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 Post subject: unique or custom entry door options
PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 10:11 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:37 pm
Posts: 23
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Hello,

A few years ago I replaced all the windows and patio doors in my house, and this forum helped me tremendously in choosing manufacturer, window type, and styles. I went with Soft-Light Imperial LS Casements with diamond grids, and couldn't be happier. Color matched musket brown exterior (for tudor trim), and medium-oak interior. The medium-oak soft-lite is indistinguishable from the stained oak wood trim inside the house.

Now I'm looking to replace my front entrance door. For a while I wanted a custom wood entrance door for the unique and heavy look, but quotes were in the 11-15k range, and I'm thinking might not want to spend that much.

My preferred contractor only uses ProVia doors, and says all the others are lower-quality. And that does seem to be the consensus on the web as well. And while they make some nice door options, there isn't anything really "unique' or interesting to go by.

I'm wondering, are there any options for something a bit more unique or character, that are of equal quality to provia?

Are there any options for a custom fiberglass or custom wood door that might not be 3x the cost of a standard one? Maybe only 1.5x more expensive? (and this is total installation cost, the door itself is usaully a small portion of that).

I currently have a single 36" door with two 18" sidelights, and a 36" radius half circle transom. I'd like to creatively use up this space. But most of the options that are more unique with this shape are designed for a 60" profile instead of a 72" one.

I'm also considering if double-doors might be a nicer look.

The house is 80's faux-tudor style. Brick bottom, cream stucco with brown trim, diamond grid casement windows, cedar shake roof. I want something that gives a sort of "Castle" look, thick heavy and fancy but not gaudy.

One last question, just how much hassle is a wood door vs. fiberglass? My main reason for going back to fiberglass is just the no-maintenance aspect (and probably better insulation factor). But I still want it to look indistinguishable from wood. But I think it'll be harder if not impossible to find custom fiberglass options, so if I ended up back in wood, how much pain is the maintenance? And expected life.

I actually have a wood door now, but it's hidden behind a storm door, and I want my new entry to not have a storm door so I can enjoy the door. I do have a large covered alcove in front of it, and a giant tree that shades the area quite well. The front door gets very little if any sunlight in the summer, and never gets rain unless it's horizontal.


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 Post subject: Re: unique or custom entry door options
PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 10:35 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 399
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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ProVia doors are unique, they are designed very well and are solid. All the doors at the local building supply and hardware stores are cheaply made in my opinion. HMI is another very solid door.


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 Post subject: Re: unique or custom entry door options
PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 11:42 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:37 pm
Posts: 23
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All the pro-via options have the same panel style and same glass options as all the big-box brands. I'm not seeing anything more interesting than standard 6-panel doors and art-glass on their website. And they only have like 2 glass options for a half-circle transom. Not much to go on here.

But THIS is interesting:
http://www.jeld-wen.com/catalog/exterio ... lass-panel

Look at the A252 or A250 in the Jeld-Wen Aurora Custom Fiberglass line. I don't see any other manufacturer making interesting unique doors like that (outside of custom wood).

The only reason I'm not jumping the gun on it is because my preferred contract said anything Jeld-Wen is junk. But I wonder if this aurora custom line would be as good as the signet or not? It might be only the lower-end Jeld-Wen lines that are junk.


The other thing I found was Albany Door Company, Inc. Just look at the line-up of door styles, there's about 4x as many options as ProVia
http://www.albanydoor.com/styles.php
And these glass options are worlds above the stock provia options (which all remind me of menards light fixtures)
http://www.albanydoor.com/gallery-glass-examples.php

Anyone know if albany windows are any good in terms of quality?

If I'm going to spend 5K on a new door, I want something that looks unique and interesting and performs well. Unless I'm missing something on the provia website, it just seems to be a rather banal selection of panel styles and glass options. But provia seems hands-down the best performing/quality door around.

I'm willing to settle for 2nd best quality if it looks loads better. But I don't want a piece of big-box crap either.


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 Post subject: Re: unique or custom entry door options
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 1384
Location: SE PA & NJ; CT
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The 18" side lights are unusual.
That being said most companies will use the same size glass but a larger panel.
Double door though not my favorite might work nicely Frame size will probably be 74.25" wide, that would be w/36" blanks. Or if you use 34" blanks the FS= 70.25"
Much depends on design and your preferred contractor should be working with you to nail it.
You could keep the config you have and do direct set side lights with diamond GBG , or custom decorative glass.
Soft-lite uses ThermaTru and get the doors prefinished. You have to know what and how to order TT to make sure it is durable.


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 Post subject: Re: unique or custom entry door options
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:09 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 399
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
Offline
Nothing by Jeldwin comes close in quality to provia or hmi doors.


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 Post subject: Re: unique or custom entry door options
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 1859
Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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You are not going to find many positive recommendations for Jeldwen.
Albany is okay, not particularly good or bad IMO.

Provia is a very good door. I'd also check out Homeguard. Their Signature series is the same slab as Provia high end Signet, and does it one better by offering hand stained finishing which is gorgeous --as opposed to the somewhat monotone sprayed on finish. Even their standard line is assembled and stained/finished by a predominantly Amish workforce. They do a lot of custom options as well. You may not find what you want in their standard line catalog, but they can accommodate most requests.


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