Buying a Front Door: Find the Perfect One for Your Home

The front door is often the first impression guests have of your home, and it sets the tone for the rest of your house. A beautiful front door can make a statement about your personal style and taste, while a worn or outdated one can detract from the overall look of your home. Selecting the right front door is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. Let’s talk about some tips for picking out the front door of your home!

Think About Security First

Besides the aesthetics, front doors are primarily crucial for home security. According to the DOJ, a home burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the United States – nearly 5,000 per day! A strong, sturdy front door can deter potential burglars and intruders from attempting to break in.

The front door lock is a massively important factor in keeping your home safe. While it’s obvious to make sure that the lock functions properly, it’s also vital to choose one that provides maximum protection against forced entry.

If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, consider investing in a bulky front door that is “impact-proof” in case of a hurricane or tornado. 

While picking out the paint color of your front door might be more fun, you can’t forget about security so that’s why I wanted to mention it first!

Front door buying guide robinrainsinteriordesign

Front Door Buying Guide

Here are some tips for buying your first front door. I’ll cover everything you need to know when buying a front door for your American home.

How Much Does a Front Door Cost?

When purchasing a new front door, the costs can vary widely depending on the material, design, and features you opt for. Basic steel or fiberglass doors can start as low as $200 to $300, offering a cost-effective option with decent durability. 

If you want intricate designs and high-end materials like solid wood or doors with specialized glasswork, prices can soar up to $3,000 or more. Adding in the installation costs, which range from $100 to $500 depending on the complexity, you might find the total expense stretching anywhere from $300 to $3,500. 

Don’t focus on just the initial price tag but also the long-term value. Energy efficiency, security features, and the door’s longevity play a crucial role in determining the overall worth of your door investment.

Types of Front Doors and Materials

There are various types of front doors to choose from based on the material, shape, and opening method you prefer. Here are the most popular types of front exterior doors!

Wooden Doors

Often considered the classic choice, wooden front doors are prized for their natural beauty, versatility in design, and warmth. Hardwoods like oak, mahogany, or walnut are commonly used, offering both sturdiness and elegance. They can be carved with intricate designs or kept simple and are easily stained or painted to match a home’s exterior.

Arched Doors

Arched front doors feature a curved or rounded top, creating an arch shape that adds elegance and architectural interest to the entryway. Often associated with traditional and Mediterranean-style homes, these doors can be found in various materials, including wood, iron, and glass. The graceful arch design offers a timeless aesthetic appeal, making arched front doors a popular choice for folks seeking to add character and distinction to their house facade.

Fiberglass Doors

These doors offer a great balance of durability, insulation, and style. Fiberglass front doors are resistant to rot, rust, and dents, and they can be designed to mimic the appearance of wood or other materials. They are also energy-efficient, helping to keep your home’s internal temperature regulated.

Steel Doors

Known for their superior security and durability, steel front doors are ideal for prioritizing safety. They resist warping, and cracking, and are less susceptible to wear and tear. Though they may not offer the aesthetic appeal of wood, steel doors can be coated with finishes that imitate various textures and shades.

Aluminum Doors

Lightweight and resistant to rust, aluminum front doors are often custom-built to fit the exact specifications of an entryway. They can be painted or anodized to achieve different looks and are known to be low maintenance. Their cost tends to be higher due to custom fabrication.

Glass Doors

Whether used as the primary material or incorporated within another type of door, glass can add elegance and let in natural light. Glass front doors can be customized with different transparency levels, patterns, or even stained glass to create unique aesthetics. They are often paired with other materials to ensure proper security and insulation.

Composite Doors

Made from a combination of materials like wood, PVC, insulation foam, and glass fiber, composite doors aim to offer the best features of their constituent parts. They are designed to be strong, energy-efficient, and aesthetically appealing, providing a versatile and modern option.

Pivot Doors

Pivot front doors are a type of entry door that swings on a set of pins or pivots, instead of traditional side-mounted hinges. The pivot points are usually located at the top and bottom of the door, allowing for a wider and more dramatic opening. Known for their modern and sleek appearance, pivot doors provide a bold architectural statement and are often used in contemporary home designs.

French Doors

Consisting of two doors that open outwards or inwards, French front doors provide a sophisticated and open entrance. They often feature large glass panes, allowing natural light to flood the interior, and work well in homes that favor a classic or romantic aesthetic.

Dutch Doors

A charming option, Dutch front doors are divided horizontally in the middle, allowing the top and bottom to open independently. This design provides versatility and a traditional appeal, often found in country-style homes.

Iron Doors

Known for their ornamental designs and incredible strength, iron front doors make a grand statement. Often used in Mediterranean or Spanish-style homes, they provide excellent security while allowing for various artistic expressions.

Common Front Door Sizes

Front door sizes typically follow standard measurements, although custom sizes can be made to fit unique entryways. Here are the most common front door sizes for residential homes in the United States:

Single Doors

Standard Size: 36 inches wide by 80 inches tall. This is considered the most typical front door size for homes, offering a comfortable passage for most people and large objects.

Other Common Widths: 30 and 32 inches. These narrower options may be used in homes with limited entry space or for secondary exterior doors.

Double Doors

Standard Size: 72 inches wide by 80 inches tall (two 36-inch doors). Double doors are used to create a grand entrance and facilitate moving large objects in and out.

Other Common Widths: 60 and 64 inches, consisting of two 30-inch or 32-inch doors respectively.

Door Heights

While 80 inches is the standard height, doors may also come in 84 inches and 96 inches, especially in homes with higher ceilings or for a more dramatic appearance.

Doors with Sidelights

Sidelights are narrow vertical windows flanking the door. When adding sidelights, the entire assembly including the door and sidelights might range from 48 inches to 60 inches or more for a single door, and even wider for double doors.

Additional Aspects of Front Doors

There are a few additional features of front doors that you can consider when picking the right front door for you.

Front door buying guide windows Philip Mitchell
Philip Mitchell

Windows, Sidelights, and Transoms

Front door windows, often referred to as sidelights or transoms, can add both aesthetic and functional value to a home’s entrance. Windows in or around the front door allow natural light to filter into the entryway, creating a bright and welcoming ambiance.

Sidelights are the window panes on either the left and/or right side of a door. Transoms are horizontal windows that are installed above the front door.

Whether it’s through elegant stained glass, frosted designs, or simple clear panes, windows provide an opportunity to create a unique and attractive focal point.

Should the front door have a window? It depends. Some homeowners appreciate the ability to see outside without having to open the door. However, windows can compromise privacy, especially if they are clear and large. If privacy is a primary concern, consider using frosted, tinted, or patterned glass that obscures visibility without blocking light.

Windows may present a security risk if they are large enough to allow access to door locks or if they are constructed with easily breakable material.

Door Knobs/Handles

Door knobs and handles for front doors come in myriad styles. From classic brass to sleek stainless steel, there are options for every taste and budget. A simple knob may suffice for some, while others may prefer a more ornate handle with intricate details.

If you have a modern home with clean lines and minimalist design, opt for a simple handle with sleek finishes like nickel or black matte. For traditional homes with detailed architecture and furnishings, consider a more decorative knob made of brass or bronze.


Choosing the right lock is crucial to ensuring the security of your home. Deadbolts provide an added layer of protection against unwanted forced entry by securely locking the door into place. Look for double-cylinder deadbolts that require keys on both sides for maximum security.

Smart locks such as the Latch Smart Lock allow you to remotely control access to your home through an app on your phone. They can be programmed to unlock automatically when you arrive home or lock automatically when you leave.

Ultimately, the type of lock you choose will depend on your lifestyle and level of security needed. Consult with a professional locksmith or contractor if you aren’t sure which lock is right for you.


Doorbells serve as an important communication tool between visitors outside and residents inside. Options include wired systems that require installation by an electrician or wireless systems that can be easily installed by homeowners themselves.


Intercoms are a popular modern front door feature that allows for two-way communication between visitors and strangers. Some models include video feeds, allowing you to see who is at the door before answering. This added level of security can provide peace of mind, especially for people with young children or elderly family members living alone.

Front Door Manufacturers

The front door industry hosts several prominent manufacturers. Here’s a look at some of the big names in front door manufacturing:

  • Andersen: A well-known name in windows and doors, Andersen offers a variety of styles, materials, and customization options. Their doors are renowned for quality construction and energy efficiency.
  • Pella: Pella is another significant player in the door manufacturing industry, with a reputation for crafting high-quality wood, fiberglass, and steel doors. They provide various design options, including both traditional and contemporary styles.
  • Therma-Tru Doors: Specializing in fiberglass and steel entry doors, Therma-Tru is credited with pioneering fiberglass doors that offer the look of wood without the maintenance. They have become an industry leader in innovative design and energy-efficient products.
  • JELD-WEN: Offering a vast selection of doors in various materials, JELD-WEN is known for its affordability without compromising quality. Their product line includes options for almost any architectural style or budget.
  • Masonite International Corporation: Masonite is recognized for its interior and exterior doors, made from materials like wood, fiberglass, and steel. They emphasize innovation and design flexibility, catering to both residential and commercial markets.
Front door buying guide LongandLong Design Granada Drive
Long and Long Design Granada Drive

Where to Buy a Front Door

When it comes to buying a front door, there are several avenues you can explore to find the perfect fit for your home. Here’s where you can purchase a front door:

Big-Box Retailers

Home improvement stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards offer a wide variety of front doors in standard sizes and styles. These stores are great for immediate availability and competitive pricing. You can browse both online and in-store to find something that suits your needs.

Specialty Door and Window Stores

These are local or regional stores that specialize in doors and windows. You can find these by doing a Google Maps search for door stores in your hometown. They typically provide more personalized service, custom options, and often have in-house experts to guide you through the selection process.

Manufacturer Showrooms

Some major front door manufacturers have showrooms where you can view and purchase their products directly. This option often allows for more customization and expert guidance in selecting the right door.

Online Retailers

Websites like Wayfair,, and even Amazon offer a wide array of front door options that can be delivered directly to your home. This option provides convenience and often a vast selection, but it might be more challenging to gauge the quality without seeing the door in person.

Custom Door Builders

If you’re looking for something truly unique or need a door in non-standard dimensions, custom door builders can craft a door to your exact specifications. You can often find these craftsmen through local searches, recommendations, or by consulting with architects or designers.

Architectural Salvage Yards

For vintage or antique doors, architectural salvage yards can be treasure troves of unique finds. This option might require more effort in terms of restoration and fitting but can result in a truly one-of-a-kind entrance.

Home Shows and Expos

Attending local home and garden shows or construction expos can introduce you to various vendors, including door manufacturers and custom builders. These events often provide opportunities to see products in person and take advantage of special show pricing.

Lumber Yards

Some local lumber yards carry a selection of doors or can order specific doors from various manufacturers. They can be a good source, especially if you need guidance on materials and construction.

Don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance if needed, especially if you have specific requirements or need a door that complements your home’s unique architectural style.

Front Door Installation

Front door installation is a multifaceted process that involves careful planning, precise measurement, and proper execution to ensure functionality, security, and aesthetic appeal. Here’s a general summary of what you can expect during the front door installation process.

Selection and Measurement

The process begins by choosing the right door based on your home’s style, budget, and functional needs. Precise measurements of the existing door and frame are critical to ensure that the new door fits perfectly.

Removal of the Existing Door

The old door and frame (if needed) are carefully removed. This may involve unscrewing the hinges, taking out the door, and then removing the frame without damaging the surrounding structure.

Preparation of the Opening

The door opening is then prepared for the new installation. This may include leveling the threshold, fixing any damage to the surrounding area, and possibly adjusting the size of the opening if the new door’s dimensions require it.

Open In vs. Out

Should front doors open in or out? Most front doors in the US open inwards to the home allowing residents to walk into their home and shut the door easily behind them. This is the opposite of commercial doors which by law must open outwards into the outside to allow for quick evacuation in the event of a fire.

Installation of the New Door

The new door is installed, starting with the frame (if it’s pre-hung) or by fitting the door into the existing frame. Care is taken to align it properly so that it is plumb and level.

Securing and Insulating

Once the door is in place, it’s secured with screws or nails, and any gaps are filled with insulation to ensure energy efficiency. This may include applying weatherstripping around the edges.

Adding Hardware

Door handles, locks, and other hardware are then installed. This includes ensuring that all elements are aligned correctly and that the door opens, closes, and locks smoothly.

Final Adjustments and Finishing

Any final adjustments are made to ensure the door operates seamlessly, and finishing touches are added, such as painting, staining, or applying a protective sealant. All debris and old materials are cleaned up, leaving the area neat and tidy. Often, the installer will inspect the work and possibly conduct a walkthrough with you to explain the features and care instructions.

Front door installation is a precise task that requires attention to detail and expertise, especially if the door is a non-standard size or includes complex features like sidelights. While it is possible to undertake this as a DIY project if you have the necessary skills and tools, most people opt to hire professionals to ensure the job is done correctly!

Decorating the Front Door

Decorating your home’s front door is a wonderful way to express yourself and create a welcoming entrance to your home. The decor can be changed seasonally, for holidays, or simply to match your home’s overall aesthetic. Here are some popular ways people decorate their front doors:

Front Door Paint Colors

Painting the front door in a bold or contrasting color can make a significant impact. This allows the door itself to become a decorative feature and can be coordinated with other elements like flowers or hardware.

In the United States, popular paint colors for front doors often include classic and timeless shades like deep red, navy blue, and rich black, as these colors tend to complement a variety of home styles.

The most popular paint colors really depend on the region you live in. Drive around your neighborhood and make a point to look at other front doors to get a sense of what your area prefers.

For a more contemporary and bold statement, especially in tropical climates, people opt for bright front door hues such as turquoise, bright yellow, or lime green.

Neutrals like gray, taupe, and white remain favored choices for understated elegance or a more versatile option that easily blends with most exterior color schemes.


Wreaths are a classic front door decoration. Front door wreaths can be made from flowers, foliage, fabric, or various themed elements. Wreaths can easily be customized for seasons, holidays, or personal tastes.

Welcome Signs

Personalized signs or plaques with family names, house numbers, or welcome messages add a personal touch and can be styled to fit various themes.

Common Front Door Design Questions

Here are some common questions people ask when designing their front door look.

Matching the Front Door and the Garage

Should the front door and the garage door match? Matching a front door with your garage door can create a cohesive and visually pleasing exterior, providing a unified look that complements the overall design of the home. However, it’s not a strict requirement, and some people prefer to have contrasting doors to create interest or highlight architectural features.

Matching the Front Door and Shutters

Should the front door and the shutters be the same color? Having your front door and your shutters in the same color can create a harmonious and well-coordinated appearance, contributing to the overall curb appeal of the home. However, this is not a strict design rule, and contrasting colors can add uniqueness while highlighting specific architectural elements of the house.

Matching the Front Door and Trim

Should the front door match trim? Matching the front door with the trim can lead to a cohesive and elegant exterior look, especially if you want the door to blend seamlessly with the home’s overall design. However, using a contrasting color for the front door can make it a standout feature, adding character and charm.

I hope you found this information about front doors useful! What would you like us to add to this front door buying guide? Let us know in the comments!

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