A 2002 study comparing homes with standard six-panel front doors to those with upgraded entry systems - including transoms, sidelights and decorative glass - found the enhanced entry increased the perceived value of the home. NFO WorldGroup, which conducted the surveys of more than 2,000 recent homeowners for
Therma-Tru Doors, concluded that a buyer would pay from 3.2 percent to 6.6 percent more.
That figure suggests that builders may be leaving money on the table.
Builders recognize that historically inspired architecture, especially American styles such as Craftsman, win big with buyers. Myriad door options can be found to suit most styles and prices.
Entry doors need to be in scale and keeping with the interior as well as the exterior. "Builders are working with higher ceilings, and they want doors to fit that style," says Ann Krebs, marketing communication specialist for Therma-Tru, which introduced two new 8-foot, fiberglass door styles in January.
Builder Kim Ence in St. George, Utah, who builds 400 homes a year ranging in price from the $140s to a million-plus, has been working more in the past few years with a custom door maker.
Gearhart Woodworking, also in St. George, created a 42-inch-wide, 9-foot-tall arched-top door in rustic cherry with hand-carved rope molding and iron clavos for about $4,000. Dan Gearhart currently is working on a pair of doors for another client that are 11 feet tall with beveled art glass. The price tag: about $11,000.