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Wood Doors vs. Steel and Fiberglass Doors

Whether you choose wood, steel or fiberglass for your entry door, it's really a matter of personal preference. All exterior doors are made to resist wear from the elements. A high quality wood door may surpass a cheap steel door, but there are some basic differences. Below are the characteristic of each material with regards to exterior doors.

Wood Exterior Doors

  • All-wood doors have solid wood or solid-cores.
  • Provides an attractive appearance.
  • R-values vary with the quality and amount of window glass, but wood is a natural insulator.
  • Wood doors are prone to warping and require periodic painting.
  • Wood is available in a variety of designs.
  • Can be trimmed to fit existing frame.
  • Wood will not rust overtime.
  • They are heavy and tend to sag over time.
  • Requires routine maintenance to ensure long lasting qualities.
  • They can be trimmed to fit an existing opening.
  • They are good at controlling sound.
  • Can be reinforced with fiberglass to prevent expansion and contracting.

Steel Exterior Doors

  • Insulation-filled steel doors can have high R-values, up to an R-15 because the steel frame is filled with polyurethane foam.
  • Steel is ideal for unprotected exposure to sun and moisture.
  • Cannot be trimmed to fit existing opening.
  • Steel doors can be difficult to install.
  • Very easy to maintain.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Frames must be plumb/square for the door to fit properly.
  • Fastening hardware may require a few carbide-tipped drill bit.
  • There is no exposed wood to warp, rot, bow or splinter.
  • Provides superior security qualities.
  • The bottom of the door is subject to rust from salt.
  • Has the option of coming with magnetic weather stripping to ensure a strong hold that keep the elements out and prevents air and water infiltration.
  • Stainable and offers smooth surfaces.

Fiberglass Exterior Doors

  • They are paintable, stainable and come in many styles.
  • Genuine look and feel of a wood door.
  • Insulated fiber glass doors have up to an R-11 rating.
  • Embossed texture that is 25% deeper than standard fiberglass doors.
  • Offers four times greater insulation performance than a wood door.
  • Architecturally correct stile- and rail-grain pattern.
  • Resists nicks and dents.
  • Does not chip, warp, rot, or crack.
  • Fiberglass is proven far superior to wood in strength, weather ability and durability.
  • Triple blade bottom sweep helps eliminate air and water infiltration and is not affected by temperature extremes.
  • Typically offers a lifetime limited warranty on entry door slab component, frame, hardware accessories, hinges, weather-stripping and threshold.
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