BUYING SMART

Whether you buy the door by itself or the entire door-and-frame system, keep these shopping tips in mind: For complete entry systems, be sure all components come from the same manufacturer. (Many systems are assembled by distributors with parts that might not mate perfectly.) Check that the weatherstripping seals properly and that the threshold interlocks with the bottom edge of the door. Look for low-e glazing on window units. For added security, some manufacturers offer glazing designed to resist break-ins. Decorative windows with real lead or brass caming cost more than ones with the fake stuff. High-quality steel and fiberglass doors have a thermal break — often a vinyl strip or part of the wood frame — that separates the inside and outside door skins. This prevents outside cold and heat from being conducted through the skin and frame, and frost from forming on the inside surface. Picking the right front door will pay off in smoother operation, less maintenance, and added energy savings. You'll also have an elegant entry that makes a great first impression for years to come.
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