Does your front door add something to the appearance of your house or does it look crooked or chipped and tired? Peeling paint or deteriorating wood on that door can even affect your home’s curb appeal if it’s up for sale.

Your home's front entry is the focal point when the house is viewed from the street. So, you can improve that entrance by painting the door or by installing a custom-made new door.

It’s probably good to replace the hardware as well. But if you don’t want to do that, clean off any dirty spots around the knob, and use metal polish to spiff up these door fixtures.

• The most popular front entry door choice in Arizona is fiberglass, according to Sal Sucato of Dun-Rite Windows and Doors in Phoenix. That’s because it’s weather-resistant and energy-efficient. It can be made to look like stained wood or can have a smooth finish that can be painted.

“Fiberglass will last a lifetime and you won’t need to do any maintenance for 10 years,” he said. A typical fiberglass front door can cost from $2,000 to $5,000.

• Steel doors are generally much cheaper and can cost about $170 a square foot. They can also provide great insulation. But steel should probably be used mainly on side or back doors — not on a front door that visitors will see all the time. Aluminum doors are similar in quality to steel. They are low maintenance and can have wood-grain finishes.

• But on most higher-priced homes, the front door will most likely be made of wood. Wood makes a high-quality statement when used for a front door, and can cost many thousands depending on the type of wood used for the door. Wooden doors can sometimes be cut to fit the size of your framing.

Wooden doors need special maintenance at least once a year. Better ones can be refinished if they’ve been damaged by a few years of sun and heat, though it can be costly. But generally, wood is hard to take care of in Arizona. Manufacturers sometimes give very short warranties in Arizona for wooden doors. Wooden doors will do better, however, if your entranceway is a portico or porch that has a roof or cover over it to shade the door.

• If you want to replace your present front door with a larger one or you want to add decorative sidelights around a door, you usually need to redo the door’s framing. That means hiring a skilled contractor.

• As for keeping burglars away … always use a lock with a deadbolt that is one-inch or longer. You also need at least a one-eighth inch reinforced metal box strike plate. The strike plate is the metal piece that the bolt of the lock slides into.

For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 35 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program, heard locally from 8 to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson and from 7 to 10 a.m. on KGVY-AM (1080) and -FM (100.7) in Green Valley. Call 888-767-4348.

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