How to Select Your Custom Doors and Windows

Beautiful Outdoor Balcony


When building or renovating a home, one of the features often left as an afterthought are the doors and windows of a home. Beyond aesthetics, people have this preconceived notion that a door is a door and a window is a window — so they go with whatever might be in stock. But custom doors and windows offer customization options unmatched by those you can find on store shelves. The versatility in their design provides so much flexibility that you can create the exact look you want in a home.

Before going this route, however, planning will be critical. You must make several important decisions before their design, construction, and installation.


Settle on a Budget

Like any other home improvement project, settling on a budget is always a good starting point for choosing the right custom doors and windows. Custom window systems range anywhere from $350 to $4,000, depending on the size, design, materials, and manufacturer. Custom doors often come with a higher price tag, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Again, this will depend on the size, design, materials, and manufacturer. Now, it’s just a matter of crunching the numbers to get an idea. Remember, however, that you’ll also be paying for the installation. Expect these rates to fall between $40 and $60 an hour.


Decide on the Scope

With the price of custom doors and windows being higher than a stock door or window, it isn’t uncommon for homeowners to take a “phased” approach to such a project. Perhaps your budget may only allow for ten custom replacement windows at this time, and then you’ll do another ten and the front door the following year. Maybe it’s just replacing the windows on one side of the home (south side, typically) due to weathering. The scope depends on your budget and the condition of your windows and doors.


Determine the Style

Style isn’t just about selecting custom doors and windows that best complement your home — though that, too, is essential for curb appeal. The style also involves other factors, chief among them windows being their mechanism for opening. You’ll want to determine whether you want double-hung (i.e., one pane sliding over the other), casement (i.e., open with a crank or knob), picture (i.e., large and usually non-opening), and so on. With custom doors, style mostly comes down to your aesthetics. You won’t be dealing with decisions around their opening mechanisms beyond hinges, pulls, locks, and other hardware. Determine whether you’re looking for Craftsman, Mid-Century Modern, Arched, Dutch, etc.


Choose the Materials

Choosing the materials is just as it sounds. What do you want your custom doors and windows made of? With custom doors exterior options, there’s plenty to choose from wood, fiberglass, steel, iron, and so on — each of which has its own pros and cons. Wood doors, for example, are generally dent-resistant, energy-efficient, and sound-resistant. They also tend to look better than other doors. However, they do require regular maintenance and cost more.

On the other hand, steel doors are secure, durable, and cost-effective but can dent and scratch. And much like an automobile, your options for fixing any damage are somewhat limited. For custom window replacements, you’ll choose from some of the same materials: Wood, fiberglass, aluminum, vinyl, and composite. Vinyl is temperature-resistant but, depending on construction (and installation), can be prone to water intrusion at the sills and jambs. Wood protects against heat loss but comes with more upkeep.


Review the Glass Options

Glass is glass, right? Not by a long shot, especially when it comes to custom replacement windows. You’ll want to determine whether to go with single-, double-, or triple-pane windows. The more panes, the more energy-efficient the windows will be. They’ll also come with a higher price tag. Other options include coatings, protectants, gas-filled (especially important for larger custom window systems), and so on. Also, check the u-value of the windows, which measures heat loss, and their solar heat gain coefficient, which will tell you how much heat will enter through the glass.

As with anything that relates to your home, there will be other decisions to make. These are generally the most important ones, as the manufacturer will likely have additional questions for you to consider. Get a few quotes, look at their previous work, and go with a reputable provider.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact our team at Lancia Homes. We’d be more than happy to provide you with more information on windows and doors and other features to consider when building or renovating a home.