A Green Welcome
The front door. It's our welcome home, the first impression given to visitors, a quick glimpse into our aesthetic personality. So why shouldn't it also be one of the first places we turn when considering ways to give our homes a green makeover? Rather than simply pass through the front door's embrace on our way in or out, let's take a moment to really consider how to boost the eco-friendliness of this architectural punctuation mark. We'll begin with the door itself:
The longer a door can stand proud in its place, the less stress placed on the environment, so it's important to seek one that's been engineered with durability in mind. I favor two avenues above all the rest when it comes to selecting an enduring door.
Behind door number one:
Steel doors are some of the strongest and longest-lasting options on the market, since they resist rust and corrosion. For this reason, they're ideal for homes located in areas of the country subject to harsh weather like tornadoes and hurricanes. And even though you're making a safe choice when it comes to materials, you can certainly take style risks with a steel door, as most come ready to paint in any bold color you'd like and feature panel embossing for a bit of definition. Just beware that steel doors may easily dent and can heat up easily if facing direct sun.
Behind door number two:
While real wood appeals to many homeowners' traditional tastes, wood doors tend to warp and crack over time and require a great deal of maintenance to ensure a long life. For a harder-wearing option with a similar look, opt for a fiberglass door that boasts a wood-like grain texture and traditional panel detailing while resisting splitting, cracking, and rotting. And unlike the steel doors mentioned above, a fiberglass front door can withstand corrosion, rust, and dings from everyday use. With finishes to mimic mahogany, oak, cherry, and more, these wood lookalikes fit nicely with craftsman, cottage, and colonial house styles. (If you do still choose real wood, be sure that the timber comes from a sustainable, managed forest.)
In addition to paintable surfaces, both steel and fiberglass doors offer homeowners a great number of design opportunities, including grand heights up to ten feet tall and period-appropriate decorative glass -- including transoms and sidelights -- to complement a home's architectural style and maximize natural light (an eco-friendly perk).
To be sure that your door will perform smartly over its long life, stick to those that have earned an Energy Star rating -- you can be certain these doors have excellent weather-stripping to prevent air seepage; core materials, such as fiberglass, wood fiber, and polyurethane foam, that will provide superior insulation; and double- or triple-paned windows that keep outside heat at bay. (*A note about polyurethane foam: In order to create products that are both cleaner and safer, many manufacturers have turned to foam that doesn't contain hydro chlorofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, or formaldehyde.)
Want to up your green factor even more? Here are five additional things you can do to bolster the efficiency and environmental friendliness of your entryway:
1. Add weather stripping. A tight seal around the frame of your front door helps to minimize air and heat leakage. If you can see daylight squeezing in around the edges of your door or you feel a draft when standing in your foyer, then you should install weather stripping around the frame to create a snug seal. A door draft stopper can also be laid at the base of the door.
2. Install a storm door. This secondary door adds another layer of protection and insulation to your home while also allowing you to take advantage of milder temperatures (with screen inserts) and natural light.
3. Cover your front porch. A portico or awning above your front door adds depth and dimension to your home's façade while also reducing the amount of heat from the sun that enters these windows. And by shading the front door, a roof can also extend the life of the door and help cool your house.
4. Lay out a doormat. One of the simplest steps you can take to green your home is to set out a good doormat, which works to capture pesticides, fertilizers, oil and gasoline, and other contaminants from shoes before they cross your threshold.
5. Introduce potted plants. Nurture a bit of nature with potted plants situated beside your front door. These easy-to-maintain accessories add texture, life, and a breath of fresh air to your entry.
Angelo DiGangi is a Home Depot sales associate in the Chicago suburbs and is a frequent contributor on doors and windows for Home Depot's website. Angelo's interests include providing tips on color, materials and insulation.
Thanks so much Angelo for the tips, now off to Home Depot to shop!!
Until next time,
w&c designer girl!