Entry Doors

Retro style combines with modern material in new entry doors.

June 30, 2000


Retro style combines with modern material in new entry doors.


The old adage "What goes around, comes around," holds true, especially where entry doors are concerned. Sidelights and doorlites recall popular styles from a century ago, despite the fact that the latest elements of modern technology and materials are being incorporated into doors. Fiberglass and improved steel doors appeal to homeowners remodeling their entryways for a popular "retro" aesthetic.

"If you go into any older section of any city, you’ll see lots of doors with leaded glass and stained glass," says George Frank, CR, vice president of Big 8 Companies Inc., a Columbus, Ohio-based remodeling firm. "The trend has come back around, now that companies are making leaded glass that is far more efficient. It’s beautiful-it will still take your breath away - but it’s not as expensive as it used to be."

Homeowners are also trying to individualize their entryways with grand, dramatic doors. According to Frank, it’s common for remodelers in his area to do three or four projects each year that only involve an entryway, and often additions or kitchen remodels will include an entryway upgrade.

In addition to leaded glass inserts, taller doors create a dramatic, grand effect that homeowners are looking for. "People are looking at ways to differentiate their homes," says Sharon Obermeyer, product manager for Pease. "They may use their door to make a statement, and that’s why they might opt for an entryway remodel."

Doors that are 8-ft. tall are steadily replacing the standard 6-ft., 4-in. door, for a more striking entryway. Decorative sidelights are also used to widen the entryway in addition to adding more heights. "We see more interest in the 8-ft. doors all the time," says Dave Niderberg, director of marketing for Therma-Tru Doors. "They’re used to make smaller homes seem larger."

More steel and fiberglass manufacturers are offering taller doors with matching sidelights and decorative inserts, offering homeowners low-maintenance, longer-lasting products. Wood doors are notorious for rotting, warping and cracking in extreme temperatures and wet conditions. Steel doors are popular for lower-end, low-maintenance options, but steel doors can rust and dent, and cannot emulate wood grain.

Composite materials, such as fiberglass, are gradually replacing steel doors to combat these problems. Although more expensive, fiberglass will not dent or warp, and fiberglass products can be ordered with wood grains or smooth panels. "We’re seeing folks step up from steel to fiberglass," says Jeff Tartamella, global product manager for Stanley Doors. "Fiberglass can have the look of wood, with a warmer, more enriched feel than steel."

According to Frank, it’s a remodeler’s responsibility to educate clients about how different materials will last when working on an entryway project. "Sometimes clients are too educated-they read too much," he says. But, he asserts that literature can’t convey the same information as hands-on experience. "They really don’t know the plusses and minuses of using the different doors."





Legend series steel doors offer high-end options for entryway remodels. Nine glass styles and 16 insert styles complement the 22-gauge steel doors. Doors are covered with a 10-mil. thick woodgrain vinyl coating, bonded to a steel skin. In addition to providing a wood appearance, coating also provides additional durability. Doors are also fire-rated for 90 minutes and are hurricane-resistant. Warranty: Limited 10 year. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 755-3667, www.benchmarkdoors.com.





Constructed from laminated veneer lumber, Alterna doors resist denting and rusting as well as warping and rotting. Door includes four stiles in its frame, enabling it to resist hurricane-force winds, and door also includes a polystyrene insulating core. Doors can be ordered with 2/3 oval, three panel, six panel with half sidelight and sunburst with sample insert options. Sidelights can be ordered for all door options. Decorative designs have a woodgrain surface that can be painted or stained, and a special panel profile replicates the chiseled profiles found on traditional wood entry doors. Additionally, doors can include smooth skins to better simulate the appearance of painted wood, and raised hip panels and an authentic beaded profile accentuate shadow lines, providing an illusion of depth. Warranty: Three- and 10-year policies available. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 877-9482, ext. PR-246, www.doors-windows.com.





Ever-Strait "New Contours" door system combines an embossed appearance with strengthening features. Thermal breaks, I-beam rail construction and 23-gauge steel combine with a solid polystyrene core, a wood lock block, magnetic weather-stripping, and an adjustable sill for enhanced durability. Doors can also be fit with sidelight and glass options, as well as panel designs ranging from one to six panels. Warranty: Lifetime. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 883-6677, www.peasedoors.com.





New entry door line includes both steel and fiberglass for more price point options. Door line includes flush and embossed panel doors without glass, and matching transoms, sidelights and inserts are available as options. Each glass insert is hand-tooled to ensure quality, and decorative glass is sealed between two panes of standard glass to prevent damage and enhance insulation. Line also includes 90-minute fire doors and service doors. Warranty: 20 years on glass, and 10 years on decorative glass and other components. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 847-3552, www.pella.com.




Stanley Doors:

Fiberglass doors in the Prodigy line combine the aesthetic of wood with the performance of composite material. Doors feature a richly grained surface with stile and rail detailing that looks like wood. Compression-molded fiberglass skins will not warp, crack or peel, and doors are insulated with a CFC-free polystyrene core. Doors also include a compression weather strip, corner seals and triple-seal bottom sweeps to prevent air and water infiltration. Glass options, with matching sidelights and transoms are also available. Warranty: Limited lifetime. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 521-2752, www.stanleyworks.com.




Therma-Tru Doors:

For striking, grand entryways, 8-ft. fiberglass doors provide maximum aesthetic. Available in 2-ft. 6-in., 2-ft. 8-in., 2-ft. 10-in. and 3-ft. widths, doors can be ordered in 11 different styles, ranging from a solid six-panel door to doors with full 80-in. long doorlites. Flush-glazed doors are also available for a sleeker look. Flush-glazed doors feature clear glass placed directly into the door panel during the manufacturing process, with no need for wood trim or caulk. Fiberglass dent-, rust-, warp- and crack-free doors are also filled with a solid polyurethane core for enhanced insulation and durability. Warranty: Limited 20 year. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 843-7628, www.thermatru.com.



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