To Refinish or To Replace – How to Refresh Your Entryway

When people visit your home, they form an opinion based on the appearance of its exterior. Curb appeal is important, but it extends beyond the landscaping. An entry door that’s damaged and worn creates an unfavorable first impression in the minds of your guests.

If you’re considering selling in the spring, your curb appeal and entry appeal is even more vital. But what is the best course of action – to refinish or to replace the exterior door? Replacing the front door can be expensive and may not even be necessary. In some cases, refinishing the exterior door delivers stunning results at a fraction of the cost.

When a Front Door Can Be Refinished

If your entry door is made of wood that has been painted or stained and its appearance has deteriorated over the years, sanding and a fresh coat of paint or stain could make it look as good as new. If you’re comfortable with DIY project, you could always approach tackling the job yourself to keep the cost down. But you could also always hire an experienced contractor or handyman to do the work for you – which you’ll definitely want to do if the door is old.

When to Replace a Front Door

Although sanding and a fresh coat of paint or stain can work wonders, there is of course a limit to what refinishing can do. A wooden entry door can be refinished if it’s generally in good condition. Refinishing might be able to restore a door with minor dents or cracks, but a door with significant damage will probably need to be replaced.  You may also consider replacing the front door if the cut-outs or styling is old-fashioned or ornate, especially if you’re looking to bring more natural light into the entryway of your home.

If you’re planning significant renovations that will alter the appearance of your home’s exterior, replacing the front door is likely your best option. It isn’t likely that the old door will fit with your house’s new, contemporary design. Your contractor may even be changing the physical layout of your home’s façade, and you may need to purchase a new door with different dimensions.

Not Just for Looks

An entry door is for more than just aesthetics. It keeps hot air out in the summer and cold air out in the winter. It enhances the efficiency of your home heating and cooling systems. If you’re frustrated by high utility bills, consider whether your front door is adding to the problem. Is it drafty near the seams? Any damage, dent, crack or broken hinge could be contributing to the improper air transfer. Replacing the door can make your home more energy efficient and comfortable and can save you money in the long run.

Consult a Local Contractor if You’re Staying in Your Home

You might be unsure about the overall condition of your entry door and what you should do about it. A contractor can inspect the exterior door(s), assess the level of damage and wear, recommend refinishing or replacing and give you an estimate. They may even make suggestions about the doorway overhang or awning and gutters to extend the life of the door and protect it from inclement weather. Get quotes from a few contractors before you select a company to work with.

Consult a Realtor® if You’re Selling Your Home

A Realtor® is your local real estate expert, who has knowledge about the housing market in your neighborhood and what improvements should be made prior to listing your home. If you’re considering selling, before making any renovations, consult a Realtor® who will be able to make suggestions for what would best add to the curb appeal of the property, appeal to the largest group of potential buyers, and be the most valuable use of resources.

To find a Realtor in your local area, please visit Our Directory and search for an office in your neighborhood. With nearly 50,000 Realtors in the New York Metro area, you’ll certainly find someone who will work hard to sell your home.


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