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How to Choose a Pre-hung Exterior Door

An entry door must be sturdy enough to resist the elements and provide great insulation to the home. A pre-hung entry door, for that matter, is your best bet when it comes to insulation. Buzzle takes a look at the basic requirements to be kept in mind when choosing the right door for your home.
Tip to choose a pre-hung exterior door
A pre-hung door is nothing but a pre-finished door consisting of an engineered door frame called the door jamb, the door, and architraves―all polished and supplied along with locks and hinges.
Unlike a traditional door, a pre-hung door is easier to install as it arrives at the doorstep already built into the door frame. This automatically reduces the hassle of ensuring that the door measures exactly as that of the frame, which in turn, eliminates the need for a professional installer. Whether you decide to enlarge the entrance or simply replace a rotting door frame, choosing a pre-hung door is one of the best option you have in hand.

Given below are a few pointers to help you choose the right pre-hung door for your home.

Assess the Materials
Pre-hung doors come in a variety of designs, colors, and style options made of wood, fiberglass, and steel.

Wood: Unlike the slab doors that were widely used, a pre-hung door can either have a hollow core or solid core. The most popular choice for these doors is molded hardwood. While both types offer durability and security, solid-core doors offer greater sound-proofing properties. While shopping for prefinished wood doors, make sure to look for durable stains and clear finishes, such as polyurethane. Also pay attention to the detailing on the wood, the more intricate carving and molding on the door, the better the quality.

Steel Doors: When it comes to security and durability, you will agree there is no match for a steel door. Steel doors will definitely not warp and crack like wood or fiberglass, thus making them an ideal choice for exterior doors. Foam or corkboard is used to fill the hollow between the two frames that make the door. The surface of the door is either embossed to attain a wood-grain pattern, or is simply fitted with a laminated-wood veneer.

Fiberglass or Composite Doors: Literally maintenance-free and sturdy, fiberglass doors are the best choice for homes located in areas with harsh and humid climates. Like steel doors, fiberglass doors can be stained to mimic a wooden texture. The framework of a fiberglass door is made from wooden stiles and rails filled with an insulation made of polyurethane-foam.

Door Dimensions
When we talk of door dimensions, it is imperative that you measure the size of the existing door as well as that of the pre-hung door you plan to buy. Do make it a point to measure the front door opening end to end, including the frame area, or else you will end up reducing the actual entrance area. Ideally, the pre-hung unit should be an inch smaller in terms of height and width, compared to the opening itself.

Understand the Core
It is the core material that provides rigidity, fills the space between the two door frames, and also significantly reduces druminess. Basically, pre-hung doors are classified into three types on the basis of their core material.

Hollow-core: Hollow-core doors are made from hardboard with either a smooth or molded surface. It not only resists swelling but also shrinking, besides, it also provides the look of wood-paneled door on a budget. These doors are light and easy to handle, making it a popular choice for interior doors. Security wise, this should be your last option as the honeycomb-core makes it very easy to break down the door with a few kicks.

Solid-core: Solid-core doors are essentially filled with wood fiber or corkwood that help muffle sounds and withstand extreme weather. These doors offer better insulation against heat loss. Also, they are denser and eventually last longer than hollow-core doors.

Solid-Wood: Heavy yet reliable, there is no comparison when it comes to a solid-wood door. Apart from being an excellent sound muffler, it is definitely a good insulator. Remember, wood is prone to swelling and shrinking as per changes in the humidity level, which is why you need to take extra care to ensure it lasts for a longer period of time.

Accents that Highlight
Apart from their functional purpose, exterior doors or entry doors as they are known, serve as a statement or accent for the home. A customized entryway can be achieved with either sidelights, glass panels, grilles or transoms.

Finish Options
You can choose between primed, painted, or stained exterior doors. You can ask for various finish options to find one that will complement your home. Do make sure to inspect the finish before making a purchase.

Energy Efficiency
Entry doors have to be tested and certified for energy efficiency, way before you make a purchase. The doors ought to have tighter-fitting frames, energy-efficient cores, and double- or triple-insulated glass panels to reduce heat transfer in case of sidelights.

Installation Matters
Installing a pre-hung door is not as easy as it may seem. Weather proofing, leveling, and insulation are some of the core concerns that affect the overall look of the door. That said, unless you are an expert, it is recommended that you take the help of a professional or ask the local home center for a referral while installing the pre-hung door.

The price range for each of the different doors will vary according to design, finish, material, and accents you choose to do up your entryway. Before you make the purchase, do not forget to visit the store, and also compare the prices at different stores.
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Published: January 30, 2014
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