Our front door has always seemed ok. It's solid and has some beautiful historical hardware. And in the warmer times of the year, it's completely up to par.
But last Thanksgiving when my mother-in-law came to visit and was staying in our office/guestroom (which is nicely insulated), I moved my mobile office into the living room. It's a little chilly in there in November because there are high ceilings. But I didn't realize until I sat all day near the front door just how drafty it was. There was a full-on breeze coming in from the front door, and this is AFTER we installed weatherstripping to the bottom of the door. So I sat there working at the computer with fingerless gloves on, cursing the massive gaps and general crappiness of the front door.
The leaky front door explains why when I get up in the morning during the winter, the thermostat in the hallway near the front door usually reports a temparature in the low 50s, and sometimes in the 40s. The low so far was 42 degrees. 42 DEGREES INDOORS! Not that I'm complaining - I put on some slippers, crank the heat, and it usually warms up to a balmy 59 degrees in a couple of hours.
The door frame looks wonky as well. You can see in the photo that it's visibly crooked with an inch at the top on the right, but slopes to about a 1/4 inch gap on the left. We do the rolled up blanket trick to slow down the draft little, which helps. But not so much. Plus, after the quake of January 2010, an additional crack has appeared on the left adding to the depth and character of the draft.
And then there's ye olde historical window transom above the door. Even before we moved in, we noticed it had a crack in the glass, which detracts from the charm of the etched glass with the house numbers (that you can't even see from the street anyway). We bought the place anyway (suckers!)
So the big project for Spring: replace the front door, casing, and transom.
Today we ordered a new Simpson door with a built-in insulated transom on the top. Not to sound like a commercial, but this door kicks ass. It has a frosted, insulated window pane in the top of the door that's 3/4" thick. Plus, the door boasts "Maximum Weather Resistance" which sounds pretty good to me! So in a snappy 4-6 weeks, our contractor (the heroic Jake Larson and crew) we'll be on site to make this the beautiful, shuts-all-the-way door we've always dreamed about.
And a shout-out to my buddy Nick, who accused us of "putting on airs" by getting a new front door that shuts all the way and doesn't look like hell. What can I say - we're uppity, but we've earned it!