Doors and windows tend to make a statement about the people living inside a home.
You get an impression about the owners of a home when you walk up to their front door and take note of the condition and style of both the door and the nearby windows. Aging doors and windows also funnel heat and air conditioning out of a house, raising energy costs.
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That is why, even in the current economy, homeowners are replacing their outdated windows, doors and door surrounds when they notice them starting to age and look less than pristine.
"People are watching their dollars more and tightening their belts, so they aren't doing as extensive work as they were a few years ago. But they are purchasing new doors and windows that fit within their existing openings," said David Voss, owner of The Door Store, 53 W. Roosevelt Road, Villa Park.
And when it comes to style, the Craftsman-style doors top the list with the more traditional Colonial six-panel doors coming in second, Voss said. Neutral doors that work with all home styles are also popular.
Sidelights on either side of a single door remain popular but they are no longer covered inside by dust-catching sheer curtains. Instead, homeowners are opting for obscure privacy glass so that people can't look right in. Beveled or leaded glass, in particular, is chosen because buyers like the prism effect of sun shining through those into their foyers, he said.
Non-wood materials that look like wood but are maintenance-free are taking over the market in both doors and windows.
"Fiberglas doors that do not experience the movement, cracking and peeling of wood doors are becoming the top choice because they now look very authentic," Voss said. "The grains have become much more realistic and we have stainers on staff who can make them look like real wood and can even match other trim in a house. We sell Fiberglas doors made by Provia and Therma-Tru.
"We suggest steel doors by Taylor for those who are worried about security," he continued. "They are the most difficult to kick in and they seal the most tightly."
But there is still a market for the Jeldwen and Simpson wood exterior doors the business carries. "There are some sizes and designs that can only be done in wood, so people want them," Voss said. "They will work well for those whose doorways are not too exposed to the sun because they face north or because they have a large overhang."
Today's windows have undergone a similar transformation. The Door Store carries Sunrise vinyl windows, and Loewen and Weather Shield wood and wood-clad windows. The trend is to choose windows that are maintenance-free on the outside and either wood, vinyl or Fiberglas on the inside. Stainers at The Door Store can also make them match a homeowner's room trim.
"We have come a long way. Replacement windows today are very efficient and maintenance free. And homeowners can change their current look without have to tear out a larger opening in their wall by replacing a pair of double hung windows, for instance, with a sliding window or casements. There are many options," Voss said.
"They also have the choice of putting grids or blinds between the panes of glass for a nice look with less maintenance," he said. "We can match most stains and colors on those interior grids, too."
When it comes to finishes, painted exterior doors are generally the choice of those living in wood or aluminum-sided homes while stained doors look best on brick homes because there are so many colors in the brick and mortar from which to choose when matching, according to Voss.
Mahogany and fir stains are most popular, with cherry coming in as a new favorite. Heavily grained woods like oak have fallen out of favor so The Door Store's stainers are seldom called upon to make a Fiberglas door look like oak.
The Door Store also sells swinging or sliding patio doors and both wood and non-wood interior doors of all styles.
In business in Villa Park for 25 years and primarily serving the West suburbs but willing to travel further, The Door Store has a large showroom where customers can view its doors, windows and locks. The company employs its own installers and offers a haul-away service for the doors and windows they remove.
For more information, visit www.shopthedoorstore.com or call (630) 495-0100.