The Materials of Door


As much as a front door can invite people in, it also can also act as a barrier between you and outside intrusions. Much more than just a slab of wood or sheet of vinyl, your front door is an integral part of your home’s aesthetic and structure, so you should give careful thought to how it looks and functions.

In choosing a new door, start with materials before you think about custom details. The three most popular door materials are:






  1. Steel doors

Steel is a cost-efficient and durable choice for a door. Steel usually features insulation and weather stripping that can help you conserve energy, and thus save money on heating and cooling bills. Steel doors are also fire-resistant and able to stand up to even the most severe weather conditions. Leading manufacturers like Pella and Masonite offer steel doors in a variety of styles and colors. Steel doors can range in cost from $135 to $1,550.

2. Wood doors

Wooden front doors are usually made from either laminated plywood or solid wood. While laminated plywood is a popular choice for contemporary homes, solid wood doors are often associated with historic homes, and may come adorned with intricate carving or stained glass panels. The elegance of a solid wood door comes with a hefty price tag; this is generally the most expensive type of front door. Wood doors need regular maintenance and treatment to protect them from weather-related deterioration. Wood doors can range in price from $500 to $2,500. Expect to pay significantly more if you choose a solid wood door that’s hand-carved, or has intricate glass inserts.

3. Fiberglass doors

Fiberglass may be the happy medium of door materials. It’s equally energy-efficient and as cost-effective as steel, but available in a synthetic wood grain that gives the appearance of solid wood. One of the leading manufacturers of fiberglass doors, Therma-Tru offers fiberglass doors that are made with a patented technology that mimics the beautiful, often complex appearance of wood. Fiberglass is a low-maintenance material that is rust, warp and dent resistant. Fiberglass doors can range from $300 to $1,750.

From the front to the back, the way that you and others gain entry to your home says a lot about who you are. Choose a front portal that speaks to your personality, and stands up to the climate in your region

Repair a Door

A broken door can be anything from just a nuisance to a serious problem. Not sure how to repair a door? Some jobs are best left to the professionals, but these three fixes are easy and require only a few tools:

1. Your door squeaks

Haunted house sound effects are not part of your home security system–there’s no reason to live with a squeaky door. Use a hammer and a nail set to pop the hinge pins up one at a time, starting with the bottom hinge. Once you have the first pin partially removed, use white lithium grease or a silicone spray to lube the pins. Keep a rag handy for drips.

2. Your door sticks or doesn’t close properly

Heat and humidity causes wood to expand, and the movement of a door over time can cause a door to bind. The first step is to find out where the door is sticking. You can use carbon paper between the door and the sill or jamb to help you figure this out if you can’t easily tell.

If it’s rubbing along the top edge or along the top, outer edge of the door, you may just need to adjust the top hinge. To check, close the door and apply pressure to this hinge to see if the problem is corrected. If so, you can tighten the hinge’s screws using a screwdriver. If the screws are stripped and you need to replace them, or if the screws are spinning, you might need to use a hammer to pack the screw holes with toothpicks, golf tees or slivers of scrap wood so the new screws fit tightly.

If adjusting the hinge doesn’t fix your problem, it could be a matter of adjusting the door’s sill, or planing or sanding your door. Before making a change to your door that you cannot undo, however, you should consult a professional.

3. Your door won’t stay open

If your door keeps closing on you, remove one of the hinge pins and bend it just a bit by placing it against a hard surface and striking it with a hammer. When you put the pin back in place, the increased friction should keep your door from shutting on its own.

Not every door problem requires professional intervention, but if you are not able to diagnose the problem or might risk injury trying to make repairs, do not hesitate to call in a specialist.

Home Projects to do With The Kids

When school’s out for the summer, suddenly there’s a lot of time on everybody’s hands. Take advantage of the extra labor at your house and tackle some home improvement projects together with your kids. It’s a way to encourage kids of all ages to take ownership of your family space. They’ll learn valuable DIY skills and grow in their relationships with you. Have some fun together, and improve the enjoyment of your home at the same time. Here are a few of our favorite kid-friendly home improvement projects to schedule for your summer staycation.

  1. Whether you need to create a pathway, or you just want something pretty to decorate your landscape with, a stepping stone project is always a hit with kids. You can purchase kits at craft stores, or you can pretty easily — and cheaply — accomplish this project with a recycled pizza box and a bag of concrete. Set their creativity free, and let them add embellishments like collected pebbles and shells, or pieces of sea glass, etc.. To make a memento, help them put a hand or footprint in it, or write their name. These stepping stones also make great gifts, and you might all get hooked on making them!
  2. Plants beautify any space, both indoors and out. Let your kids put their own colorful stamp on some outdoor planters by painting clay or plastic pots. Purchase some if you like, or use what you already have lying around. Start by thoroughly cleaning them with soap and water, and then allow them to dry completely. For clay pots, spray them with polyurethane to seal them first. For plastic pots, give them a coat of spray primer. Then, for either material, use water-based acrylics to create your design. Once it’s dry, spray each pot with a top coat of polyurethane to seal and protect it from the sun and weather. Plant them with your favorite flowers or herbs, and enjoy them on your porch or patio all season long.
  3. A vegetable garden can be both beautiful and practical — and a whole lot of fun to watch grow. Give your kids a sense of how the food they eat gets to the table by building a raised veggie bed. It’s a simple DIY project, requiring only basic lumber and skills. You essentially want to build an open box for your space’s specifications. Three inch galvanized screws will suffice to join the boards at right angles. Lay down landscaping fabric before you set your box in place and fill it with dirt. Then, it’s time to put some seeds and starter plants in. With regular watering and weeding, you’ll soon harvest the fruits of your labor. There’s nothing that tastes quite so good as a home grown tomato. You may even find your kids trying vegetables they never would touch before. A summer staycation can be fun and productive with some well-planned family projects on the calendar. With any luck, these home improvements will help you make some lasting memories with your kids, and be things you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Review Marble Counters and Tile Slab

Making the decision to remodel often includes taking a deep breath and bracing for sticker shock. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Remodeling smart means looking for alternative materials that look just as good, if not better, than your original plan, and cost much less. Here are some of the more popular ‘must have’ remodeling materials and their much cheaper alternatives.

Marble countertops can be astoundingly beautiful, especially when surrounded by rich wood cabinetry. But the price tag on those countertops can be enough to make a budget-minded homeowner back away with real regret. Is it possible to create the look of a marble countertop without the steep cost?



Amazingly, it is. Often known as ‘thin porcelain tile,’ the material is much lighter and thinner than marble, allowing for easier installation. The thinnest slabs can be installed right over an existing countertop, thus saving a great deal of money in demo work. The lines throughout the tile are so well-made that it is impossible to tell the difference between them and the natural look of marble. In short, it’s a perfect fake.

If that’s something to rejoice about, the price differences will make you swoon. Marble can easily cost between $50 and $100 and up per square foot; thin porcelain tile will run about half that, depending upon the style. One of the big selling points is the lack of necessity for a full gutting of the kitchen or bathroom, which saves even more cash.

A gorgeous old hardwood floor can be enough to make a homeowner go weak in the knees. But floors that have stood the test of time are often found only in much older homes. If you want that look in a newer house, it’s going to be necessary to go with hand-scarped wood floors, right?

Maybe not. Reclaimed wood is all the rage, and for good reason: It allows homeowners to get the look of old wood for a much cheaper price, and it saves those treasured old boards from ending up in landfills or deteriorating even more in abandoned homes. A simple refinish and the wood is ready to be used — nail holes, scrapes, and all.

The money saved depends upon where you get the wood. In most cases, expect to save an average of two-thirds off the retail price through a building supply store or salvage shop. If you pull the wood from an old house or barn yourself, your savings will be even higher.

Opting for wood siding can turn any home into a classic. Most wood siding comes with the added bonus of being versatile, as with a few fresh coats of paint, your house can look like an entirely different place. But wood siding requires a great deal of maintenance over its lifetime and the good stuff can be quite expensive.

Engineered wood siding is made of wood strands combined with a resin binder. The result is a strong, durable yet light wood material that easily installs on a home. It can be installed just like wood with the use of typical woodworking tools. In fact, engineered wood is so close to the ‘real thing’ that is can be very tough to tell them apart.

The big differences in the two options become evident at the bottom line. Wood siding installed by a professional tends to cost between $6,500 and $10,000 for a 1,250 square foot home. Engineered wood siding, again installed by a professional, cuts that cost to between $3,000 and $5,000.

When seeking out the best alternatives, choose materials from manufacturers that are tried and true. Cheaper materials from a reputable company are definitely not the same as ‘cheap’ materials from a company that is very new to the home improvement scene.

Using more affordable materials can save a great deal of money as long as they are installed properly and treated correctly. That’s why choosing the right contractor is so important. Look for someone who has a great deal of experience, excellent reviews, and a thorough estimate. Proper installation of more affordable elements helps ensure they truly will stand the test of time.

Making the decision to remodel often includes taking a deep breath and bracing for sticker shock. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Remodeling smart means looking for alternative materials that look just as good, if not better, than your original plan, and cost much less. Here are some of the more popular ‘must have’ remodeling materials and their much cheaper alternatives.

8 Essential Things to Know Before You Hire a Contractor

Contractor Stephen Fanuka shares what he wishes his clients knew before—and after— hiring him.

1. Don’t expect perfection — expect quality.

The most unrealistic expectation a client can have is that the job will be perfect. There’s no such thing. Painting and tiling and brickwork aren’t done by machine. They’re done by craftsmen — who, yes, are human.

2. Your contractor is making judgments from the moment he steps in your home.


This is like a first date — the first time a contractor meets a client, we size up who they are, how they conduct themselves. What’s their personality like? Are they hot-tempered? Dismissive of your suggestions? If they deal with you this way right off the bat, there probably won’t be a second date.

3. … but they know you’re making judgments, too.

Clients want to be sure you are responsible and fully involved. They want us to be attentive, direct, honest, courteous. In other words: We should be someone they won’t mind seeing every day for six months or longer.

4. Good negotiators can get a better price.

Get more than one bid. Start with the highest-end contractor, the best-stuff-money-can-buy guy. Ask him for a detailed proposal. Take that proposal and copy it, leaving out the costs. Pass it out to subsequent contractors you interview and ask them to fill in the costs. This will give you a good idea of what the job is worth. But be cautious: The lowest bid isn’t usually the best.

5. Safety is your responsibility, too.

Do a simple gut check: Do you want this guy in your home for the next year? Find out if your contractor is licensed. Ask them to show you the license. Make sure they carry liability insurance, so if one of their guys falls off a ladder and breaks his neck, you’re not sued. Likewise, if they cause any damage to your property, you won’t have to pay for it.

6. Feel free to hire subcontractors — but don’t go over your contractor’s head.

Contractors are like agents, always looking for fresh talent. Let’s say you happen to know a terrific painter who’ll do you a favor on price. Most contractors won’t mind that kind of limited subcontracting, especially if you throw a small managerial fee their way.

7. Be nice to the crew.

One simple thing clients can do to make my life easier: Allow the crew to use your bathroom. You’d be surprised how many clients ask us to go to the nearest gas station or diner. Make the work environment comfortable. If it’s 97 degrees, we’re remodeling an attic, and the client won’t let us turn on the AC — that’s cruel. Also, maintain an air of diplomacy and good cheer. Wait 15 minutes before you discuss anything that’s really upsetting you.

8. Pay attention to the warning signs.

Is the contractor usually late? Do you make several calls before he gets back to you? Does he delegate the job to one of his crew? Is he careless about keeping the job clean? Know when to draw the line. This is your home after all, not a construction site.

4 Ways to Make The Most of a Tiny Backyard

  1. If you’re a city dweller there’s a good chance the size of your backyard, if you’re lucky enough to even have one, is on the smaller side. But like the old proverb: good things come in small packages; a small backyard can be a lovely, intimate oasis. Here are 6 ideas for making the most out of your outdoor space.

    Let it burn: If you only have enough room for a few plants, make them showstoppers. The fiery Burning Bush is a deciduous shrub that gets its name from the brilliant shade of its red fall leaves. The Burning Bush adapts to a variety of soils and climate conditions and can be grown in almost any area of the country. You’ll look forward to fall just to enjoy the amazing color.

    Veg out. Container gardening is a great way to create layers of greenery. And why not make your garden edible? Fresh herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, grapes, and other plants that enjoy climbing are a perfect fit for a smaller garden.  Companies like Minifarmbox specialize in products for small produce gardens. Ideally, most vegetables want six to eight hours of full sun, so depending on your light situation, you may opt to put your bed on wheels so that you can move it around to chase the sun.

    Create a natural fence: If privacy is an issue, plant bamboo as a lush and quick alternative to a fence, or to mask an unsightly one. Bamboo is fast growing and very low maintenance. Beware, though, some varieties of bamboo are invasive, so choose wisely in order to keep it from overtaking your backyard, or spreading to your neighbor’s.

    Light it up:
    Outdoor or patio string lights are a wonderful may to brighten up your outdoor space and make it feel festive. Also, they are inexpensive and can be installed easily. You can hang strands of light in rows or a criss cross pattern, wrap lights around a tree or bush, or both. Get creative and make the space yours. And no need to stick with basic white lights, or standard shapes. Try pink lights for a soft, romantic mood, old lanterns for a vintage feel, or fun shapes (palm trees, unicorns) to match your interests and personality.

    These are just a few ideas for maximizing the outdoor space you have available. By using your space wisely, you’ll have a relaxing, green space to call your own without giving up the concrete jungle.