Storm doors can give you the best of both worlds when it comes to an entryway: privacy and exposure. Storm doors offer practical benefits like more natural light when you want it, extra protection, airflow, security, noise reduction, and comfort through added insulation – especially if your outer door isn’t completely airtight.
Storm doors are essentially secondary outer doors installed to form a barrier between the main entry door and the outside. As the name suggests, storm doors protect an exterior door and threshold from harsh weather like rain, snow, wind, debris, ice, and maybe even a stray soccer ball from the neighbors.
Still, you may be asking: Storm doors – are they a relic of the past or a useful addition to your entryway?
What is the Advantage of Having a Storm Door?
Many factors can help determine if a storm door is advantageous for your home – climate, light, lifestyle, and energy efficiency – to name a few. If you live in a region with colder weather, having a secondary door adds a much-needed extra level of insulation against air leaks, keeping warm air in and cold air out. In milder or warmer climates, a storm door, particularly one with a screen, allows for ventilation and lets air flow in without worrying about insects tagging along. Beyond that, there are numerous other benefits to consider:
Benefits of Installing a Storm Door
Ability to let in more natural light
A glass storm door can immediately brighten up a dark entryway or hallway.
Extra door protection
Storm doors keep snow, rain and other weather elements from entering your home or damaging your front door. They may also increase the lifespan of an exterior door.
An added layer of insulation
The addition of a storm door creates a buffer between the outside and the exterior door. This extra seal helps prevent air leaks, even trapping air from entering or leaving your climate-controlled home.
More energy efficient
Because a storm door provides additional insulation, it can help reduce the strain on your heating and cooling system, effectively helping the system to work more efficiently – even lowering your utility bill over time.
More modern styles and materials
These aren’t your grandmother’s storm doors. Gone are the squeaky aluminum storm doors of your childhood. Modern storm doors come in different styles, colors, and materials with lots of hardware options and customizations to personalize to your preferred style.
All storm doors have locksets, some with deadbolts or multipoint lock systems, plus reinforced glass that further discourages unwanted entry.
The addition of a secondary exterior door, while providing extra insulation, also delivers an effective sound barrier. Storm doors are especially beneficial for reducing noise if you live on a busy street, near a high traffic area, hospital, or railroad tracks.
A Few Drawbacks to Consider
Heat build-up in certain situations
In some cases, a storm door may trap too much heat and potentially damage a front door. This concern is more likely to occur in hot climates and where the entryway receives a substantial amount of direct sunlight.
Two doors to open
Having two doors means also having to open two doors when your hands might be full of groceries or shopping bags. It’s a minor inconvenience compared to the overall benefits of installing a storm door.
Types of Storm Doors
While there are more styles, materials, and colors available for storm doors than ever before, there are three main frame types:
Full-View Storm Doors
Features an all-glass panel spanning from top to bottom, full-view storm doors provide the maximum amount of natural light and allow you an unobstructed view of the outside. Select designs may also include interchangeable screens that enable you to remove the glass panel for seasonal ventilation.
Mid-View Storm Doors
A mid-view storm door typically has divided glass panels covering the top 3/4 of the door with a kick plate of solid material at the bottom. This design is ideal for those wanting ventilation and natural light with extra durability.
High-View Storm Doors
Made to balance natural light and privacy, high-view storm doors have a glass panel only on the top half, while the bottom half is solid. High-view storm doors are a good option for families with pets and children who need a door to withstand heavy foot traffic.
Difference Between a Storm Door and Screen Door?
Storm and screen doors are both used as the outermost exterior door. Screen doors are exactly that, doors made of wooden or aluminum frames with screen panels. They are used almost exclusively for ventilation – open your main door and the screen door allows fresh air to flow in bug-free. Screen doors don’t offer much in the way of added security or protection (often easily torn), but on mild spring days, they are a delight for many homeowners. Storm doors, on the other hand, are more substantial and durable than their screened counterparts. Made with glass panels instead of screens, they are more secure and provide a variety of benefits, most notably, the ability to let in more natural light. Some modern storm doors can switch between glass and screen panels to add ventilation to the list of benefits.
Do I Need a Storm Door?
Storm doors offer a variety of benefits to your home – comfort, light, security – but it depends on your home, location and lifestyle if they are right for you.
A storm door does help insulate your home but it’s not an across-the-board solution for energy savings. Major energy efficient upgrades, like double or triple pane windows, make a greater difference in how well your home regulates temperature and consumes energy.
Whether you’re looking for protection from the elements or ways to level up your home’s energy efficiency, the pros at LEI Home Enhancements are ready to help assess and find high-quality door and window solutions to meet your needs.