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Shutting the Door on Cold Weather

February 8, 2011 - 11:52am

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A few months ago, the front door of my condominium cracked. One too many careless slams cracked the wood right at the bolt, which made it difficult to close, let in cold air, and made it easy to break in. Not a good situation, especially since winter was about to begin! Fortunately, my storm door was working just fine.

Since I live in a condo complex, my decision on how to choose a new door had a bit of added complexity. I needed to consider things such as:

  • What type of door would be accepted by the condo association board if I couldn't find a match to the old one
  • Which type of door would be best for my needs
  • How much I wanted to spend on the door + installation costs, and how it might affect resale value
  • Whether I needed to include additional weatherstripping
  • How the appearance of the door would affect the aesthetics of the front room it opens into.

My first step was to find an ENERGY STAR®-qualified door. These types of doors have higher energy performance ratings and are designed to insulate better than non-qualified models. I did some comparison shopping online and found several types of qualified doors that would meet my needs, including wood, fiberglass, and steel. In my case, I had to have some sort of solid door (no built-in windows) so it wouldn't be too different from the others in my complex. Too bad, because I'm a big fan of using daylighting in my home!

I quickly removed the wood doors from my list simply because of price (I wanted to keep my total costs under $500). Steel doors were on the bottom end of the price range, but after researching them on a consumer product review site I decided against it because they are more susceptible to dents and scratches. That left fiberglass, or rather fiberglass-lined models. The price was right, the board approved the design, and I was on my way to buying my new door.

I purchased a model with etched paneling that, while very basic in design, still looks far more attractive than the dark wood door it replaced. Fortunately, the installation also included weatherstripping. I could run my hand along the frame and not feel cold air seeping through. I was delighted!

Find out more about how you can save energy and money at home by installing energy-efficient windows, doors, and skylights.

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