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Everything You Need to Know About Doors: An Interview with Lisa Bliffert of Bliffert Lumber and Hardware

By Josh Brown

Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history, and the services you offer.

Bliffert Lumber and Hardware has been serving contractors and homeowners in southeastern Wisconsin for over 100 years. Since our incorporation in 1904, we have helped the community grow by supplying building materials to hospitals, stadiums, and new homes, as well as a variety of other projects. To this day, we are proud to be family-owned and operated and make sure that the personal service shows at each of our seven locations. In 2009, we opened a hardware store at the site of our original lumber yard on Chambers Street in Milwaukee. Our store has everything you need from a big hardware store, yet has the personalized attention of a local one.

What are the main differences between an exterior and interior door?

Exterior doors are usually thicker and put together with exterior glue. If there is glass in the door, it is generally insulated as opposed to single strength glass used for an interior door.

What should people be looking for in a new door for their home?

Quality. You should never sacrifice quality on an exterior door. It is going to get a lot of use so it needs to be durable. Quality will also get you a good weathertight door. Don't save money on a lower quality door just to pay more on your energy bill. The same goes for interior doors. All doors get a lot of use, and if you sacrifice quality, you might find yourself buying new doors well before you thought you would have to.

Can you explain some of the design choices people have when it comes to doors?

Design choices are limitless these days. Steel, fiberglass, and wood are the main options for exterior doors. Some of the steel and fiberglass are now stainable as well. Once a style is chosen, the glass options seem to never end. Wood doors provide more options for customization, which of course will increase the price. Interior doors are now available in hardboard and MDF. These can be great paint-grade options for quality doors at a reasonable price.

How does a door relate to the sound and temperature inside a home or room?

Exterior doors are going to play a big role in keeping the house temperature where you want it. Interior doors will not have as much of an effect on temperature because they are not weatherstripped or insulated. Also, solid core interior doors will provide a better sound barrier than a hollow core door.

Is there a mistake that people make a lot when they're installing a new door? Can you give us a tip on how to avoid this?

When installing a door on our own, you have to be careful to make sure that everything is plumb and level. If it's not, the door might operate fine for a while, but over time, it will begin to fail and the entire door will need to be removed and reinstalled.

What's the best way for people to reach you and your company?

Visit our website at www.bliffertlumber.com for a location near you.

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