First Impression

Give a Lift to Your Home’s Most Prominent Feature


By Cheryl Alexander

Upgrading your front door is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to give your home an instant facelift and improve energy efficiency.

A recent study found that replacing a front door increases the home’s perceived value by as much as five times the cost of the new door, which means you get a return on your investment. 

If you determine that now is the time for an update, do not think only about swapping one door out for another. Also, consider enlarging the entryway by installing a door with windows to either side or above it. The added natural light adds a sense of grandeur and creates a more open atmosphere. Here are a few options to consider.

Wood Doors

Wood doors are available in an infinite variety of colors and styles with lots, a little, or no glass at all. Select a wood door for its natural beauty and traditional style, but make sure it is in a covered entryway, protected from too much exposure to the elements. 

Metal (Steel) Doors:

Metal (steel) doors are very affordable and extremely durable, but they cannot be stained, only painted. 

Fiberglass Doors:

Fiberglass — probably the most popular current choice — offers wood’s beauty and versatility and metal’s durability. It is least affected by weather and ensures a long-term life span and easy operation. Fiberglass doors come in many styles and can be stained or painted. 

If the existing entry door on your house doesn’t have any of the problems listed above, you may want to have someone refinish or update it instead.

Embellish it:

If every door on your block is brown or gray, a simple coat of bright paint will make your home stand out. You could also hang a wreath, add a dramatic house number, install some long shutters on either side, or add a specialty door knocker. Even a new doormat and some planters placed on either side with beautiful foliage will elevate your entry.

Add lights:

Lights at your front door will boost your curb appeal. If you already have lights, consider replacing them as an update. On a front porch, a hanging fixture will cast a welcoming pool of light. And to add a bit of drama, spotlights at ground level aimed at the door will put your entry at center stage.

Dress up your entry with new trim:

Replacing your front door trim with decorative moldings is an easy way to upgrade. In addition to wood, these are also available in PVC trims that look identical to their wooden counterparts.

Go high-tech:

While the front door is not the most advanced part of your home, you should consider raising its status with a smart doorbell/video combo. Many options are available that will snap a picture anytime someone rings the doorbell and send it to your phone/computer. You can then select a video download, have a conversation with the visitor, or answer the door in person. Most systems store many images, so you can review, save, and delete them when you are ready.

Keep it tidy:

Clean is impressive, which translates to curb appeal. Sweep your entry weekly, then scrub with soap and water intermittently. You will instantly bring your home’s appearance back to life.

Your front door is the first thing that welcomes a passerby or visitor and sets the mood of your home. While style and budget are obvious considerations, any improvement you can make to your home’s most prominent feature is worth the investment. Your front door sets the first and last impression. Make it a great one.  

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