Signs It May Be Time To Replace Your Front Door

Unlike other areas of the home, front doors generally aren't thought about as something that needs replacing. However, when you consider how much your front door is really used, thinking about replacing it suddenly seems to make a lot of sense. If kept in good condition and showing no signs of damage, a front door can last for a long time, up to several decades. Still, there are certain factors that can reduce the lifespan of a door, meaning it could need replacing faster than you anticipated. 

One of the main factors that will impact how your front door holds up is the weather, particularly cold temperatures that can cause issues like the door sticking. Signs of wear and tear, such as peeling and flaking, can indicate something more serious, as can gaps and drafts. Perhaps you just fancy a change and want to update the outside of your home. Whatever the reason, if you're thinking about changing your front door, here are some signs it's time to take the plunge.

Clear wear and tear

One of the most obvious signs you need to replace your front door is if it's showing severe wear and tear. This isn't just noticing a small amount of peeling paint but more so a door that has been peeling and flaking for a while. Additional issues include seeing cracks in your door and any warping, which could be dangerous and lead to the following problems over time.

As well as being unsightly, the reasons you need to say goodbye to a rundown front door are many. A warped door is often the result of high temperatures and moisture levels. If left untreated, the warping could lead to you being unable to open and close your door properly in the future. Cracks could widen and make your door unsafe. Peeling and flaking paint are not only a sign that a front door hasn't been maintained properly, but could also indicate that the door was never primed correctly in the first place.

It doesn't match the rest of your décor

Sometimes, there's nothing wrong with your front door at all apart from the fact it doesn't match the exterior of your home. Cosmetic reasons are just as important as practical ones, and swapping out your door can make a major difference to the look of your home. Interior design expert Lance Thomas explained to Real Simple, "The front door is a welcoming point and offers curb appeal. Front door colors can introduce a mood before anyone even walks into the space. Also, many buyers want to purchase a move-in-ready home, and that [technically] starts at the front door." 

A mismatched door could even affect the value of your home, something to keep in mind if you're planning to put your home on the market soon. Data from 2023 showed that on average, 100% of the cost of a new steel entry door was recouped (via Remodeling by JLC), showing that demand for a new door is definitely there. Moreover, a door that fits in well with the rest of your home and offers curb appeal will never go out of style. If you want a new door, replacing the style is additionally an opportunity to upgrade to one that's made from higher quality materials to prevent some of the other issues on this list.

It sticks when you open and close it

If you have ever gone to open your door and found it sticking or refusing to open and close smoothly, you'll know how frustrating it is. A door sticking often happens in summer due to the humidity and moisture in extreme hot temperatures, which cause the door (especially wooden ones) to expand. However, a door that consistency sticks is not only a pain but also a sign that something isn't right. 

The reason your door isn't opening and closing properly could be down to several reasons, including loose hinge screws, a warped door, or the fact that something has moved out of place over time. The latter two will cost you a lot of money in repairs, so if it is one of those, it's best to replace your door. If left alone, a door that sticks might become dangerous. You could get locked out one day, or someone could force their way inside using the weakness of your stuck front door as an advantage.

You can see light peeking in

Light coming into your home isn't a bad thing most of the time, but it is when it's seeping in from your closed front door. Noticing a sliver of light from underneath or the side of your door indicates that you need to investigate deeper. Though it may not be affecting you much, what starts out as a small strip of light could turn into a drafty entryway and numerous other issues.

One of the problems a door that lets light in can lead to is insects crawling inside your home and making it their new home. Insects only need the tiniest space, so even a barely visible gap should be investigated. If you live in a storm state, heavy rain could also mean water will enter your house, leaving you with a hefty repair bill. If the light is caused by a gap in the framing, or the gap is particularly large, it's probably better to get a new door for complete peace of mind.

A draft is coming in

Just as with noticing light seeping in, if you feel gusts of cold air coming into your entryway, it's likely that your door is letting in a draft. Drafts can happen any time of year but are more likely to be noticed in cooler weather. If fitted correctly, a door should be sealed enough to not let any air in at all. A draft blocker is a good temporary fix, but if your door is letting in heaps of air from outside, it's time to swap out the temporary fix for a more permanent one — aka a new door.

Drafts are not only annoying but can also be a major financial drain on your home. Your air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter is going right back out of the door if you can feel air coming in. While this isn't necessarily an issue where you need to replace your door 100% of the time, it's more than worth thinking about if you're dealing with an old door that has had problems in the past. 

The lock is unstable

It's obvious that a lock that doesn't work properly is a safety problem, but what you might not know is that even a lock that's a little loose is a serious cause for concern. A loose lock that will rattle in place or takes a few tries to unlock with your keys means the security of your home is at risk. If the lock can be jiggled about, this gives burglars a chance to try and break the lock completely, a much easier task if it's halfway there. 

Replacing the lock as soon as possible is important to protect you, your family, and your home. Nowadays, many locks cannot be put on and taken off using the original mechanism. This means the locksmith may have to drill into the door and make a mess. Though, as with a drafty door this doesn't mean you absolutely need to change out your front door, it's a good opportunity to do so. You can then feel properly secure (it also gives you an excuse to seriously upgrade the exterior of your home).

It has signs of rust or rot

A front door that shows signs of rot is more commonly found in those made from wood, whereas rust shows up on metal doors and door frames. Either way, rust and rot are proof that something has gone wrong with your door. Both commonly occur in high-moisture areas. "Your front door needs to be replaced when it starts to rot or rust due to the damage from moisture and sunlight," Seth Hamby, owner of Scout Home Services, told U.S. News.

Rot can spread and cause your door to become brittle as well as potentially leading to the issues already mentioned in this article such as sticking, peeling paint, and drafts. A  rusty door can additionally make your front door less secure by affecting the structure and breaking down the lock system, which is most likely made of metal. Because of this, it's best to replace a door that shows rust or rot as soon as possible to keep your home safe and problem-free.

Moisture is present in the glass panels

All types of front doors can be affected by moisture, but especially glass panel doors. The design feature may look pretty and give the exterior of your home an elegant look, but many are a hidden breeding ground for moisture. If left untreated, small amounts of mold and mildew in your front door's glass panels will start to grow and become more present over time, creating an ideal environment for fungi.

Though you may think it's fine to have a bit of mold present in your front door, since isn't where you eat and sleep, mold can have negative health repercussions — like affecting your breathing – if it continues to spread. Additionally, mold and mildew can lead to a rotting door, which can then result in a whole host of issues. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to remove mold from in between glass panels, and the task requires you to call in a professional. In this case, it's best to replace your front door (preferably one without glass panels) to ensure no mold or mildew remains.