A home’s front door may be one of its most important features. Not only is it the gateway into your personal space and one of the defining factors of your exterior curb appeal, it’s also a crucial structural detail that needs to be strong enough to withstand outdoor elements like heat, wind, and ice. So when you’re choosing a new one, it’s important to consider both looks and utility—and to have a proper understanding of front door sizes and how to pick out the right fit.
To help you out, we’ve put together this quick explainer on the various factors that you’ll want to keep in mind as you seek out your perfect front door.
Before You Buy a Front Door
Front doors typically can last a long time, but sometimes they need to be replaced. At times, you can repaint or restain the door to help make it look new again. But warping, rust, weather damage, or just a desire to change the style can be a component of the need to get a new door. Before shopping around, grab the measuring tape and measure the dimensions of the door you’re replacing.
Standard Front Door Sizes
There isn’t a ton of variance in front door sizes. That’s good news for homeowners since you should have no trouble finding the style you love in the size that works.
The standard size for a front door is 36” x 80”, or about 3’ x 6’7”. Beyond this, you can find exterior door sizes ranging from as narrow as 30” to as tall as 96”.
If you have a double door entryway, the standard size will be 72” x 80”, or double the width of a single front door with the same height.
Be sure to measure the thickness of your existing door. Most exterior doors will be 1-3/4 inch thick.
How to Measure for a Front Foor
It’s always a good idea to do some measurements, instead of just assuming that the standard front door size will work.
The easiest way to do this is to measure your existing front door’s height and width. Make sure to measure the depth of the door frame too, also called the jamb. The standard sizes for frame depth are 4-9/16″ and 6-9/16″.
Buying Considerations for a Front Door
The entryway space might be larger than a standard size door and could require not only the door but another element such as a sidelite, or it might need a double-entry door. The size will quite obviously affect the cost of the door, which will also need to be factored into your decision on your front door purchase.
The front door and entryway to your home are some of the first impressions that family and visitors will see, not to mention the people driving by on the street, too. It’s a matter of your taste preference as to whether you select a door with glass panels or a solid door with no windows at all. If the available dimensions are there, you might choose a decorative double entry door with sidelights or a single entry door with one sidelight.
Since this is the gateway to your home, a front door should also be durable and offer the security to keep out potential intruders, plus resist whatever kind of weather comes to your area. Some doors are more maintenance-free than others, including fade-resistant or resistant to dents and scratches.
Types of Front Doors and Door Materials
You have a ton of different options when it comes to the style of your front door, particularly color and window placement. But there are really one three types of front doors that these style options fall under:
Solid Wood Front Doors
Wood doors are the priciest option, but they’re also classic in appearance and super sturdy. Just don’t mistake sturdiness for durability—wood doors are prone to warping due to humidity or cold, and they’ll also require routine maintenance to maintain their look.
Fiberglass Front Doors
Fiberglass doors are growing in popularity since they’re more affordable and durable than wood doors but also have a ton of versatility in appearance (including the ability to be stained for a wood-like appearance). Another benefit to fiberglass front doors is their inner layer of insulation foam, which helps keep heat or cool air in your home, depending on the season.
Steel Front Doors
Steel front doors are sort of like fiberglass’ more secure cousin, in that they’re also versatile in terms of design, but even more durable. They also have the ability to add in a wood-grain finish. Steel doors are unmatched in providing entryway security, and also include a layer of insulation for energy efficiency, though they are prone to rust.
The type of material you select for your front door, whether it’s a single or double entry, and offering other features, including windows and design, will be huge factors in the price of the door. Single entry front doors can start around $150 and go up in the thousands. Double entry doors may range from $1,500 to over $4,000, or in some cases, even higher.
How to Choose the Best Front Door for Your Home
There are three major considerations to keep in mind when choosing your front door: size, material, and style.
Size is the easiest feature to narrow down since you’re obviously going to be limited by your home’s door frame. Figure out what size you’re working with as a first step, and then move on to other features.
Your ideal front door material is a matter of preference for the most part, but there are also practical things to keep in mind. Solid woods doors, for example, are not advised in areas like the Midwest or Southeast, where heavy degrees of humidity make it likely your front door will warp sooner rather than later.
Price-wise, steel doors are the most affordable, followed by fiberglass. But in terms of popularity, fiberglass takes the cake. You get a full range of options in terms of appearance, as well as increased energy efficiency and durability—all without the threat of rust that steel doors pose.
Finally, you’ll get to style. You want your front door to stand out for the right reasons and not the wrong ones, so this will largely be dictated by the overall architectural style of your home’s exterior. Once you’ve honed in on size and material, you’ll have a ton of different styles to choose from, so consider a look that accentuates and updates your home’s exterior without clashing.
If planning to replace just the door, it is important that the hinge mortises, lockset, and deadbolt cutouts match. Generally they would all be measured from the top and lock side of the interior face. “Blank” wood doors can be purchased and milled onsite to match the existing door. Steel or fiberglass would generally have to be custom ordered to fit existing dimensions. In that case it would probably be cheaper and easier to get a pre-hung door, frame, and threshold replacement.
Where to Shop
Buying a front door is a decision not to be made lightly, as it’s an important and costly aspect of your home. Take the time to check out the different home improvement stores in your area and browse online to decide what style you prefer to showcase your home. Do some research, and ask questions of the customer representatives while you’re in the store, as they can help you get the necessary answers that can help you come to the best front door selection for you.
If the door is the exact size, it will fit properly within the current door frame, just the front door can be replaced, with no need to replace the door frame and jamb. The existing door jamb and frame should be in good shape, with no signs of rotten wood or damage.
Ready-to-go doors, also known as prehung doors, include the door, frame, hinges, and even the hardware. Simply buy and install.
Replacing a front door takes a bit of skill and carpentry knowledge. If you’re an experienced home improvement DIY person, this project can be completed in a day. These doors are heavy and bulky, so have a helper available.