Choosing the Right Entry Door

The entry door is a very important architectural element for any building, as from an aesthetic point of view it is one of the first things you notice. Security is key, so choosing quality materials and robust locking mechanisms capable of resisting intrusion are a must.

This guide will focus mainly on selecting entry doors for residential buildings such as housing and apartments but it will also look separately at entry doors destined for high traffic commercial and public buildings.

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  • How to choose the best entry door?

    Choosing the perfect entry door is crucial for any type of building, and there are specific elements to consider during your search that will help. In this guide, we’ll look at the criteria to consider when choosing an entry door, such as material, glazing, security, technical characteristics and design.

    The choice will depend on:

    • Material
    • Glazing
    • Security
    • Technical characteristics
    • Design
  • What material is best for an entry door?

    The most common material options for an entry door are solid wood, PVC and metal. There are a few points to consider for each material.

    Solid wood doors are favored for their natural beauty, robustness and longevity. They are often used for historical or period style buildings. They generally require more maintenance than other materials because they can be prone to swelling and shrinkage due to changes in temperature or humidity. However, they can be treated, sanded down and repainted or varnished. The grain pattern and technical characteristics such as density, weather resistance and thermal performance will vary depending on the variety and quality of the wood chosen.

    PVC doors require little maintenance and have high level of thermal insulation as well as weather and temperature resistance. They are available in a wide variety of colors, finishes and styles, including wood imitation finishes. However, they are generally more fragile and less secure than metal doors, often being easy to pierce or damage. fiberglass doors (aka GRP) possess many of the same advantages as PVC doors with greater robustness.

    Metal doors  offer high strength and resistance to piercing, ideal for entries requiring a higher level of security and low maintenance. While steel doors are stronger than aluminum doors, they are subject to corrosion, so less suitable for coastal areas or polluted environments. However, some doors may have finishes to reduce corrosion or damage such as powder coatings or hot-dip galvanizing. Aluminum doors are corrosion resistant, making them a low maintenance alternative to steel entry doors.  Many metal doors have insulated foam cores to improve thermal resistance.

    A number of manufacturers offer doors with a combination of materials to avoid compromise on design or performance. For example, a steel core door with a veneer finish combines the aesthetics of wood with the security of metal.

    OIKOS Solid Wood Entry Door

    OIKOS Solid Wood Entry Door

    HEROAL Aluminum Door

    HEROAL Aluminum Door

    JOSKO Composite Entry Door

    JOSKO Composite Entry Door

  • Should I choose an entry door with or without glazing?

    The main advantages of choosing glazed doors for residential entry doors is to make the most of natural light, check for visitors or to add visibility in common areas with frequent passage, such as the main entrance to an apartment block.

    While full glazed doors may be interesting for a collective entrance in a residential building, it is less common for individual apartments or housing because it offers less privacy and less protection against break-ins. It also can be costly to repair or replace full glass panels. If you choose full glazed entry doors, consider the importance of technical characteristics such as the thermal and acoustic performance. Also ensure that the security level is conform with regulations (robust glazing such as laminated or toughened glass with security certification may be required). Consider the impact that the material of the frame will have on the overall performance and longevity of the door.

    Semi glazed doors are a popular choice for individual housing or exterior apartment doors as they offer a balance between aesthetics, privacy, and natural daylighting.

    Doors without glazing are more frequent for interior apartment entry doors, or building entrances requiring a high level of security or privacy.

    COCIF Semi-Glazed Entry Door

    COCIF Semi-Glazed Entry Door

    BSD Entry Door

    BSD Entry Door Without Glazing

    DIBI Glazed Entry Door

    DI.BI. Glazed Entry Door

  • What security options are there?

    The choice of locking system and door composition can make a big difference to the security of your door against burglaries. Multipoint locking systems offer a greater protection against break-ins than a standard single point mortise or cylinder lock. Some doors may even offer versions integrated into the door leaf.

    Armored or security doors may have advanced locking systems, security hinges, metal cores and design features to make them more burglar resistant. For common entrances, the use of electronic locking and opening systems help prevent unauthorised entry and facilitate the passage of visitors. The choice between devices such as interphones, videophones and electronic keys may depend on the size of the building, number of residents and budget available.

  • Which technical characteristics are the most important for an entry door?

    The certifications and technical performance required for a door will depend on local regulations, climate and building use. Some of the most common technical specifications include thermal and acoustic performance as well as weather and fire resistance.

    The two most common thermal performance measures are the U-value and the R-value. U-value is measured in W/m²(K) and measures the heat transmittance (or heat loss) through the door. The lower the value, the better insulated the door. The R-value (or RSI value) is the opposite of the U-value and measures the thermal resistance of the door, so the higher the R-value, the better.

    The acoustic performance of a door is often rated by the weighted Sound Reduction Index (Rw) or the Sound Transmission Class (STC). For both measures, the higher the class or value, the better the sound insulation.

    Fire-rated doors are often rated by the number of minutes they can resist a fire, (for example FS20, FS30, FS60…). Entry doors in high security buildings, industrial environments or extreme weather conditions may require particular characteristics such as blast proof, anti-hurricane or bullet-proof ratings.

  • Which design and style is best for an entry door?

    When choosing the style of entry door, consider how it will fit into the existing architecture and surroundings and whether it meets local regulations. For example, doors in public areas or for historical buildings may need to respect certain proportions, materials and have a limited color palette.

    Consider the proportions of the architectural elements, the dimensions of the door opening available and the function. While there are a number of streamlined and modern door designs available, traditional paneled doors are still very popular. For large entries, symmetrical or asymmetrical double doors can be a practical solution when moving large pieces of furniture in or out. Door panelling and glazing can be configured to get the right balance between style and privacy, whilst creating an inviting and luminous hallway. While there are standard sized doors for more modest budgets, doors made to measure can meet security requirements and regulations without compromising on aesthetics or performance.

  • What are the entry door options for commercial or public buildings?

    Public or commercial entrance doors are usually subject to stricter regulations than residential entrances. Some of the criteria to take into account include the size and function of the building, maximum capacity, visitor flow, disabled access regulations, security required, as well as the style of the existing building façade.

    Popular types of door openings for larger commercial or public buildings include automatic doors such as fully glazed sliding doors, swing doors with automatic openers and revolving doors. While automatic sliding doors provide a rapid and welcoming entrance, revolving doors can help to prevent loss of heat from the constant opening and closing of doors and regulate the flow of visitors. Some high traffic buildings may even have a combination of these doors, to be able to adapt to the number of visitors and weather conditions.

    Glazed doors are often favored to increase visibility and entice visitors or potential customers inside, or to integrate with the building architecture. In order to take public safety into consideration, the quality of the glass often has to meet strict safety requirements, resisting vandalism, shocks or even bullets. On top of built-in security features, some commercial buildings may also require video surveillance or permanent staff to maximize the security of the building

    PORTALP Automatic Sliding Entry Door

    PORTALP Automatic Sliding Entry Door

    DORMAKABA Revolving Door

    DORMAKABA Revolving Door




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  • Afton Jackson says:

    I was really interested in the part of your article where you discussed double doors and how you can design them to be efficient and stylish. Glazing and paneling were things I did not think of when I was looking for a way to renovate the front of my house to make it look more impressive. If I can find a door contractor that can help me use these techniques to give my entrance a sparkling new look, I’ll definitely get them for the renovation project I’m planning.

  • It was captivating when you explained that aluminum doors are low maintenance since they are corrosion resistant. My friend is looking for the best material for their entry door. I think an aluminum door is the best option for him since he wants them to be low maintenance.

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