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. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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. :-)

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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