When making a significant purchase, most people get several quotes. Purchasing new doors is no different. If the time and effort is to be worthwhile, it is important that you make sure you are not comparing apples and oranges. Most of the time, the old saying “you get what you pay for” is true. Sometimes you are looking for a short-term fix, so the look is all that counts. But most savvy buyers know that real value is in things that are made to last, because replacing every few years adds up to more than buying a quality item in the first place. Not to mention the ‘feel’ that you get from the real thing.
A good example is buying a leather sofa. You can decide to buy the least costly model made of Naugahyde, a mid-range bonded leather or more expensive genuine leather. The construction and framing materials will also have a bearing on the cost and quality of your sofa. Doors are pretty much the same.
Here’s what to look for when buying solid wood doors.
Most interior doors are made with a wood core and a veneer finish. This is not a bad thing. It takes more work to manufacture composites than just making stiles and rails out of solid pieces. Because interior doors are 1 3/8” thick, they are susceptible to warping and twisting due to moisture and temperature changes. Veneers give doors stability so they remain true. The wood core should be made of solid wood that has been layered together with a thick veneer that withstands sanding and refinishing. It should not have a core of particle board or wood chips covered in a micro thin veneer that is easily damaged and cannot be repaired. Besides the obvious maintenance issues, solid wood doors that are made of wood chips do not have the heft and feel of solid wood and do not provide the same sound dampening properties.
Exterior doors, because of their thickness(1 ¾”), are made with solid stiles and rails with either solid or engineered panels. Some doors are made with solid stiles and rails in a lesser grade of wood and veneered with a higher grade to make them more economical. These are a good option as they provide a stable product that will last a long time. As with the interior doors, the tell is in the veneer and the thickness. At least a 1/8” veneer is needed to sufficient thickness to maintain your door over the long term. Paper thin veneers cannot be successfully refinished.
Exterior glass should always be low E (providing energy saving and sun damage protection) double sealed, tempered glass. Other things to look for when you are getting your door quote are the quality of the pre-hang materials, the hinges (heavy doors, particularly over-height doors should have ball bearing hinges to reduce stress and ensure long term operation), weather stripping and sill materials. Jambs should be assembled with screws not staples or nails, so they can be taken apart for perfect finishing.
Every item is part of your price quote and knowing the differences will allow you to make a more informed choice. We, of course, are very proud of our doors. They are made here in BC, with quality materials. Logan will be happy to give you all the details.