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Exterior Doors

Faulted1 | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I have the opportunity to have a front entry door to be made from walnut harvested several years ago from the present building site. I also have lined up a very good door maker with long experience and quality workmanship. Thermal efficiency is not his “thing”…

The question is: What products or techniques can we employ to improve the energy efficiency of a wood raised panel door?

Jambs, threshold, weatherstripping?

Incorporate thermal breaks?


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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    1. Make it as thick as possible.
    2. Install redundant weatherstripping; German entry doors include double rabbets at the edges to allow for triple weatherstripping.
    3. Install a high-quality adjustable threshold.
    4. Invest in high-quality multi-point locking hardware.

  2. user-659915 | | #2

    What Martin wrote, plus
    5. make sure the wood is thoroughly seasoned before final milling so that the door does not warp after fabrication, and protect it from sun and rain with a decent hood or porch for the same reason.
    6. In severe cold climates a draft lobby with a second door on the interior will greatly improve thermal performance.

  3. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #3

    A good storm door will protect the wood door and provide much better thermal performance.

    An adjustable threshold may not look appropriate for a handmade wooden door, so look into drop-down door sweeps:

    Will you have any glazing in the door?

    Instead of the standard 1 3/4" thickness, go for the less-standard 2 1/4". Use back-to-back raised panels with XPS or polyiso between panels.

    Don't forget the sill pan.

  4. gusfhb | | #4

    On my front door I installed door seals on all 4 edges. Anderson does this on their swinging patio doors and I think it will work better longer than most any sweep. You can also see it if it gets dinged up. If the door has a lot of rain on it[no or small overhang] you should put a drip block/flashing above the bottom so water does not pile up and drain inside.[Anderson uses a small angle bracket painted to match the door]

    I wonder if you might consider using the cool walnut for something truly interior. Solid wood panel doors need room to move and breath and don't really make a great insulating solution. Micheal has a good idea with the interior insulation, if you use euro door hardware you can go even thicker I think.

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