Doorways to Grandeur

According to a recent national home valuation study, an entry door with sidelights and a transom can add up to 6 percent to a home’s perceived value. And with the market’s incredible range of entryway options including architectural glass, customization capabilities and enhanced materials, installing an elaborate entry system in a home is simply a matter of budget and imagination.

The right entry system makes a grand first impression and sets the stage for both interior and exterior design themes. When the entry system is designed to complement exterior elements like window styles, it enhances curb appeal while offering privacy and protection. On the interior, the front entryway becomes a focal point that significantly contributes to the design theme of the entire home.

With the insurgence of massive doors in today’s market comes the concern of future maintenance of these enormous entryways. However, manufacturers have made such enormous strides in fiberglass and composite technology, the naked eye (and often bare knuckle) cannot discern between real wood and alternative door materials.

Grandeur of fiberglass
In the door industry, fiberglass is rapidly gaining ground for its dent resistance and low-maintenance characteristics as well as its ability to mimic the visual warmth of wood. As fiberglass holds an estimated 14 percent share of the door market, many manufacturers have integrated complete fiberglass entry systems into their product lines.

One fiberglass door manufacturer, Therma-Tru, recently introduced the Classic-Craft Mahogany eight-panel door promising the beauty, look and feel of an authentic wood door with the performance benefits of fiberglass. The molded open design allows for the option of a center arch decorative glass or solid eight-panel door. The company offers the door’s center arch glass in several styles with an optional matching center.

According to John Kufner, product line general manager, entry door systems for Therma-Tru, “As design trends evolve, we continually look for new styles for the entry that reflect these changing preferences.” Therma-Tru’s Mahogany door system emulates the grain of Honduran mahogany with intricate detailing and a surface that can be finished to further complement a home’s exterior design. 

Widely known for decorative interior doors, Trinity Glass also has entered the fiberglass door market. With the natural look of wood, Trinity’s new fiberglass door features unique wood grain textured patterns developed to withstand outdoor elements. The prefinished, textured fiberglass doors are available in light or medium oak finishes. 

Unfinished, textured fiberglass doors also are available, and can be stained or painted without the need for a stain kit. Trinity Glass also manufactures a smooth fiberglass door that can be painted with no prepping required. The company’s fiberglass doors are available in heights from 6 ft. 8 in to 8 ft., and are energy efficient and environmentally friendly with the 6-ft. 8-in. door meeting U.S. EPA Energy Star standards.

Kolbe Windows & Doors now offers fiberglass entry door units promising the look of a traditional wood door with the strength of fiberglass. Kolbe’s fiberglass doors are available in wood grain or smooth panel styles, and prefinished in a range of colors. Kolbe’s door line includes several decorative glass options to create a complete entrance system. 

Hurd Windows and Doors also has added a line of decorative steel and fiberglass entry doors to its product offerings. “Hurd’s entrance doors have the attention to detail and premium components custom builders demand, and the easy installation that every builder will appreciate,” explains Joe Herman, vice president, Hurd.

Herman says the top of the Hurd entry door line combines durable steel on the outside and beautiful wood veneer on the interior. “You get all the security of steel plus the richness of real wood so you can match your interior woodwork.” All of the doors are available with handcrafted decorative glass options to better highlight design themes and create an elegant entrance. The new entry doors are available in premium insulated steel, stainable steel, smooth fiberglass, textured fiberglass and steel with wood veneer interior.

Weather Shield has redesigned its entry door systems and added textured and smooth fiberglass to its product line. The new systems match the colors, sightlines, hardware finishes and cladding options of Weather Shield’s aluminum clad and wood window lines and patio doors. With this new offering, the company promises aesthetics and performance in a wide variety of price points. The doors are available in 24-gauge, high-definition steel, smooth fiberglass and textured fiberglass, primed or prefinished. Fiberglass units are available with vinyl or aluminum clad frames. Steel door frames are available with primed or prefinished wood, vinyl or aluminum clad frames.

Bringing this advanced technology to another important component in the entry system, Weather Shield now offers composite entry doorsills that are available on all the company’s entry doors. This unique composite sill resists swelling and rotting, and is designed to prevent trapped water from damaging the jamb. An internal weep system helps channel water away from the door to further reduce potential moisture damage. 

Heavy on light 
Increasing natural light in the home is becoming increasingly important to homeowners and begins with the front entry system. A well-planned entry is a central area for providing an abundance of light, thereby maximizing space and creating an inviting entrance. 

“Glass is especially popular to help customize and enhance a particular style and the possibilities are nearly endless — clear, colored, beveled, weave, ripple, rain, etched frosted, baroque — the list goes on,” says Shane Meisel, stile and rail door marketing manager, Jeld-Wen.

Jeld-Wen IWP offers simulated divided light (SDL) doors available in the Aurora Collection. The company’s custom composite door features the true divided light appearance with the added benefit of no maintenance, reduced seal failures and water resistance. “With a full composite door, we have designed a product without an ‘Achilles Heel,’ virtually eliminating the risk of problems that could mar its integrity,” says Kelly Reynolds, product manager, Jeld-Wen.

Simpson Door Co. has expanded its Craftsman Collection of entry doors to include new architecturally inspired glass options. Based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature design style, Simpson’s Craftsman Collection includes transoms and sidelights to match exterior door designs. The glass options feature geometric patterns of clear beveled, clear textured and cobalt art glass, set apart by black caming. The new designs complement existing Simpson Craftsman doors for flexibility in design, home décor and hardware selection.

The Trinity Glass fiberglass entry door systems are available in a complete selection of decorative glass for application according to architectural style or geographic region. Trinity’s Architectural Collection of glass designs includes the Hyde Park, Amore, Stellar, Onyx, Mission Pointe and River families. The Designer Collection includes Cabernet, El Dorado, Lily, Zephyr, Yellowstone and Duchess styles.

Weather Shield has added the extruded aluminum clad full radius door to its popular line of doors. The extensive array of color, grille and hardware options available is designed to assist builders and architects as well as homeowners who demand more alternatives. The durability of the door promises uncompromising durability and beauty.

Make a statement
Expressing personal style continues to be a priority in home design. Entry systems that once served the simple function of providing access to the home now bear the burden for expressing uniqueness. Today, most door manufacturers offer distinctive solutions with an array of products that deliver the desired level of flair.

“It’s tragic when you see a beautiful home that someone has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in and it has a cheap, run-of-the-mill front door,” says Jim Hackett of Jeld-Wen. “A door makes your home’s first impression. It should be a reflection of individual style and personality.”

While some homeowners don’t pay enough attention to the first impression their entry system makes, Hackett says many homeowners are now going to the other extreme. Redefining the meaning of “grand entrance,” hundreds of front door styles are now available and can be as elaborate as the imagination — and a person’s budget — allows. 

For a true one-of-a-kind entry door, TruStile offers TruClad metal doors. TruClad metal doors are built for exterior applications and feature the company’s exclusive TruBolt system. The TruClad doors contain true raw metal finishes that can vary from door to door and like any metal, time and weather conditions will alter the door’s overall appearance. The natural aging process will result in antique patina and oxidation. As a result, TruClad doors require polishing at least once every four months to maintain their original finish. 

Kolbe & Kolbe’s Ultra Series extruded aluminum clad raised panel doors combine the durability of aluminum clad exterior with the beauty of real wood interior. To ensure protection from harsh environmental elements, the door’s exterior is covered in aluminum cladding with a 70 percent fluoropolymer finish. The doors are available in 22 standard exterior cladding colors as well as custom colors. 

With such an incredible demand for individuality in home design, door manufacturers are responding with an unheard-of number of creative entry solutions, from classic to artistic. According to Jeld-Wen’s Shane Meisel, “Today, homeowners are looking for ways to set themselves apart, make their home individual and special, and a beautiful custom entry is a big part of that.”