Trim An Entry Door – On the House

Trim An Entry Door

By on August 17, 2015

Curb appeal. As the old saying goes… “you either have it, or you don’t.” Actually, you don’t have it, but hopefully your home does. Curb appeal is a real estate term that is used to describe a homes exterior attractiveness. A well cared for roof, a neat paint job, handsome windows, decorative shutters and a manicured garden contribute positively to a home’s appearance and hence, its curb appeal.

Aside from the personal satisfaction that you enjoy by living in a home that has good curb appeal, your bank account will be healthier too. Curb appeal has a direct relationship to the value of a home. A poorly maintained home is less appealing and, thus, is generally less valuable than the same home in the neighborhood that is otherwise well cared for.

There are many factors that influence the curb appeal of a home. For example, a garage door can account for about 40% of the exterior appearance of a home as seen from the street. Thus, the type and style of the door can “make” or “break” a home’s appearance.

Although all architectural elements don’t carry the same weight, as does a garage door, even seamlessly insignificant details such as a rain gutter or window and door trim can have a profound impact on the appearance and value of a home.

Among the most popular projects to enhance a home’s curb appeal is to install a new entry door and lockset. Often, a new door can be installed in the existing opening (a “match up” door), thus eliminating the need to remove the interior and exterior trim and jamb and threshold. The latter can increase the cost of the project two fold depending upon the type of exterior siding and trim.

An entry door replacement project that has become increasingly popular is to remove an existing double door entry and replace it with a new single door flanked on one or both sides with decorative glass. This, along with a shiny new lockset, can have a dramatic impact on a home’s appearance.

On the flip side, not everyone has the budget to replace a front door – even if it is simply a match up. There are, however, simpler and less costly means of dressing up your home’s entry without replacing the door.

First, a fresh coat of paint or stain can go a long way by breathing new life into an otherwise tired door. Check with a decorator, color consultant or paint dealer for a “punch” color that will give your home some pizzazz. The entry door is to your home what a necktie is to a business suit.

With a freshly finished door, the last thing you’ll want to do is reinstall that tired old lockset. A new entry lockset can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to the overall appearance of an entry door system. The scale, size, shape and finish are elements that each have a profound impact on the finished product. The lockset is the jewel in the crown, so to speak.

If you’ve refinished the existing door or installed a new one and replaced the lockset with something more spectacular and there is still something missing, consider dressing up the door with new exterior trim.

If classic moldings are appropriate for the style of your home, use them to add distinction to your entry door. Moldings can be purchased made of wood, composites or high-density urethane. They are available pre-formed in wide, stately configurations. The benefit of the urethane moldings is that they will not warp, decay, splinter, mildew or attract insects. They also take paint beautifully.

A molding “entrance system” consisting of a decorative top piece “lintel”, and two vertical side pieces “pilasters” can be purchased as a unit. However, the upper and/or lower blocks for the pilasters may need to purchased separately.

Most home centers, lumberyards or trim specialty stores can order the material custom fabricated to meet your specifications. They will take into consideration the size of the door opening, the existing siding and how the existing trim attaches to the door jamb.

The decorative lintel should overhang the outside edge of each pilaster by about one inch. In addition, the lintel should fit plumb against the siding and top of the door jamb. An out-of-plumb lintel is easily detected and may even stick out like the Leaning Tower of Pizza.

The decorative pilasters should be measured and specially cut to fit snuggly below the lintel. The base blocks should be made of urethane, redwood or cedar to offer maximum protection from rot and pests. The base blocks should also be scribed to match the shape or slope of the ground for a neat fit. A fine bead of caulk can be installed to conceal the joint where the base blocks meet the ground. The caulk will also allow for minor expansion and contraction through the seasons.

The lentil and pilasters should be attached using galvanized finish nails or ceramic coated construction screws with a finish head. It is also a good idea to use a high quality construction adhesive between the back of the trim and the siding.

Complete the project by puttying nail heads, priming and painting with a high quality oil base primer and finish coat.

We guarantee that, once complete, your curb will be more appealing and your home will be worth more money too!

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