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From a front step perspective, the look of your home offers many clues to the pride of ownership that lives within. Every detail says something about your home's unique character and personality. Look beyond landscaping and seasonal decor to the one element that remains constant year round – your home's entry door.
"When someone pulls up to your home, the first five minutes are really important. They know if they like it instantly," says Jeff Pagnier, millwork department head at Mans Lumber & Millwork in Trenton and Canton.
Whether you are selling your home now, or just want to make that great first impression, your entry door speaks volumes. And you want it to say only the very best things, like how smart you are by investing in a new entry door.
"This year, entry doors are at the top of the list for home remodel projects that offer the very best value," says Pagnier. Indeed, simple, affordable projects continue to return the greatest value, according to the National Association of Realtors. In 43 of the 102 markets surveyed, entry door replacement was the least expensive project on their list, yet it ranked highest in payback, recouping more than 100 percent of its cost.
That's good news, whether or not you plan to sell your home this year, or 10 years from now.
The door elevates the home
In the history of American homeownership, the entry door has not always enjoyed the recognition it has today. With a shared architect and builder, entire neighborhoods of homes established during a building boom were adorned with the identical wooden door, according to Pagnier.
"It was a staple of the business, and back then, wood was grown in North America, and it was a stronger product than today," he says. "Historically, doors were for function. They were for security and to keep the elements out. Now they have evolved. They draw in the eye, and curb appeal is important. Where they were once a lot simpler, now they are fancier."
Many quality choices
Today, homeowners have more entry door choice than ever before. One thing is certain: style and quality blend together, so you never have to sacrifice one for the other. Where baby boomers want energy efficiency, millennials care where the door's materials were harvested. Both can get what they want in a door, with plenty of aesthetic value thrown in.
While steel doors are still a popular choice, style-conscious homeowners who wish to highlight the architectural details of their homes seek one of two premium materials for new entry doors—wood or fiberglass. Each material holds unique benefits, and each has the potential to boost curb appeal for a truly enviable look.
For the midcentury or older home with custom-crafted features, a traditional solid-wood door will always be a timeless choice. Classic mahogany, richly grained red oak, or luxurious knotty alder will tie together all the home's exterior charm and hint at the interior wood detailing, too. Dent-resistant and solid, a wood door will always showcase the traditional home, and welcome visitors with old world charm and hospitality.
A quality manufacturer with a longstanding reputation will even hand carve your wood door to your size and specifications, craft a door from your desired wood type, or custom paint your door with just the right shade to suit your home, and your unique personality.
"We make doors how they used to be made, all hand-crafted following true artisan methods," says Bruce Killeen, general manager with JELD-WEN, IWP Division. "We start with raw lumber, selected specifically for the order. Then we use high-end joinery techniques that strengthen the door. A 10-step finishing process creates a piano finish for each door."
If nothing short of solid wood will match your standards for your home, be sure to note that a wood door is a natural product that will change over time and in response to the elements of weather. For best results, your wood door should not be exposed to the southern sun, and should be protected by a suitable overhang. In addition, a wood door will require annual maintenance to retain its beauty and help resist warping, swelling, or shrinkage.
Consider maintenance-free beauty
Perhaps you love the look of wood, but don't relish the required upkeep. Consider another choice that blends the beauty of wood with the durability of steel, but has a unique, customizable look.
"Fiberglass door companies have introduced a product that looks just like wood," says Pagnier. "It's the stainable fiberglass door. JELD-WEN was able to produce this product, and they are the only company that has it. Even an expert will think it is real wood."
This maintenance-free door, called Aurora, is hand built from a wood mold, and then constructed from fiberglass, using the techniques of a master boat builder. "We like to say we are using all the strengths of the boat industry, blended with the best of the auto industry, to create the highest quality maintenance-free door," says Killeen.
The Aurora door retains all of the rich wood grain features of solid wood, indistinguishable from natural Douglas fir, mahogany, red oak, or alder, and is fully customizable with finishes that range from dark cherry to sequoia to caramel, cashmere or bamboo, with glass options that stream light into your home, while providing privacy, too. With a polyurethane core, the Aurora is secure and energy efficient.
With so many choices available today, it makes sense to invest in your front door, and elevate the standard in your own neighborhood, Killeen says. "As the first physical point of contact with a visitor, your entry door really does signal the quality of your home."
For more information, call 734-714-5800 or visit manslumber.com.
This story is provided and presented by our sponsor Mans Lumber and Millwork.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.