Types of Exterior Doors: A Guide for Homeowners

a white patio door, one of the most popular types of exterior doors

There are various types of exterior doors, each serving a unique purpose. Front entry doors create a welcoming entrance, patio doors provide access to outdoor spaces, storm doors protect against weather, security doors enhance safety, and screen doors allow for ventilation. Choosing the right exterior door enhances your home’s aesthetic, functionality, and security.

Homeowners often face a challenge when choosing the perfect exterior door. With so many options available, selecting exterior doors can be overwhelming.

The right exterior door can significantly impact your home’s aesthetic appeal, energy efficiency, and security.

This article provides homeowners with a comprehensive overview of the various types of exterior doors.

Understanding Exterior Doors

Exterior doors are not just entry points but vital to your home’s overall appearance and functionality.

They must be durable to withstand weather conditions while providing security and insulation.

When choosing exterior doors, homeowners should consider material, style, and operation to ensure the best fit for their needs and preferences.

Types of Exterior Doors

Exterior doors come in various styles and designs, each serving a unique purpose and aesthetic. Understanding the different types can help homeowners make an informed decision.

Here’s an overview of the various types of exterior doors.

Front Entry Doors

Front entry doors are the primary access point to your home and play a critical role in first impressions.

These doors come in various styles, materials, and finishes, allowing homeowners to customize their entrances to match their architectural preferences and personal tastes.

Common materials include wood, fiberglass, and steel, each offering different aesthetics, durability, and maintenance benefits. Wood doors provide a classic, warm look but require regular upkeep.

Fiberglass doors are low-maintenance and can mimic the appearance of wood, while steel doors offer superior security and durability.

Additional features like decorative glass panels, sidelights, and transoms can enhance the door’s appearance and functionality, providing natural light and an elegant touch to your entryway.

Patio Doors

Patio doors provide seamless access to outdoor spaces such as patios, decks, and gardens. They typically feature large glass panels that offer expansive views and allow natural light to flood the interior.

Common types of patio doors include sliding and French doors. Sliding doors operate along a track and are ideal for areas with limited space, offering a sleek and modern look.

French doors consist of two hinged doors that open outward or inward from the center, adding a touch of elegance and providing a wide opening for easy access.

Patio doors can be made from wood, vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass, and each offers different benefits in terms of aesthetics, energy efficiency, and maintenance.

Storm Doors

Storm doors are installed in front of exterior doors to protect them from harsh weather conditions and provide an additional layer of insulation.

They often feature interchangeable glass and screen panels, allowing homeowners to adjust for ventilation during warmer months and insulation during colder months.

Storm doors are typically made from durable materials such as aluminum or steel, ensuring they can withstand various weather conditions. These doors protect the main exterior door from damage and wear and enhance security by providing an extra barrier against intruders.

Storm doors can complement your home’s overall design in various styles and finishes while offering practical benefits like energy efficiency and extended door lifespan.

Security Doors

Security doors are designed to provide additional protection for your home, ensuring the safety of your family and possessions.

Made from robust materials like steel or iron, these doors are reinforced with heavy-duty locks, frames, and hinges to prevent forced entry.

Security doors often feature decorative designs, allowing homeowners to enhance their home’s appearance without compromising safety. They can be installed as primary doors or as barriers before an existing exterior door. Besides offering enhanced security, these doors can improve energy efficiency and reduce noise.

With various styles and finishes available, security doors can be customized to match your home’s aesthetic while providing peace of mind.

Screen Doors

Screen doors allow fresh air to flow into your home, keeping insects and debris out. They are typically used with other exterior doors, providing ventilation during warmer months.

Screen doors can be made from various materials, including wood, aluminum, and fiberglass, each offering different levels of durability and maintenance. Wood screen doors provide a traditional, rustic look but require regular upkeep, while aluminum and fiberglass options are more durable and low-maintenance.

Some screen doors feature retractable screens that can be rolled up when not in use, offering a sleek and unobtrusive appearance.

Screen doors are available in various styles and finishes, complementing your home’s exterior while enhancing comfort and functionality.

Types of Exterior Doors by Operating Style

Exterior doors can also be categorized by how they operate, which affects their functionality and suitability for different spaces. Based on operating style, there are several types of exterior doors.

French Doors

French doors are one of the most popular types of exterior doors, as they offer an elegant patio entrance. Two panels open outward or inward from the center, offering a stylish and elegant entryway to patios or gardens.

These doors typically feature multiple small glass panes, allowing natural light to flood the interior while providing expansive views of the outdoors. French doors are versatile and can be used as exterior and interior doors.

They add a touch of sophistication to any space, enhancing the home’s aesthetic appeal and functionality.

Sliding Doors

Sliding doors operate by gliding along a track, making them ideal for spaces with limited clearance.

They feature large glass panels that offer unobstructed views and allow natural light to enter the home. Perfect for patios, balconies, and contemporary spaces, sliding doors create a sleek and modern look.

They are available in various materials, including vinyl, aluminum, and wood, providing options to match different styles and preferences while optimizing space utilization.

Swinging Doors

Swinging doors, also known as hinged doors, open on hinges mounted to a frame, allowing them to swing inward or outward.

Commonly used as front entry doors or garden doors, they are versatile and can be customized with various materials, finishes, and decorative elements. Swinging doors offer a classic and traditional look, providing a secure and functional entry point.

They are easy to install and maintain, making them a popular choice for many homeowners.

Bi-Fold Doors

Bi-fold doors consist of multiple panels that fold back against themselves when opened, creating a wide opening to outdoor spaces.

Ideal for connecting indoor and outdoor living areas, these doors provide a seamless transition and unobstructed views. Bi-fold doors are perfect for patios, sunrooms, or any area where a wide opening is desired.

They can be made from wood, aluminum, or vinyl, offering a combination of durability, aesthetics, and flexibility.

Dutch Doors

Dutch doors are divided horizontally, allowing the top half to open independently from the bottom.

This design allows ventilation while keeping pets or children safely inside. Dutch doors add a charming, rustic touch to any home and are often used in kitchens, nurseries, or as exterior entry doors.

They can be customized with various materials and finishes, making them versatile and functional for enhancing security and convenience.

Pivot Doors

Pivot doors are mounted on pivot hinges rather than traditional side hinges, allowing the door to rotate on a central axis.

This unique operating style creates a modern and dramatic entrance suitable for residential and commercial properties. Pivot doors can be constructed from various materials, including wood, glass, and metal, offering design flexibility.

They provide a striking architectural feature, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of any space while offering smooth and easy operation.

Pocket Doors

Pocket doors slide into a compartment within the wall, saving space and offering a sleek, unobtrusive look. Ideal for areas where space is limited, such as small rooms or closets, they are a practical and stylish solution.

Pocket doors are available in various materials, including wood, glass, and metal, allowing customization to match any decor.

They provide a clean, modern aesthetic while maximizing usable space, making them an excellent choice for contemporary homes.

Types of Exterior Doors by Material

The material of an exterior door impacts its durability, appearance, and maintenance requirements.

Here are several types of exterior doors by material:

Vinyl Exterior Doors

Vinyl doors are known for their durability, energy efficiency, and low maintenance.

Made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), these doors are resistant to moisture, rot, and insects, making them ideal for various climates. Vinyl doors offer excellent insulation, helping to reduce energy costs by maintaining a consistent indoor temperature. They come in various colors and styles, including options that mimic the look of wood.

Easy to clean and resistant to fading, vinyl doors are a practical and cost-effective choice for homeowners seeking a long-lasting, attractive exterior door solution.

Fiberglass Exterior Doors

Fiberglass doors offer the beauty of wood without the associated maintenance. These doors are highly durable and resistant to dents, warping, and rust, making them suitable for all weather conditions.

Fiberglass doors are also energy-efficient, providing excellent insulation due to their foam core. They can be customized with various finishes and styles, including options that replicate the grain and texture of natural wood. Additionally, fiberglass doors require minimal upkeep, typically needing occasional cleaning and repainting.

Their durability, aesthetic versatility, and low maintenance make fiberglass doors a popular choice among homeowners.

Aluminum Exterior Doors

Aluminum doors are lightweight, strong, and corrosion-resistant, making them an excellent option for coastal or humid environments.

They offer a sleek, modern look and are often used for patio or storm doors. Aluminum doors can be customized with various finishes and colors to match any home’s exterior. They provide good insulation and can be enhanced with thermal breaks to improve energy efficiency.

Aluminum doors are also low-maintenance, requiring only periodic cleaning to keep them looking their best.

Their durability and contemporary appeal make them a favored choice for modern homes.

Steel Exterior Doors

Steel doors are prized for their strength and security. Constructed from heavy-duty steel, they offer robust protection against forced entry, making them ideal for homeowners who prioritize safety.

They are also highly durable and resistant to warping, cracking, and weather damage. They provide excellent insulation and often feature a foam core that enhances energy efficiency.

Steel doors can be customized to suit different aesthetic preferences. They are available in various styles and finishes, including options that mimic wood grain.

Despite their strength, steel doors are relatively low-maintenance, requiring occasional repainting to prevent rust.

Iron Exterior Doors

Iron doors exude luxury and provide unparalleled security. Known for their intricate designs and robust construction, iron doors are popular for grand entrances and high-end properties.

These doors are highly durable and resistant to impact, offering excellent protection against intruders. Iron doors can be customized with various patterns, scrollwork, and finishes, allowing homeowners to create a unique and elegant entryway.

Iron doors also offer good insulation and can be fitted with thermal breaks to enhance energy efficiency. While they require some maintenance to prevent rust, their timeless beauty and strength make them a worthwhile investment.

Wood Exterior Doors

Wood doors offer a classic, timeless appeal and can be customized to any architectural style.

Available in various wood types, including mahogany, oak, and pine, these doors can be stained or painted to achieve the desired finish.

Wood doors provide excellent insulation, contributing to energy efficiency. However, they require regular maintenance to protect against moisture, rot, and insect damage. This includes periodic sealing, staining, or painting.

Despite the maintenance needs, wood doors are valued for their natural beauty, warmth, and versatility, making them a popular choice for homeowners seeking a traditional and elegant look.

Choosing the Right Door for Your Home

Selecting the right exterior door for your home involves considering style, material, and functionality.

Choosing a door that complements your home’s architecture and meets your security and energy efficiency needs is essential.

Consulting with a professional can help you make an informed decision and ensure that your door installation is handled correctly for optimal performance and longevity.

Schedule A Free Consultation

Are you ready to enhance your home’s exterior with a new door?

Legendary Doors & Windows offers a wide selection of high-quality exterior doors to fit your style and budget. Our expert team will guide you through the process, ensuring you find the perfect door to meet your needs. Whether you’re interested in

Schedule a free consultation today and discover the difference a new exterior door can make for your home.


Exterior doors are crucial for any home, providing security, insulation, and aesthetic appeal.

By understanding the different types of exterior doors available, homeowners can make informed decisions that enhance their property’s value and functionality.

Whether you need a front entry door, patio door, or security door, choosing the right exterior door can significantly impact your home’s overall performance and appearance.