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Passive house exterior door for reasonable price?

Has anyone come across an exterior door that provides good insulation and beefy frame that's worthy of a super insulated home but comes at a reasonable price? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Asked by Matthew Michaud
Posted Feb 4, 2013 8:46 PM ET


12 Answers

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I don't know about the beefy frame, but check out Hammer and Hand in Portland at
for their passive house door.


Answered by Manfred Winter
Posted Feb 4, 2013 9:33 PM ET


In case you didn't read it, here's a link to a recent blog by Alex Wilson on the topic: Seeking an Affordable Energy-Efficient Exterior Door.

Jesse Thompson in Maine is partial to Drewexim doors. I wrote about Drewexim doors here: New Green Building Products.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Feb 5, 2013 5:51 AM ET



What's your definition of a reasonable price?

People have built Passive Houses with Therma-Tru doors upgraded with multi-point locks: http://bilyeugreen.com/Projects.html
They've also built them with hand crafted insulated elegant wood doors which would likely be quite a bit more expensive (see H&H above).
As always in construction, reasonable varies tremendously depending on the person paying for the product.

Answered by Jesse Thompson
Posted Feb 5, 2013 8:46 AM ET


Jesse, got any additional information on using Therma-Tru doors with multi-point locks? Any particular model or type that performs well? I looked over one of the blogs from the link you provided but the info I found was scant.

From what I've seen of multi-point locking stateside, additional bolts or hooks are thrown, but they do not necessarily snug the door against the seal any tighter.

I'm searching doors myself right now, so any additional info would be really helpful. Many thanks.

Answered by Andrew Thompson Zone 3a
Posted Feb 5, 2013 1:30 PM ET


Which type of exterior door you are looking? One common type of exterior door has a steel skin with a polyurethane foam insulation core with a magnetic strip as weatherstripping. If installed correctly and not bent, this type of door needs no further weatherstripping.

Answered by Jenny Belman
Posted Feb 8, 2013 10:15 PM ET


Matthew, can you provide a more specific link? That one is rather generic. You would have to go through the whole website.

Answered by Aaron Gatzke
Posted Feb 8, 2013 10:44 PM ET


Sorry, I meant to address that last comment to Jesse.

Answered by Aaron Gatzke
Posted Feb 8, 2013 10:45 PM ET


Hi Matthew: Thorsten Chlupp, a builder in Alaska with the Cold Climate Research Center, has noted he fabricates his own high performance doors:
Doors and Thermal shutters are built from us in house, there isn’t anything like it on the market. ...Once the exterior doors are ready for production we will offer them commercially at one point – from R-20 to R-60, 7 lock points, airtight and thermal bridge free.…since I am just so feed up with the fact that you cannot buy a darn door anywhere in North America which actually works and functions in cold climates.
Thorsten's slide show at the 2010 Passive House conference describes his airtight, R-40 insulated core, fiberglass framed door on slide 63; Thorsten's contact info appears on slide 2: http://passivehouse.us/passiveHouse/2010_Passive_House_Conference_Presen...

Answered by Jan Juran
Posted Feb 8, 2013 11:43 PM ET
Edited Feb 10, 2013 4:16 PM ET.


Matthew, we have been very satisfied with the Passivhaus Certified Munster Joinery Doors sold here as Klearwall. We pay around $1500 for a full glass UPVC (futureproof) and about $2200 for a full glass alum exterior, wood interior (Ecoclad). For the price and quality, the Ecoclad is a real winner!

Answered by Adam Cohen
Posted Feb 9, 2013 9:20 AM ET


I contacted the builder that Jesse mentioned above and he was very helpful. I don't think he would mind if I share his insights, so here's the gist.

He uses the foam filled fiberglass doors, with a multi-point lock upgrade with shoot bolts and tongues--the tongues are tapered and as they engage they actually pull the door against the seal. He also does not like the performance of the standard door bottom, so he recommended using a compression sill (the kind usually used for outswing uses with the same kerf inserted seals as the jambs). This can be used as an inswing if the context is fairly protected from water.

Another interesting thing I found on the link/blog itself was an energy efficient doggie-door. Expensive, but seem to perform really well. When these guys blower-door tested said project they registered 0.26ach, and I believe that was with the doggie door installed on another door. Pretty impressive sealing all around.

Thankfully many green builders are friendly and generous with their insights. Hope this helps.

Answered by Andrew Thompson Zone 3a
Posted Feb 11, 2013 1:46 PM ET



Have you found a source for those compression sills?

We are under construction of a near Passive House and are using a combination of Intus triple pane glass doors for the entry to the screen room and out to the patio; and fiberglass doors for the front and mud room doors. We want zero thresholds for accessibility.

We've got the energy efficient doggy door on order for our mud room. (http://www.energyefficientdogdoors.com/Medium-Dog-Door-for-Door). I hope it's worth the price. The standard doggy door we have in our current home let's a lot of cold air in even though it has two flaps.

Answered by Elizabeth Kormos
Posted Feb 14, 2013 1:38 PM ET



I've made them myself in the past. This way I could pick the material and size it perfectly to my needs. The builder I mentioned above also told me that he has made them as well; he has a really simplified 2-part design that could be easily built onsite. Basically, one lower, wider piece is the threshold, and an upper, narrower piece acts as the stop. The upper also has a notch on one edge. When assembled ( screwed, glued, etc), the notch becomes a kerf that holds the weatherstripping.

I recall seeing on Therma-tru's site that they also offer this type of sill as an option, though you'd want to clarify that you want the sill to be used in an in-swing context (if that's your intention).

As I mentioned, I've seen them sold with out-swing doors, and I think I may have even seem them sold in wood and/or aluminum at the box stores. They also sell the weatherstripping in lengths suitable for doors. Hope that helps.

Answered by Andrew Thompson Zone 3a
Posted Feb 22, 2013 1:59 PM ET

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