Most people assume a door is a door and that there are no basic differences in doors. You may be tempted to choose one based on the lowest purchase price. If you choose a door on the basis of lowest purchase price and choose a door company for the same reason, you may be vulnerable to spending your money more than once to replace a door not carefully selected.
Most doors are built in places called millworks shops, and there are many in Central Florida and throughout the state. These shops build doors based on volume and pricing, and quality is not always paramount. In fact, to be competitive, especially when supplying doors to builders or home improvement warehouses such as Lowe's or Home Depot, you can be assured that quality takes a lower position on the priority list.
These generally are builder grade doors and their claim to fame is a lower price point. To achieve that lower price point, inferior products will be used. For instance, the hinges will be anodized or painted and will be low grade residential, which means they are stamped out with very thin metal thicknesses. The weather stripping will be nylon, which loses its ability to conform and seal tightly to the door slab over time. The threshold will be thin cast aluminum with a wood support plate, inviting both termites as a food source and wood rot if moisture gets under the threshold (it will, be assured).
The frame (jambs) will likely be a fir wood prone to splitting, termites, and wood rot. Look for fancy wording by some companies about their jambs and thresholds, but hedge their claims by adding "Limits jamb rot". In a quality door system, wood rot and termite damage should be eliminated, and stated so in the warranty.
The frames (jambs) on low price doors will always be stapled onto the threshold. This type fastening system lends itself to production, but is also limited in strength.
Builder grade low price doors almost always have excessive reveals, the narrow gap between the door slab and the jamb itself. Wide gaps allows for doors to "fall" in the opening over time, a common problem with doors using inexpensive hinges. This is why doors "stick" or rub, it's because the door has fallen or shifted in the opening. Since there is limited money to be made on inexpensive doors, the manufacturer limits their warranty expense by creating these excessive reveals or gaps. This allows the door to "fall" further before sticking, resulting in less service calls and warranty issues.
There are other options to buying a builder grade door unit. One is to seek out quality name brand doors, such as Steve’s Doors, ThermaTru, or Jeldwen (often retailers such as Home Depot and Lowe’s sell cheaper, fabricated knock-offs of these companies). These name brand doors are generally sold through independent door shops and may sometimes command higher prices, but the quality far exceeds doors sold at the D.I.Y. home improvement warehouses.
DoorVida builds doors to a quality standard, and feature components not found on most doors at any price. We invite you visit our showroom and let us show you the quality difference.