New mid century doors available from Therma-Tru

Mid century doors Pulse from ThermaTru DoorsBig news: A mass-market door manufacturer has finally introduced a line of mid century style doors. Yes, Therma-Tru has introduced a new line of retro style front doors.  The new “Pulse” line of doors — available in oak grained fiberglass, smooth (paintable) fiberglass, and steel — come in four styles: the Ari, Echo, Linea and Solei. The doors are made in Indiana, Therma-Tru told us.

Introduced in late March (2013), these mid century doors from Therma-Tru are available in several sizes, two finishes of fiberglass(wood look or paintable) or in steel and have quite a few glass options. Up until now — we knew of only two sources for mid century doors — the salvage yard/ReStore or Crestview Doors. As many readers are likely aware, Crestview Doors has been the only active manufacturer in this segment for the past five+ years.

A few differences between Therma-Tru’s and Crestview’s mid century doors:

A few differences between the two lines, as far as we can determine:

  • Therma-Tru does not have have as many “door lite” style options as Crestview.
  • Crestview’s doors are made of wood, Therma-Tru’s are fiberglass or steel…
  • Crestview offers a flush window trim option (+$450), which has more “finesse”…
  • And, while we are still trying to get a retailer to give us pricing (see pricing section, below), we are guessing that the mass-marketed Therma Tru doors will be available at a lower price point. UPDATE: Reader RetroRobin said in Comments that she just ordered a Linea with decorative glass and it was $530. It included the frame. She said that with plain glass it would have been about $100 less. We jumped over to Crestview and the comparable price for their similar Nokona door (prehung with reeded glass, delivered) is $769 (Update: There was a significant price increase during the summer of 2013. The Nokona door is now priced at $2,542).

mid century front doorFollowing is the news release from Therma-Tru on this new product launch:

Therma-Tru Launches Pulse™ Line of Entry Doors 

Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer and most preferred brand of entry doors, has introduced the bold and inspired new line of Pulse™ modern-style doors.

Accented with clean lines and crisp angles, Pulse entry doors cater to homeowners seeking to celebrate their own special sense of style. The contemporary door styles reflect four aesthetic feelings that many homeowners wish to capture in their home entry areas: Eclectically Chic, Mid-Century Modern, Retrospective and Distinctively Modern.

“These were the show-stopper doors in our booth at the 2013 International Builders’ Show,” says Derek Fielding, senior product manager for Therma-Tru Corp. “Pulse doors capture a modern feel, but at the same time bring you back to the 1940s through 1960s when door styles were simple.

“The Mid-Century Modern style is reflected in architecture, design and even furnishings found in the home from roughly 1933 to 1965. The goal during the post-war era was to bring modernism into America’s suburban areas. For homes, the emphasis was on creating open floor plans with lots of opportunities to bring the outdoors inside. A great example is the classic home found in the old Brady Bunch television show. The interior of the home was spacious, and the front entry door had a sleek, retro style to accent the home.”

mid century retro door

Pam gasps: No inserts like this, please, if you’re trying to be true to mid century style.

Fielding also cites the simple, pure living of Distinctly Modern styles that the Pulse doors complement in the home. “Whether you’re a homeowner with a funky, personalized living space or a completely modern open style of home, these doors are ideal for you,” says Fielding. “Pulse doors deliver a unique blend of geometric glass shapes and door that can be combined to take cues from the past and future so that homeowners who crave artistic expression can select their own special door style.”

Available in oak-grained fiberglass, smooth (paintable) fiberglass and steel, Pulse doors come in both 6’8″ and 8’0″ heights. Therma-Tru offers the Pulse door line in four different styles — Ari, Solei, Echo and Linea. The doors all have four Privacy Glass options (Chord, Chinchilla, Rainglass and Granite) along with Clear Low-E and Internal Blinds. The Linea style is available with these same glass insert options plus decorative glass options of Blackstone®, Crystalline™, Sedona, Salinas®, Element, Maple Park®, Avonlea®, Saratoga™, Texas Star, Arden® and Crystal Diamonds™.

Mid century front door

Pam says: I’m not so keen on the rain glass either. Just get the CLEAR glass.

“The new Pulse product line gives design-conscious homeowners the opportunity to select an entry door that was inspired by the simple styles developed originally by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the United States and the Bauhaus design school in Germany,” says Fielding. “These influences are timeless. We’re finding that homeowners are once again embracing this upbeat living architectural movement as they make a statement on their home with a door that complements feelings of modern sensibilities, retro glamour and fashionably chic.”

Pricing for the Therma-Tru mid century front doors

When I asked about pricing, Kathy Ziprik, Therma-Tru’s media contact, said:

One of the most important pieces of information is that homeowners are entitled to up to a $500 federal tax credit when they order ENERGY STAR qualified doors in 2013, which Pulse qualifies for! [EDITOR’s NOTE: Crestview told us that they also can work with customers to specify and design a door that qualifies for this tax credit. Also note — check the rules of this tax credit — it is our understanding that it is a one-time only credit that does not carry over to subsequent years.] Pricing information is a challenge for us, because we’re the manufacturer and don’t set the retail price for consumers. Plus, there are SO MANY variables based on the size ordered, glass ordered, location, etc., that it’s really not possible for us to supply you with this information.

Early last week, I called a local supplier and asked them look up the price for a 3′ x 6’8″ Linea style door from the Pulse line with Rainglass insert — the style and size I would choose if I were replacing my own front door. When I followed up, they told me the doors were not yet in their system, and that they would need to do more research. So be forewarned, readers: Because these doors are pretty new-to-market, you may need to press to get prices and service on them.  If anyone is truly in the market — and is successful at getting prices — we’d love if you could share the info in Comments. Thank you!

In addition, my local retailer did not have any of the doors on display yet. If you are like me and are not familiar with the look and feel of fiberglass doors — or, if you are pretty sure you’d like to see the door first — you might want to try and track down a showroom with this line on display to see how they look in person before making a decision.

About fiberglass doors

Since neither Pam nor I have had experience with fiberglass doors — and are not sure how they measure up against wood and steel entry doors — we asked Therma-Tru for info on this, as well. Kathy sent us this (excerpted):

… The polyurethane foam core [of Therma-Tru’s fiberglass doors] offers up to four times the energy efficiency of a wood door and contains no CFCs. A solid hardwood square edge for strong performance that reproduces the look of a real wood door surrounds the foam core and a wood lock stile runs the entire length of the door to add structural integrity and heft. Covering the insulation materials is a door skin. Fiberglass door skins can be made to replicate real wood (which can be stained and finished easily) or come in smooth, paintable surfaces. The fiberglass door skin resists denting, cracking, splitting and splintering. It also resists rust, shrinking or swelling with temperature changes, or warping.

Crestview Doors — the original alternative

Since Crestview Doors has, up to this date, single handedly led the revival of replacement doors in original mid century door styles, Pam contacted the company to see if they wanted to add to this story with their thoughts on  this story. Especially, we wanted any input that they could provide that could help readers considering a new front door further differentiate between the (now expanded) choices. Christiane Erwin, one of the co-owners, replied:

I have to admit we are excited to see the popularity of mid-century modernism gaining since we originally published our carefully-researched catalog of mid-century modern door designs in 2007.  But what really sets Crestview apart from other door and millwork companies is in our commitment to service.

Our designs are created with careful attention to period details and geometric perfection. We are committed to quality across all products and all levels of design and manufacturing. We sell our products via the web so you can have unlimited access and flexibility to managing the decision-making process. If that’s not enough, we have trained and qualified renovation professionals answering our phones right out of our manufacturing facility here in Austin, TX, where we handcraft all of our sustainable wood products.  They will go out of their way to help you source the ideal materials to achieve the desired look.

We are proud to represent mid-century and modern design, and we recognize the importance of balancing tradition with innovation.  We have expanded our product lines based on customer feedback to include elements from the pre- and post-war eras as well as contemporary interpretations of modernism, and we will continue to aggressively innovate on behalf of this movement. We look forward to sharing products and services that are unmistakably Crestview with the MCM community.

Thanks for the opportunity to share this with your readers,

Christiane

Yes, the Retro Renovation universe of product alternatives for mid century modern and modest houses continue to expand!

Update: Barbra installs Therma-Tru doors:

front entry door retro

Barbra said: “I’d like to relate some horror story to show the pain and suffering I endured to justify that I waited THREE years to do this, but it was embarrassingly easy.”

Links to these products, and our archive of mid century curb appeal ideas:

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Comments

  1. teresa says

    We improvised a mid century door in 2011 by ordering a fiberglass door from our local building supply company – with a sidelight as window. Similar to the center light Linea, our door was around $450. Ironically, it took several years and several visits to the building supply to find the door. No one believed that we really wanted a plain Jane door, and few could understand our desire for a long skinny glass insert. Finally, I found someone who suggested the sidelight option, and it worked perfectly!

  2. Tallulah says

    I really like these doors, however- If I want an almost identical energy-efficient replacement for my 1955 doors, Crestview is the only one to able to come the closest to replicating them: three horizontal panels on the bottom half of the door and three horizontal glass panes on the top half of the door. Both my front and back doors are like this. (My house is a 1955 cinderblock ranch, 963 sq ft., originally built as a week-end home at a lake.) Crestview is too expensive for my budget, so I guess I will have live with my original doors.

    • says

      What part of your doors is drafty? Weatherstripping and stormdoors are easy fixes, and then you can put screens on your door when it’s nice out.

  3. says

    Hi Pam, my husband and I have a 1949 ranch and two years ago we had the Therma-Tru Element door installed. Once we saw this design, we knew it was perfect for our house. We looked at other doors but kept coming back to this one. The Element glass was designed by a student at the Milwaukee School of Art and Design. We love this door! We did the whole center of the door with the glass, and put a full length glass/screen door from Andersen in front of it so you see all of the glass detail on the door.

  4. says

    On our house the front door has an offset side lite (like a Crestview) but the other doors (kitchen and rear) are a simpler half window wood door – three panes on top and raised panel on the bottom, very similar to what Tallulah describes. I did a lot of hunting and found a place that makes wooden doors that are similar to that still – http://www.simpsondoor.com

    • pam kueber says

      Thanks for the tip, Doug! I went and looked quick — and yes, Simpson Door looks like they have some great alternatives. Their half-lite door with the crosshatch on the bottom looks just like my original 1951 front door! Thanks — I see another followup supplier story is in order!

    • Robin, NV says

      Hey Doug, thanks for the tip about Simpsons Doors. I’ve been looking for a replacement door for the side door next to my kitchen – a half light door. Simpson has my dream door – a half light with diagonal glass panes. I’ll have to add it to my wish list.

      I just received my new Crestview front door, the Woodrow. It’s beautiful. Haven’t installed it yet but it’s going to look gorgeous. For those who’ve commented that the Crestviews are a bit pricey, I managed to order mine during one of their sales – 20% off and free shipping. If you sign up for their newsletter, you’ll get notices of their sales.

        • Jay says

          Robin, “Grover” is the style of my front door except it’s the original door from 57. I think it was probably the most common door out there in the 50/60s.

          • Robin, NV says

            My house epitomizes “mid century modest.” The Grover is the perfect door for it. I played around with Crestview’s “Door-o-Vision” and found that the Grover looked just right. The few houses in my neighborhood that retain their original doors have either a Grover-style door or a single diamond shaped light. The front door that came with my house is just a plain slab. It’s in terrible shape and is a hollow core door so I’m finally replacing it with something sturdier. I am keeping the original hardware though. The escutcheon around the knob isn’t fancy but I like it.

  5. Nathan says

    Although it does read as a bit more contemporary, the Solei style pictured above is nearly identical to the original design of all the secondary doors in our ’52 modern ranch. I could certainly see this being used in situations where maximum light or views are needed.

    • Jason Moreland says

      I see Solei style doors on the mid century modern homes here in Palm Springs all the time. Folks have been installing them since before Crestview was in business. We were a bit early to the trend here in PS though….

      • pam kueber says

        I just removed my initial caveats re Solei and Ari. I will take your word for seeing Solei style originals in your neighborhood, and I was just paging through a 1956 magazine and I saw a front door very similar to the Ari. So they both do look to have solid links to the past.

  6. says

    Interesting and definitely worth watching to see how these doors do in the marketplace. I’ll have to admit that I’ll always be a Crestview fan. I love the story of how they started the company and they’re such nice people.

  7. Nate says

    I’ve been looking for a replacement to the horrible fiberglass door that is on my rental ranch. I’m trying to bring back some of the MC charm that people have deleted in the past. I’ve researched Crestview and decided that I would eventually purchase a plain door from them and a door light kit and do it myself. Much more cost effective that way. This story got me quite excited. Maybe this would be an even cheaper alternative. So, I did a little searching and come to find out, one of the big box stores that we’re all familiar with sells Therma-Tru doors. Actually, they sell the door that I have.
    Well, it looks like their doors range anywhere from $700 – $850. I would assume that since this is a new style, pricing will probably be on the high end of that if not higher. Crestview looks like it will be the most cost effective option for me, despite any insulating benefits from the fiberglass door.

    • says

      Nate – Doors (outside of air sealing) are one of the things everyone gets up in arms about replacing for insulating needs…but it is one of the smallest contributors to energy loss under most circumstances. If you have a decent wood door that has good weatherstripping (piping on sides, channel strip on bottom that mates to the threshold correctly) and a storm door you will only see very small to moderate benefits from stepping up to an insulated door. Windows are the same way – a good single pane with with a good storm is nearly as insulating as a brand new double pane insulated glass window. Window replacement payback (cost vs energy savings) is very tough to make work.

      For the purposes of energy efficiency, money is almost always better spent sealing the rim joist (if you have a basement), adding insulation (dense pack cellulose to walls and loose in attic) and air sealing (easily the most important.)

  8. Janice says

    Last summer, my husband retro-fitted our plain Jane 1954 original wooden front door to make it look very retro for about $200. He found a place in our area who sold 12″ x 12″ square door lites and bought 3 of them. He turned them to a diamond shape and spaced them evenly down the length of the door. They came with clear glass but we needed more privacy so we took them to a mirror and glass shop and had a textured glass cut to fit. Hubbie then took out the clear glass and installed the textured glass himself. I was very nervous when he made the first cut into the door to install the door lites, but after a new paint job, our door looks just like a Crestview door at a fraction of the price. Something to consider for all your DIYers!

    • Nate says

      Janice, I’m sure that looks great. I’ve thought about doing something similar myself. Unfortunately I don’t have a plain door to start with. I’ve looked for plain doors and even have my neighbor looking for me (he is a manager at one of our HFH ReStores). It’s weird to thing that plain, solid doors are so hard to come by. Sounds like you got lucky to start with a blank surface!

    • pam kueber says

      I am thinking you sent me photos of this, Janice. Am I remembering correctly? I will go look and try to show the project. Thanks for the reminder!

      • Janice says

        HI Pam, yes, I think I did send pictures when we finished the project. Let me know if you can’t find it and I’ll see if I can locate them on my end. Thank you!

  9. Sarah g (roundhouse) says

    The linea right and left put together as double doors looks just like my doors that we made custom for my front porch makeover!! I couldn’t find anything MCM or even just modern when I was door hunting locally, nice to know there will be more options for the next person.

  10. Jay says

    These styles are great for true MC modern, not so much for MC modest which is the home I have. As others have commented, it’s the weather stripping on doors that’s most important especially in cold climes. Since my door is solid wood and still airtight, I haven’t made an effort on replacement. I don’t want a fiberglass door and new solid wood doors have become expensive. You can still obtain them through old fashioned lumberyards. It seems most people have bought into the marketing of steel and fiberglass doors for insulation and security.

    • says

      Yeah in the Philadelphia area I’ve almost never seen flush doors on midcentury houses. My grandfather’s split level had flush interior doors but paneled exterior. I have a friend who lives in a very mid-century modest “air lite” rowhouse in the city, with a door made of V grooved planks with three rectangular glass panels at staggered heights. It sort of reminds me of a hybrid between MCM and (much fancier) 1930’s tudor.

  11. says

    I’m soooooo bummed :( We bought Therma Tru double front doors last August and had to get solid fiberglas with no windows. At that time they offered nothing that fit the house. By the way folks… they are wonderful doors, very secure and super efficient thermally.

    • says

      I wanted to add that since we intended to paint flat doors mustard yellow to begin with, the fiberglas option is perfect for us. It truly doesn’t dent like steel or peel like wood. Eventually we plan to make the doors more like a work of art so maybe we’re better off without the windows. Just another FYI: I called both our security system and home insurance providers and talked with the local policeman who stopped by to see how the renovation was coming before we chose the doors. All three recommended a fiberglas door over wood or steel. They are much tougher to break into and almost all fiberglas exterior doors have a thick steel inner core. We actually got a small price break on our home insurance for putting in the fiberglas as they are certified as firewalls too. With the tax credit and other savings we almost got half of the double doors for free.
      The original doors were too damaged to salvage. The wood around the door knob and latch had been shattered. When we took possession of it last June the doors were literally chained together with a heavy padlock from the inside. We could only come in the back door until it was replaced.

      • Patty says

        My original mid-50s wood door is not warped or peeled. I suspect it has something to do with having a storm door and an original metal awning above the entrance.

        I’ve also heard your door frame has more to do with security than the material the door is made of.

        For privacy and security reasons, I prefer doors that do not have clear windows or windows at all. One can also break a glass window and possibly reach in to unlock it.

      • pam kueber says

        Yikes! Sounds like you have good doors now! Thanks for the tip on reducing insurance costs as well!

      • Jay says

        Kimberj, thanks for sharing the info about the fiberglass doors re: strength and insurance co. discount. Something to look into now.

  12. RetroRobin says

    We are in the middle of renovating our 1960’s split level and I just ordered the linea door last week. Getting a price was a huge pain in the butt and took several weeks but ours is running around $530. That’s with smooth fiberglass (I think wood grain was an extra $150 and staining by them another $300) and chinchilla glass (sorry Pam :-). Clear glass would have been around $100 cheaper. I’ll have to give a proper review once it gets here later this month. I’m happy I found these doors since therma tru was one of my contractor’s preferred brands.

    On a side note, Home Depot also sells these doors. They were the first ones to get me pricing actually. Just make sure they have the newest catalogue if you go there to get one.

        • pam kueber says

          Thanks, Robin. Let us know when you get it in — we’d love to know how it looks and whether you are 100% satisfied. Thanks!

          • RetroRobin says

            I still need to post a picture once I repaint it but I love this door! It looks great and we have received several compliments on it from neighbors and friends. It looks infinitely better than the mid 80’s door we replaced with this one. Don’t know what happened with the prices over the summer, maybe since crestview raised their prices there is more demand.

            On a side note, back in the summer I stopped at thermatru’s headquarters to ask about this door and mentioned this website. I’m sure their marketing department appreciates all the free advertising and I think they may be keeping an eye on this board now :-)

            • pam kueber says

              Great! I definitely want to see a photo when you’re done, RetroRobin! Hmmmmm…. I need to send ThermaTru an invite to advertise!

    • Cheryl says

      Hiya,

      You’re probably not around the Pacific NW, right? I got $770 pricing for a steel door and fiberglass should be more (I’m going to try Home Depot tomorrow). I’m hoping to find a lower price like you got but was wondering if your seller was local to me by any far off chance.

      Thanks.

      • modern girl says

        We are in the PNW. One dealer took days to get a quote, the other gave us a price immediately. The quote was for Fiberglass (not steel). I am going to call around and just verify who gives the best price.

  13. gsciencechick says

    Our French doors are fiberglass with the blinds between the glass. We got them a few years ago and used the Energy Star credit that was available at that time. They have made a huge difference in the draftiness in that area of the kitchen.

    Luckily, we still have our original 3-window wood door at the front entry, but we also have a storm door which also helps.

  14. says

    This post came at exactly the right time, I’ve been on the hunt for a less expensive alternative to Crestview for an upcoming siding & windows renovation. I was worried about the energy efficiency of the wood door for our harsh Minnesota winters. Let’s be honest, I want to paint my door a funky color, so wood was not really something I was looking for and wood requires a lot of upkeep with the harsh elements here. Now I just need to find out if any of the show rooms in our area actually have any in to check out before we buy.

  15. lise says

    Hi, Pam.

    The Brady Bunch may be great for 1970s references (it ran from 1969-74) but for true mid-century retro thrills, I recommend watching the tv series “Bachelor Father”!!!

    “Bachelor Father” — especially the first season in which he lives in a California ranch-style rustic-look cedar-stained home — has it all: African-themed decor on the walls, low lean sofas, mini bar, oversized table lamps, etc. etc. LOVE it!!! A visual feast in black and white! The show ran from 1957-1962 and the decor is fantastic!!!

    It’s on syndication in the US but youtube has some episodes, too. Enjoy!!!

  16. Tikitacky says

    I am THRILLED about this as we’ve been debating a Crestview door for the MCM we are restoring; but with everything else to do, they’ve been out of reach. Very nice, thank you for the heads up. Have you ever come across anyone besides Crestview that makes decorative panels for room dividers or sliding doors? That would make a pretty faboo story.

  17. Brad says

    Great news indeed as more style interest among homeowners will perhaps bring more mid-century modern products to the marketplace at affordable prices from mass manufacturers and retailers.

    How about a feature on interesting (and inexpensive) INTERIOR door design options. I live in a Robert Green (google him)designed condo community in Atlanta and would like to replace the cheap slab doors added during the condo conversion with something beyond the typical big box offerings.
    Any ideas fellow readers?

    • Julie says

      I have been looking for simple interior doors and have found nothing. I would like a wood door similar to what is available for commercial buildings and would like a product made in the US. I believe there are some out there made in China but . . .

  18. Ree says

    Love these new door options. Wish they had been available when I replaced my front door on my 1955 house last year. I went with a fiberglass door with a large clear glass insert. I have steel doors in two other locations in my house, but they are cold to the touch in winter. Love the fiberglass because it is paint friendly and is not cold to the touch in winter. When I get around to replacing the steel doors, these will definitely be on my list of options.

  19. says

    This is excellent information Pam. Our front door is rotting away and the front door has been on the to do list for some time. Eventually another coat of paint will not take care of the issue. I like this alternative. It helps to have multiple manufacturers available as it does force the prices down over time. So this is good for all of us. Great update. Always appreciate your materials posts.

  20. modern girl says

    SInce Crestview increased pricing in July by over 400%, I called Thermatru and the Linea door with Granite glass will cost $389 (versus nearly $2600 for the Parkway). The tax credit and energy efficiency of Thermatrus product make the choice a no brainer for us.

  21. Cheryl says

    We just got pricing on a steel Therma Tru Pulse in Linea with the window to the right. $770 at a window/door store in Seattle (steel door, Therma Tru’s composite frame, etc. — no installation). It took at least a week to get the quote. They didn’t know anything about the Pulse door style at all, so I had to look it up on my smartphone and give them the model number we wanted so he could contact his distributor to get a price. I knew Home Depot and Lowes sold less well made versions of Therma Tru doors but I didn’t know they would sell the Pulse line. I’ll have to check it out because it sounds like it could be MUCH cheaper.

    We were going with a steel door because our dogs like to scratch at the door and they would scratch/gouge fiberglass, but we’re putting in a screen door now too so we’ll probably switch out to fiberglass now. My understanding is that fiberglass is usually more expensive than steel though. We’re opting to do a full light storm door so that the new door can still be on display. We don’t have an overhang or porch to protect our front door and it is exposed to the west and south where all our wet Seattle windy weather comes out of. Thus we have a rotted jamb and sill and rusting door that all need replacing (not to mention it’s an u*** [edited] paneled door with a sunburst window at the top – ugh!).

    Thanks for writing up this article. Now I know why they couldn’t find the door model in their books yet =) And it’s giving me hope that we can get the door for less money.

    • Kate says

      Hi Mike,
      Therma-tru Pulse doors are available in steel and fiberglass. Thanks for pointing out that they are also available in steel.

  22. Mike says

    I am replacing a pair of Therm-tru steel doors in my front entry and want to stay with the brand so that I can mount the new panels in the existing frame. As the steel doors have had chronic rust problems on the edges, I want to switch to fiberglass. The doors are 3’0 x 8’0, and many of the lite configurations that are available in the 6’8 height are not available in the 8’0 height. I asked my dealer whether he could get the Pulse lite configuration in fiberglass, and he said no. So I came home and checked the Therma-tru website (thermatru.com). Sure enough, it shows the Pulse line as a steel-only line. If you have a source for getting the doors in fiberglass, I would very much appreciate the contact information. Thanks.

  23. Mike says

    Oops, sorry. I called Therm-tru and the doors are available in fiberglass. They were shown at the bottom of the webpage, below the fire-rated doors.

    And thanks for pushing back. I can now get the doors I wanted. Now I’ve got to get the dealer sorted out, too.

  24. Laura Klocko says

    As of August 2013 Crestview is not producing their door lite kits! They state that they are “focusing on custom built doors”. Imagine that! Custom doors sell for an avg. of $2500.00 according to web site pricing.
    My husband could install kits in our existing door, in a weekend, for about $500.00.
    While these Therm-tru doors might be ok for some they just don’t offer the true mid-century look I am hoping to find. So now I guess it is back to trying to find a contractor with glass skills????
    What a shame!

  25. Luka says

    What happened to Crestview! I understand costs increasing but over 300%? I hate to see any company fail but I wonder what the future will hold for them. I am grateful we ordered our doorlite kit a few years ago. I remember it cost us $700 at the time but now we would have to purchase the entire door for $3700 not to mention their doors are 36″ and we needed a 42″ door. I think they had such a great idea, makes it a really sad situation.

  26. Scott says

    I was pretty excited about the Echo 5-Lite but seem to have come to a dead end finding someone to install it. I have talked to two people at Lowe’s and either they aren’t interested or don’t understand how to order something from Therma-Tru that’s not on their website.

    I checked Therma-Tru’s website and everyone else not Lowe’s locally seems to be a contractor supply type business that doesn’t offer measuring and installation. I called Therma-Tru and they didn’t seem to have any other options either. Sigh.

      • Scott says

        Thanks I really appreciate that. :-)

        I had planned on keeping my original 1954 door but unfortunately the mortised box self-destructed last week so I think a new door is probably going to be a more sound investment at this point. Plus the Echo is just so stunning.

        Thanks Cheryl on the tips too, you are so right on how much harder you to have to work to get something non-standard. I’m sure it will be worth it once The Door is in place!

        • Scott says

          Update: I called all around town and could find lots of Therma Tru dealers but no installation service. Then it finally dawned on me that just because one Lowe’s store was dysfunctional didn’t mean they all were. So I called one in a different part of town and within ten minutes I’m set up for the measuring appointment. Another exciting bit of news, according to my Lowe’s contact blowing off the storm door and finishing off the exterior trim is a fairly standard procedure and shouldn’t have a really big impact on the installation price. :-)

    • Cheryl says

      Both Lowe’s and HD sell the doors through their local distributor. I’ve gone to both for quotes. Lowe’s in the Seattle area was around $450 and HD was $350 (steel and fiberglass were both pretty much the same surprisingly).

      At both stores I had to pretty much be the one supplying all the info in order to get the quote. In the Seattle area, the distributor for both stores is Orepac. At Lowes I had to give them the model number off of Therma-Tru’s site. At HD, the guy I talked to had previous experience selling them and eventually did find the appropriate brochure in the Orepac binder they use. I know for sure the model number wasn’t in the HD computerized system and I’m pretty sure Lowe’s didn’t have it either, so don’t be surprised if it isn’t an easy lookup for them.

      The doors didn’t come out until February, so if they’re looking through the Therma-Tru brochures from 1/13, the Pulse line won’t be in there, that’s something I’ve learned from experience in looking for these doors. If you really want a quote, go in on a week day when they aren’t as busy. Bring the model number you want and explain that you know this model most likely isn’t in their system but that their distributor should have it. Give them as much detail as possible and then wait for the quote back. Our quote took a week.

      When it comes to actually ordering the door, you may need to be an expert on that as well. We had gotten a quote from a pricey door/window store first, but it gave me a listing of all the specs we’d need to place the order. I pretty much had to tell the HD guy all the things we’d need to get it properly ordered (sill depth, hinge/sill color, type of hinges, inswing, righthand, double bore, etc.).

      HD wound up being the better price and they don’t charge extra for special orders like Lowe’s does. We were told it would probably take a month for the door to come in though. It definitely isn’t a “it’ll be ready next week” situation.

      As far as install goes, the type of door shouldn’t affect the contractor you use. You’d be ordering either fiberglass or metal and those are standard types of doors that are installed all the time. At HD or Lowe’s you just get assigned the next available contractor that’s in their pool of installers. Sometimes you get a really good one, sometimes not so much. You could ask around to neighbors and friends and see if anyone has a door installer they recommend. You could also look into doing it yourself if you’re handy. That’s what we’re opting to do. I watched lots of videos on YouTube and recommend those by AskTheBuilder.

      Good luck! Don’t give up on ordering the door you want!

      • Cheryl says

        UPDATE: Our door only took 2 weeks to come in at HD! We picked it up this weekend. We were surprised to find that they had unboxed the door, but there was still a little bit of protective framing around it. Unfortunately we found that the brickmould did suffer some damage, but HD gave us a wood filler kit for free to fix the damage ourselves and also gave us $50 off of the door. Our other option would have been free brickmould from HD to replace all around the door. We thought it would be easier to just fill the minor nicks instead of measuring and cutting new trim. My advice is to please inspect your door when it comes in to make sure it meets your expectations. Hopefully you’re only doing this once, so make sure your door is in quality condition. Also, don’t be surprised by the wood edge around the door like I was. I forgot that was a detail provided by Therma-Tru (and discussed in the above article). For a moment I thought the door was wood core with only a fiberglass skin, and wondered what on earth we bought =)

        We are dropping off our door at a friend’s body shop to have him prime and paint both sides of the door for us (he’ll do the window trim separately). He’ll be adding a clear coat layer for added UV protection. Although I wasn’t sure about having a glossy door, at least it will be sprayed on and not have brush marks though it, making me think it will look better than I imagine. The paint will then need to harden and off gas for a couple of weeks.

        My husband wanted to check the fit of the new door before dropping off the door sans frame and window at the body shop, so we did bring the door inside (it’s been raining like crazy here in Seattle). I have to say, I LOVE it. It’s just leaning against the wall next to our existing front door and I love looking at it. I can’t wait for it to be installed. We’ll probably do the installation in 2.5 weeks after the off-gassing process.

        Oh and I’ll add one thing for pet owners… We were bad owners and let our dogs scratch at our existing front door because it was ugly and we knew we were going to replace it. Now we’re training our dogs to use a doorbell inside and out so that we don’t have scratches on our new door. I am not affiliated with the company at all, but I purchased 2 dog doorbells from a company called Pebble Smart (http://www.pebblesmart.com/) that is based out of Oregon. The owner Keith has a dog named Pebble. He’s an engineer and he researched and came up with the doorbell design. He did a Kickstarter and now he’s got a business selling the doorbells. A single bell is under $30 and the double is $55, and shipping is free in the US. Our dogs have been working with the doorbells for the past 2 weeks and they are doing pretty well. I’d say they are scratch free 85% of the time right now, which is pretty good for untraining a couple years of ingrained behavior. I’m hoping we’ll be closer to 99% by the time the door is ready to install. Just thought I’d pass on the info in case it’s helpful to anyone!

        • Scott says

          Cheryl, so glad to hear the door of your dreams is on the verge of installation too! Looking forward to seeing the body shop finish, it should be amazing in appearance and exceptionally durable. What color/colors are you going with?

          I have two dogs as well but fortunately no scratching issues.I do predict there might be some moderate roughhousing over who gets the best position to look at the little windows though. :-)

  27. Scott says

    I finalized my Echo 5-Lite order today with Lowe’s and the array of options was pretty impressive.

    It increases the price of course, but you can select from some quite realistic (I thought) looking wood tones or have the door and/or frame painted. Therma-Tru has a decent range of stock colors but if you want something more unique you can specify any Sherwin-Williams exterior color for a reasonable upcharge. The interior and exterior colors can even be different from each other. I wasn’t expecting either of these two choices and have to admit it was hard not to get completely giddy in the store at this point. :-)

    To give folks who like me are not handy an idea of the price range, my door with fully-painted frame and interior (stock Extra White) and a custom-spec SW exterior color (Stop Red) is just under $1,200. The total with installation will be just over $1,700 but that includes all the contractor’s labor and supplies including re-finishing the exterior so I can blow off the 90’s aluminum trim and storm door and reconnect the door bell. Part of my price also includes some extra supplies needed to integrate the new exterior trim with the stone facing of my house as well. The only thing my figures don’t include is the price of door set and deadbolt as I am going to order those separately.

    The grand total is a little more than I had hoped for but to get exactly what I wanted in a fully completed state including all the other modifications I asked for I am pretty pleased. The forecasted time frame is about 21 days for the door to be built, then about a week to get on the contractor’s schedule once the door arrives at the store.

    • Scott says

      Oops, one thing I forgot to mention that increased the price locally too was in the city of Columbus houses before 1970 have special lead procedures (they assume lead) which bumps up the price about $200.

  28. Scott says

    Well the Pulse Echo 5-Lite went into today but how I feel about it is a “to be continued” story.

    The door itself, I love. Inside and out I’m mixing modern and modest which I think is historically quite valid as some very modest houses (including mine) were originally equipped with some very modern looking doors and it suits the vibe of the house perfectly.

    However, the beef, and it may seem really fussy, is that each and every single window has a small but quite visible Therma-Tru watermark etched on it. This does not show on the website and would have been a deal killer if I had known about it as it really detracts from the modern look of the clear glass. The windows are quite small so you can’t look through them without seeing the watermark, which per the factory is not removable. Worse, one of the panes has the watermark on the right with the other four on the left.

    I hate to be a downer but I thought the multiple watermark issue was enough of a detraction that people might want to know about it as perhaps there might be some way to special order the door without this. I contacted Therma-Tru but with a Lowe’s install I need to go through them, then they open a service log with the distributor. Lowe’s seemed very receptive to my concerns however so this may still have a happy ending.

    PS There were a few hiccups with the Lowe’s installation too (my brand new aluminum awning has a scuff from getting bumped with the door frame and they didn’t have the right type of caulk with them so they have to come back to finish the job), but again, we will have to see what happens over the next few days. Sigh.

      • Scott says

        I did make contact with Lowe’s today and although they definitely sympathize with my point of view right now their distributor says the best they will do is correct the one pane where the watermark is in a different location.

        The appearance of those watermarks so spoil the door’s appearance for me that if the distributor won’t fix it I’ll work with a glass company on my own to make it look the way it should look. I really don’t think that would be fair as the manufacturer’s website says clear glass and describes the door as clean and modern, and does not show the but I know I won’t be able to stand looking at it the way it is now.

        Pam, I sent a photo to you, just so you could get an idea of the effect. The window opening is 6 3/4″ wide, the watermark itself is just under 1 3/4″ wide… proportionally that’s a pretty big piece of real estate, and keep in mind, that’s times five. Placing the watermark (which conservatively I’d say is in about 14 pt. font) two inches from the bottom edge don’t help either.

        The first photo is an up close shot, the second shot is taken from the other end of the house, through the hallway, through the living room, and through the entryway. Yes, even that far away you can still see it.

        Sorry to go on and on, and like you said, who would have expected this? I guess the lesson here is don’t buy anything you can’t see in person first or see high-resolution photos of.

        • Michael says

          First of all, I’ve really enjoyed reading about these new Pulse line of doors. I’m very happy retro renovation.com shared this..after reading Scott’s story I’m giving this a second thought…Every glass having a watermark is insane, then they messed up and have one watermark on the right and the rest on the left. That is a deal breaker I think. With modern clean lines and contemporary designs you don’t want watermarks on glass, like you just bought it at walmart. You want clean clear glass to emphasize the look and design. I’m very sorry Scott that this happened. At least you can work with a company to remedy this.

          • Scott says

            Thanks Michael, I appreciate that.

            Here’s the resolution of the story. I called TT twice and emailed once, literally begging for glass without the giant (16pt. bold font at least) logo on each pane. Lowe’s did likewise with the distributor but neither the company nor the distributor would budge an inch nor cared that I was unhappy. The distributor even told Lowe’s “I was lucky four of the five watermarks were aligned to the same side, they don’t even try to do that, they just grab them and stick them in.”

            Anyway, I am quite pleased to say Lowe’s bent over backwards to make it right for me after I contacted Customer Care, going as far as offering to have entire new door built with a different vendor. Trouble was I loved the door aside from the glass and to go with someone else meant settling for a somewhat generic color or switching to a wood grain finish.

            I solved the problem by going through a local glass company who used laminated automotive safety glass to create new insulated inserts for me which have no markings whatsoever. Unfortunately that voids that factory warranty on a major purchase but at least it finally looks right.

            I can’t say enough good things about Lowe’s though, after seeing my photos they understood my point of view, did everything they could to find a solution, and paid to have the glass swapped out.

  29. Shawn says

    Ooooh, I am excited to come across this info! Several houses in my neighborhood still have their original 60’s doors but unfortunately mine was replaced with a newer hideous door before I bought the house. I recently found one at the Habitat Re-Store but it wasn’t correct right size. I realized that swapping doors with my neighbor while he was sleeping was probably not the best idea and the Crestview are definitely not in my budget so these seem to be a great fit. I am off to HD now!

  30. says

    I just wanted to report in that I just had the Ari installed as a front door. We did not order it with clear glass. I would rather have clear glass, but everyone would be able to see all that happens in my living room once it gets dark. At this point it’s been so long since we picked it out with our contractor that I’m not really sure which glass we went with, but I can say it took them a very long time to build the door because the glass was back ordered. There are no logos on the glass. Maybe that’s just a thing with the clear glass?

    We just went with a plain white door and plan on painting the door once its warm enough to do so (in MN). Over all thoughts after only a couple days: I love it! It’s SO much better than the off the shelf generic door from Home Depot/Menards that was there before. It lets in a ton of light too. And as a bonus, it was professionally installed, so no more chilly breeze will come in through it during in the winter months.

    The Ari reads a little more modern than mid century to me, but for our home, I think it’s the right mix of the two.

    • Sierra says

      Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences. It makes our decision a little easier, and hopefully less frustrating in the long-run. We were going to order clear glass in the Echo, but will definitely reconsider based on Scott’s experience.

      Casey, we are also in MN. I’m curious where you purchased yours and if the same company installed for you. There seem to be a couple of options near us, but if you had a good experience, we might forego those others. Thanks!

      • says

        Sierra,
        We have a contractor that’s doing a lot of things to our house right now and that was just one of them. I know he ordered our doors from Scherer Bros. Lumber Co. They have quite a few locations (Albertville, Hopkins, Shakopee, etc.). All we did was tell our contractor what we wanted and he took care of everything, so I can’t really say how great that specific company is.
        Good luck!

  31. Tim says

    We were looking at the Crestview doors, then stumbled across these. I heard a rumor that some of the trim doesn’t exactly fit the 50’s style we are looking for, could someone comment on this?

    Also, anyone that has looked at these at Lowe’s or that have talked to TT, do you know if they can be drilled to accept this door set?
    http://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/products/titan

    I have heard there is a new competitor to Crestview coming soon, I don’t have the name or details yet. Heard from a remodeler in our area that specializes in MCM homes.

    • Scott says

      Hi Tim. I used the Schlage Orbit Set on my TT door. When you place the order for the door (if you go with TT and Lowe’s) you can specify a 2 3/8″ or 2 3/4″ offset depending on what hardware you have selected.

      I don’t know about Titan, but the Orbit could be ordered in either offset.

  32. Tim says

    I’m looking at the wide star escutchen plus the 5″ extender to make it a total of 7.5″ (thereabouts) for the offset.

    http://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/products/5in-backset-extender

    http://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/products/wide-star-escutcheon/items/door-backplate-mid-century-exterior-wide-star

    Here are the individual items so you will have a better picture of what I’m talking about.

    I think my wife is going to go to Lowe’s today and talk to them about it. Our emails to Therma Tru were answered in a generic manner, and they said any further details will need to be answered by the door supplier.

    • pam kueber says

      fyi we also have a story nearly ready to go on mid mod doors from simpson doors – i will try to get it finished and posted tomorrow, meanwhile, you can find them on their website, i believe they are in the “contemporary” section

      the one issue i have heard about with the therma tru’s – and it’s covered in the comment string, i believe — is that the glass has the therma tru name imprinted, ugh

    • Scott says

      If the Titan is the doorset you want you can confirm with Rejuvenations what offsets are available for that style, then compare that to whatever offset options the door manufacturer you end up deciding to go with can provide. Then just be sure to specify the offset when you place the door order because otherwise the company default offset may not match the offset of your hardware.

      In other words just be sure the hardware and the door get ordered with the same offset. :-)

  33. says

    @ Scott, RE: @ PAM: “the one issue i have heard about with the therma tru’s – and it’s covered in the comment string, i believe — is that the glass has the therma tru name imprinted, ugh”

    Like many major window and door makers, TT glass lites are imprinted because it is part of the rules under which a fenestration manufacturer can rate and label products. This is per the National Fenestration Rating Council and is a matter of consumer protection, rather than a marketing initiative. The “bug” ID’s tempered glass. Ugh factor is offset by phew! factor :-)

    Therma-Tru reports that there have been no complaints for privacy (obscure) glass. Clear glass is more obvious and I can see where, on a multi-lite door, the bugs could be distracting. I will post here again once I get an answer on the issue and possible solutions. Thank you for pointing this out. I am also getting the answer for the same question from Simpson door. Cheers – Mitch

      • says

        Hi! The “bugs” must be in place as a certification that safe, shatter-resistant tempered glass is being used. Multi-lite doors may be ordered with the bugs all located in the same position (bottom right, inside – for example). Bugs are not an issue on privacy glass, according to our vendors Therma-Tru, Simpson Door and Lynden Door Canada (a steel door maker).

        • Scott says

          Hi Mitch. Yes, I could have lived with the discreet tempered glass markings, it was the larger manufacturer markings and the willy-nilly placement I had the problem with. In direct contrast to what you were told the TT distributor for my region told the Lowe’s installation desk “I was lucky four of them were aligned the same way as they just grab them and stick them in, they make no attempt to align them.” Realignment of the single odd pane was not as option after the build, in fact they offered no options at all. Thank goodness for Lowe’s great customer service.

          Despite the ordeal I love and recommend the clear glass. My dogs love their new window to the world. It felt strange at first but privacy is not an issue as the windows are small and the front porch lights reflect off the glass as well.

          One thing I’m not sure I mentioned that I learned from Lowe’s is that some other brands can make doors that are not in their catalog nor on their websites so don’t assume you can’t get something. Show the Millwork Manager what you are after and they will shop it around and get prices for you. Lowe’s also was able to find two brands who could not only custom design a door but could do with no manufacturer markings on the glass, just the discreet thermal markings.

          I’m going to hush on this topic now, :-) but just wanted to be sure folks know they don’t have to settle for rainglass or a texture if they really want clear, you just have to really do your homework first.

          • pam kueber says

            Thank you for all the fine reporting, Scott! I really appreciate it! At some point as soon as I can — I will excerpt your findings in the main story — or ask Kate to. I really appreciate it!!!

  34. says

    Hi Scott! Great insight – thx – no hush req’d.

    As an FYI, when we order entry doors from Simpson or Lynden Door Canada (steel insulated) and other suppliers, we can specify to have all “temper bugs” positioned uniformly throughout the entire project, if needed. In the case of Therma-Tru, as the distributor, we actually stock and install all Therma-Tru lites into doors ourselves – so we control it and we are sensitive to this need. On the topic of custom, Alliance Door Products has extensive custom abilities, including the capacity to reach out to Alliance branches in other regions.

    Our belief is that enthusiastic Mid2Mod homeowners are particularly mindful of details, and we want to match that diligence. Thanks again.

  35. mikeD says

    Just thought I would throw my two cents in on the Therma-Tru pulse doors.

    I do not own one but was about to order when I found out that the frame around the glass insert has fancy detail and is very traditional looking. I was told that was the only option for the trim in those types of inserts. In addition, the trim also has a faux “wood grain” in it. I personally think that really takes away from the mod look and I am considering different options now

    Going back and looking at different online images of the doors, I can now see that detailed trim, as it is not apparent in computer images unless you know it is there.

    Just a heads up for those that it might bother so that your not surprised when the door arrives

    I currently have two Crestview door inserts for my front and back doors and their trim around the glass is just the simple straight edge, no fancy detail.

  36. sarah says

    I am in Phoenix AZ and ordered this door via a door supply house (DoorsWest) vs the pain of dealing with HD/Lowes again.. that’s another story. The order process was easy. I was replacing a very recently installed “craftsman-ish” style door that prior owner had installed.. totally not suitable for the mid cent period of the house. But, as the frame had already been installed, trimmed out and spray-foamed in place, I decided to order only the “slab” vs pre-hung with the whole jamb. In order to do this, you need to take extremely precise measurements for dimensions (including thickness, bore, dap (hinge settings)). I took my time with this process, checked it three times, and fired off my order worksheet. Door was $260 (slab only), for the Linea Offset with clear glass in smooth fiberglass, white. They delivered it along with other doors I ordered, and I was able to install it on my own without any help (thankfully my measurements were correct!).. took me about an hour including removing the old door and switching the handle set from the old to new door. But then again I’m pretty darned handy if I do say so. It looks great, I haven’t noticed any stamp on the glass but maybe with this linear design its less noticeable, its probably at the bottom but not visible unless you get down that low. I’ve yet to paint it, but from prior experience with these kind of doors, the “wood grain” / raised / trad trim around the glass will end up being barely noticeable once it has a couple coats of paint on it. I have obsessed about such details in the past, but my experience has been that once it’s painted you really don’t notice it in the overall scheme of things.. and for the massive $ saving I can live with it. :)
    On a previous CA home we did a Crestview “lite kit” on a wood slab door, that turned out really well also, but I think the fiberglass door is more durable/ better efficiency in more extreme climates. Also I don’t think Crestview is selling their lite kits anymore since their price structure changes.
    Overall, very happy with the Therma Tru product, I think it fills an important gap in the market. Affordable and good quality. Design is a 4 out of 5 stars (one star off for the traditional surrounding trim).

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