Replacement front doors for Capitol Hill houses

Posted on November 13th, 2016 by Elizabeth Nelson

Recently CHRS received several questions on what is an appropriate type of  replacement door and where to buy one. Here are some ideas:  

Selecting an appropriate replacement door:

  •  The CHRS publication, Judith M. Capen, AIA, “Entrance–When a door is more than a door,”  shows appropriate and non appropriate doors in the historic district. > History and Preservation > CHRS Historic District Guidelines, p. 3.
  •  Craftsman style doors.  There are many craftsman style doors that are simple in design that might be good replacement doors.

Sources for replacement doors:

1.  House of Doors in Alexandria is a good place to start.  4000 Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria  703 751-1000

2. Simpson Doors:

3.  1901 Ellen Road, Richmond, VA  804 358-2103

4.  Community Forklift,

4671 Tanglewood Drive, Hyattsville, MD 301 985-5182

Note on door replacement:

One of the issues that homeowners must address is not just the style of the door, but the size of the door.  If they are lucky enough to have a standard size door (esp. 6′ 8″ high) there are many manufacturers and suppliers of doors that should have something architecturally appropriate in 1/2 or 1/3 glass styles.  What owners should avoid is reducing the width & height in order to accommodate a standard size door.  A further complication is that many of our houses have door units that include the transom – the frame of the door is often a wide piece of wood that has some important architectural elements and is integral with the transom.  Since many doors are sold pre-hung with all the weather stripping and sill included it takes some careful measuring and selective removal of the existing frame to get a door that fits properly and looks appropriate.

Door examples

Examples of door styles

Craftsman style replacement door

Craftsman style replacement door