If you’re shopping entry doors in 2020, you might find yourself confused by the latest trends—many of which represent polar opposites. Some manufacturers have worked to develop age-old aesthetics, while others have gone modern. Some are offering pivot doors, while others are sticking with standard hinges.
Perhaps the only trend that most door manufacturers seem to agree on includes size—oversized, that is.
Meanwhile, when it comes to materials, you no longer have to stick with fiberglass in order to get the best energy performance. That’s because entry door manufacturers have tinkered with materials like wood and metal to make them better insulators.
And as if all of that isn’t enough, door manufacturers have also spent the past year or so blending together each of these trends. Thanks to this mixing and matching, the good news is: you should have no problem finding exactly what you’re looking for.
Why so many options? They may not be the sexiest products out there, but entry doors are far from closed and locked off from innovation. Instead, manufacturers say they’re constantly in search of new designs that grab attention. For this reason, door manufacturers aren’t like Apple—they don’t innovate products that fit in our pocket and change life as we know it—but most have a group of innovators who are charged with continually rethinking how we get into and out of our residences.
As a result, entry doors are constantly changing—including their prices.
Three to four years ago, the prices for fiberglass doors were decreasing, as the material continued to grow in popularity. At the same time, wood door manufacturers were focused on durability, to deal with that competition. Manufacturers across the board were also busy aiming to give you more for your money, with more composite door sills and jambs, so you don’t have to worry as much about rotting.
Without a doubt, the biggest and most lasting trend in recent years includes oversized doors. As they reached as wide as 4 feet and as tall as 8 feet, architects and designers said they were looking to go even bigger. And boy have they.
There’s reason to believe that the industry isn’t closing the trend toward increasingly massive doors anytime soon. In recent years, architects have designed entryways that go floor-to-ceiling, but that’s also a moving target. Over the past few years, wall heights in residential construction have trended away from eight feet and toward nine and even 10 feet. Entry door manufacturers are happy to fill those dimensions, but as a result have spent the past year or so exploring ways to deal with all of the added weight for such larger doors. One way includes the use of pivot-style hinges.
Pivot hinges change the way entry doors operate, by having them rotate on pin-style hinges that are mounted at the top and bottom of doors and about a third of the way in (instead of along a door’s edge). For example, consider the typical doors you see in entry ways for restaurant kitchens—only with the mounting points moved further in. In the process, pivot hinges also shift all of the weight of a door away from walls and to the floor. Why does this help with weight? Imagine holding a long, heavy board and swinging it from one end. Now imagine holding it closer to the middle, where the weight is more counterbalanced.
The only drawback to pivot hinges, if there is any, includes the fact that you don’t achieve a full opening—not the full width of a door at least. Instead, the opening amounts to the distance from the pivot hinge to the far edge of the door (about two thirds of the door’s width).
If pivot-style doors sound appealing, you should have no problem finding one, as numerous entry door manufacturers and dealers now offer them.
When it comes to the latest style trends, entry door manufacturers have recently shown that they don’t always move in tandem. Two divergent themes emerged in 2019: one in the direction of simple and modern, the other toward age-old, sometimes even highly decorated.
Several companies introduced styles that utilize the look of metal or wrought iron for hand-forged looks—something you don’t necessarily equate with the modern era. Others have introduced door glass frames to achieve similar aesthetics.
Some of the latest fiberglass doors offer a weathered look in brand-new doors, via destressed and rustic finishes.
But if age-old appearances aren’t your cup of tea, at the opposite end of the spectrum, other manufacturers have worked to make their doors look ultra-modern. Some wood doors now offer glass that extends all the way to the edge of the door slab. At the same time, a number of companies have introduced snap-in frames that surround door glass with a low-profile molding, for “sleek and modern” aesthetics.
Somewhere in the middle of the look of hand-forged wrought iron and ultra-modern glass, manufacturers have also embraced trends like Shaker styling and now they’re doing it across more materials than just wood and fiberglass.
You don’t have to choose something as complex as wrought iron or as simple as Shaker in order to keep up with the latest trends among entry doors. Door manufacturers are also blending traditional looks with modern features in some cases for something more down the middle. For example, in a unique twist on the Shaker style, some companies now offer Shaker and barn-style doors with full lites of glass and satin etching. It’s through these combinations that entry door manufacturers have begun to mix and match styles and materials to market what they call “eclectic” or “casual” aesthetics.
Based on sales statistics, one could argue that eclectic might be the right direction these days. In the use of door sidelites, for instance, (the glass panels you see adjacent to some entry doors), the preference among consumers has shifted from using them on both sides of doors to just one. Transoms (similar to sidelites, but mounted overhead) have also decreased in usage. At the same time, the use of double doors has risen slightly in recent years—a feature that’s often associated with contemporary-styled houses.
When it comes to materials, there have been no mammoth changes in what people prefer, but you can now go with whatever you like while worrying less about thermal performance (insulation). Among the estimated 3.3 million entry doors installed into new homes in 2018 (the latest available data), the majority were made of fiberglass. Second was raised panel steel, followed by wood. But that’s not to say that steel and other metals are falling by the wayside or that you should avoid them. In fact, if 2019 is any indication, it’s just the opposite.
In late 2019, more steel doors were introduced that have the look and feel of wood—and do so rather convincingly. More thermally-broken (insulated) designs were added to steel doors as well, making them more efficient. Therein lies one of the come-back features that steel door manufacturers hope will give the material a longer hold in a market that’s moving toward stricter codes and greater energy efficiency.
And that brings us to another material to be on the lookout for: aluminum.
Aluminum might not be first to mind for entry doors (so much as, say, storm doors), but over the course of 2018 and 2019, several manufacturers introduced insulated aluminum doors that achieve thermal performance to make even fiberglass jealous. And the same trend has risen in wood doors. If you’re familiar with engineered wood flooring (which uses a thin, top layer of wood over a composite backer instead of solid wood), then you should know that a similar concept exists in doors. Thermally-broken wood doors that utilize a “sandwich” design, include real-wood veneers applied over an insulating foam core. Those features, some companies suggest, not only give their engineered-wood doors similar performance to fiberglass, but also help to prevent common issues among wood doors, like splitting and warping.
With more materials providing better insulation and a broader range of styles waiting to be mixed, one could argue that shopping for entry doors will get easier. So long as you don’t end up pivoting in circles among the options, you should have no problem finding exactly what you’re looking for.
If you’re ready to begin the process of purchasing a trendy new door for your home, use Glass.com to locate a reputable company to help guide you through the process. Within just a few clicks, we’ll connect you with a local company that specializes in window and door replacements.Get an Estimate