Picking Energy-Efficient Doors That Amp Up Curb Appeal
First impressions count for a lot. In your home, what’s the thing most people notice first? Why, your front door, of course! Exterior doors also happen to be an important factor in your home’s energy efficiency. Whether you are looking to improve your home’s appearance or lower your utility bills, upgrading your exterior doors can be an excellent move. And as long as you’re choosing a new door, why not pick one that scores on both counts?
There are so many door styles from which to choose. Here are some things to consider as you look for that perfect front door.
Style-Savvy Door Selection
Let’s talk first about style, because let’s face it — if you don’t like how the door looks, you’re not going to want it on your home.
Your door selection will depend in large part on the architectural style of your home. You want something that will complement your façade. That said, don’t be afraid to be bold if there’s a look you like. A carefully selected contemporary door will often give your entire home a refreshed, updated look.
These days, front door designs are trending toward simple, clean lines with fewer panels. Larger doors are also trending, but be careful there. A larger door also means more opportunity for drafts to infiltrate your home. If you want to maximize energy efficiency, you might want to avoid installing a super-tall door — especially if you live in a colder climate. For patio doors, keep in mind that swinging patio doors that meet in the middle are typically more efficient than sliders.
Door Materials: Chic and Efficient
It’s pretty hard to select a door style without considering materials. Glass in particular is popular in exterior doors, but it’s not very efficient. Keep in mind, though, that glass door panels do let in natural light and may help reduce your electricity use. If you opt for door glass, go for low-E glass, double panes, and/or other energy-efficient glazing options.
Doors come in many different materials, including fiberglass, steel and wood. Typically the most efficient are doors that include a core layer of insulation, regardless of exterior finish. Bonus points for eco-friendly materials such as recycled steel or certified sustainable wood!
One easy way to know that your door will pass muster is to select one that meets energy efficiency certification criteria. Look for certification labels from established third-party organizations rather than the manufacturer. Two highly respected ones include ENERGY STAR and NRFC.
Quality and Installation Reign Supreme
The biggest factor in exterior door efficiency is not the door itself, but the space around it. Therefore it’s critical to get a door that is equipped with well-fitting, high-quality seals, sweeps and sills. Some doors also feature sophisticated locking mechanisms to ensure a tight seal when the door is shut.
Finally, even the best-constructed door can leak like a sieve if it isn’t properly installed. A poorly installed door won’t look very good, either. If you are installing the door yourself, you will be best off with a door that is pre-hung in its frame at the factory. If you elect to hire a contractor to install your door, choose an established company with plenty of experience servicing home exteriors.
Can’t Choose? No Need to Do It Alone
With the huge variety of styles and materials available on the market today, choosing the perfect energy-efficient exterior doors for your home may seem like a daunting task. But if you consider one factor at a time and eliminate the models that don’t meet your standards, you’ll likely find it’s not as hard as you think. If you are having trouble deciding, you might want to enlist the help of an exterior home designer. The professional expertise can help ensure you’ll get a look you love, along with the energy performance you desire.
Author bio: Kyle Erdmann is the Vice President of Erdmann Exterior Designs. Being a second-generation Erdmann, he was brought up in a construction household. With over 10 years of experience, Kyle has done everything in the company from being a general laborer to the installation of the product, so he can answer any question you can possibly have. Also, experience has taught Kyle a lot about design, and his designs have been considered for awards from James Hardie. With a degree in hospitality management, customer service is always top on Kyle’s list — and many customers have given positive reviews on their experiences working with him. His passion is baseball, and he currently volunteers for his old high school's program.