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Add Beauty and Security to Your Home with a New Entry Door

By Gates Dearen

Photo Credit: facialaestheticsurgery.com
Could your home use a facelift?

One of the easiest ways to update your home, and add curb appeal, is to change your front door. According to the website www.energy.gov: New exterior doors often fit and insulate better than older types. If you have older doors in your home, replacing them might be a good investment, resulting in lower heating and cooling costs. If you're building a new home, you should consider buying the most energy-efficient doors possible.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to have a beautiful glass-paneled door but were afraid that wasn’t an option in Florida, with our hot and sometimes severe weather. You may be surprised to find that whether you prefer a solid or glass-paneled door, there are many choices available that will make your home more secure as well as more visually appealing.


Appearance
"Garden District" of New Orleans. Ho...Gone are the days when entry doors were boring and mostly similar in appearance. Today’s options range from wood planks to vibrant solid colors to beautiful stained-glass inlays, allowing you to distinguish your home and make a personal design statement from the outside in. Should you choose a fiberglass option, you needn’t stick with the drab look of the past. New coating technology gives doors the look of real wood at a fraction of the price.

Should you choose a door with glass, there are several important elements to consider: style, light, and privacy. Style is limited only by your imagination, as most reputable installers/manufacturers will work with you to design a door that is uniquely yours. From the choice of metal framing your design – bronze, brass, and wrought iron, to name a few – to the color(s) used in the glass, if any, the end product will truly be one of a kind. How much light do you want to let in through the glass? This is measured on a scale from 1-10, with one being completely transparent and ten being opaque. Think about what time of day sunlight will come through the glass and what is in its path. Among the reasons you might want to go with more opaque glass would be less furniture and carpet fading, if either of those items is affected by sunlight coming in through the front door.

Security
Unless you have recently updated your entry doors you’ll find that security options have improved since your current door was installed. When thinking about security, think beyond the door itself. Look for fire-rated doorframes, high-performance hinges, secure and weather-resistant thresholds and astragals, and of course high-quality locksets. As for the doors themselves, look for impact and fire ratings, as well as long-term warranties. It’s also a good idea here in Florida to choose a door that will stand up against severe weather. Well-made glass doors maintain safety by protecting the design between two panels of tempered safety glass. This type of glass is less likely to break, and if it does, it shatters into granular chunks which will minimize the risk of injury.

Weather Protection
Barbara may 30 2007 1705ZWhen you think about safety, your first thoughts may be of human intruders, but you should also consider the dangers posed by weather, especially wind and rain. If your home’s entry door hasn’t been updated for a while, it may be vulnerable to water and air leaks. During a storm is not the best time to discover this! It’s important that your door is solid and that any glass within it is secure. Weather stripping and thresholds should fit snugly; if you can hear wind whooshing through, your home is susceptible to wind and water damage. For more detailed discussions of this topic, check our previous articles, “How Do You Check for a Leaky House?” and “Can Storm Windows and Doors Protect Your Home from Natural Disasters?”

Energy Efficiency
No matter what kind of entry door you choose, solid or partly glass, it’s important to ask about energy-saving options. Low-e glass is one such option. Low-E glass is made with a thin, invisible metallic coating that blocks heat flow. A proven energy saver, Low-E glass reduces air conditioning costs by reducing solar transmissions in the summer. In the winter, it reduces heat loss to the outside and allows solar energy to pass inside. Mentioned above in the Weather Protection section, weather stripping and thresholds are important aspects of energy-efficiency too. If air is leaking out of, or into your home, you might as well be throwing dollars in cooling and heating costs out the door! Referring again to the www.energy.gov  website, weather stripping on your entry door should be checked annually to be sure it is in good repair.

For most of us, the entry door is not only the door we use most often, but it’s also what our guests see first upon arriving at our home. With a little planning, you can have a front door that reflects your personality and at the same time protects your home and saves energy usage and money.

In this article we explained the benefits of updating your entry door, including improved appearance, security, weather protection, and energy efficiency. We also mentioned some tips for choosing new entry doors, as well as for keeping your entry door and weather stripping in good repair.

Look for this logo when considering your new r...
Gates Dearen is the co-owner of HomeRite Windows and Doors in Jacksonville, Florida. Owners Dearen and Richard Walden have been serving the building products industry in Florida for over 25 years. They know the products, the industry, the market and what adds great value to a home. Their approach is a somewhat different than others. They strive to match the homeowner with the right windows and doors for their home and budget. They know that home improvements projects can be a hassle. They strive to make the process pleasant with first-rate, energy efficient products; affordable prices; and expert, award-wining installers that employ the best practices and who respect your home as if it were their own. 

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Can Storm Windows and Doors Protect Your Home from Natural Disasters?

From his vantage point high above the earth in...
Photo Credit: nasa.gov
By Gates Dearen

Our recent brush with hurricanes Arthur and Bertha may have made you wonder whether your house was ready for hurricane season. If your windows or doors rattled, or if you heard wind whooshing through – or worse, saw rain coming in – it may be time for some updates. Rain and wind are obvious troublemakers, but have you thought about the UFOs (unexpected flying objects) that might come barreling through your yard – and straight for your windows and doors – in the midst of the storm? Such objects cause millions of dollars in damage every year (and take many lives), either because they weren’t secured prior to the storm or because homeowners had old windows and doors that were not impact-resistant. Hurricane season lasts until November 30, and late summer/early fall storms are historically stronger and cause more damage than early summer storms. If you haven’t already safeguarded your home against hurricane damage, now is the perfect time.
Impact Single Hung Windows

Safe Windows
If you think that taping your windows will keep your windows from breaking, think again. According to the U.S. Government disaster preparedness site www.ready.gov, those in areas at risk for hurricane damage should cover windows, an unsightly option, or install windows made of impact-resistant glass. The latter is a better choice because these windows are more attractive and do not have to be taken down in the winter and put up again in the summer, as do outdoor window covers.

If you do choose to replace your windows and/or sliding doors, look for the AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association) label and the National Fenestration Rating Council certification. These organizations have high standards for quality and their seals of approval carry a lot of weight. Next, do your research on both the company and the product. Has the company been around for a while? If so, that’s a good indicator that they’ll still be around if you need them in the future. Do they have customer testimonials? If they’ve done a good job for other customers, they’ll likely do a good job for you too. How is the impact-resistance of the windows created? Ask if there is a layer of poly material between the panes of glass. These types of windows and sliding doors not only keep out wind and rain, but also protect your home, and its occupants, from wind-blown debris.  Impact-resistant windows and sliding doors have the additional benefit of being more energy efficient than their non-impact-resistant alternatives.

Safe Doors
When it comes to hurricane safety, you may have thought more about your windows and sliding doors than about your entry doors, but in some cases entry doors have nearly as much glass as sliding doors or windows. In such cases, it’s equally important to choose impact-resistant glass. You may be surprised to find how many options are available to you in impact-resistant, weather-resistant attractive door glass. Whether you prefer etched glass, a stained-glass look, or blinds-between-panes, you can find whatever suits your taste, made with glass that will protect your home and keep your family safe. Additionally, most glass panels for entry doors that have been crafted to resist impact also have a Low-e coating which allows sunlight in while keeping heat out, helping to conserve energy and prevent fading of carpets and furniture.

English: upvc patio doors 
For all doors, glass or not, a good fit is crucial. No matter how good the materials, if your door does not fit properly, it will not keep out the weather. Make sure the weather stripping is in good condition and that it seals tightly when the door is shut. Check that the threshold meets the bottom of the door with no gaps. This is also a good time to see that your garage door closes tightly and doesn’t rattle or buckle in the wind; consider reinforcing your garage door to prevent flooding or structural damage.


UFOs - Unexpected Flying Objects
Storms can come up quickly in Florida, and we don’t always have notice. If you’ve lived here for any length of time, chances are good that at least once you’ve looked out your window and seen something flying across your yard. With hurricanes and tropical storms, though, we usually have at least a little warning. One of the best ways to keep your windows and doors – and your entire home – safe is to secure loose objects in your yard, or bring inside whatever you can. Items such as outdoor furniture, yard tools, and grills can become dangerous missiles when propelled by high winds. This is a situation where a small amount of effort up front can save a lot of trouble down the road.

Window and doors really can protect your home – and your family – from a natural disaster. With a little planning and “refortification” on your part, your doors and windows can work with you to keep the weather where it belongs: outside.

In this article we’ve explained how your windows and doors can help to protect your home in a hurricane. We’ve also given some tips for securing items outside your home to prevent them from damaging your home’s exterior, windows, and doors.

Gates Dearen is the co-owner of HomeRite Windows and Doors in Jacksonville, Florida. Owners Dearen and Richard Walden have been serving the building products industry in Florida for over 25 years. They know the products, the industry, the market and what adds great value to a home. Their approach is a somewhat different than others. They strive to match the homeowner with the right windows and doors for their home and budget. They know that home improvements projects can be a hassle. They strive to make the process pleasant with first-rate, energy efficient products; affordable prices; and expert, award-wining installers that employ the best practices and who respect your home as if it were their own. 

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