May 2012: Doors
Doors symbolically make a big statement for many homes as they welcome all into the interior of dwellings. When adding or replacing a door the following are some things worthy of consideration. If connected to a garage, they should be fire-rated with spring load hinges. One should determine whether the opening should be increased to be handicap accessible. In some cases there may be an opportunity to add a sidelight or top transom. Some other considerations would be depth of wall for jamb extensions, swing, height limitations and need for a predrilled deadbolt. In some cases a high end storm door can offer either direct solar gain when the primary door is left open or a dedicated cross ventilation pathway.
On east and north-facing sides, glass should be kept to a minimum unless for practical reasons. West and south-facing locations should be considered for winter gain or overheating during summer months. Though steel doors may have a high R value, they don’t perform very well because of their conductive surface even if they have an internal thermal break. Also, steel doors will dent and tend to rust as seasons roll by. On the other hand, fiberglass doors perform very well and can be painted or stained to match any decor. Hinges are usually reinforced, but choose one with an adjustable threshold and insulated glass with low E coating. Solid wood core doors are rather pricy and will require additional maintenance over their life span.