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How to choose the right exterior doors

Keep practical considerations in mind when you choose your door, but the ambiance you want to create is also important. In the past, most doors were made of wood; now, however, you have a variety of materials to choose from.

These are the criteria you should consider when you buy interior doors for the bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, and closets.

Glass Insertions

Whether it is etched, painted or stained, glass is the most attractive and decorative feature of a door.

You may consider adding sidelites (glass panels on either or both sides of the main entrance door), or a transom (glass panel above the door that can be rectangular, oval or arch-shaped). Sidelites and transoms act as a frame for the door and can provide a stunning focal point to the front of your house.

Pro tip

Glass panels will reduce the door’s energy-efficiency unless you opt for double-paned or triple-glazing panels covered with an invisible coating that reduces heat loss.

The National Building Code

Exterior doors are subject to the National Building Code, which stipulates that doors opening to the outside may not measure less than 32"W and 75"H. Municipalities may increase the required width and height stipulated in the Code, but never decrease.

Before buying a door:

  • Consult with a building inspector before making any modifications.
  • Check the insulation capacity (when and where it is needed) and ensure there is sufficient weather-stripping.
  • Though doors between the house and garage are not considered to be exterior doors, they should be insulated and equipped with a self-closing device to prevent carbon monoxide and other vehicle exhaust gasses from entering the house.
  • Function, energy-efficiency, security, appearance and compatibility are all considerations that should guide your choice of an exterior door. There is a wide range to choose from; at the end of the day, you need to choose a door that will harmonize with your decor, reflect your taste, and meet all your expectations and requirements.
  • Choose the handle and lock you want when you buy your door. This way, you’ll make sure that the holes you’ll need to drill in the door will be compatible with the lockset you’ve chosen.

Pro tip

In Canada, entry or exterior doors are generally insulated with an injected foam insert. This is important to verify, because frost will form on the inside of a non-insulated door.

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