Online Door Purchase |Questions you MUST ask

August 10, 2010

Source: Door Smart

Since 2001, DoorSmart has been involved with Doors online in one form or another, as a retailer, as an online retailer, and now as a resource in your buying decision. We have many articles focused on many different areas of the door business. Our specialty has always been exterior Solid Mahogany Doors.

In my own experience, I’ve picked them up from the shipyard, drove them to the shop, loaded/unloaded thousands, finished, repaired, built jambs, pre-hung, taken measurements for, helped with design, installation and general on-going maintenance over years.

I’ve always been focused on service and the importance of it while a customer is deciding to spend anywhere from two to twenty thousand dollars on an exterior door unit. While we are no longer retailing, we are committed to the industry and now serve as a resource to match up consumers with retailers to make the buying experience better.

There are certain hidden charges when you consult with someone on a door, especially online. For instance, while Home Depot does not charge for shipping other retailers may charge you a common carrier freight charge. That charge depends on the distance between point A and B; it is different for folks living in NY than AZ if the door is shipping from CA. You would probably do better shipping-wise with either The Home Depot or a local retailer.

Here are just a few points to think about when you are looking for a door online:

  • Read their online reputation. Read testimonials. Call them and ask for a referral from a customer. We are talking big buck here folks. You want assurances.
  • Are they selling you a door from their inventory or are they reselling you a exterior door from someone elses inventory?
  • Do they have local representatives? How long have they had those relationships?
  • Can they pre-hang the exterior door to custom “rough-openings”?
  • How many solid wood doors have they sold in your area?
  • Do they sell more to consumers or contractors or other retailers? This is important. If they are focused on large purchases, your order (most likely custom because of the “rough-opening”) is dependent upon you and/or your carpenter/installer. If you get it wrong, do they offer a money-back guarantee or are they willing to rebuild the jamb/re-hang the door at their cost?
  • When the door is shipped to you, will they guarantee the door is clean, free of glue and other finishing materials?
  • Is the wood – solid wood? Is it a veneer with a solid core (some dubiously call this solid wood)? If yes, what is the core made of? Pine? Maple? Mahogany?
  • If buying leaded glass, what is the caming material? Caming is the metal the glass rests in and provides structure to the glass panel. Is the caming lead, zinc, or some other material. In my experience lead is the most beautiful and the softest. Zinc takes away from the “sparkle” of the glass and over time because it is so hard begins to rattle with age.
  • What type of hinges do they use? These doors are heavy and they should be ball bearing hinges.
  • What type of sills do they use. Endura, in my experience, makes the best sills (check them here). Is the sill in the jamb you are buying adjustable?
  • What type of wood do they use for their jambs? Are the jamb parts solid mahogany? (See previous SOLID wood question)
  • Can they provide you a catalog that shows their doors as finished products? It has been my experience that online pictures are terribly difficult (as you can see by my site), but some folks have figured it out better. Look at the finished products, not just the million dollar homes, but the middle income too, here is where a door should add to the house. Does it? I have found GlassCraft to have an excellent catalog and site. But be warned they are a little expensive, but worth it from a finished product standpoint.

I could go on forever. Instead of doing that, I would rather, if you have a question, drop me a line, I would be happy to assist you in any way. I think next time, I will bite off the subject of just a door and what you need to consider with that small portion of this very large and expensive purchase. Be Door Smart!

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