The Difference Between a Dedicated Design Partner & Off-the-Shelf Options for Iron Doors
Updating your front door or refreshing your favorite entryway is no small task—there are a lot of questions to consider. From finding the right style to organizing installation day, there are so many factors at play. Luckily though, our team at Clark Hall makes it as seamless as possible. We partner with you from start to finish so that you don’t have to source third-party contractors. Plus, all of our iron doors are completely custom to suit your vision. On the fence between working with a dedicated manufacturing partner or choosing a prefabricated door option? It can be overwhelming, but here are the five questions you should ask yourself before making a decision.
- What type of quality am I looking for in a door?
If you live by the phrase “quality over quantity,” then you’ll likely understand the key difference between fully-custom iron doors and prefabricated options. Most prefabricated doors are built in high-quantities and made as quickly as possible using cheaper materials and paint. Typically, these doors also feature sloppy or insufficient welds, low-quality putty to mask imperfections, and an insufficient quality control process. Overall, these manufacturing sacrifices often lead to rust issues and a product that won’t last nearly as long as a handcrafted iron door. At Clark Hall, each element of a door is crafted by experts and artisans who take your piece through an extensive detailing process—and they even perform a 7-step automotive finishing process:
- 2 steps of primers and rust inhibitors
- 4 steps of an automotive flat black (base layers)
- 1 step of hand done, faux finish to provide dimension
2. How custom is my entryway idea?
Next, it’s important to think about the style and design of the door that you have in mind. Mass produced, prefabricated doors—whether they’re made of wood or iron—are not going to feature bespoke details and personalized elements that make your home stand out, so you don’t have to settle for good enough.
Our individually crafted iron doors are made custom to your vision, matching the unique design of your home. We collaborate with you from the first sketch to identify key design elements including style, silhouette, height, hardware, finish, glass type, and more. Choose from modern, traditional, or ornate styles as a template to kickstart your project, and carry your inspiration over to the patio or wine cellar, too.
3. How long am I willing to wait for my new door to be installed?
As with many things today, shipping and timelines for delivery are a big concern. Oftentimes, it may seem that choosing a prefabricated door would reduce hassle and shorten the time to installation, but that’s not necessarily the case. Most prefabricated doors are shipped from overseas on a container which increases the likelihood of an unpredictable lead time. Not to mention, this method of transportation exposes the door to salty air for long periods of time—again, increasing the risk of rust developing. If you partner with Clark Hall’s team to design a fully-custom iron door from start to finish, you can rest assured that installation will take place approximately 16-18 weeks after the final CAD drawing is approved. One client Charles O. writes, “Because these are custom doors, the turn around time was quoted at 16 weeks and their estimates were on target. The finished product was well worth the wait.”
Want a little more insight into the 16-20 week timeframe? Here’s what you need to know:
- Weeks 1-10: Custom fabrication including welding and grinding, the 7-step automotive finishing process, and a multi-step quality control inspection.
- Weeks 11-14: Glass measuring, ordering, and glazing
- Weeks 15-16: Final quality control inspection to prepare for shipping or installation
4. Am I prepared to invest in regular maintenance if I don’t choose an iron door?
It’s the million dollar question—how much time, patience, and money do you have? A Clark Hall iron door is a permanent solution for your home, requiring nearly no regular maintenance and providing an aesthetic that no other door can match. The hinges, finish, and premium components offer unrivaled longevity and security, too. On the other hand, prefabricated wood doors and low-quality options in other materials are prone to warping, shrinking, contracting, and cracking over time due to wear and tear, weather, and other factors. Despite the upfront investment of designing a fully-custom iron door, keep in mind that the cost over time is close to zero. To care for an iron door, simply clean the surfaces a few times a year with a mild soap, water, and non-abrasive cloth. If your iron door has a scratch, we recommend using our exclusive touch-up kit to cover it up.
5. What does the warranty protect against?
Comparing warranties on different door options is essential—you don’t want to be caught unaware after installation. We recommend choosing a door option that comes with a robust warranty, providing piece-of-mind and extensive protection. Clark Hall offers the longest warranty in the industry, and we protect against three key areas:
- 10 years on the iron door structure & mechanics
- 5 years on the finish & glass
- 1 year on the weather stripping & sweeps on doors sold in the U.S.
Again, we encourage you to do thorough research on all of your warranty options before making a final decision. If you have specific questions about how our warranty stacks up against other manufacturers making prefabricated options, please contact us directly.
Choosing the right door for your home is a big decision, and it’s not one that we take lightly. That’s why we work closely with every client to make sure their vision becomes a reality. If you’re interested in learning more about why you should choose an iron door over a prefabricated option, visit our blog for exclusive insights. And, be sure to browse our project gallery to find endless inspiration for your next project.