Over the past several months, we’ve been covering the growing number of retailers selling midcentury modern entry doors. Today, we’ve pulled all our research together — sharing four places where you can find a retro style front entry door for your home — plus, we have some super affordable DIY options to consider, too.
1. Simpson Doors
We first spotlighted Simpson Doors when reader Doug tipped us to their midcentury Early American (aka “Cool-onial”) style doors. Several months later, reader Mitch saw that the company also had 9 midcentury modern door styles tucked in their catalog. All of the midcentury door styles Simpson Doors offers are made of wood in the USA and can be custom ordered in a variety of sizes, wood species and glass styles. The company also offers many helpful tools such as their door test drive tool and glass taste test to help make choosing a new door style easier.
2. Therma-Tru Pulse line doors
It was big news last year when we discovered that a mass-market door manufacturer — Therma-Tru — had introduced a new line of midcentury modern style front entry doors. The doors are part of their “Pulse” line — which comes in four styles with variations — and are available in oak grained fiberglass, smooth (paintable fiberglass) and steel and are manufactured right here in the USA in Indiana.
We’ve heard from several readers who have had Therma-Tru “Pulse” line doors installed with varying results in terms of ease of ordering, having the door installed and how they liked their door once the installation process was over. We wrote about reader Barbra’s super easy experience with her new Therma-Tru door installation, but also heard the long saga from reader Scott, who initially found it difficult to find someone to install a Therma-Tru door for him.
3. Frank Lumber — The Door Store
Frank Lumber has been in business in the Pacific Northwest since 1948 — and they stock eight models of solid birch wood doors, with many available options for customization in different wood species, glass and sizes. The doors themselves are made just up the road in Marysville, Washington, by Kylemont Custom Wood Doors, their partner company. Frank Lumber also prides themselves in giving expert customer service and advice for your door project — however if you are too far away to visit the shop in person, they will ship doors and have a handy how-to to help you measure for your new door.
4. Millwork Market
Millwork Market is the newest competitor among manufacturers of midcentury modern doors, opening in June 2014. The company offers 23 designs of midcentury modern exterior doors and 21 styles of DIY Lite Kits. Based in Austin, Texas, the company manufactures all of their products in house.
5. Make your own, affordable door-lite kits
Inventive reader Sarah — owner of the fabulous Gilbert Spindel designed round house — shared the steps she used to make her own midcentury style doors using a plain wood slab door and her local glass shop. For just $30 — she did her own carpentry — Sarah was able to make the door above, a perfect complement to her 1964 home. In our story featuring Sarah’s project, Pam also did some of her own investigative DIY door work locally, and, we heard from a few other readers who tried to DIY their own retro doors using a few different methods.
Note: Glass will have a “blaze”
We also want to add this learning: When Scott bought his Therma-Tru door, he discovered that each pane of glass on the door had a watermark that he found distracting. We asked the helpful team at Therma-Tru about this, and they explained:
….By federal law, safety glass must be used in doorlites and sidelites, no matter who the door manufacturer may be. This same law requires that each individual piece of glass must be clearly marked with a visible code number. This is generally called “the blaze” within our industry and is required as a federal safety regulation. Most manufacturers also choose to put their company name on each glass panel.
While this coding is not required on most windows, it is required on every individual piece of glass within a door and/or sidelite. When the glass is larger or has a decorative design, the blaze is not very visible. However, when the glass pieces are smaller and/or completely clear, the blaze does tend to stand out a bit, as Scott has experienced.
We understand that Scott has replaced our glass, and we’d like to suggest that he make certain that the auto glass installed meets the federal safety regulations, both to comply with the laws and for his family’s safety. He can check on this with the person who supplied the glass, or look for the code numbers on each pane of glass.
Finally, we want to thank Scott for his feedback. We are committed to providing the best product possible and appreciate his comments as we continue to look for ways to improve our products.
So note, dear readers: It sound like, no matter where you buy a new door like this — no matter who the manufacturer — you’re going to get a watermark “blaze” on each pane of glass… although the manufacturer’s logo may or may not also be on there, depending on their practice.
It’s great to see the growing number of options for front doors. Cuz, as they say, you only get one chance to make a good first impression!