Factors to Consider Before Choosing an Exterior Door

Choosing an Exterior Door Also referred to as entry doors, exterior doors represent the gateway between the interior of your home to another environment, such as a garage or the great outdoors. Most consumers focus on the front exterior door since the front door is the door that makes the first impression on visitors and also plays a major role in curb appeal. Exterior doors also open and close passageways located at the back and along the sides of most houses. Yet, how choosing the right exterior door design is important.

When you shop for exterior doors, you have to consider several factors, including design, safety, energy efficiency, and ease of installation. You also should consider the type of material and determine the features you want with your new exterior door. The exterior door pros at ETO Doors shared with us some of the most important considerations to help narrow down your selection.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for an Exterior Door


how to choose a front door
New steel three bolt door lock installed on the wooden front door of a new build house showing the three individual cylinders of the lock

What is the first concern that you have when considering different types of entry doors? If you are a homeowner, the chances are that you are concerned with keeping your property and loved ones safe. The solution is to find a rugged door that deters potential criminals from trying to gain entrance to your home. Ask the manufacturer of any given exterior door about what types of tests the company puts exterior doors through to determine their respective levels of security. The ideal door should be able to withstand quite a bit of force.

You should consider safety as an important factor for every entry door you plan to install, including entry doors located at the back and along the sides of your house.

Secure door with three deadbolts


How the front door of your house looks is important, as this is what people notice first. You should stay consistent with the architectural design of your home when shopping for a front entry door. For example, if your home exudes a colonial theme, installing a steel-flush door will clash with your home decor. You will likely want to choose a traditional door instead. When it comes to choosing an exterior door, design may not be the first priority. But, it still needs to be consider.

Another design-oriented consideration is to choose a unique style of door, such as an arched door. The arched door can work with a Renaissance or rustic style home and modern home. It all depends on the finishes and minute details. 

best type of front door
Arched stone entry of luxury suburban home

Arched door on a neo-medieval style home

The third popular design style is the modern door. These doors are sleek and often made of high-quality wood. There will likely be very little to no molding or ornamentation; the look is smooth. A flush door of horizontal panel mahogany is a perfect fit for a mid-century modern home. New high design condos utilize nearly exclusively modern doors. These are also considered ‘statement’ doors, eye-catching from the curb.

Modern 4 Panel Mahogany Door

Energy Efficiency

Exterior door models that receive the highly coveted Energy Star must undergo extensive tests conducted by an independent source to earn a certification. Energy Star certified exterior doors possess tighter-fitting frames, energy-efficient cores, and additional insulation to decrease the amount of heat that is transferred from indoors to outdoors.

Enhanced energy efficiency lowers your monthly utility bills and places less strain on the environment.

Ease of Installation

Many exterior doors come pre-hung in a frame and have drill impressions to secure a knob and deadbolt. If you choose the same size door as a replacement and the door comes pre-hung in a door frame, you should be able to complete the installation project without the professional skills applied by an independent contractor. Selecting a larger door and/or adding features such as additional lighting to an exterior typically requires an independent contractor to complete the installation process, such as the lighting installation experts at Fantastic Services. 

3d rendering of a dor in three stages with welcome mat

Pre-hung doors come with a frame

Types of Entry Doors

The main factor that defines the features of an exterior door is its material.


Steel represents about 50 percent of the sales for exterior doors. The material is comparatively inexpensive for an entry door that delivers optimal security and weather-resistant properties. Steel entry doors require little maintenance unless your home incurs damage caused by severe weather. If you do not add glass panels, a steel entry door is energy-efficient because of the insulation that it provides.


The design flexibility of a fiberglass exterior door attracts interest from homeowners that are searching for a way to increase the curb appeal of their homes. You can choose a fiberglass exterior door with a smooth surface or a surface that consists of an embossed wood-grain texture. Going with a fiberglass exterior door gives you the option to paint or stain the door to enhance its visual appeal. The downside to installing a fiberglass entry door is it can crack or deteriorate from strong impacts, though it is extremely weather-resistant. 


Wood evokes the rustic charm design that other exterior door materials cannot replicate. Most quality wood entry doors naturally resist the wear and tear caused by frequent use. Wood is the least likely entry door material to dent, and you can easily repair scratches. You can expect to paint or varnish a wood entry door several times throughout the lifespan of the door, which will help it retain its longevity and effectiveness as a barrier in an entryway. Wood doors are also relatively expensive compared to other exterior doors, especially when they’re made of high-quality, sustainably-sourced hardwoods. 

The Bottom Line

Although installing an exterior door seems like a minor project among most other types of home improvement projects, it is often worthwhile and significantly beneficial. Installing the right type of entry door for your home can increase its curb appeal, provide greater security, and enhance energy efficiency. During the research process, find a supplier that offers guidance and has strong support. They will walk you through the decision-making process and help you find the perfect door for your budget and needs.

You have several factors to consider before you choose the right exterior doors for your home. One of the most important factors is your home improvement budget. If you make an exterior door installation project a do-it-yourself project, you can save a considerable amount of money on labor costs. This means you might be able to afford a wood door that comes with security-based features.

Whatever type of exterior door you choose to install, it will be a valuable addition to your home and the kind of living experience you want to achieve. It will be easier for choosing an exterior door if you understand where you need to look first.

Colonial Style Home and Door

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