How to Choose an Entry Door

Are you looking to buy a new Entry Door for your home?  

The first and most important item you want to determine is: what is the best material?

Three of the most popular entry door materials are: fiberglass, wood and steel. 

There are benefits and limitations for each type.  You will also need to take into consideration whether or not your front porch is protected by a cover and of course, the size of your budget.

Read on to learn about each one in detail to help you determine the best material fit for your needs.

Fiberglass Entry Door

Fiberglass doors are made up of composite materials which include a framework of wooden stiles and rails and wood edges for the lockset. Framework voids are filled with a polyurethane-foam insulation. Fiberglass doors typically carry long warranties. 

Pros of Fiberglass Entry Doors:

  • High energy-efficiency
  • Low maintenance
  • Strong and durable, a good choice for harsh or humid climates
  • Very secure
  • Resists moisture, sun and weather damage
  • Dent-resistant, less likely to rust, scratch, or dent as easily
  • Versatile design – fiberglass doors can be manufactured in almost any color or texture, they can mimic a wood grain finish or painted if your exterior color scheme changes in the future
  • Moderately priced
  • Long warranties

Cons of Fiberglass Entry Doors:

  • They can crack under severe impact
  • Susceptible to fading
  • Cannot be trimmed down to fit older homes with more challenging sizes – typically come in just standard door sizes 

Fiberglass Entry Door Tips

A few tips to consider with fiberglass entry doors:

  • Be sure that the embossed wood-grain pattern runs horizontally on the rails and vertically on the stiles, like real wood grain. 
  • If just the door is being installed, make sure the hinges line up with the existing frame.

Wood Entry Doors

Wood entry doors have been the traditional choice as they are so beautiful and easily customizable.  Wood doors are best suited for covered areas or in conjunction with a storm door.

Pros of Wood Entry Doors:

  • Beautiful, natural-finish stock and wood doors come in oak, cherry, walnut, mahogany, maple, fir, and pine. A variety of finishes are available from paint colors that match your home decor to varnishes that enhance the wood’s beauty.
  • Customizable – older homes typically need wood doors to fit the usual size or shape of an entryway.  Wood entry doors can be planed to fit quirky angles. 

Cons of Wood Entry Doors:

  • High maintenance is required to protect the wood from the elements, such as fading from the sun, which includes repainting and refinishing on an ongoing basis
  • Low durability – exposure to the elements can cause warping, rotting, sagging and peeling.  Wood entry doors don’t stand up as well to small nicks and dents or pet scratches
  • Lower energy efficiency 
  • Limited warranties – many manufacturers don’t warranty their products for sun damage and may have roof overhang requirements
  • Somewhat expensive

Wood Entry Door Tips

A few tips to consider with wood entry doors:

  • Wood doors with thicker panels, stiles and rails are best for strength and durability. 
  • A protective glass storm door is recommended to prevent the wood door from warping or deteriorating.

Steel Entry Doors

Steel entry doors have an abundance of benefits and therefore are very popular and account for about half the entry doors on the market.

Pros of Steel Entry Doors:

  • High energy-efficiency – they typically have tighter-fitting frames and energy-efficient core insulation. More insulating value than wood entry doors, sometimes up to five times greater
  • Fully weatherstripped; highly resistant to shrinking, swelling and warping and will not crack
  • Lower maintenance than wood entry doors
  • Security – provides the best protection against burglars or thieves
  • Least expensive
  • Broad warranties

Cons of Steel Entry Doors:

  • Shorter lifespan than wood or fiberglass
  • Less durable than fiberglass (but more durable than wood) – if dented, can be challenging to repair and scratches are vulnerable to rust if not repaired right away and correctly. 
  • Conducts temperatures – not good for extreme hot or cold environments
  • Texture options are limited – more options with fiberglass doors. However steel entry doors can be painted. 
  • Not customizable – cannot be cut down to fit an existing frame, which can be challenging for older homes. 

Comparing Entry Door Materials

In summary each entry door material has its advantages and disadvantages.  

  • Fiberglass entry doors are low-maintenance, energy-efficient, durable and affordable with a long lifespan, but they are not customizable.  
  • Wood entry doors are beautiful, strong and customizable, but are expensive and need ongoing maintenance. 
  • Steel entry doors are low-maintenance, strong, affordable, but dent easily and are not customizable. 

Overall once you select the right entry door for your home it will pay off in smoother operation, less maintenance, and added energy savings. 

You’ll also have an elegant entry that makes a great first impression for years to come!

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Entry Door Sales & Installation

Once you have a better idea of what type of entry door would best fit your needs, come visit California Window and Fireplace and our knowledgeable team. 

We are happy to walk you through the abundant entry door options and look forward to helping you find the perfect entry door for your home.