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Community and Q&A

Any good entry doors out there yet?

Ryan Griffin | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

Hi,

We’re almost done with our Minneapolis energy retrofit, but I still haven’t come up with any good entry and side door options. The home is framed with 2×4″ walls, and there is also limited side to side clearance to add a more substantial European frame.

That said, I would like to find something that’s available in triple pane glass. My preference is to use as much glazing (24X60″?) in the doors as possible, provided it’s still secure. They face southeast and southwest, so I’d like to take advantage of winter solar gain and natural lighting on the small house. We will use shading to prevent unwanted summer gains.

Finally, I want them to look great. I’ve heard entry doors are one of the best investments for curb appeal. Most of the homes in our neighborhood have either beautiful natural wood or brightly painted doors, so I’m looking for something that fits the bill there. Fiberglass is fine as long as it looks good.

So, is there anything out there that reasonably meets these needs? American made is preferable, but not mandatory as long as I can get just a replacement door without hacking the house apart to install it. I’d be happy with R-5, but would prefer even higher insulating and air sealing if available. I’ll gladly pay more than a Home Depot door, but need to keep price within reason as well.

Thanks,
Ryan

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Replies

  1. Nate G | | #1

    See if these guys have any dealers in your area: http://www.proviaproducts.com/entry-door

    Their doors aren't cheap. Expect to pay $2k or more.

  2. User avatar GBA Editor
  3. Nate G | | #3

    I question the cost-effectiveness of these crazy superdoors. I recently replaced two exterior doors with Home depot polyurethane-filled primed steel doors for about $170 each. They're maybe R-5, and they have nice beefy weatherstrips. No drafts. If I had spent ten times more, I could have gotten doors with maybe double the insulation and perhaps slightly better air sealing. The payback for the increased marginal costs was in the centuries. Let's not forget that each of these doors is only like 20 square feet of wall area. It's not going to kill your energy budget to go with insulated steel or especially fiberglass, especially if the cost to upgrade to the next level amounts to ten or twenty times more money. A much cheaper option is to simply add a nice storm door.

  4. Kevin Dickson, MSME | | #4

    I'm with Nathaniel G on this one:

    I found, for example, a triple pane leaded glass door from HD for $668.

    The spam filter won't let me post the link, however.

  5. Kevin Dickson, MSME | | #5

    Feather River is the manufacturer

  6. User avatar GBA Editor
  7. Nick T - 6A (MN) | | #7

    I can see the payback of being more of a comfort and durability issue return- if the exterior door is near living space (not part of a mudroom or large entry way area). If near living room it could provide an easy source for cold drafts, cold interior surface temperature both of which will create comfort issues (even at decent thermostat temperature setpoints)

    Also with a majority of the day in the winter being dark...and cold.... a cheaper door will have issues with frosting, condensation....this frequent freeze/thaw cycles can further weaken seals and window over time. Probably a minor issue... (especially at the cost savings.... you can replace it if it somehow failed)

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