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If you're a creative homeowner, you are always looking for unique ways to stand apart from the crowd. Here's an easy and effective way to boost your home's curb appeal: upgrade your front entry door.

Now is a great time to replace your door – and make a huge impact to the look of your home.

"During the 1950s, and up until the 1980s, what the front door looked like was not important to most people. The door was for security, and to keep the weather out," says Jeff Pagnier, millwork department head at Mans Lumber & Millwork in Trenton and Canton. "Now, along with granite countertops and upscale kitchen cabinets and landscaping, the front door has been elevated to a new level."

Replacing your entry door is a decision that won't just enhance the look of your home, it's a smart financial move, too. A recent report from Remodeling.com found that homeowners can expect a nearly 97% return on their investment of a new entry door.

Your new door's material is an important part of your design choice. If your home has a large covered front porch, and you love the authentic wood look, a solid wood door may be on your list.

But if can't see yourself committing to the annual maintenance a wood door requires, you don't have to settle for second-best. Get to know the Aurora from JELD-WEN IWP. It's a fiberglass door, hand crafted from a true hardwood mold to retain the classic wood grain of mahogany, oak, or alder.

Through the creative use of artisan building techniques of the boating industry, combined with polyurethane finishing methods from the automotive industry, JELD-WEN has developed the highest quality fiberglass door in the industry, and it's backed by a lifetime warranty.

Trusted by builders, loved by homeowners

Experts like Dan Korody, owner of D&D Construction Management in Grosse Ile, recommend the Aurora from JELD-WEN IWP for its durable performance, and a rich look that is virtually indistinguishable from solid wood, even up close.

"I use the door in my work because the quality is second to none, and the finish is second to none," says Korody. "There are unlimited options available, and even the standard options allow you to create a unique, custom look for your door."

Korody especially likes the three-point locking system on the JELD-WEN Aurora that secures the door in its frame at three distinct points upon closure. "It's very secure, and energy efficient because it holds the door into the weather stripping like no other system," Korody says.

Making the quality choice

Homeowners who love custom choices and appreciate high quality and great value choose JELD-WEN doors, says Mark Frick, partner with The Frankel Organization, a Keego Harbor based custom home developer with a half-century of experience.

"The JELD-WEN door is so consistent with its quality, and the finish is always second to none. It's always so beautiful, it draws you to it," says Frick. "It's a very different door from some of the others we could use."

Designers and builders also love the JELD-WEN door for its manufacturing consistency, and ease of customization, Frick says. "Designers always have a specific look in mind, and they may start with a catalog, and change it according to their vision. With JELD-WEN, it's as easy as sketching your desired look and they send shop drawings back. When the door comes, it's just like the shop drawings."

Setting the trend

When you're looking for an entry door to suit your home perfectly, it helps to have that level of customization. Clean lines and solid doors, enhanced by transom lights and sidelights are current trends, and aesthetically pleasing on the front of the home. "We are seeing the sidelights and transoms all painted a solid color, allowing the door to be a focal point," says Frick. "This sets it apart, and the door really pops."

In addition to a midcentury-inspired look, rustic and old world designs are popular trends for entry doors. "Lumber, doors and trim are often textured to give a character that makes the door look old," says Pagnier. "If you are interested in the rustic look, certain textures work very well, and distressing is very common now."

Don't forget your new door's many hardware options. A JELD-WEN door outfitted with a best quality Emtek lock, knob and deadbolt will complete the look for your unique home. "Most clients now are selecting bronze or brushed nickel, blending their choices with their light fixtures and even faucets. The highest end homes are moving toward polished nickel hardware," says Korody.

A comprehensive ordering process makes each JELD-WEN Aurora arrive with just the right finish and hardware, making sure everything is right the first time. "It's a very detailed process, taking into account the sill, the hinge, the wood species, and they are very helpful with color samples so you can be exact," Korody says, adding that it's imperative to work with an experienced ordering professional familiar with this line of door product.

"The sales people at Mans Lumber are really good with this," he says.

Treat every door to quality

A carefully curated look will include not just the front entry, but the side, rear and garage doors, too. Consider each entryway's purpose and perspective when choosing just the right doors.

"For certain, the front entry is of the most concern, but some clients like all of their doors to make a statement," says Frick. "The door from the garage can match the interior theme, or even be another design focal point." A custom wood door stained on the exterior, but painted to match or contrast with the interior doors can add additional depth to your personal aesthetic – or a way to have some fun with color.

A great door, expertly installed

Whatever your choice, make quality your top priority, our experts say. "Decisions often revolve around a budget," says Pagnier. "If you live in your home for 20 years, you may need to replace your doors or windows twice, instead of just once, if you choose lower quality products. Some folks like to leave a legacy, and are concerned with doing things the right way, rather than doing something that just costs less."

Finally, complete your selection by choosing the best professional to install your door. "When a door is installed well, it closes and latches beautifully," says Frick. "It doesn't rub or make a strange noise."

It makes sense that a door that has not been installed correctly will require more service throughout its lifetime, and won't ever create a perfect seal when it is closed, says Frick.

"You can definitely tell when a door has been installed by an expert who understands the entire door system."

Find your perfect entry door, plus expert advice on customization and installation at Mans Lumber & Millwork. Contact them at 734-714-5800 or visit manslumber.com.

Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.

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