Which Material Should You Use For Your Front Door?

When you’re building or purchasing a home, you’ll want a majestic, handsome and tough front door that matches its style and provides adequate protection. Of course, the most important factor is the toughness of a door and whether it includes weatherstripping systems, like the weather it’s exposed to can damage and even remove it in severe cases. There are many materials that you can use on your front door and they all have different benefits and weaknesses, but you mustn’t worry, as we’re here to help you explore the best options available so you can choose the perfect front door. Here are the materials that we’ll be covering, as we feel that each of them provide different strengths and drawbacks based on factors like style and durability:

  • Steel doors
  • Wooden doors
  • Fiberglass doors

Steel Doors Are Tough, but They May Be Energy Inefficient and Susceptible to Heat

Steel doors are the first option for your front door’s material that we’ll be discussing, as they can offer serious durability; However, they have some drawbacks. Steel doors will typically have an inner frame of wood or steel, but higher quality options will offer a 24-gauge steel-skin. The cavities in steel doors are usually filled with high-density foam insulation. Lastly, most steel doors will have a baked-on polyester finish; Premium options do offer vinyl coating or wood veneers though, both of which can further durability and handle stains.

The first drawback you’ll experience if you choose a steel door is that the polyester finish that most of them have will have trouble resisting some weather conditions and will need resealing from time-to-time. The next weakness of steel doors is that they build up an insane amount of heat, which can make opening it and closing it uncomfortable; In severe cases, the heat can build up to the point where the door could cause a burn. Another thing to recognize related to steel doors and the heat that they generate is that most manufacturers will void its warranty if it’s paired with an aluminum storm door. Steel doors can also be less energy efficient than other materials like fiberglass or wood; This is because extreme changes in temperature can be conducted through to the door’s inside surface, however, thermal breaks can prevent this problem.

Wood Doors: A Popular Aesthetic Option, but How Durable Are They?

Most homeowners choose a wood door for aesthetic reasons alone, as they can match almost any style, feature beautiful designs and be stained or painted to almost any color. However, some stock wooden doors are just veneer skins built over a wood core; This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as it can promote the durability of the door.

Wood doors, although beautiful, can have serious issues with weather and temperature changes. In fact, most professionals only recommend that people install wood doors in protected areas with stable temperatures; This is because wood doors that experience heavy variance in temperature can easily warp, shrink and swell, which means that homeowners will have to perform tons of maintenance and you will need professional cleaning services to clean it. 

If you’re going to choose a wooden door over other options, you should make sure you pick a high-quality door over cheaper models. A general rule is that wooden doors with complex moldings and thicker/wider stiles, rails and panels will offer the highest quality. Another useful tip is that a high-quality wood door will have panels that are 1-3/8″ thick while economy models will have panels that are 3/4″ inches thick. The aforementioned veneer skins can also greatly help in preventing the wood from warping.

Fiberglass Doors Are the Strongest Option Available, but Your Home’s Aesthetics May Suffer

Fiberglass doors are an excellent option based on their durability alone, as they’re almost completely maintenance-free and can handle almost every weather condition. Some incredibly harsh weather conditions can still cause some damage though and periodic releasing may be needed to keep the door in tip-top shape. Now, these doors are incredibly durable, but they can only mimic the look and feel of a beautiful wooden door; They definitely can still look good, but many of them could end up only looking like a poor imitation of other, more artistic choices.

Fiberglass doors are typically made with molded skins of fiberglass on a frame of wooden rails and stiles; They are filled with polyurethane foam insulation.

Another benefit of fiberglass doors is that most manufacturers will offer the longest warranties when compared to other door materials, as they believe in their durability that much. These warranties can cost anywhere between $200 for basic installation of the door with no additional features to $4000 for a door with tons of features and a complete entry system.

Other Factors to Consider and Our Conclusion

Choosing the right material for your front door can be difficult as it entirely depends on the needs for your home and the climate it’s located in. Materials can also affect things like energy efficiency, but weatherstripping and proper installation can prevent this. You’ll likely be considering how the door will fit in with your home as well, and you might want to choose a wooden door for its aesthetics alone. Overall though, you really can’t go wrong with any of these materials, but we do recommend looking into custom options if you want a wooden door’s aesthetics with a fiberglass door’s durability.

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