They are the gateway to your home, but unlike other gateways such as the Gateway to the West (St. Louis), exterior doors get about as much publicity as the corner of a basement where sunlight never shines. However, the gateways to your home do several things that you often take for granted.

The exterior door experts at ETO Doors have compiled a list of factors you should consider before buying your next set of gateways to your home.


Brad Oberg, who works as the chief officer for an engineering and architectural consulting company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says weather is the most important factor to consider when choosing exterior doors. “The first thing to look at is how much weather the door will be exposed to,” Oberg said. “You have to look very closely at the durability of the material and the quality of the weatherstripping system to make sure the door will hold up and keep air and water out.”

However, it is not just moisture that impacts the structural integrity of an exterior door. Other weather elements come into play, such as strong winds and extreme temperatures. You will find exterior door manufacturers that claim their exterior doors are weather resistant. As we are about to see, a weather-resistant door must contain the right material for it to be truly the right exterior door for the climate where you live.


Yes, weather and durability are linked doorknob to doorknob when discussing how to choose the right exterior door for your home. However, durability can also involve other elements when it comes to discussing the best exterior doors.

We have not discovered a study that provides data on how many times the average exterior door opens and closes each day. It is not only the frequency of closing exterior doors, but also the velocity at which they slam shut. You might have heard the phrase as a child, “Don’t slam the door so hard.” The reason for the admonition is exterior doors do not come cheap. Between the cost of materials and the job of installing them, a new single-frame exterior door can run up to $2,000.

Durability is much more than withstanding a change in the weather. It also is about withstanding the daily pounding it takes from every member of your family.

Visual Appeal

You can place the coolest-looking Welcome mat at every exterior door and not get a mention from any of the guests to your home about their visual appeal. The reason is the first thing people notice when they walk up to your home is the exterior door.

After you account for weather and durability, the visual appeal of an exterior door is another important factor that helps you decide which exterior doors to install for your home. This is especially true for the front entry door, as it is one of the features of your home that drives curb appeal.

Although not a number that is easily calculated, curb appeal refers to the value people place on your home based on visual features. The front door to your home is one of the most important features that determine curb appeal. You can install a front entry door that complements the other exterior design elements or opt to go with a door that presents its own unique and visually appealing appearance.


Nothing matters more than the security of an exterior door to protect you and your family from unwanted guests. You certainly want to install an exterior door that cannot be kicked down, even if the kicker is a close relative of Bruce Lee. Other security features to consider include the lock that keeps the door closed, as well as the bolt that connects the door to the frame installed on the opposite wall.

Advanced technology has linked door security to other smart home features. You want to install exterior doors that do more than prevent a potential thief from kicking in the foundation of the door. Door security in 2021 and beyond is also about integrating the locking mechanism to other smart home security features that include an alarm system and a backup mechanism to prevent an exterior door from being forcibly opened.

What Materials Make the Best Exterior Doors for Homeowners?

Is buying new exterior doors a choice that involves juggling priorities? For example, do you have to sacrifice visual appeal to install an exterior door that provides the ultimate security? Three materials give you the flexibility to cover most, if not all of the bases when it comes to considering the factors involved in choosing exterior doors.


A steel entry door offers you the strongest type of door that provides decades of durability. Steel also presents an attractive glossy appearance that can make a home glow under the midday sun. With all the bases covered for selecting an exterior door, what is the one issue that can make a homeowner hesitant about installing one?

The answer is steel doors can turn an inviting home into a home that looks like a cell block at Fort Leavenworth Penitentiary.

If the exterior of your home is mostly designed with wood, steel entry doors can clash with the more natural features of the wood. Even fiberglass exterior features can clash with steel. The answer to this dilemma is to install steel entry doors in every location other than the front entrance to your home.


As the winner of the award handed out for visual appeal, wood also can be a good choice to fend off Mother Nature. However, you have to treat wood at least one time a year to prevent heat and moisture from changing its visually appealing composition.

“Wood doors work best when installed in a protected area,” Oberg stated. “Unless they’re under an overhang or located in a shaded area, the homeowner will have to perform a lot of maintenance, and warping will be a problem.”

As a general rule, consider installing wood exterior doors that have rugged moldings, as well as wider and thicker stiles and rails than your average wooden exterior door. The highest-quality wooden exterior doors contain panels that measure as much as 1-3/8 inches thick, as opposed to the standard size of 3/4 of an inch thick.


Mostly maintenance-free, fiberglass possesses the toughness to withstand many Duluth, Minnesota winters. You can find fiberglass exterior doors that reflect the aesthetic appeal of wood doors. Fiberglass doors typically come with the longest warranty of any other type of exterior door, with the cost of installing one running between $200 for a standard door to nearly $4,000 for a fiberglass exterior door that includes a full entry system to bolster security.

“Entry doors are a major aesthetic portion of any house,” Oberg emphasized. “And in smaller homes, it can also be a major part of the ventilation system. Take the time to research the products.”