According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence is on the rise, meaning this could be an ideal time for homeowners to look toward home improvements. While replacing interior and exterior doors is a practical improvement as it increases resale value, this upgrade also serves as a personal indulgence.

Door manufacturers cater to clients by offering a range of products with interesting upgrade options running the gamut from ornamental glass to exotic wood species. And whether a client looks toward classic styles or creates an original design, that dream door can become a reality.

“We are seeing an increase in door sales that caters to the remodeling market in regard to customization,” says Jeff Kibler, Weather Shield entry door brand manager. “We are seeing (via sales) that doors with decorative glass and sidelites, really anything that lends itself to more decorative features, as being a strong trend for the entry-door market.”

“Homeowners’ tastes also continue to be more unique every day,” says Brad Loveless, marketing and product development manager for Simpson Door Company. “As a manufacturer, we need to be in tune with these trends and respond with the breadth of product choice and custom capabilities needed to provide customers with the doors they envision.

“Simple, shaker-style and decorative French doors continue to be popular choices for interiors,” explains Loveless. “With a variety of architectural styles found throughout the country — craftsman, colonial and contemporary, to name a few — door trends are not necessarily limited to a specific area. Craftsman, bungalow and traditional decorative French and sash designs are popular for exterior applications all over the country, as they are versatile and can complement an array of styles.”

Simpson has expanded its offerings to include the Mastermark collection, a line of exterior doors featuring ornate surface molding, Innerbond double hip-raised panels and decorative glass. The new collection includes: Pamplona, a full lite French door with matching sidelite; Embarcadero French door and matching sidelite; and Queen Anne doors incorporating decorative glass highlighted by flat, black caming. Mastermark doors are available in multiple heights, widths and wood species. Doors with Innerbond panels come with a limited lifetime warranty against the panel splitting through, and doors with Simpson’s UltraBlock technology carry a five-year warranty.

“Contractors and homeowners want the ability to create exactly what they want, from design to profile details,” says Loveless. “Our custom department can take drawings, sketches and ideas and work with customers to create exactly what they want, including unique shapes, sizes and glass designs.”

The Peachtree Craftsman collection of fiberglass entry doors is designed to complement Mission and Craftsman styles of architecture. The company’s Craftsman line includes the Rustic, Mahogany, and the Oak and Smooth collections. This line is available in 6-ft. 8-in. heights in one-quarter lite panels with Symphony decorative glass or clear beveled glass. Single and double sidelites and rectangular transoms can also be ordered with matching decorative glass. For an additional detail, dentil shelves grained to match the door panel are available. The Craftsman collection comes in 10 enamel factory finishes, and all of the new entry door systems are available with Peachtree’s continuous head, sill and frame system.

“We are seeing a transition to the cleaner, more versatile looks of our two- and three-panel series doors,” says Bob Merrill, CMI president and CEO. “Transitional and minimalist décor that are popular today call for simplified designs and less embellished products.”

The CraftMaster Crossmore three-panel door features a clean, flat design and a smooth finish, reflecting traditional Craftsman architecture and Mission-style design. These interior doors are intended to complement current design trends and preferences in kitchen and bath cabinetry. Crossmore is available in 6-ft. 8-in. and 7-ft. heights in passage and bifold sizes and in solid core construction only. Craftmaster molded doors contain a minimum of 25 percent preconsumer recycled wood content and have no added urea formaldehyde. Crossmore doors are covered by a five-year limited warranty.

Value adds

“In recent years, we’ve seen increased demand for architecturally correct styles within our value-priced product lines,” says Derek Fielding, Therma-Tru product manager. “Additionally, remodelers are looking for door styles that are on trend, complement the architectural style of their homes and are available with decorative glass at all price points.

Therma-Tru Doors offers two new fiberglass door styles that offer architectural details and improved energy efficiency. The company’s Smooth-Star craftsman style door includes an optional four block dentil shelf. The doors are offered with Brookside, Sedona Art or Saratoga glass designs, plus 2-lite 3-lite, 4-lite and clear Low-E glass, adding to the energy efficiency of the entry. Additional options include 10-in., 12-in. or 14-in. sidelites available in standard 6-ft. 8-in. and 8-ft. heights. The doors are also available in an opaque fire-rated version providing up to 20 minutes of protection against a spreading fire. ThermaTru’s Fiber-Classic Mahogany Collection doors contain composite top and bottom rails, promising rot resistance, and include LVL stiles for overall structural integrity. Fiber-Classic Mahogany features the company’s Limited Lifetime Full System Guarantee.

“At a time when homeowners are looking to get the most out of every dollar they spend on their home, installing an attractive new front entryway is a cost-effective investment that can have a big impact,” explains Fielding. “What’s more, homeowners want to feel confident in what they choose to spend their money on.”

“As new home construction declined, renovation became an opportunity,” says Cindy Bremer, vice president of marketing for Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork. “People were staying closer to home, and spending more time in their homes.

As a result, homeowners began looking at improvements that not only would increase the long-term value of their home — such as beautiful entries and patios — but also would help them save on energy, maintenance and associated costs, while allowing them to more fully and more comfortably enjoy their homes.”

Kolbe’s Latitude Series is a full line of vinyl windows and patio doors for both new construction and renovation applications, and includes sliding and swinging patio doors.

Kolbe’s Latitude Series products feature LowE glass as standard to deliver energy-efficiency. Latitude promises a quiet, smooth-operating balance systems, and greater air and water resistance. These products may be further enhanced with UltraVue screens and ThermaPlus LowE insulating glass options. To accommodate renovation projects, the company offers Latitude products in a choice of jamb sizes, brickmould and replacement options.

Milgard’s Tuscany Series of vinyl replacement sliding patio doors come in white and tan colors. The new doors feature the company’s SmartTouch technology for security and ease of use. The Tuscany series is backed by Milgard’s full lifetime warranty, as well as a glass breakage warranty. “Homeowners want options,” explains Bremer. “Beyond exaggerated sizes and enhanced performance, customers can choose glass in elegant to whimsical patterns, exterior cladding in attention-getting metals, finishes in any color, and wood trim in any species.”

Bremer says, “Capturing the look of divided lites and grilles is a popular request in New England and in other neighborhoods with a preference toward traditional, historic home design.

Pella’s signature collection of doors promises quality design and construction combined with patterned and beveled insulating glass. Additionally, metal caming is available in shades from satin nickel to black to classic copper tones. Pella’s wood entry doors are available in a variety of styles, sizes and shapes in woods including mahogany, walnut, cherry and American white oak. Forged iron accents and decorative hardware are also available.

Saving money resources and time

Since the home is a key investment of many Americans, it’s important for that investment to positively affect the cash flow while reflecting the homeowner’s priorities. Most of today’s energy-efficient products save on energy bills and provide the added benefit of being eco-friendly and low-maintenance.

According to CMI’s Bob Merrill, “as the housing market continues its slow recovery, more people are beginning to invest in remodeling projects to help improve their home’s value or simply to update their décor. But they expect value and quality products. Replacing old wood doors with durable, molded interior doors is an affordable way to upgrade the look without adding significant costs.

“There has been some improvement in the remodeling market compared to last year,” says Merrill. “In general, remodelers are looking for molded interior doors that add style, and character to a home, yet also meet or exceed green building industry standards.

“Green features are top of mind for consumers in all categories and doors are no exception,” says Merrill. “Molded interior doors are an eco-friendly product — they are made with sustainable materials, recycled content, low VOC primers and have low formaldehyde emissions.”

“In response to the Stimulus Bill, also known as The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, homeowners seek energy-efficient products to help them qualify for the tax credit [up to $1,500] through December 31, 2010,” says ThermaTru’s Derek Fielding.

“Most people have numerous demands on their time, and they don’t need another item like home maintenance on the to-do list,” Derek Brosterhous, product manager, Wood Doors for JELD-WEN. “They are more interested in how products can solve their problems, not create more.”

A selection of JELD-WEN exterior doors are available with AuraLast wood frames. Auralast protects the frame components, including the center mull, brickmould, header and side jambs, from wood decay, water saturation and termites. AuraLast wood provides virtually 100 percent penetration of the protective ingredients — from the surface to the core so trimming and sanding cannot compromise the integrity of AuraLast wood. These frames can be easily and inexpensively trimmed and adjusted on-site, and can be painted or stained.

“Personal priorities are helping drive demand for products that lessen environmental impact,” says Brosterhous. “For some homeowners, that may include products that last longer, reduce waste, are made from recycled content, or are Energy Star rated. When it comes to balancing economics and sustainability, energy efficiency continues to be a top priority not only because it has major environmental implications but also because homeowners can realize the immediate benefit of lower utility bills.”

From improved curb appeal and enhanced interior design to lowered energy bills and environmental protection, today’s doors can exceed the demands of any customer. If you think not, just ask and a manufacturer can probably create your dream door.

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