Choosing the Right Material for Exterior Doors

Your exterior door is the first layer of protection that safeguards your home from the extreme conditions of the outside world including cold, wind and heat. A good exterior door will help keep the interior temperature of your home steady and will contribute to your overall energy savings.

Choosing an exterior door, however, can be a complex undertaking, given the number of options available out there. With the improvements in manufacturing techniques and developments in technology, there are many different styles and materials from which to choose. One of the most important things to decide when you are buying an exterior door is what it is made of. Most doors combine several materials; for instance, many fiberglass and steel doors have wood frames. But it’s the surface material that most affects appearance, durability, security, and price.

Wood

woodWooden doors are the most common alternatives. Their beautiful look and substantial weight make them a go-to choice for many projects. Wood, however, is the most expensive alternative and requires quite a bit of maintenance. As a best practice, wooden doors should be repainted or refinished every few years to prevent splitting and warping.

Steel

steelIf you are on a budget and looking to save some money, a steel door might be a good option to consider. Steel offers the strongest barrier against intruders, although its advantage over fiberglass and wood in this area is negligible.

On the flip side, the attractive cost of a steel door is offset by its shorter lifespan. When steel doors are exposed to salt air and heavy rains, their life span may not be longer than 5-7 years. This may seem counterintuitive to many, given the reputation for toughness that steel has, but it is something to consider when you are making your buying decision.

Fiberglass

fiberglassIf your priority is variety, then fiberglass offers a wide range of style options many of which successfully mimic the look of real wood. On top of that, fiberglass is a low-maintenance option that requires limited upkeep. This way, you might get the best of both worlds by achieving a stylish look and a longer lifespan.

Fiberglass doesn’t expand or contract with the weather changes. Therefore, in a reasonably protected location, a fiberglass entry door can go for years without needing a paint job or stain touch-up and can last up to 15 to 20 years. Although it feels light to the touch, fiberglass has a very stout coating that’s difficult for an intruder to breach; and its foam core offers considerable insulation.

In Short

When choosing a door, you are not short of options. When it comes down to it, what matters the most is your personal preference, your budget and your style.

A final note on choosing a door is about energy efficiency. Since efficiency depends on a number of different factors such as the framework of the door, and whether or not it has windows, a good way to go about this is to look for Energy Star labels to help you compare them on energy efficiency.

And as always, let the professionals do the job for achieving the best results possible. It doesn’t matter if you have the most beautiful, energy efficient door on the market. If it is not installed properly, you will not get the maximum benefit out of it.