How To Choose Exterior Doors

Keep your home beautiful and add curb appeal with a new front door

A beautiful, quality front door boosts your home’s appearance and curb appeal while keeping your family safe and secure. This guide will help you choose which door is best for you.

Whether you're moving into a new home or replacing old doors, The Home Depot offers professional measurement and installation options. Click here to learn more.

Pre-Hung vs. Slab Doors

Pre-hung doors include both the door and the frame that supports the door, while slab doors include just the door alone. 

Measuring for a pre-hung exterior door can be tricky. Follow this video for specific steps.

Tip: If your slab door is more than 25 years old, it’s best to go with a pre-hung door to ensure a sealed frame.

  • Pre-Hung Doors

  • A pre-hung door comes already attached to hinges and to door framing.
  • Door is already hanging in its own frame
  • Door frame includes thresholds and weather-stripping
  • Full unit includes prepped door, hinged and assembled to your specifications
  • Ensures smooth, easy installation with a precise fit
  • Existing door and framing must be removed before pre-hung unit is installed 
  • Hardware (door knobs, handles and door locks) sold separately
prehung door
  • Slab Doors

  • A slab door is only the door, with no framing, and is not pre-hung.
  • Slab doors are the ideal choice if only the door needs to be replaced 
  • Replaces the old door on its hinges 
  • Hardware (door knobs, handles and door locks) sold separately
slab door

Wood, Steel & Fiberglass Exterior Doors

Choose the material for your door based on energy efficiency, security concerns and the style of your home.

Tip: To maximize security, add door chains or install an all-metal security door over your entry door.  

  • Heavier doors
  • Available in range of woods, including premium hardwood and pine
  • Secure and dent resistant
  • Available with or without glass insets
  • Usually made using frame & panel construction
  • Must be finished or painted on all sides to preserve durability and appearance
  • Ideal for traditional homes with entryways sheltered from elements
  • Wood grain texture molded into the door
  • Durable and weather resistant
  • Energy efficient: foam insulation and weather-stripping help block heat and cold
  • Can be stained or painted to match your home’s exterior
  • High-traffic entrances
  • Weather resistant, secure, tough. and great for high traffic entrances.
  • Energy-efficient foam core insulation with coating that mimics look of real wood
  • Stronger than wood & fiberglass doors
  • Fully weather-stripped, reducing chances of shrinking, swelling & warping
  • Most cost effective
  • Areas with heightened security concerns
    Severe weather
  • Secure, durable, affordable, low maintenance and weather resistant
  • Built to last, secure and durable. Can be ornate or minimal in design.
  • An iron door will not rot, warp, or splinter and will be more durable and secure than a wood door.
Iron door

Exterior Door Measurements

When measuring your door, you must first familiarize with some basic door terminology. Most entry doors are the same industry-wise standard size, while different sizes can be special ordered. See the illustration and table below for reference.

  • Rough opening – the required dimensions to fit a pre hung door (including frame and slab) 
  • Jamb size – the width of the frame from front to back, covering the sheeting or siding and wall stud. See illustration below.
  • Net frame dimension – the full width of the frame
  • Masonry opening – the space between the bricks on the front of your home as they surround the door (if applicable)
door measurement chart

Standard entry door measurements:

  • Height: 80 inches (6 feet, 8 inches) 
  • Thickness: 1 ¾ inches 
  • Width: 36 inches standard; 30 and 32 inches also available

If you have an unusually-sized door opening, simply take your measurements to a Home Depot store near you, and an associate will help you choose the right door for your home.

Door measurements available by special order:

  • 7- and 8-foot-tall doors
  • Double entry doors 
  • Custom-made doors (made to your specifications; extra charge applies) - see the bottom of this guide for more information


Customize your front door with different finishes, glass panels and hardware.

Exterior door with glass


  • Decorative glass panels can be placed within a door to enhance its beauty, let in natural light, and allow for a view.
  • Sidelights (windows on both sides of the door) or transoms (windows set over the door) create a custom look. 
  • Some models include low-emissivity (low-e) coatings to help filter harmful UV rays that can fade your upholstery or flooring. 
  • Options include tempered, impact-resistant glass; glass that limits UV rays; and glass that helps muffle sound.


Tip: The Home Depot does not apply paint, stain or varnish to doors. Seal and finish all six sides of your door (top, bottom, front back and sides) immediately after installation. Waiting to seal your door may void your product warranty.

Doors are available unfinished, primed, painted, stained or varnished.

Door Knobs, Handlesets and Door Locks

Tip: For a coordinated look, choose the same finish for your door knobs, hinges, threshold, handleset, mailbox and house numbers.

All exterior doors should have a deadbolt lock to increase security. A good deadbolt lock extends at least 1 inch beyond the edge of the door.

Storm, Screen, Security & Patio Doors

Storm, patio, security and screen doors are exterior doors designed to meet your specific needs. Each comes in a variety of finishes to match of your home.  

  • Storm doors fit over your exterior entry doors and provide a glass panel of protection to help prolong the life of your door's outer surface. 
  • They also help insulate your home and provide an extra measure of security. 
  • Storm doors are available with full-view models with a large pane of glass, or with screens to provide ventilation in warm weather.
storm door
  • Screen doors are available as gliding or hinged doors. 
  • They offer screens for ventilation and weather-stripping to keep out wind, rain and dust. 
  • On some models, auxiliary locks allow you to keep your patio door in a partially opened position.
screen door
  • Security doors resist forced entry with welded steel construction and tamper-resistant features such as one-way, non-removable screws and welded steel butt hinges.
  • The Home Depot carries security doors with varying degrees of strength and resistance to forced entry. 
  • Security doors also have corrosion-resistant, galvanized metal screens.
security door
  • Patio doors are typically two side-by-side doors that open out onto your patio. 
  • They are available as French doors, center-hinged doors that swing open to one side from center hinges, or sliding or gliding doors.
patio door

Ordering Custom Entry Doors

If your door isn't a standard size, you'll have to custom order it. The Home Depot makes this process easy. Click thorugh to any of the videos listed below for more details on each step of the process.

  1. How to Research for a Custom Entry Door
  2. How to Select and Order a Custom Entry Door
  3. How to Track the Status of Your Custom Entry Door Order