The Energy-Efficient Old Craftsman: Replacing Your Doors And Windows

As an owner of an arts and crafts bungalow home, you can be proud of the original wood finishes and beautiful custom details that make your home unique. However, old windows and doors, no matter how beautiful and well-crafted, just don't compare to modern designs when it comes to energy efficiency. So, how can you update your doors without losing the original charm of your old house?

While many modern homes opt for low cost fiberglass, you should stick with wood. Your original door was likely engineered from a single piece of wood, and it may have square window panes that were custom-built into the door. Choosing an option other than wood for your front door will detract from the original beauty. When it comes to wood doors, you have some options:

  • a new wooden door that comes pre-hung and pre-finished. This option is best for replacing a door that needs a new frame and opening. If you are widening the doorway to accommodate a wheelchair or changing a single door to a double door, a pre-hung door allows you to replace the frame and gives you a set measurement for how large your new opening will be. These doors can be solid wood or engineered wood and can also have insulated glass panels that increase the door's weatherproof performance. 
  • engineered wood doors. To help extend the life of wood doors, newer models feature engineered wood instead of a a solid slab. Using many layers of different woods throughout the door helps to protect it from expansion and contraction due to humidity and temperature changes. The door keeps its shape longer and the wood is less likely to splinter and crack. The exterior of the door looks just like a solid wood door, but it is just a veneer made from the finishing wood of your choice. For a craftsman home, choose an oak, mahogany, or walnut finish. 
  • steel doors with a wood veneer. Steel doors are the most secure, but they can seem out of place on an old craftsman. Instead, opt for a door that has a steel core with a real wood veneer finish. These are high-end doors, so they will cost more than other wood door options. 
  • Solid wood slab doors. These doors are basically an unfinished, blank slate of wood. They are the best option for homeowners who hope to match stain, style, and color in a completely custom fit. The doors can be planed to fit existing frames, making it look like the door is completely original to the home. If the old door had stained glass panels. these can be cut out and reinstalled in the new wood slab. These doors will be more energy efficient due to fitting better in the frame and weatherproofing, but they will not be as effective as an engineered door with a wood veneer. 

Arts and crafts design was all about straight lines and bold wood grain. Many front doors had windows. These windows came in square panes, so it's best to avoid doors that have circle or oval window cut-outs, as they will not be as period authentic. Three is the golden number when it comes to door designs; windows in the door often numbered three across, or a multiple of three, like six or nine panes. Finally, if you're interested in keeping some the old charm with a new door, see if your contractor can't install the original handle or hardware onto the new door, if it's still in good condition. 

For more information about improving your front door without losing the taste and charm of your old bungalow, talk to a window and door replacement company like Statewide Energy Solutions in your area.