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A black TruStile Traditional style entry door on a white brick house.

Front Door Buying Guide

Your front door serves as the first impression of your home. The style and color you choose can set a mood as people enter your home. The type of front door material you pick can impact your home’s energy efficiency and other things. There’s a lot to consider about buying a front door. Here are some things to think about when buying an entry door.

How to Buy a Front Door

When to replace a front door can come down to need if you have a damaged entry door. You can also decide to replace your door for a home refresh. Buying a new entry door means researching front door ideas, styles, and more. You can find plenty of front door information but there are some things you might not consider. Get started on buying an entry door with some of these tips.

Research Entry Doors

Front door replacement options include retailers, manufacturer dealers, or direct-to-consumer entry door companies. With Marvin Replacement you don’t have to worry about finding an installer. Our team handles installation so you can take the time to focus on other things in your life.

Front Door Styles

You have many front door styles to choose when shopping for an entry door. Front door trends change over time, so you might want a more traditional look. Your front door should match the architectural style of your home. Marvin Replacement offers a variety of entry door styles from TruStile®, a Marvin® brand. Choose from the following styles:

Front Door Colors

A front door color has a big impact on your home’s style and curb appeal. An entry door’s color should complement your home’s exterior color and siding. Your front door serves as a welcoming spot and certain colors conjure moods. Some colors have calming effects while brighter ones can imply energy. Other colors, like black front doors have classic appeal that don’t go out of style.

Pre-hung vs. Slab Replacement Door

When you work with Marvin Replacement for your front door replacement, we’ll help you determine if you need a pre-hung door or a slab replacement. Installing a pre-hung door involves more work. A slab door replaces an existing door.

Pre-hung Replacement Doors

Pre-hung replacement doors come with a frame included. That makes them great for older doors that might have some frame damage.

Slab Replacement Doors

Slab doors are the front door by itself. Usually they don’t include hinges, a frame, or a door knob. Slab replacement doors cost less than pre-hung replacement doors.

Types of Front Doors

Front door materials include: steel, wood, fiberglass, and aluminum. Each door material has its advantages and disadvantages. You might have a personal preference for an entry door material, too. Let’s explore each type of material.

Steel Front Doors

Steel entry doors offer strength at an affordable price point. They can mimic the look of wood if given an embossed wood grain. Steel doors have an inner frame of wood, or steel. The steel is usually a skin on the door. Steel doors with a baked-on polyester finish will need periodic painting. If a steel door gets dented or scratched, it must get repaired because it could rust.


Wood front doors have a classic look that many homeowners favor. They may need a little more maintenance though. The quality of wood entry doors can vary depending on the thickness and the type of wood used to build the door.

Fiberglass Front Doors

The strength and energy efficiency of fiberglass makes it an excellent choice for entry doors. Fiberglass doors can even look like wood doors with finishing options. They don’t need much maintenance and resist most dents and scratches.

Aluminum Front Doors

Aluminum doors come with many of the advantages of steel entry doors but at a fraction of the weight. Homeowners can customize aluminum doors. They also have comparable durability to steel front doors. Aluminum conducts heat more than other materials. That means it isn’t as energy efficient as other entry doors.

Front Door Considerations

When you’re thinking about buying a front door, you’ll want to consider a few things. You’ll have to decide on its handing. The type of glass you choose with a front door can impact your home’s energy efficiency. You’ll have to familiarize yourself with the glass options. Also think about your front door design. You might want to add a front door with sidelites or a transom window.

Handing: Which Way Should a Door Swing?

Handing is a way to describe how a door operates. The direction the door swings when viewed from the outside is known as its handing. Hinge placement determines a door’s handing. A left-handed inswing door has hinges on the left side. A left-handed outswing door has hinges on the right side. A right-handed inswing door has hinges on the right side. A right-handed outswing door has hinges on the left side.

Different climates can make the direction a front door swings important. In colder, snowier climates it’s best to have a front door that swings in. It can be difficult to open an outswing door when there’s a pile of snow in front of it. In windier climates, it’s best to have a door that swings out. Outward opening doors provide an added layer of protection to prevent a door from blowing into a home.


It’s important to consider glass options with entry doors. Glass affects door design and energy efficiency. Types of glass include tempered and laminated. Tempered glass breaks into little, dull pieces when broken. Laminated glass remains in place because there’s a plastic interlayer between two layers of glass.

There are also several Low Emissivity (Low E) glass options that can help with a home’s energy efficiency. Low E glass has microscopic metallic layers that help reflect heat. The layers can reduce heat entering a home. Certain types of Low E glass work better than others in different climates.  

Transoms and Front Doors with Sidelites

A transom window appears above a door and often pair with front doors. Transoms add natural light to your entryway and create more curb appeal. Sidelites appear to the sides of a front door. They can increase natural light and add elegance to your entry door. Sidelites with front doors often have privacy glass to obscure the view into your home. When you combine a transom window and entry door sidelites you create a warm, welcoming space for guests.


What type of exterior door is best?

The best type of exterior door depends on your preference and what you want most with a front door. Steel has great durability but might not have the charm and character of a wood door. Aluminum entry doors offer an affordable option. A fiberglass door offers strength.

What is the most expensive type of exterior door?

Wood doors can cost the most among front door materials. They can often come custom-made, which adds to the cost.

Can I replace an exterior door on my own?

Your front door plays an important role in your home’s security and energy efficiency. It’s best to have a professional install an exterior door. A professional can ensure it seals out weather and operates well.

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