Front Door Designs

Modern exterior front doors

While interior doors tend to be rather plain consisting of a single door piece that hangs on two hinges, exterior doors are much grander pieces of construction.

Front door designs include not only the main door itself, but also whether it is a single or double configuration, the presence of accompanying side panels or side "lites", the panel above or "transom", the door frame or "jamb", the type of raised paneling or embossing on the door, the texture and stain of the surface, and the use of decorative glass in the door itself that is commonly known as "lites".

Single or double configuration

Doors come in single or double configuration with the doubles costing much more due to higher labor costs and usage of material, in addition to greater complexity in installation. A double door enhances the size of the house but requires sufficient width to fit. Another reason to use double doors is to have a greater opening that permits easy movement of large, bulky items into and out of the house. Front door designs

Single configuration door with glass side lites

Side panels and lites

Modern front door designs dictates that fancy doors be flanked by two immobile panels of equal height but narrower width. The side panels are embedded with glass panes which in industry parlance are known as "lites". Side panels serve two purposes: they enhance the aesthetic properties of the door, and allow light into the enter through the glass lites thereby brightening the interior. Make sure that glass should not be placed where it compromises the security of the door. Breaking a side lite should not make it easier to access the door knob or lock from the inside.


The same role played by side panels on the right and left of the main door is played by the transom which sits on top of the entire door structure. The transom is a panel that spans the width of the door. Again it plays two roles, by being decorative as well as functional in letting light through the top. An entry system consists of a prehung door flanked by side panels, topped by a transom, ready for installation into the bare opening.


The jamb of the door is the wooden "frame" that surrounds everything and seals the joint between door pieces and the wall. A survey of front door designs shows that jambs are rarely simple flush frames with ninety degree angles. Instead, they have molding to soften the edges and provide a bit of gradient contrast.

Paneling and embossing

The surface of the door itself is rarely unadorned because then it would be much too plain to the eyes. In wood doors, panels are added to raise the surface that act as decorative elements. Multiple panels may be added in a lattice layout, for example in a 2 by 2 configuration. In fiberglass doors, the paneling effect is simulated by embossing the surface during the fiberglass build-up process. Paneling is one of the most important parts of front door designs.

Textures and stain

The texture of the door is the tactile "appearance" of the surface. It may be roughed, sanded down or smooth. The natural grain of a wood door plays a role in determining the type of texture it has. Surprisingly to some, fiberglass doors are bought with simulated wood grain textures, generally a more realistic texture will be more expensive. The stains available to front door designs varies greatly also. Doors may be sanded down and restained every few years, especially important for wood doors that are exposed to harsh conditions.

Decorative glass

We have already discussed the use of lites (glass panes) in the side panels of the door. Lites are in fact installed directly into the door themselves as well either in conjunction with or in the absence of paneling and embossing. Lites in the door play the roles as discussed above, mainly decorative and functional by letting more light into the house.


Finally, do not forget the door knob, lock housing, and the knocker, to which we refer as the details of front door designs. These are made of metal and come in various styles that should be chosen on the basis of complementing the other parts of your house. The size, shape and style, finish or polish of the metal varies greatly between products.

Double configuration

Doors can come in a double configuration. Moreover, "side-lites" can be added to adorn the frame of the door.


Depending on your home, your door can be customized to include a "transom" that runs over the top.

Robust to Weather

Regions with changeable climates that see wintry rain and snow can be ideal for non-wood doors.

(C) Copyright 2015 Fiberglass Entry Doors

photo by jdickert via CC 2.0

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