The are many types of exterior doors available. Here are the main ones:
Also known as swinging doors, they are the most common type with a hinge mechanism fixing them to the door-frame. They open or close with a push or pull action, and are quite smooth to operate.
Hinged doors open in two ways:
90° swing: These doors usually open to a wall or partition at the right angle. They have to be fitted with 90° hinges.
180° swing (also called straight-angle opening): They open with a full swing, meaning they come to the same angle when fully closed or fully opened. Special 180° hinges are used for these doors. You can opt for soft-opening hinges for enhanced performance of these entry doors.
There are two main shortcomings of hinged exterior doors:
The hinges may rust, corrode, or deform under climatic effects. This will adversely affect functioning of the door.
If it is a wood or processed wood door, it will expand during heavy rain periods, so it may not close properly or not close at all.
If any of the above happens to your door, you will require a qualified carpenter's service.
Important: These domestic doors should not be confused with the heavy-duty swinging doors commonly installed in offices, malls, and other public places.
These doors slide in a straight line instead of swinging at 90° or 180°. When fully open, they form a double layer with the adjacent door panel.
Sliding exterior doors have limited usage as front doors because of safety and material considerations. However, they find common use for other exterior areas such as rear doors and backyard doors.
Sliding doors rest on aluminum or steel channels fitted to the floor. The base of these doors has metal or heavy-duty plastic rollers that facilitate the sliding action.
Sliding entry doors are ideal for areas that don't have the floor space required to open hinged doors. As such, they are excellent space-savers. Secondarily, they are good when** safety and security are not primary issues.**
Entry doors can account for a huge energy loss. Some types of doors provide better protection against that loss than others.
Do consider the steel, fiberglass, and vinyl entry doors for their exceptional energy efficiency. They are discussed in more detail in the materials section.
This is the door in front of the exterior door. If you want a wooden entry door, you can install a fiberglass storm door and thus prevent energy permeation to and from your exterior door. Enhanced safety and protection from high winds, rain, storm, and snowfall are bonuses!
Note: if you are considering using glass in your entry door, you can improve its energy efficiency by putting an insulating strip on the edges. This method is called weatherstripping. Glass being a good conductor will cause much energy loss without this measure.
Patio and French patio doors
They are the gateways to your cherished patio space. Being located at the rear of your home, you can afford to focus on their elegance and charm without being concerned about safety and security.
Commonly, patio doors are single-piece glass, fiberglass, or vinyl sliding exterior doors. They are available in a wide range of designs that will suit any kind of patio ambiance and décor.
French patio doors can be hinged or fully swinging doors. Usually, they are double-doors, not single units. You can have the option of opening just one door, not both.