Compare warranties before buying a door replacement

January 16, 2012

When shopping for a front door replacement, it's important to look for products that not only deliver instant gratification, but also promise long-term quality. While a warranty may be the last thing you think about as you review countless options in wood, steel or fiberglass, you should consider protection for your investment, as well as your entryway. Try to select a replacement door with a warranty that's as airtight as your weather stripping.

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What your warranty covers

Like many home products, your front door probably comes with warranty coverage. The terms might depend on the materials or the manufacturer. Typically, warranties are in effect for one of the following periods of time:

  • 1 year
  • 5 years
  • 10 years
  • 20 years
  • Lifetime

Most warranties will cover manufacturing errors or defects, while some guarantee protection against (and, therefore, repair or replacement in case of) the following circumstances:

  • Rust
  • Cracking
  • Warping
  • Splitting
  • General deterioration

Keep in mind most warranties do not cover damage that occurred because of extreme weather, fire, an act of God, misuse, or any sort of behavior that can be construed as exceeding normal use. In other words, if you're a door slammer or live in hurricane territory, you may incur damage to your front door. Replacement of a door damaged under these type of circumstances might not be covered.

Read the fine print

Many warranties--even lifetime ones--don't cover the cost of labor, so even if the manufacturer will replace your door for free, you may still have to pay someone to install it. Go over that warranty with a fine-toothed comb so that there are no surprises when it comes time to repair or replacing the door.

Avoid damage in the first place

No matter what is covered, you should try to keep your door from becoming damaged in the first place. One good way to do this is to choose the correct door for your circumstances. If you live in an area that's subject to extreme weather, go with a door that's durable, thick and well-insulated.

How willing you are to properly maintain your door can go a long way in preserving its structural integrity, too. If you're a hands-off homeowner, choose a door that doesn't require regular, frequent TLC. Regardless of the level of your warranty coverage, taking care to avoid damage before it starts can save you effort and money in the long run.


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