Don’t Waste Money on a Door at the Big Box Stores

Did you ever hear the saying, “buy cheap, buy twice?” That saying is very important when considering purchasing a door.

I get calls all the time from customers who thought they were saving money by buying from a big home improvement store only to be frustrated when it comes time to get their doors or windows installed.

Steel Split off of doorToday was no exception. I spoke with a nice lady who bought a storm door off the shelf from Lowe’s and now they want to charge her $500 to have it installed. Having just purchased a door for $250 she thought she was getting a bargain. Understandably she’s frustrated. What’s worse, the door she purchased isn’t known for it’s quality so once she has them install it she may find she has to redo the door in just a few years.

Most of the products you can buy at these stores are not built for durability and certainly not built with an eye toward quality. Think about it, why do people go to stores with a jingle that boasts “save big money at Menards”. It’s not “get great quality at Menards”.

Legitimate contractors tend to cringe when they get those calls from customers who want an install only of what they know will be a low quality door. If the door doesn’t work perfectly the customer isn’t upset with the big box store. They’re not upset with the manufacturer. They often times put the blame on the installer — who’s one big mistake was taking the job in the first place without spending the time to explain to the customer that the door might not even be the right size or have the right specs for their opening and more often than not doesn’t have the type of quality a good company would be able to provide.

A good company should be able to explain the differences between the doors you can purchase at the big box stores and a door you can get through a good contractor. Here are just a few questions you have a right to know.

If it’s a steel door, what gauge is the steel?
Is it a steel edge door or a wood edge door?
What are the advantages of a steel edge door over a wood edge door?
Is it foam filled?
Is it a fire rated door?
Will this be a replacement door or a new construction door?
What are the differences between the two?
Will the brickmould be wrapped or just primed or painted?
Will the door have a double bore?
Will the door have a lock block?
What is the lock block made out of?
Will the door have a new threshold and if so, will it need to be painted?
Is the threshold adjustable?
What depth is the jamb on your new construction door?
What options are available for (styles, glass packs, paint colors, stain colors)?
Is the hinge a standard pin hinge or a ball bearing hinge?
What are the differences between a pin hinge and a ball bearing hinge?
Where is the door made?
What type of finish is on the door?
What is the environmental impact of the solvents that the manufacture uses?
Is this considered a “green” technology door?

You can find yourself a thrilled customer if you choose a contractor who can answer these questions, or you can choose to go the “save big money” route, only to find you have a rusty door that looks like what you paid for it in a couple years. You don’t want to look back on your decision a few years later and think to yourself that if you had chosen a professional you could have gotten a great door for just a few hundred dollars more.

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