Wrought iron doors are some of the most popular doors in the world now. They’ve seen a massive resurgence in popularity in recent years, and that’s for several good reasons. They’re relatively affordable compared to other high-quality options, can match a large variety of design themes if you choose the right door, and don’t require much maintenance at all.
However, there is an important factor that a lot of homeowners don’t consider when they purchase a wrought iron door; what finish should you choose for it?
Well, that’s a complicated decision. The finish of your door can change its appearance, and even its performance, dramatically.
There are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself, as well as some basic information about the performance boosts certain finishes provide, before you purchase an iron door and choose a finish for it. So, we’re going to go over that today in a way that’s quick, easy to understand, and can help you get the iron door that’s perfect for your home on the first try.
Let’s get started.
Why is a Finish Necessary for an Iron Door?
You might be wondering why a finish is even necessary for an iron door. After all, one of the main benefits of iron doors is that they are supposed to be extremely low maintenance “out of the box”. Well, they still need a bit of protection if you want them to last a lifetime or more.
Wrought iron, and a few other forms of iron, develop patinas that help them resist water damage and oxidation. However, if the door is entirely unprotected, rust can still occur, and the door can degrade over time. A relatively light finish can prevent this from happening without requiring any substantial additions to your maintenance routine.
Not only will a finish protect the metal and keep it looking the same as it did when you bought it for decades, but it will also add a visual flare that helps it stand out. Even the most basic iron doors that you might think are “raw” typically have finishes applied during the manufacturing phase to provide all of these benefits.
Things to Do When Choosing a Finish for Iron Doors
There are a ton of different finish options, and most of them have several variants. Narrowing them all down to the one that will suit your needs perfectly is incredibly difficult. Luckily, we have a list of seven things to do that will help you with that process.
1: Check the Manufacturer’s Offerings First
Ideally, your door should be finished before it gets installed. You’re purchasing a big ticket item; don’t you want it to be ready to go the second you get it? Well, the best way to do that is to check with the manufacturer to see what finishes are available in-house.
Different manufacturers offer different types of finishes. Some might only offer the doors as-is. So, if you see the door listed with a specific finish, that’s what you get. However, some manufacturers offer customized finishing options. Instead of just selling the doors as they’re manufactured, they’ll keep a stock of “raw” doors available, and they’ll have a list of options that varies in complexity. Some might offer a few paint options, while others offer a list of finishes longer than a monthly grocery shopping receipt.
Regardless, if you can find a finish that is offered by the manufacturer that you like, you can save a ton of time and a little bit of money later on. You just tell them what you want when you order the door, and it should arrive pre-finished.
2: What is Your Home’s Décor Theme and Style?
The next important thing you need to ask yourself is what your house’s theme really is. You do not want to have a contemporary modern home with an iron door designed to fit the Victorian era. It will look ridiculous, and that has real-world consequences such as reduced home value due to curb appeal.
What’s your home’s style? Is it a traditional Spanish home? Maybe it’s a cookie-cutter modern house designed the same way as everything else on the block. Perhaps it’s an old home with architectural features that match that.
Whatever your home’s style is, you need to try to match your door to it.
This requires you to do two things.
First, you should purchase a custom iron door that is designed in a similar manner to your home. There’s only so much a finish can do to make it fit in, and if your door style conflicts with the style of your home too dramatically, it won’t look good regardless of what you do.
Then, you have to determine whether or not the finish you choose will match your home’s style. A standard black finish will match almost anything, but would you want to put a blue front door on a bright yellow house? It simply won’t make any sense.
Consider how the finish is going to make the door look, and determine whether or not that is going to match the exterior appearance of the rest of your home.
3: When was the Home Constructed?
This goes along with our previous point. When was your home constructed?
The period that your home was built in will also need to be considered. Just like anything else, time and cultural or technological shifts tend to change how things are built.
A home built in the 1950s is going to look a lot different than a home constructed in 2015 with all the latest design themes implemented.
There are iron doors to match homes built in any era, but you have to pick the right one. You don’t want an excessively modern door installed in your Victorian home that has been around since long before your grandparents were born. Likewise, you don’t want to toss an old-fashioned iron gate on a home that looks like it belongs in Beverly Hills.
Figure out when your home was made, the design elements that were influenced by that, and what type of door will fit that aesthetic and design. Purchasing the right door in the first place is the best way to avoid making changes to work around conflicts in appearance.
4: Will it Match the Neighborhood?
Many homeowners want their homes to look unique and to stand out from the homes of their neighbors. That’s perfectly fine, but it has to make sense. You don’t want to be the one house on the block that makes no visual sense. You’ll stand out like a circus tent instead of a respectable home with a bit of flare.
To prevent that, you need to look around your neighborhood and see what the homes look like. Will this new door fit in, or will it be so different that it makes you look a bit silly?
This is about more than just “fitting in”. When buyers go to purchase a home, they look at whether or not a home matches the houses around it. If it doesn’t, they might choose a house nearby that isn’t such a stand-out investment. That, or they might not be willing to pay as much for your home because they will have to make changes just to make it a standard house. It’s important to make your home unique and pleasant to your own eye, but you do have to consider the buyers who you’ll likely be dealing with in the future.
5: Will it Match its Surroundings?
We went over this to a degree. The other homes in the neighborhood would definitely count as their surroundings, but this time, we’re talking about the natural features of your own yard. Everything needs to connect visually in one way or another.
Will the color or design of your door clash with the overall look of your yard? What about your landscaping? Do you have a lot of stonework with an old-fashioned design that just wouldn’t match a modern iron door’s crisp lines? Is your yard filled with beautiful dandelions and other yellow flowers that would clash with a bright blue door?
This is usually easy to deal with. You can always change minor details of your landscaping design with a few hours of work. However, you don’t have to if you consider it when you choose your door’s finish in the first place.
Take a moment, look around the yard, and see what things really give it character. You shouldn’t pick a finish that clashes with those features visually. This might not be as important as matching your neighbors, but it is still key to having a great looking home.
6: What is the Door’s Theme?
One of the most important things to consider is the door’s theme. We’ve told you to look at the neighborhood, your house, and even the features of your yard, but you definitely don’t want a finish that doesn’t match the design of the door.
For example, can you imagine what it would look like if you took a big Victorian gate and painted it bright pink? It doesn’t mean the gate is low-quality or poorly made; it just means someone with poor taste finished it.
You don’t want to be like that. You want to pick pigments or whatever type of finish you’re using that matches the door’s natural appearance. Your basic colors will work on the vast majority of doors. So, this isn’t the huge factor that we make it out to be, but if you decide to do something a little more “unique”, you should definitely consider the design of the door before going through with it.
7: What are Your Tastes?
Finally, you should think about yourself. Not everything comes down to preserving your home’s value or pleasing your neighbors and guests. You’re the one living in your home. You should enjoy every bit of it while still exercising a bit of caution in the process.
Think about what you like. What color do you think will go with your home and make you happy? As long as it’s nothing too silly, you should be just fine.
Types of Iron Door Finishes
You will typically see two main types of finishes offered by any given manufacturer. However, pigments can be added to both of them to create a nearly infinite list of colors. How many colors a manufacturer offers is up to them.
This is the traditional coating for iron doors. It’s a series of layers composed of a unique powder substance that adheres to the iron.
This is cheap and easy for manufacturers to use, but it also tends to peel off a lot faster than the solution we’ll be talking about next. You also can’t expect to perform your own powder coating if you want it repaired. You’ll have to get a professional most of the time.
This can be a huge problem, and even if you can perform touch ups on your own, you risk allowing water to get underneath the powder coat, and that will ruin the entire point of applying it.
Epoxy paint is a more modern finish for iron doors. It’s meant to replace the weaker powder coatings that wear off incredibly fast. In fact, it can last a lifetime, and even if it becomes damaged, you can repair it yourself with a bit of epoxy and paint.
This is a little more expensive when you first purchase it, but it comes in just as many colors if not more, and it will last a lot longer.
Because of this, most of the big decisions we’ve talked about throughout this guide have more to do with color and shine than anything else. Epoxy paint is the clear winner in terms of which coating medium you should choose.
If you are looking to get an iron door for your home, ask yourself all of the questions above, and then choose a premium iron door manufacturer to ensure you get the right product.