It goes without saying that doors and windows are important to the functioning of any home. The doors provide security and safety, which are both vital to the comfort of the home’s occupants. Windows let in the light and provide ventilation and insulation.
In addition to their practical purposes, doors and windows can also be bold design statements; exterior doors can be warm and inviting while also being sturdy and secure. Windows can be fully transparent or frosted and opaque. Pacific Green Homes will help you with the choice and installation of any doors or windows you need for your home.
Door Design Choices
Exterior Door Safety
When it comes to exterior doors, safety and security are the primary concerns. When choosing a door, use the following guidelines to keep your home and everyone inside it safe.
- Choose a solid material – A door with a solid wooden core is good enough to withstand forceful impacts. Metal and fiberglass are also good options. If you want the safest possible option, then choose a reinforced steel door. Note that this kind of door requires extra maintenance to prevent rust build-up.
- Avoid, minimize, or reinforce door windows – If the window is close to the lock, then an intruder can smash through it and access the lock. Avoid this by choosing windowless doors, or doors with reinforced glass. You can also place decorative bars over the windows for extra security.
- Deadbolt Installation – A deadbolt makes breaking through a door much more difficult. A secondary deadbolt that can only be opened from inside the house is also a viable option.
- Frame and door jamb reinforcement – These elements are often overlooked but they can be reinforced to provide extra security. Ask your installer about how they can be augmented.
- Sliding doors safety – Make sure that they are made from reinforced glass or hard plastic. Also, rods or dowels should be placed in the track to prevent them from being forced open. You can also install motion or vibration sensors to sound an alarm in case the glass does get broken.
Exterior Door Design
Safety is important but there is no reason to neglect design. A good looking door adds curb appeal to the home and can highlight other design elements of the house. There are several stylish and safe door designs from which to choose.
- Painted doors – A simple paint job is sometimes all that is needed to revitalize an old door. If you are painting an old door or choosing a new door, then consider a color that contrasts with the house. This adds contrast and highlights the color of the door and of the house.
- Doors with glass panels – This is a classic design because the glass brings in light that brightens up the entryway. The glass can be mirrored or frosted if privacy is a concern. It should also be reinforced for safety.
- Pivot doors – Instead of using standard wall mounted hinges, these floor-to-ceiling doors open on an axis. This is a great choice if you want an interesting, bold style, if the door is very heavy, if door jambs are not possible in a certain location, or all of the above.
- Steel atrium doors – These doors are made of steel and have glass panels. They stand out but the steel limits color selection and they are quite heavy.
- Metal doors – These kinds of doors are available in a variety of materials, like black steel, stainless steel, and copper, and they have a bold, industrial look. They can be expensive, but the all-metal design also provides privacy and security.
- Dutch doors – These are divided, horizontally, into two parts that can open and close separately. They add a dose of country charm to the home and the top section can be left open while the bottom part is locked. This lets in fresh air while keeping pets and young children from venturing outside. However, they are not suitable for places with lots of bugs.
Interior Door Design
Security is less of an issue with interior doors, but so is bold design. Designs can skew either modern or traditional but simplicity and practicality are the main factors of interior doors.
- Panel doors – These are the most traditional interior door designs and are suitable for any room in the house. Most have six raised panels, but there are options with fewer and flatter panels that give a more modern look to this classic design. They can have solid cores that provide extra sound dampening.
- Glass panel doors – These are doors with inset glass panels and they are suitable for most rooms. The panels can come in various sizes, shapes, textures, and patterns. They can range in transparency from completely clear to fully opaque. A mix of transparencies can add some extra flair to this style.
- Bifold doors – These are hinged horizontally in the middle, so that they fold as they are opened. They are usually used as closet doors, but are useful in any place where space is at a premium.
- Pocket doors – These doors slide along a track and disappear into a compartment in the wall. They are a good choice for locations where a hinged door is not possible but they can also be a stylistic choice. They are available in single and double versions.
- Barn doors – They are doors that are suspended from a horizontal track above the door opening. They slide open and closed and are very trendy right now. They are a good way to partition spaces with openings too wide for a traditional door. They are available in a variety of materials from wood to glass to steel. They are easy to install but can be expensive.
Windows can have more functions than simply letting fresh air in or providing a view to the outside. Windows can also affect your heating and cooling bill by 25% to 30% via heat gain or heat loss.
Energy efficient windows can help you save money by lowering these numbers, which puts less stress on the HVAC system. These are some of the factors to consider when selecting a window.
- Light and heat – In most cases, you want the windows to let in as much light as possible, but this can also make the house hotter. Windows with spectrally selective coatings are the best solution; they have a glazing that lets in some light wavelengths but reflects ultraviolet and infrared radiation. This keeps transparency while reducing heat.
- Energy efficiency – You should look for windows with a low SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient). The SHGC is a measure of how much solar radiation is let in by the windows. Windows with a low SHGC reduce heat gain in hot weather, which reduces cooling bills.
- Weatherstripping – You should make sure that new or exixsting windows are properly weatherstripped. This means making sure that they do not have any air leaks because such leaks can cause up to a 20% increase in heating and cooling bills.
- Form and function – Form refers to the shape of the window. It can be horizontally or vertically oriented, or it can have a special custom shape. Function is how the window opens, this can include:
- Horizontal slider: windows that slide open horizontally
- Single hung: windows that slide up to open
- Casement: windows that open outwards on a hinge
Window and Door Design
There are a myriad of design options to choose from when it comes to windows and doors, but there are also the safety and energy concerns. At Pacific Green Homes, we have specialists who will help you sort through all the choices to help you find the window or door that will provide the comfort and security that your home needs.