Is a Wood Door Right for You?

Consult this handy list to see if a wood door makes sense for your house.

Is it protected from rain?
A wood door holds up best, and requires less maintenance, in a covered entryway. To be effective, that roof should project at least half the height of the door, including its sill and any overhead windows, such as the transom shown on the right. If the roof is 10 feet above the door's landing, for example, it should project 5 feet. Also, the roof's width should be at least 1½ times the door's.

Is it exposed to the sun?
Doors that bake in the sun for more than 4 hours a day will quickly lose their looks without routine care. Clear-coated doors must be recoated every one to two years, and painted ones require a fresh coat every five to six years.

Is the sill high enough?
It should clear a porch landing by 4 to 6 inches to prevent built-up snow or pooled rainwater from causing rot.

Is fire a concern?
Check your local building codes, particularly if you live in a place prone to wildfires. A few doors are rated to withstand 60-minute infernos.

How cold does it get?
Standard 1¾-inch-thick wood doors have an R-value of about 2.5, close to that of a double-pane window. That's far lower than a foam-filled fiberglass or steel door, but with tight weatherstripping you can boost its ability to stop air infiltration.
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