Fiberglass is durable, long lasting and easy to care for. Many styles are available.
A closed door piques our curiosity; an open one welcomes. But a masterfully designed door does much more than lead the way inside — it commands attention. Designers have long known how high-quality, dramatic doors can not only boost a home's market value, but also evoke a bygone era and express your personality. Homeowners typically focus their attention on front doors, but we caution not to neglect other passageways to architectural bliss. That's why we're covering all the other doors in your home, including interior and garage doors, with special attention to the backdoor because they make just as much of a style statement — inside the home and out. Here's a guide to a few of our favorites.
Selecting the Right Door
Exterior doors can provide a preview of what's inside or completely contradict a home's interior; either way, they should be somewhat consistent with the exterior design, particularly in the front. Consider a door's practicality first and foremost, especially when outfitting a garage. How tall and wide is your vehicle? Carriage doors are beautiful, but they may not meet local building codes. Insulated doors are a necessity for multifunctional garages such as workshops. Wind, humidity and extreme temperatures can cause corrosion and will damage any door on your home that's ill equipped for harsh weather. Style decisions include everything from panel design to wood species to windows — tempered glass inserts, sidelights and custom carvings add character.
• Insulated glass resists extreme temperatures and conserves energy.
• Low-E glass is energy efficient and wards off ultraviolet rays.
• Aluminum is affordable, but not as durable or energy efficient as other materials.
• Particleboard is high-density, resists warping and is more fire-resistant than wood.
• Solid woods such as pine, mahogany and ash are sturdy and elegant. Knotty alder creates a casual entry; cherry looks rich and refined.
• Steel doors are available in virtually every size and take paint beautifully. Although highly energy efficient, steel can be easily dented.
Styles We Love
Easy to open and close, pocket doors became popular in Victorian homes at the turn of the 20th century, closing off sitting rooms and dens with large entryways. Space-saving pockets eliminate door swing by sliding into a hidden compartment of an adjacent wall, but because installation requires frame construction and extra space, pocket doors may not be practical in all homes.
Doors constructed with wooden slats called louvers increase air circulation in laundry rooms and closets. False louver doors mimic the real thing in design and appearance, but air- and light-tight slats ensure complete privacy. While structurally weak, louvered doors evoke Southern charm in plantation-style or quaint country rooms and add drama to verandas, covered porches and private balconies.
A wall of glass opens like an accordion to create an open-air vista between your great room or bedroom and the outdoors. (These also come as individual sliding systems where panels slide into a wall similar to pocket doors.) Frames come in wood, aluminum and aluminum-clad wood as well as an array of colors, finishes and configurations to fit the style of your home.
Glass-front garage doors are a modern way to make the most of daylight. Their simple lines and semi-transparent panels bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor spaces. Typically cased in aluminum alloy, firehouse frames are durable and weather-resistant. Operation is rarely a problem for these lightweight doors, which open and close easily.
Authentic carriage doors swing out to open, reflecting their 18th-century function as the original garage for horse and buggy. Modern homeowners don't have to compromise convenience, though. Although the style is decidedly traditional, contemporary carriage doors are constructed from weather-tight, durable materials for use far beyond the stable, and will slide up automatically.
Reminiscent of simpler times, multipurpose Dutch doors invite sunlight and cool breezes without full exposure to the elements. Their farmhouse functionality once kept animals out of the home; nowadays, the door's split personality lets you chat with neighbors or safewatch kids. Bolted together, the two sections become a standard door.