Product Trends: Door to Door

With more styles and options, manufacturers develop entry doors that appeal to homeowners no matter where they live.

authors Kyle Clapham | December 13, 2019

The front door elicits an emotional reaction from everyone who approaches the house, whether it be the owners or their guests. A gateway to showcasing the style of a home and its inhabitants, the entry often becomes one of the biggest changes for an exterior. Replacing the existing door with a new model can vastly improve curb appeal and return most, if not all, of the original investment.

Manufacturers have been passionate about developing entry doors using new materials and better ways to keep out bugs, sound and weather. They test products to replicate real-world conditions and ensure the styles complement both interior and exterior design trends. Qualified Remodeler reached out to several companies to learn about their entry doors as they embark on a new year.

Simple Styles

Simplicity, clean lines and access to light have been universal trends for the past few years, says Nicole Willits, product management for Pella Corporation. Customers want lots of light but also lots of privacy, which means giving them options with obscure and textured glass, she explains.

“Flush glaze styles are relatively new to the market, and they do have the most visible access to glass and the cleanest glass showcase (no complicated beveled rims)—so they take traditional shapes to more contemporary settings without being stark,” she adds. “We are introducing new flush glaze panel styles in ¾ and ½ light in March to accommodate this growing category trend.”

The manufacturer also continues to see the expanded interest in Craftsman styles across many traditional and transitional homes. A modern farmhouse trend has taken hold and is making sure that Pella looks at traditional shapes but with planking options, as well as a wide variety of grille patterns, Willits notes. She has also observed simplified decorative glass patterns and innovative ways to incorporate wrought iron, plus a number of subtle and more tone-on-tone exterior looks.

“The simplicity that is triggering in the panel styles does also trickle into decorative,” she says. “We are seeing old material types explored in new ways. For example, wrought iron grilles are hard to install, may weather faster than other parts of a door and—in worst situations—can void warranties if improperly installed. But new methods are now incorporating wrought iron between glass panels to have the look of industrial wrought in subtler, more enduring ways and often with more contemporary styles.”

Pella also sees options of decorative glass without ornate bevels or center clusters, which have a traditional Craftsman style, interesting yet contemporary simple lines and just enough traditional takes on center clusters, Willits notes. As far as finishes, black continues to show up as the most popular paint color for doors, but more homes are taking subtler approaches to front-door color.

“This means less saturated tones on doors at the moment and the occasional tone-on-tone for the new wave of darker shaded homes,” she explains. “The inclusion of stain is fairly steady in the market and is often used to accentuate non-wood materials in the warm and subtle tones of real wood. We have positioned our palettes to be successful in this area.”

Simplicity will continue to ring true both stylistically and in the demand of the purchase process from homeowners, Willits says. “Decision fatigue is a real thing, and entry doors can be a very complicated purchase process that culminates in a large hole in your home. An entry door is also something you live with for a long time. There’s no small decision in that purchase; but looking at 40 choices to build a door or sorting through thousands of SKUs can overwhelm even the most tenured millwork representative and homeowner. Making the process simple and effective to get people to understand materials and make informed choices for their needs is important. I think you’ll see the industry looking at how we facilitate that digitally, in real time, catered to regions and more personalized consumer approaches.”

Clean Lines

JELD-WEN streamlined a new, proprietary decorative and privacy glass into a collection of designs that adds sophistication and style to any entryway, says Dan Jacobs, product line management at JELD-WEN Windows & Doors. The collection features 16 design patterns categorized by style and tier for an easy selection process, and five glass textures that keep homeowners’ privacy in mind.

“Our fresh new entry door glass collection was designed for a wide range of homes architectural styles and budgets,” Jacobs says. “Each design was thoughtfully created to complement interior and exterior design trends ranging from elegant traditional to sleek linear modern. Whether [you are] remodeling or building a new home, our new door glass collection provides a stylish way to elevate a home’s unique design.”

The company selected metal caming finishes to complement exterior fixtures and interior design aesthetics for the collection, which the manufacturer created for the cost-driven professional and the artisan-inspired homeowner, Jacobs explains. “Our new decorative glass also features more modern, linear options with clean lines. We have seen a need for more trend-forward decorative glass, SDLs and more direct glaze options, which we have addressed with new product launches.

“The continuing style trend is toward clean lines—with any glass glazed directly into the door,” he continues. “Sticking, the molding surrounding door panels, is down-trending. We have added capacity to build direct glaze doors and have added new decorative and privacy glass options for direct glaze doors. We are also working closely with Sherwin Williams on paint and stain trends, and plan to address any assortment gaps in 2020.”

Jacobs has noticed farmhouse, updated traditional, modern and coastal exterior door trends in the market. JELD-WEN has worked on putting together doors that meet all of those trends and make it easier for the customer to shop, he notes. Updating an entry door continues to be a top-10 project in terms of payback, and it can reap roughly a 100 percent payback during a prospective home sale.

“The front door is the first thing that a person sees, and [it is] the welcoming point to a home,” he says. “Our customers have so many options for design inspiration, and this world of technology makes it easier for consumers to stay up-to-date on design trends. Now our customers know how many options there are to liven up their entryway. Updating a home’s entry door can completely transform the exterior of a home. There are so many options to personalize your front door: fun colors, stains, glass, SDLs, direct glaze versus traditional molding, [as well as] panel designs.”

The manufacturer launched a new SDL collection for direct glaze doors, and these patterns allow homeowners to create a personalized entry to their home, Jacobs adds. “Combined with endless paint and stain options, our customers can choose from SDLs that create more of a modern look, like our new wide SDLs,” he says. “We also have many configurations that work perfect for modern farmhouse and coastal style homes. SDLs can be used with clear and textured privacy glass designs, giving endless design options.”

Door Revolution

Over the past few years, Simpson Door Company has met modern design trends with product offerings such as its Artist Collection, Contemporary Exterior Door line and innovative Clear Edge Technology that allows the glass in a door to extend to the side or top of the door, says Brad Loveless, marketing and product development manager for Simpson Door Company.

“Simpson’s Clear Edge doors are the first of their kind, engineered with glass all the way to the edge of the door. The glass edge interrupting the traditional stile-and-rail construction gives a dramatic look to any contemporary home, and the solid tempered glass delivers on Simpson’s promise of quality craftsmanship,” he explains.

With the manufacturer’s unlimited range of modern door designs, homeowners can get the look of wood while maintaining a sleek curb appeal, he notes. Because Simpson has the ability to customize nearly any door style, customers can select any wood species (or a mix of multiple woods), flush entry doors and horizontal lites, without having to compromise on quality or style.

“We are seeing a trend toward customization in the marketplace more than ever before,” he says. “Homeowners don’t want to compromise on the look of their doors, especially when it comes to heavily trafficked areas of the home like an entryway. We have met this need with high-quality wood doors and endless design possibilities. By adding new equipment and processes to our facilities, Simpson allows for customers to order a door in any design, size, shape or wood type.”

To help its dealers address this need for customization, Simpson recently rolled out EZQ, a new quoting system that enables Simpson Authorized Dealers to quote custom solutions at their own fingertips, while still creating a nice sales presentation to aid in closing a sale, Loveless explains.

“We’re also seeing a trend toward Dutch doors being installed as exterior doors. In the last few years, Simpson has found itself as the industry supplier for these half-cut door styles, and it has even been touted as the ‘Dutch Door Revolution’ leader [on] social media sites like Instagram.”

Simpson provides other tools for its industry partners, such as product displays, wood samples and product literature, he adds. “Our active customer service line and online chat service give professionals daily access to product experts and our team. In addition, our online dealer portal allows builders and remodelers to log in from any location and access the tools they need for door ordering, finishing and installation.”

Bolder Colors

ProVia will launch an exciting range of new entry door colors to the U.S. market on Feb. 1, says Wes Ley, product manager of entry and storm doors. The company calls them “Trending Colors” and selected the 11 offerings after researching trends in the European market, which often takes the lead in color choices, and looking into what the major paint manufacturers are offering now.

“We took into account regional tastes and preferences—since what sells in the Midwest doesn’t necessarily sell in Florida or California,” Ley explains. “We added several pastel colors, some different shades of blues and grays, and also some bold color choices. Hibiscus, Robin Egg and Blueberry are a few examples of ProVia’s new Trending Colors. Overall, our goal is to give people more choices and allow them to make bigger, bolder statements with their entry door.”

The company sees the use of different, bolder colors as a definite trend and has noticed an uptick in modern door styles, such as its Legacy Steel entry door, he adds. This style tends to be more squared-off with sharp edges. “Homeowners are also using larger openings, and more [of them] are opting for 8-foot doors,” Ley says. “This provides a nice convenience in terms of access, for bringing large items into the house, and also makes a bigger, bolder statement for the entryway.”

The return on investment for a new entry door is relatively high, he points out, and the entry door remains the focal point of the home, so a new one can greatly enhance curb appeal. Investing in a new entry door becomes a great way to increase the value of the home for a relatively small cost. ProVia offers an Installer Certification Program to the contractor at its Sugarcreek, Ohio, facility.

“They come in, do plant tours, learn about the actual making of our product and then go through actual installs of our entry doors and learn best practices,” Ley explains. “The ICP is also a great forum for collecting feedback where we learn from our installers, who share the different things that they do in the field. This give-and-take process benefits all of us as we collectively raise the standard for quality entry-door products and quality installations.”

In the future, he says, entry doors will likely have more built-in technology options. “There are some new innovations out there that are currently too expensive; but once the cost comes down, they’ll be exciting for homeowners to try. One example is having the ability to go from clear glass to complete privacy glass with just the flick of a switch or through your phone. You could control all the windows throughout your house where your they would go from completely clear to a darker, more private tint, similar to transition lenses in eyeglasses,” he adds.

Custom Entry

Pivot doors, electronic multipoint locks, minimalist designs that replicate the look of steel, and wood doors with architectural and intricate details represent products and options that are very popular right now, says Nick Pesl, product and market specialist for Kolbe Windows & Doors.

“We offer products that satisfy both traditional and modern designs while incorporating the latest design trends and technology,” he explains. “As a custom manufacturer, our products are made to order, many of which are envisioned by leading designers and architects in the industry. All our products are tested and certified by third-party organizations to ensure optimal performance.”

Kolbe recently introduced the VistaLuxe Collection AL LINE, which offers a full selection of thermally broken, all-aluminum windows and doors that emphasize clean lines, coordinated profiles, additional configurations and stylish functionality. The company has seen trends in reclaimed wood, mimicking the look of steel, black exteriors, farmhouse style, natural wood and minimalist designs, Pesl notes. “We offer all these options and designs for custom entry doors.

“We pride ourselves on our custom solutions capabilities,” he adds. “We welcome the challenge of the extraordinary—of pushing the boundaries. Our team is continually reinventing what can be done in the window and door industry. We continue to be asked to create larger products, and we continue to expand our product offering.”

Pesl expects these requests for larger and wider entry door systems to continue, as well as home automation and security features that are built into the doors. “Beautiful entrance doors create a welcoming and lasting impression of a home,” he says. “Whether you want a door that offers modest, classic beauty or need something that makes a statement, there are options available for every taste. Kolbe products are built to order, which means we can custom size just about any product. We have a distribution network that provides installation, which makes it easier for homeowners to update their entry.” QR

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