Many commercial buildings and retail stores have an entry vestibule, where visitors enter through an exterior door into a small space that has a second door for entrance into the building’s interior. Homes can also have a vestibule and its accompanying benefits. Here’s why you should consider adding a vestibule entry.
What is an entry vestibule?
Simply put, a vestibule is an entry way with an outside door on one side and the door to the building interior on another side, often in line with the first door. Also known as an airlock, the vestibule serves as a transition space between the exterior door and the entry into the house itself. Entry foyers and mudrooms can be types of vestibules.
Energy savings of a vestibule
The biggest benefit to a vestibule entry is energy savings. With a single entry door opening directly into the living space, the outside temperature rushes into the house every time the door opens. During times of extreme weather conditions, especially with a lot of foot traffic in and out of the house, the HVAC system has to work harder to maintain the comfort level you’ve set. Passing through two doors reduces this flood of outside air. Rarely will both doors of a vestibule be open at the same time, so inside temperatures are maintained.
Blocking gusts of outside air not only shields the indoors from temperature flux, it keeps dust, dirt, leaves and other debris from blowing inside as well. Your floors stay cleaner and your furnishings don’t accumulate dust as readily.
Shoes, coats and packages
Vestibules with a small closet, hooks and a shoe corral can provide a place for leaving shoes and coats before entering the home. A vestibule is very handy when entering with an armload of packages, especially in bad weather. Hustle your packages to the vestibule first, then into the house at your leisure from there. A vestibule entry can also provide a more secure location for package deliveries than the front porch.
Can you work with available space?
Experts advise that you need at least 25 square feet of space for a vestibule entry. The vestibule can be constructed for a front, rear or side entrance. If the door has a covered porch or patio, you already have the makings of a vestibule. You may simply have to enclose the open sides with walls and add an exterior doorway. Build windows into the new wall or door to keep even a small vestibule feeling bright and spacious.
The cost of constructing an entry vestibule varies by the size of the space but could be as high as $10,000. The most cost-effective time to add a vestibule is during initial construction or a major remodel. Be sure to get the necessary authorizations and permits from your homeowners association and local building codes department before you begin.
Outdoor that feels like indoor
The vestibule is considered more of an outdoor space than an indoor one, with no HVAC service to the space. That doesn’t mean it has to look like it’s outdoors. Stylish interior tile, wall decorations, a bench on which to sit for doffing or donning shoes and an entry table help make the vestibule feel more like you’re already inside the home. Since people will often be entering with wet, gritty shoes, be sure to place an absorbent mat inside the exterior door to help keep the vestibule floor clean and dry. Both doors should be lockable for security.