I recently walked refrigerator calendars around my neighborhood and I was AMAZED at the difference I saw in front doors. In my neighborhood the homes were built between 1997 and 2003 so if a door has not been refinished it probably should have been. I was leaving my calendars on front doors so you could say I had a bird's eye view of my neighbor's front doors. I saw some doors that had been replaced, some that had been refurbished, others that had been recently painted and I saw a bunch of doors that looked like no one had touched them since 1997.
Almost immediately after walking those calendars I saw an article in the National REALTOR magazine about the Top 5: First Impression Matters. According to the article this year's Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine named the Entry door replacement as the biggest bang for the buck of any other remodeling projects. With an average cost of $1,218 and a re-sale value of $1,243 the cost recouped was 102.1%. (These were followed by garage door replacement, siding replacement, midrange kitchen remodel and a wood deck addition.) For this article I am however going to center in on the front door. If you would like to read the entire article about the Top 5: First impression matters you will find it here.
They did put a caveat though the door needs to match the style of the house. The biggest mistake people make is to choose a door that does not match the neighborhood or home. In a high end home you will want a nice leaded glass door whereas in a lower priced home it would be more appropriate to replace the door with a regular steel door that is painted a complementary color. If you are not sure what kinds of doors are in your neighborhood; walk your neighborhood like I did. I found everything!
If you are looking at making a new door purchase this is one of those times where a little online research will take you a long way. You can identify the type of steel whether the door has been primed with a rust inhibitor, how many coats of finish paint have been added and whether it has been insulated. An alternative to finish paint is powder coating. I guess powder coating is more like glue than paint and holds up better than paint.
As another alternative to replacing your door you could also look at refurbishing your leaded glass doors. Just today I received a local Woodlands magazine and there is a local company called Rick's Front Doors that just refinishes doors. They come to your home take the door off the hinges and replace it with a piece of plastic. Then they chemically strip the door to its bare wood and wash it to remove any residue. At that point they repair any dings or scratches and then sand it. After that comes staining and protection. They spray 4 coats of premium fast drying marine grade spar urethane with built in UV protection. When everything's done they re-hang the door. The homeowner will usually have bought new hardware that they put on. I thought this was a cool concept. This was the first time I have heard of this company so I can't say what kind of work they do but they back their work with a 100% customer guarantee and I thought the price seemed reasonable. You can check them out at Rick's Front Door Refinishing. As I was walking my neighborhood I saw lots of these doors that could stand to get to know Rick.
The front door is the first thing that a buyer sees when they walk up to your house and that first impression can make such a difference. If the front door does not look cared for the buyer often wonders what else the seller is not taking care of. So my recommendation is to put a little extra money in to making your front door look spectacular.
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Copyright ┬ę 2010 Marchel Peterson, All Rights Reserved. *Don't forget the front door!!*