to get a precise fit.

Prep the sill — With a new door at the ready, you’ll want to ensure that the sill areas is sufficiently built up, with shims added to level it. Use treated wood and fasten it in place with coated deck screws. Deck screws don’t rust and they’re easy to install. Once your sill is in place, put your new door into position to see how it fits; tack it into place using galvanized casing nails. Plumb the hinge-side jamb and tack the bottom corners. If your door is plumb, then you’re ready to take on the final stage of exterior door installation.

Seal everything –Turn your attention to the frame by adding a bead of caulk along the top and sides of the door opening and along the sill. Foam insulation should be used between the doorjamb and framing to leave no chance of air escaping. Install interior trim and apply caulker backing. Reinspect the door to verify that there are no leaks and that the door opens and shuts as it should.

If you don’t have sufficient tools or the job is overwhelming, you can obtain quotes from home stores and door and window retailers to find out what their cost is. The installation part of the job is not covered by the tax credit, just the door.

And that’s it, a generalized way to provide a smart looking door for an attractive house. Find out which doors offer the best efficiency and come with a warranty.[2] Your new door will be the talk of the neighborhood, providing many years of satisfying use.


[1] The Family Handyman: How to Replace an Exterior Door

[2] Energy Star: Residential Windows, Doors and Skylights

See Also — Visit our section on doors and windows to discover design options and tips.

Photo: TK Edens



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Categories: Doors and Windows

About Author

Krayton M Davis

Executive Manager: LetsRenovate Team