Homesandgardens.com had this excellent article that I want to share with you this month—and I’ve added my personal comments as well.
For security and durability, Accoya (a chemically treated hardwood) and oak are popular choices for front doors. Traditional door specialists like Voysey and Jones will produce doors to match the period of your home complete with ‘antiqued’ brass door hardware for timeless appeal.
For contemporary facades, companies like Silvelox or Urban Front lead the way with wide, pared-down doors in striking unpainted woods such as American Black walnut, wenge or modish Fumed Oak with glazed panels and pivot hinges completing the look.
‘Always consider the location of your house before you decide,’ says Urban Front designer Elizabeth Assaf. ‘A south-facing house will demand a harder wood and it’s always a good idea to get samples and hold them up to the facade to gauge the effect.‘
On a similar note, since your door will be exposed to outside elements, it's essential to use the proper paint to prevent peeling and fading later. Latex exterior paints provide weather-resistant coverage. If your door is metal, look for one with built-in rust protection. No matter what you choose, you will need to go over the door with an exterior primer first.
Door-friendly exterior paints are available in a variety of finishes, including matte, semi-gloss and glossy. A high-gloss finish will bring out architectural details but will also show more knicks and blemishes on a door. For a more forgiving front door paint finish that will hide flaws, opt for a satin paint.
Scale matters. One larger piece will have more punch than smaller fittings. When choosing the finish, if your interior is contemporary then a nickel or chrome finish will work well with period joinery. Equally, a rural exterior will be better complemented by softer antique tones such as bronze or brass.
Chrome & nickel are the hardiest finishes requiring little or no maintenance.
20+ years of residential experience.