Is a wood door right for you?

The natural beauty and elegance of wood is undeniable. However, wood doors require the right application and finish as well as care and maintenance in order to provide long-term performance. Consult this handy checklist to see if a wood door makes sense for your house.

1. Is it protected from rain?
A wood door will perform best, and requires less maintenance, in a covered entryway. To be effective, that overhang should project out at least half the height of the door, including its sill and any overhead windows, such as the transom. For example, if the roof is 10 feet above the door’s landing, it should project out at least 5 feet. Also, the roof’s width should be at least 1-1/2 times the door’s width.

2. Is it exposed to the sun?
Doors that bake in the sun for more than 4 hours a day will quickly lose their looks without routine care. Clear-coated doors must be recoated every one to two years, and painted ones require a fresh coat every five to six years.

3. Is the sill high enough?
The door’s sill should clear a porch landing by 4 to 6 inches to prevent snow build-up or pooled rainwater from causing rot.

4. How cold does it get?
Standard 1-3/4-inch-thick wood doors have an R-value of about 2.5, close to that of a double–pane window. That’s far lower than a foam-filled fiberglass or steel door, but with tight weather-stripping you can boost its ability to stop air infiltration.