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How much does it cost to install an exterior or front door?

on 10/20/2023 | Reading time: 15 minutes
front door installation
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Installing an exterior or front door is not just a matter of securing a point of entry, but it also involves aesthetic appeal, security, and energy efficiency considerations. The cost may differ substantially depending on factors such as door type, material, labor fees, where you live, and any extra features or components you choose.

Types of Exterior Doors and Cost Implications

Exterior doors come in various materials, each offering different benefits and carrying different costs. Below is a general overview of common door materials and their typical costs, excluding installation.

  Cost Pros Cons
Wooden doors $300 - $2,000 Aesthetically pleasing, traditional appearance Require regular maintenance, less weather-resistant
Steel doors $250 - $1,000 Stronger security, more durable Can dent or rust over time
Fiberglass doors $500 - $2,500 Energy efficient, minimal maintenance Can crack under severe impact
Iron doors $1,500 - $4,000 Incredible durability, high-end appearance Higher cost, can be heavy
Aluminum doors $300 - $1,500 Resistant to corrosion, lightweight Less secure than steel or iron

Custom doors are another option, offering unique designs or specifications tailored to the homeowner’s preferences. These options, while potentially more aesthetically pleasing or better fitting for unusual doorway sizes, tend to be costlier than standard doors, sometimes costing upwards of $3,000 or more, depending on the level of customization.

Labor Costs

Deciding between professional installation and DIY depends on your skill level and the project's complexity. Depending on various factors, professional installation can range between $250 and $800 or more. This cost can be influenced by:

  • Geographical location: Labor costs may be higher in cities with a higher cost of living.
  • Complexity of installation: Non-standard door sizes or those requiring additional construction work can increase labor costs.
  • Additional contractors: If structural changes are needed, you may need carpenters or structural engineers, adding to the budget.

For those considering DIY, it's essential to factor in the cost of the door itself, the tools required, potentially longer installation time, and the absence of a professional service warranty.

Additional Cost Factors

Several other elements can add to the cost of your door installation project.

  • Door hardware and accessories like handles, locks, or intelligent security systems can range from $50 to several hundred dollars.
  • Pre-installation work (for example, removing the old door) might cost an additional $100 to $200, while post-installation adjustments like painting or staining can cost between $100 and $300.
  • Energy-efficient features might increase upfront costs but can lead to long-term savings in home energy bills.
  • Required permits vary by location, but expect to spend around $50 to $200 for local building permits.

Potential Additional Costs

Remember, complications might arise during installation. It can include repairing door frames or surrounding areas, costing between $150 and $300 or more for extensive repairs. Special architectural considerations or urgent installations might also hike up your budget.

Financing and Cost-saving Opportunities

Some institutions offer home improvement loans or lines of credit for homeowners looking for financing options. It’s also worth researching any available rebates or incentives for installing energy-efficient doors, as some states or municipalities offer these.

Regarding savings, don’t overlook seasonal discounts or promotions from installation companies or door manufacturers. Opting for a less busy time of year for such a project might also result in savings. Cost-effective decision-making involves balancing your budget with the door’s quality, features, and installation costs to ensure durability and security.

Calculating the Cost of Exterior or Front Door Installation

You'll need to consider several individual expenses to get a rough estimate of the total cost of your door installation. Here's how you can break down these costs:

  1. Door Material and Hardware Cost:
    • Cost of the door itself (based on the type and design you choose)
    • Additional hardware (handles, locks, smart security features, etc.)

      Door Material Cost + Hardware Cost = Total Material Cost

  2. Labor Cost:
    • If you're hiring professionals, this will be the fee they charge. It can be a flat fee or hourly, depending on the contractor.

      (Hourly Rate x Estimated Hours) or Flat Fee = Total Labor Cost

  3. Additional Costs:
    • These could include removal and disposal of the old door, structural modifications to the doorway, finishing touches, etc.

      Sum of all additional individual costs = Total Additional Costs

  4. Extra Expenses (if applicable):
    • These are unexpected costs, like repairing damage not previously accounted for or special requests during installation.

      Sum of all unexpected costs = Total Extra Expenses

Now, to get the estimated total cost of the door installation, you'll add up all these individual totals:

Estimated Total Installation Cost = Total Material Cost + Total Labor Cost + Total Additional Costs + Total Extra Expenses

This formula gives you a ballpark figure for your project. Adding a buffer (perhaps 10-20% of the estimated total cost) to your budget for unforeseen expenses is recommended, as actual costs can often exceed estimates due to unexpected complexities or issues that arise during installation. Consider seeking detailed quotes from several professional installers before proceeding for a more accurate and reliable cost assessment.

FAQs About Exterior or Front Door Installation Costs

1. How much does it typically cost to install an exterior door?

Typically, installing an exterior door can cost between $1,000 and $3,000, with the price varying based on the material of the door, selected hardware, charges for labor, and any extra construction needed for the doorway. High-end or custom installations can run higher.

2. Can I save money by installing the door myself?

You might save money if you have experience with such projects. By doing it yourself, you avoid professional installation fees. However, improper installation can lead to increased energy costs, security vulnerabilities, and future expenses for correction. Before undertaking this project, you must be confident in your DIY skills.

3. How does door material affect installation costs?

Different materials come with varying price points. For example, wooden doors tend to be more expensive than steel or fiberglass due to material costs. Custom designs and features like enhanced security or insulation also impact the price.

4. Will replacing my front door add value to my home?

Yes, a new front door can add value due to improved curb appeal, security, and energy efficiency. Many homeowners view it as a valuable investment, especially if they intend to sell their property.

5. What hidden costs should I know when installing a new front door?

While not precisely hidden, there are several often-overlooked costs, such as permits, old door removal, potential structural changes, and finishing work like painting or staining. Unexpected issues like rotting frames can also arise during installation, leading to additional charges.

6. How long does it take to install a new front door?

Installing a new door can often be completed in a day. Structural modifications, custom door orders, or unforeseen challenges like inclement weather for exterior work can extend the timeline.

7. Can I install a new door without replacing the frame?

If your existing door frame is in good condition, level, and square, you may be able to install just the door. However, replacing the frame ensures a secure, snug fit and optimal insulation, which is especially important for exterior doors.

8. Do energy-efficient doors help save money?

Energy-efficient doors help curtail the heat movement from inside to outside of your home, lessening the pressure on your heating and cooling systems and possibly reducing energy expenses. They can be more expensive initially but may provide savings in the long term.

9. Is it necessary to obtain a permit for door installation?

It depends on local regulations. Some areas require permits for structural changes, including enlarging a doorway or significantly altering an exterior wall. Before starting the project, check with your local building department.

10. What is the best time of year to install an exterior door?

You can install doors any time of the year, but the most favorable weather conditions usually occur in late spring, summer, and early fall. Some contractors also offer off-season discounts during the colder months.

By considering these questions, homeowners can better understand what to expect in terms of costs, preparations, and the potential impact of installing a new exterior or front door on their property. Always consult professional installers or contractors for specific advice tailored to your circumstances.

Questions to Ask When Evaluating Companies for Your Exterior Door Installation

1. How many years have you been in business?

Understanding the company’s experience level helps assess its capability and reliability. Companies with several years in the industry usually have a track record you can review.

2. Are you licensed and insured?

Ensures the company meets legal standards and protects you from liability in case of accidents on your property. Feel free to ask for proof of insurance.

3. Could you share references or showcase examples of your past projects?

Past customers’ experiences and examples of completed installations give insight into the company's quality of work and customer service.

4. What warranties or guarantees do you offer on installation and materials?

Understanding the warranty details for the door and the installation work ensures you are covered if issues arise post-installation.

5. Are you going to manage all the required permits and inspections?

Permits can be crucial based on local regulations. The right company will navigate these requirements and ensure the project complies with local codes.

6. Who will be performing the installation?

It’s essential to know if they use their employees or subcontractors to ensure the installers are experienced, reliable, and insured.

7. What is the projected timeline for the installation?

Knowing start and end dates helps you plan around the installation. It’s also important to ask how the company handles delays and unforeseen complications.

8. How do you handle property protection and cleanup?

The company should take measures to protect your property during the job and be responsible for cleaning up the site afterward. Clarify your expectations before work begins.

9. What door brands and types do you offer, and can you assist in selecting the right door for my home?

A good provider should have a range of options and be able to guide you based on your security, aesthetic, and budgetary needs.

10. Do you provide detailed written estimates?

A transparent, itemized quote helps you understand what you’re paying for and ensures no hidden fees. Ask how the company handles potential additional costs.

11. How do you approach customer satisfaction and handle potential issues or dissatisfaction?

Their response will show their commitment to customer service and whether they stand by their work. A company dedicated to customer satisfaction will outline a clear process for addressing any issues.

12. What payment options do you accept, and what is your preferred payment schedule?

This helps with your budgeting and ensures you're comfortable with their terms. Exercise caution with companies insisting on receiving full payment before starting work.  

Use these questions to gather essential information and make an informed decision when choosing a company for your door installation project. The responses will guide you in terms of the company’s qualifications and reliability and in understanding their work ethic, commitment to their clients, and how they run their operations.


The cost of installing an exterior or front door can vary widely based on several influencing factors. Homeowners should consider not only the initial financial investment but also the long-term implications of their choices on aspects like energy efficiency, home security, and property value. Obtaining multiple quotations, considering various materials and installation options, and understanding the full scope of potential costs will equip homeowners to make informed decisions for this vital home improvement project.

The opinions articulated in this piece are the guest author's and may not necessarily align with those of Crackerjack. Find more about staff authors of Crackerjack

About the author
Fancy House LLC
Fancy House LLC is a seasoned contractor and a prolific writer in the field of home improvement. With their extensive experience and expertise, they have earned a reputation for delivering exceptional results in construction projects of all scales. As a writer, they share their knowledge through well-researched articles that offer practical tips, advice, and inspiration to homeowners and DIY enthusiasts. With a friendly demeanor and a commitment to quality, Fancy House LLC is a trusted contractor who consistently delivers outstanding home improvement services and informative content.

Our Pricing Methodology

At Crackerjack, we assist many people each year with their projects. Our process involves collecting estimates from local professionals and conducting our own research, which we use to provide you with valuable price information. Please note that the prices provided in the current article are for informational purposes only and may change at any time. To receive a personalized cost estimate for your specific project, we recommend contacting a professional in your area.

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