The front door to your house is the first significant impression for visitors and guests when visiting your home. Your entrance door makes a powerful statement. The entrance door must look as beautiful as it is strong, and unless you are a very skilled do-it-yourselfer replacing an entrance door is best left up to the pros. And the answer is Yes – to the question, do I need a permit to replace my front door?
When selecting an entrance door in South Florida, one must first consider the weather. Constant rain, tropical storms, hurricanes, and the scorching sun require you to select a door that will stand up to the harsh elements. Your entrance door should be impact-rated, so you are ready for potential hurricanes, which frequent South Florida.
What does it mean for an entrance door to be impact rated?
A hurricane-rated entrance door, also known as an impact-rated entrance door, is tested for specific wind code requirements. Broward, Miami-Dade Counties, and Coastal Palm Beach County are located in a High-Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ). These areas have been designated to have potential wind speeds of over 140 mph when a hurricane makes landfall. Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida in 1992, which prompted new building codes to be put in place to protect homes against such storms. Impact-rated entrance doors are tested to withstand minimum wind speed for the buildings’ exposure and structural type. The wind load rating is the amount of positive or negative air pressure exerted against the door without causing it to fail. Entrance doors are also impact tested to withstand flying debris generated by a hurricane. All entrance doors and windows must be impact rated and meet local building code requirements to receive insurance discounts.
Best Materials for Front Doors
Entrance doors come in many materials, but like anything, there are pros and cons.
Fiberglass is a cost-effective choice and today’s fiberglass doors do an excellent job of mimicking the look and feel of a wood door. Fiberglass doors need little maintenance and provide a higher insulation value than a wood doors.
Steel doors provide excellent strength and security. Steel doors neither expand nor contract, which means they operate smoothly all year long. In addition, steel doors today can be made with decorative panels that mimic the look of high-end wood doors. On the downside, a steel door can be dented and, after time, can corrode when exposed to the elements. Surprisingly steel doors can be the most affordable option.
Today, an entrance door made with hurricane-rated impact glass is a popular choice, which gives the home a modern, contemporary look. Opaque, impact-rated glass is most often used on an entrance door, which allows the light to enter the house, but makes it impossible to see through. Impact-resistant laminated glass is used for entrance doors. Although the glass may crack when hit by wind-borne debris, a glass impact door is designed not to fail and compromise the envelope of your home in the event of a hurricane.
Nothing beats the look and feel of an authentic wood door. However, entrance doors made of wood can be a challenge for South Florida. Wood doors tend to warp, rot, or crack after being exposed to the elements, but your wood door should last for many years with proper maintenance. If you desire a wood door for your South Florida home, you will also need shutters to protect the entrance in the event of a storm. There are fiberglass doors design to beautifully mimic the look of a wood door that might be a good option.
How do I choose a front door style?
The best thing to do is carry the style of your home through to the front door. A typical ranch-style home in South Florida may have several design elements that lend themselves to a wide variety of entrance door options. A couple of popular trends in South Florida are glass front doors which give the home a modern, clean look and lets in a lot of light. Rustic wood doors with decorative wrought iron hardware laid over the door’s glass are often selected for Mediterranean and Spanish-style homes. Adding a bright, intense color to the entrance door can make it pop, but if you have a traditional home, the best look is a subtlel color selection that complements your home’s base color.
Just as critical as the door itself is having your door correctly installed following the manufacturer’s instructions and adhering to local building codes. Proper installation is crucial for impact-rated doors, so you do not incur a catastrophic failure in the event of a hurricane. Professional installation will guard against leaks and ensure years of smooth operation.
What separates impact doors from regular doors is beefed-up hinges and frames necessary to stand up to hurricanes. In addition, impact doors will have multipoint locking systems, which lock at multiple points along the frame. Selecting the best handle set depends on the style of door you choose, the home’s architectural design, and what matches the door’s hinges and threshold. Exterior handle sets can be made from brass, bronze, stainless steel, or wrought iron. For double entry doors, you will need two handle sets – one for each door. One is active and locks and unlocks the door, while the other one is inactive.
An impact-resistant door gives you an added measure of security. Often thieves break the glass on front, sliding, back, or garage side entry doors to gain access by reaching through in order to open the door from the inside or kick the door in, but that is virtually impossible with a properly installed impact-resistant door.
GM – Door, Window & Screen offers a tremendous selection of styles, sizes, and colors to fit every exterior door need, including a wide selection of impact decorative glass doors.
Call the pros at GM- Door, Window & Screen when it comes time to replace your entrance or any exterior door. We offer quality and great value. Selecting the perfect front door can be an overwhelming task, but our expert staff will guide you through the process, from choosing the ideal door to your final installation. We have our own in-house team of installation professionals who will ensure the job is done right. We are family-owned and operated and have been in business since 1968. Give us a call for a Free Estimate – (954) 797-0797.