Custom Round Top Doors: What to look for

Round Top Door

In Toronto, Round Top Doors have been an architectural feature for the last 120 years. They are primarily found on mid-range to high-end houses.

In new homes, Round Top Doors come with added details and features that would not have been available 100 years ago, including secure lock sets, safety glass, and fully integrated weatherstrips.

Replacing a Round Top Door

Custom Round Top Door
Custom Round Top Door

Owners of an existing, older Round Top Door are often overwhelmed when faced with replacement. Many homeowners have no idea where to start or what the cost or process looks like. In these instances, doors are typically left in place until they are literally falling off the hinges. The round shape means that a stock steel or fibreglass door cannot be modified to fit in the opening. This leaves the only option as a custom-made door.

There is a large variance in cost for a custom Round Top Door. Quotes can range from $5,000 to $14,000 to replace the door and frame. Typically, for the lower end of the range, there is a “knock-down” door which is shipped in a crate and requires assembly, stain or paint; the purchase and installation of a lock; installation; and custom interior casing to fit. This means that $5,000 is only the beginning of the cost.

Concerns With Low-Cost Doors

A less-expensive Round Top Door may not be a suitable construction for the local climate; the type of wood may not endure our varied seasons. Also, it can be a technical and complex project to manage.  Trouble-shooting can also be a challenge for the inexperienced. For example: Is a sticking door the fault of the manufacturer, the installer, or the person that  installed the lock? The onus is on the homeowner to determine responsibility.

Peace of mind with a high-end solution

In the $14,000 price range, homeowners can expect to get a high-end door with premium brand-name hardware, such as Baldwin, Rocky Mountain or Sun Valley Bronze. Other plusses: custom glass, premium door designs, precise custom fit with custom-made trim for the existing opening, factory finish in stain or paint, and installation. This is a turn-key solution that will look like it fits the house exactly (because it does!). And responsibility lies with the company installing the door.

Round Top vs. Square Top: What’s the Difference?

Homeowners are often confused by the vast range in prices between a Round Top and a square top door of a similar size. Here is the key difference: square top doors are much easier to produce. When building a square door, the builder simply takes measurements, cuts, and assembles. A Round Top custom-made door is at the highest level of difficulty in door-building, exceeded only by an elliptical (oval-top) door. Each circle (typically 3-4 per door) is measured, drawn, and created in wood by hand. Every cut must be precise; even a small flaw means that the door will not operate properly or look correct. Typically, building the arches doubles the amount of time that it takes to build the door.

A well-built Round Top Door can be a beautiful architectural feature for a home. Because of the time, care, and craftsmanship involved in creating these doors, buyers need to know exactly what they are buying. Some tips:

  • Research the reputation of the company. Know who you are dealing with.
  • Make sure you understand exactly what the company is providing, and what you will be responsible to figure out on your own. If you are managing the project yourself, you will require a large degree of technical knowledge to get a great result.
  • As always, with any home renovation, ask for references. Go look at finished projects in the field after they are installed. This is the truest test of a companies’ quality. Something that looks good in a showroom, or in a brochure, might not look very good once it is installed.

At Amberwood, we have built over 60 round top doors, and counting.  We are proud to give references.

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