Home & Garden

Should I fortify my front door frame?

Dear Angie: How much does it cost to replace an exterior door frame? — Rena N., Fort Washington, Md.

Dear Rena: Before I offer the range of prices for this home service, I want to emphasize the importance of buying a new door at the same time you replace the frame. Moisture can enter if the door and frame don’t seal correctly, and the best way to ensure that all components work well together is to buy them together.

Another important consideration is how well your front door will stand up to possible intruders.

Most entry doors are made of steel, fiberglass or wood. Steel typically offers the most protection from break-ins, but it might not provide the desired appearance for a home’s entry. That’s why door frame materials offer varying options.

For example, you can buy a wood door frame that includes unseen metal reinforcement plates. The plates, screwed into the back of the door frame, reinforce the wood around a deadbolt lock, making it more difficult to kick in.

You also can consider a three-point locking system. Along with a traditional deadbolt, these systems include locks at the top and the bottom of the door, which make it more difficult to kick in or pry open.

To choose the right door and frame material, factor in where they’re going. Wood doors and frames are popular because of their look, but they also experience sun damage more readily than doors of steel or fiberglass. Also, experts say many companies won’t warranty exterior doors that don’t have an overhang protecting them from the weather.

The variety of factors to consider means there’s a wide range of possible prices for a new door and frame.

You can find a solid, dependable door and frame for $150 to $200, but these will often have a single locking point, and they might not have the appearance you prefer. Decorative doors and frames with more security options will cost $1,000 or more.

Because of the expertise required for front-door installation, most experts advise hiring a professional. Expect to pay from several hundred dollars to more than $1,000 for installation alone, depending on the scope and complexity of the project. Be sure to hire an experienced installer who has positive consumer reviews on a trusted website and is appropriately licensed, insured and bonded.

Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angieslist.com to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at askangie@angieslist.com.

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