There are many types of doors that don’t fit into a specific category. While you might be able to recognize most standard doors like bedroom doors, residential entry doors, and even bathroom stall doors; some doors are harder to classify because they are designed to meet a specific need. These doors are called specialty doors.

Let us explain what we mean when we say, “specialty doors”. In basic form, a “specialty door” is any door or frame that is not a standard build, many times these doors are custom doors built specific for the customer. Specialty doors may take into consideration unusual openings and conditions that simply require special accommodations, or a specialty door might just be a custom designed door whose sole purpose is to give an entryway more personality.

Blast doors, bullet-proof doors, sliding doors, hatch doors, and a multitude of other types of doors also fall into the specialty door category. Ultimately, if you can’t walk into a “door store” and pick out a standard measurement door then you need a specialty door.

Let’s go one step further… consider that you want to design your own door for a new construction project or a remodel. Chances are this design might also possibly require a specialty frame. Luckily there are professionals, services, and even design programs available to help you during this process.

Specialty Doors & Making a Choice

The category of specialty doors is overwhelmingly broad; so many things can fall into this category. But, the purpose of this article is to discuss residential specialty door options. A specialty door delivers glorious personality to your home!

Specialty sliding doors for your home

Whether you want curb-appeal with a beautiful and welcoming entryway door, or you’re remodeling to include an oversized sliding door to your back patio, there are a number of things to consider with specialty doors.

Materials are Key

The materials that will create your specialty doors are one of the most important elements. We aren’t going to sugar coat it, specialty doors are pricey.  This is an investment, so make sure you get your money worth for a long time! Be sure to choose a material for your door that will not only meet the look and functionality needs, but also a material that will prosper over time. A premium specialty door should be able to stand up against any elements that could abuse the door. For example, a residential front door needs to be strong enough to stand up against wind, rain, excessive heat, and/or excessive cold.

Chances are if you are buying a specialty door, you want one that is aesthetically pleasing. This is where the material you choose makes a big difference in not only how your door performs under pressure from the elements, but also how your specialty door will look.
– Solid wood is one of the more expensive specialty door options, depending on size and thickness, but it is also the most popular choice when a homeowner’s primary objective for the door is to maintain privacy.
– Fiberglass is a trusty cost-effective alternative to wood, and has a sensible durability.
– Glass is the obvious choice for sliding doors, storm doors, and french doors. Some specialty doors  have glass lite panels that not only give the door additional character, it allows for natural sunlight to seep through to brighten the space.
– Steel is also a relatively affordable specialty door option, but unless you need a steel door for blast resistance, steel is usually used as a reinforcement material in combination with another material.

Understanding Types and Options

Choosing a door is about more than just looking through a factory catalog or walking through a showroom of pre-made selections. It’s about choosing something that represents your personality and will uniquely fit into your home space.

It’s all about the style and size. Be sure to know exactly what size you need, and then understand the purpose of the door to appreciate the style options. Perhaps you are in the market for a specialty door for your entryway. The options can be overwhelming since you’ll want to also make sure the door matches the house (shutters, siding/façade, etc), but if you fully understand the options and types of specialty doors available to you, you’ll no doubt choose the right door that will give you that ultimate curb appeal.

Assessing Your Space

In order to properly choose a specialty door, consider the space you are planning to use the door. It’s important to choose a door that fits your needs, along with addressing any dimension limitations for the space.

Do you need an accordion door that can just be used on occasion? Do you want to establish a safe area that has blast doors, bullet-proof doors, or impact doors? Maybe you simply need a roof hatch or an access door… or maybe you aren’t looking for anything fancy, just a simple solution. This is why it’s imperative to assess your space and determine what your needs are for the door. There can be a multitude of reasons for needing a specialty door, but sometimes the reason might be as simple as just wanting a certain look or style. That’s the beauty of specialty doors. Countless options!

Consider Your Hardware

When it comes to specialty doors, the thought process goes beyond just the material and structure of the door. You must also strongly reflect upon what hardware to use on your specialty door.

Again, this could vary depending on your intended use of the door. You can choose hardware that fits a theme, you can select hardware for style factor, or you can choose hardware simply for functionality. Specialty doors serve a unique purpose, and the accompanying hardware should accommodate the intended purpose.
Initially you may choose a specialty door that comes with factory hardware. However, do consider customizing the hardware after the fact; doing so gives the door tons of personality.

Don’t Break the Budget

Work with your specialty door manufacturer to find a sensible solution that won’t blow your budget. Consider all aspects of the door and prioritize what is most important to you; for instance, is it material, color, special cuts and carvings, or hardware? Having an idea of the “perfect door” and also an idea of the “this will work door” allows you some negotiating along the way to better understand what’s most important to you and what feature(s) you are willing to modify based on budget.
Make a budget and stick to it. Specialty doors are not cheap, but know that there are options and adjustments that can be made to keep the overall cost of your specialty door affordable.


Specialty doors can undeniably be one of the most attractive and functional features on any project. These doors add enormous personality and beauty to a structure. Since specialty doors do fit into such a broad category, remember the importance of being specific with your needs for the space and setting a budget.  The abundance of material and hardware options available for specialty doors opens up a world of possibilities, allowing your door to overflow with character without compromising it’s durability. With countless specialty door options available, you can soon have a door that is as unique as you are.