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The Marling Blog


Selecting an Exterior Door

Your front door reflects the style of your home but it also says, “welcome” and tells people a little bit about your personal style. It is the center point of the public’s first impression of your home. 

If you are working on a budget with your building or home improvement needs, consider ordering your entry door first because of the important first impression it makes. Sales associates at Marling Lumber can talk to you about wood versus fiberglass versus metal doors as well as specifics about glass. 

Here’s some information about trends and styles, Remember, if you’re in love with shaker or Tudor style, unless your home’s style reflects that, you shouldn’t pick a door style that clashes with the general style of your home. 

Popular Exterior Door Styles

Traditional Doors - this classic style is pretty standard. It features raised panel inset in the door, anywhere from two to 12 and there may also be glass inserts with decorative scrollwork or colored panels. This style is usually available in wood, fiberglass or metal and since they are considered standard, they can usually be installed without a lot of modifications. 

Craftsman Doors - this is a very popular style now for cottages, cabins and even entry doors for spacious estate homes. Made of wood or fiberglass, Craftsman style means straight clean lines with a Shaker-inspired look. Some Craftsman design details would include a window at the top of the door. The squared-off top window could be stained glass or panes of glass outline in black or wood frames. At the bottom of the door are two or three rectangle raised wood panels. 

Some Craftsman style doors also feature a large glass insert. The insert may let in a lot of light, but if your home is in an urban setting with lots of traffic, privacy might be a concern. Modern style doors have sleek, straight lines similar to the Craftsman style, but there is a more minimalistic look. If the door has panels they are blocked or square. Glass in a modern style door does not have decorative insets or scrollwork but is usually frosted or translucent. Hardware is minimalistic. 

Rustic or Farmhouse Doors are currently popular and pair nicely with homes that have a façade of stone, brick, or wood. They can be arched or have cross wooden beams that marks the farmhouse style. They are thicker, heavier doors with hardware to match.

Arched Doors, of course, have an arch, and they fit a variety of home styles from traditional to Craftsman. Although they have loads of charm and appeal, they are more often than not special order so care must be taken that they are measured properly. And remember, special order doors may have a longer lead time.

Industrial Doors made of black steel or copper doors are popular on the coasts, but they are heavy and they do hold the heat. A variation of this style is a steel door with a glass panel to the side to lighten the look, but still carry through the industrial style. 

What’s Trending

Bigger doors are trending with cleaner lines and lighter use of panels and molding. Before a 10-foot door was normal, now, a 12-foot is. Making a statement with a painted door, navy or a warmer red shade, is also in style. Bear In mind, if you tire of the color or you decide you just don’t like it - you can always re-paint it, but with hardware and glass panels - “just re-paint it” is a lot harder than it sounds.

Pivot doors are also becoming popular, but they are not suited for all parts of the country, including the Midwest. A pivot door is a large-scale floor to ceiling door that pivots open on an axis instead of from wall-mounted hinges. Not too practical if there is a snow drift outside the house. Unexpected elements are also trending - things like asymmetrical glass panels, heavier hardware or dimensional wood patterns.

Other Door Options

For interior doors, clean lines are the rave, while taller doors are falling out of favor. Doors used to be white or stained, now painted doors, including painted the same color as the walls, are trending. 

More people are using multi panel sliding patio doors to bring the outside in and larger sizes such as 12 foot by 16 foot are being produced and used. 

Sliding barn doors, because of their versatility as well as the fact they take up less space since they slide rather than swing open, are still popular and there are more and more hardware manufacturers coming out with lines suitable for sliding barn doors. 

Confused? Don’t worry, the sales associates at Marling will help you sort through the styles and options. Some brands to choose from include: Seal-Rite, Therma-Tru, Waudena, Masonite, Simpson and – to compliment that exterior door – how about a screen door from Larson?

Learn more about exterior doors here.

Seal-Rite Classic Craft American series door

Therma-Tru American Style Shaker door

Masonite VistaGrande door

Simpson Bungalow series door




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