External doors - General information 

Basic information on exterior doors

The pages that follow will look at external doors - 

Exterior doors are the doors which lead to an outside space. This often includes areas vulnerable to unauthorised entry or exposure to weather such as garages and porches. These doors usually need to be thicker, stronger and more durable than your interior doors. They need to be weatherproofed and fully sealed, so they will be protected themselves, and can protect your home. Weatherseals and a weather bar are advisable additions to any external door, and they should always be protected by a high-quality stain or paint that is made for external applications. 

Because external doors are generally exposed to the elements, they need to have very different properties to internal doors, which will influence how they are made and the materials they are made of. 


Front door made with hardwood and painted blue


Some other doors in your home should be external grade doors, or at least have enhanced properties compared to standard internal doors, although this may not be initially obvious. Doors which lead to vulnerable areas, in terms of heat loss and security, should usually be external grade, although these don't usually require quite the same enhanced properties as doors which need to face the elements directly. 

Wooden parts of doors or door frames can rot or otherwise deteriorate, especially if they are not finished properly or not maintained regularly. Rotting wood can be very difficult to repair and you might need to replace certain parts of the door set assembly. If there are parts of an exterior door which won't hold a finish then any deterioration will be accelerated and it will probably need replacing significantly sooner than a door that is fully finished and maintained. 

External doors need to have certain features and properties for them to be effective. The features you want in your door will depend on where they'll be used and personal preferences. There is also an array of different hardware items which can be added to an external door. Many doors come in doorsets and have hardware items already installed while other are blank slabs for you to install your choice of features and hardware. 


Front door with glazed panels and a single sidelight

The entry doors to your home are the main access points from outside. All homes have a front door, and this is usually the main entrance situated at the front of the building. If you have a secondary access point this is usually called the back door, and occasionally the side door if it's positioned at the side of a building. There is a huge choice of types and styles of door leaf which can be used for front or back doors. 

External French doors are usually used where a doorway opens out to a garden, patio, or similar area. They are hinged glass doors, where patio doors are glass doors which open with either a sliding or folding mechanism. They are designed to allow plenty of light through them.

Patio doors are fully glazed doors which lead to a garden, patio, or similar outside space. They are different from French doors because they operate by either a sliding or a folding function.


Folding oak doors with glazed doors

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