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Upgrade your home's exterior appearance with one simple change

Posted by Conrad Neuf ~ August 21, 2012

I've been involved in the construction of many, many new homes over the years and can let you in on a little secret: most large builders don't spend any more on a house than is absolutely necessary. Of course, this doesn't include custom builders who will do just about anything the customer wants and then adjust their price accordingly. The home builders I'm referring to are the big national or regional companies that offer customers several house models from which to choose if you wish to live in a particular community.

Each model might have three or four front elevation variations to select from and if you're fortunate, the sales person may allow you to choose siding and exterior paint colors from an approved list. However, other than those few differences each house on your street probably looks pretty much the same and there's a very good chance that they each have a steel six-panel front door.

A front door switch can instantly upgrade your home's curb appeal

So if you happen to own one of these cookie-cutter houses, what can you do to make your abode stand out from the rest and perhaps jazz-up its curb appeal a bit? Every time a homeowner asks me that question my answer is simple: change the front door. Don't get me wrong — there's absolutely nothing wrong with a six-panel metal door. They offer security, easy maintenance, and are budget-friendly, but what they usually don't provide is pizazz and that's what catches people's eyes. An upgraded front door can completely change the exterior look of your home.

Standard front door sizes can make switching easy

What are the options if you decide to tackle this remodeling project? Actually there are quite a few as steel six-panel front doors are usually the same standard sizes as their more flashy relatives. Fiberglass units that can be stained for a wood look or doors containing glass lites are both good alternatives that can improve your home's exterior appearance and are available in the same sizes as steel doors.  Rough openings might vary slightly, but pulling out the old door and installing the upgrade is usually an easy switch. Keep in mind that adding sidelights or a transom may involve additional work if your old door doesn't have those options.

My personal recommendation is to replace your steel six-panel door with a unit containing beveled glass. While they can be expensive, it's hard to beat the touch of elegance the decorative glass can add to your home's curb appeal. And as an added bonus, the latest cost vs. value report from Remodeling Magazine estimates that you might be able to recoup about 56 percent of the costs involved with a front door remodeling project when it comes time to sell your home.

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