Choosing the Best Front Door for Your New Home

Yellow front door

The joy of buying a custom-built home is getting to choose every feature and finish that goes into that house. But that can also be the struggle of custom-building a home: When you get to pick and choose everything you want, it's easy to get decision fatigue, or to become overwhelmed by your abundance of choices.

If you run into this problem when choosing a front door for your home, the best thing you can do is simplify your decision by choosing your door one feature at a time. To help you navigate this tough choice, we've broken down the process to help you narrow down your front door options.

Common Types of Front Doors

If your home is already built and you're only looking to replace your front door, you probably aren't looking to change your front entry with a dramatically different type of door. But when you're building a custom home, you're working with a clean slate—and a number of types of entry doors may be on the table.

Common front door designs include:

  • Traditional front door. While you have a lot of options regarding the material and design of the front door, a traditional door is the most common choice for a front entry, offering both convenience and affordability.
  • Oversized front doorway. Oversized front doors may be preferred for a number of reasons, especially if you want your home to be wheelchair accessible. Oversized doors also make a stronger impression from the street—particularly when they feature a bold paint color.
  • Double-door entries. A double-door approach is much more grand and won't leave people cramming themselves inside your front entry. This type of door can be very striking visually, and with proper installation it can still offer excellent insulation against extreme temps.
  • Custom designed doors. If your front entry is going to feature an unorthodox shape, such as an archway, you will likely need your front doors to be custom-made to fit the opening.

What's the Best Material for a Front Door?

After choosing the style of your front door, the next step is figuring out what that door will be made of. Each material option brings its own advantages and drawbacks to be considered when you make your decision. While the "best" material is often in the eye of the beholder, materials you may want to consider include:

  • Fiberglass. Fiberglass doors are durable and moderately priced, and they can be painted or stained. They also require minimal maintenance compared to other doors, although their practicality may cost you any fancy design flair.
  • Wood. Wood doors offer a quality of appearance that other materials can't match, and they're more easily repaired than fiberglass and steel when they become dented. However, they're also the most expensive type of door material, and wood doors require a lot more maintenance than other front door options for your home.
  • Steel. As the cheapest option, and one that offers great security and durability, steel is a very popular material for your front door. But their durability against weather tends to be less than other types of doors, and small dents and scratches are difficult to fix—and can lead to rust if they aren't touched up.
  • Glass. While glass is combined with one of the aforementioned materials, and typically functions as an accent material more than the primary front door coverage, you should decide whether you're comfortable with a front door that uses glass, and what your preferences are in terms of clear glass vs. frosted or other decorative glass types.

What are the Best Front Doors for Security?

If security matters a lot to you, you'll want to take this point of emphasis into account when choosing front door styles and materials. For example, glass-front doors are rarely the preferred option when home buyers and builders place a premium on security: the glass is too easy to break and gain entry into the home.

While steel and wood are typically viewed as the more secure materials, and a traditional front door is more secure than a double-door entry, keep in mind that a lot of different factors affect how secure your front door is, including the door frame itself and the door handles, bolts, locks and hinges used on your door. When prioritizing security, make sure all of these elements are supporting the security and structural integrity of whatever door you choose.

How to Choose a Door for Your Home

Ultimately, the choice of which quality front doors are right for your home comes down to a personal decision. Each homeowner must balance their personal style preferences with their budget, their existing door frame, and other criteria and constraints to choose the best entry doors for their situation.

Keep in mind, too, that the door itself is just one aspect of your front door's curb appeal. Paint color and front door decor also play key roles in beautifying your front entry.

If you're struggling to choose a front door for your new home, consult with a home designer to review your options, weigh the pros and cons of different doors you're considering, and settle on the best option that suits both your needs and your personal style.