FHI 2013

Making a grand entrance

By From page FHI21 | September 27, 2013

Sierra Door & Supply owner Glen Ballard helps customers wade through the options. Photo by Noel Stack

Sierra Door & Supply owner Glen Ballard helps customers wade through the options. Photo by Noel Stack

A door is never just a door

When guests arrive at a home they might admire the beautifully pruned rose bushes and the flagstone walkway but it’s where they make their entrance into a house — the front door — that can take their breath away.

Don’t think of the front door as a means to get from the outside to the inside. Think of it as a grand entrance to your home … a place where everyone can stop and admire something as unique as the person who lives inside.

“To each their own,” said Glen Ballard, owner and president of Sierra Door & Supply Inc. in Placerville. His business sells thousands of residential and commercial doors each year and it’s quite possible that no two are alike.

I’ll take the white one
Ready to shop for a door? Ballard advises that serious shoppers have some information ready: size of the door needed (and door jam measurements if ordering a pre-hung door) and the door’s exposure risk. If a door faces harsh sunlight and gets pounded by rain in the winter it better have some “high performance” qualities.

The king of exterior doors is a fiberglass door, Ballard said.

Therma Tru, a brand carried at Sierra Door & Supply, lists the benefits and limitations of wood, steel and fiberglass doors. In the fiberglass limitations category one word sums it up: none

The benefits take up a bit more space:

  • Lowest maintenance
  • Resists denting and scratching
  • Offers wood grain and smooth finish look
  • Won’t rot, deteriorate or rust
  • Energy efficient
  • Can be painted or stained
  • Won’t warp, bow or twist
  • Five times the insulation value of wood
  • Secure

Steel doors, the website notes, may also require little maintenance and provide great security but are easily dented and conduct heat. Who wants to put their hand on a 150-degree door on a hot summer day? Wood doors, while beautiful if you find the right grain, easily warp and are not energy efficient.

OK, you’ve selected the door’s material. Time to wade through all the custom options. Fiberglass doors are available pre-finished or unfinished and ready for whichever paint or stain a customer chooses. Want a cherry wood fiberglass door? No problem. Thinking a bright red door suits you? That’s an option too.

In El Dorado County, door shoppers lean toward white doors with colored trim or colored doors with white trim, according to Ballard. They also particularly like an oval window in the door.

Which brings us to the next phase of customization — glass.

Door bling
Decorative glass popularity is at an all-time high with many door manufacturers offering glass options that rival the beauty of an old church’s stained-glass windows.

Locally, in addition to the doors with oval windows, doors with sidelights (panels of glass on one or both sides of the door) make up a good chunk of Ballard’s business. As for the glass inside, manufacturers offer a variety of designs from modern to floral to Victorian. Therma Tru offers glass that mimics falling rain and granite texture. Jeld-Wen, another popular door manufacturer whose products are available at Sierra Door & Supply, features intricately patterned glass that runs the length of the door as well as tinted glass.

Sidelight glass can match or compliment the main door’s glass feature — whether it be that ever-popular oval, a small window or a glass panel that runs half or the full length of the door.

Manufacturers typically warranty a fiberglass door for life and the glass for 10 years, Ballard said.

Details, details
Think you’re done customizing the front door? Think again. Time to talk trim.

El Dorado County homeowners lean toward the colonial look with its clean lines and simple design. However, he noted, “As soon as you have a trend, it changes.” Which is why Sierra Door & Supply carries a dizzying variety  — trim with rounded edges, patterned edges, multiple lines, etc.

The material should be as weatherproof as they door (PVC is a popular choice) and match the architectural style of the home. Again, the color choices are limitless.

One more choice to make — hardware.

Handles have taken over the hardware market for both exterior and interior doors, according to Ballard. Indeed, those with arms full of groceries might find it easier to push down a handle that turn a knob. Handles and levers also make it easier for a handicapped person to open a door.

As far as the hardware’s look, Ballard said, “Anything in satin nickel and oil-rubbed bronze is popular.” The satin nickel gives a door a clean, modern look while the oil-rubbed bronze fits well with Tuscan and Old World design.

“Brass and antique brass are out at the moment,” Ballard added. “We do sell a little bit of it (as) replacement.”

Major brands like Emtek, Schlage and Kwikset make handles, knobs and levers to suit anyone’s taste … even if it’s not the trend of the moment.

Starting price for a new door hovers around $130 from there the costs can go “up to as far as you want to go,” Ballard said. Setting a budget is an important step in any remodel, according to the National Association if the Remodeling Industry

“This number needs to include everything — the project, products, contingencies, etc. Don’t be afraid to share this with your remodeler; professionals are respectful of a client’s budget and will create a plan around it, not over it,” the organization’s website states.

Once remodelers find a licensed contractor the front door switch can take anywhere from two days to a week, Ballard said. Larger remodels might require homeowners to spend a few nights somewhere else so make sure to plan ahead for people and pets.

Want to know more?
Check out Sierra Door & Supply at 4415 Missouri Flat Road in Placerville. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call 530-626-3500, e-mail [email protected] or visit

Noel Stack

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