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Why You Don’t Want an Exterior Wood Door

Wood has a long standing connection with home builders. It has always been regarded as the most authentic material for building a home, one that produces a rich sense of character and beauty.

exterior wood doors

It is impossible to beat the natural wood grain that some elect to stain to maintain it. The heavy, durable feel of wood always makes it seem like the structure was built with premium material.

However, not everything about wood is an advantage. In fact, most builders in the 21st century will tell you that you don’t want an exterior wood door. Why? Read the article to learn why builders are beginning to advise against using wood on exterior doors, window frames and siding.

Types of Exterior Doors

It wasn’t that long ago in the history of the world that wood doors were one of the few, if not only choice for an exterior door. The limited options worked because wood was always preferred and served a purpose. However, after years of abuse and being exposed to the elements, it began to rot and lose its presentation and effectiveness.

Today, there are several different types of exterior doors. Wood is still a viable option (and new homes continue to install them), however, other types of exterior doors are becoming more preferred:

  • Fiberglass Exterior Doors: Fiberglass is highly regarded for a number of reasons. It is extremely durable and requires little maintenance. It can also nearly replicate wood with built-in textures and grains.
  • Aluminum Exterior Doors: Some people don’t like metal doors yet aluminum is not a bad alternative because it’s lightweight and durable. The type of metal is also reasonably affordable.
  • Vinyl Exterior Doors: Vinyl is super cheap, which is why many new homes are using it for doors, siding, and windows. Vinyl also has an outstanding lifespan and you never need to repaint or stain it.
  • Steel Exterior Doors: Steel isn’t as common in the residential market as it is in the commercial market. It is very expensive yet as durable as it comes to making sure the entrance is nearly burglary-proof and will last for decades.
  • Wood Exterior Doors: It is difficult to replace the look and feel of wood. While the doors look great, and the ways you can stain the natural grain is truly beautiful – wood struggles to maintain the longevity of other type of doors on the market. Wood cracks, splits, rots, and fades because of the outside elements. Once it begins to fall apart the door can become nearly inoperable causing high cost repairs or a complete replacement.

Disadvantages of Wood Exterior Doors

There is little need to go over the advantages of wood doors because you already are aware of them based on the eye test. Wood doors look great when they are brand new and are nearly impossible to replicate.

wood door problems

However, even an untrained eye can quickly distinguish between an exterior wood door that is brand new and one that is only five to ten years old. Why? Wood doors age so fast that they have trouble stacking up to the long-term practicality of other types like steel and fiberglass.

Wood is vulnerable to a number of problems related to the exterior side of your struggle. The material cracks and splits. Pests like small inspects love drilling out holes in wood for their home. Rot is a result of water damage and sun exposure. It can only take a few years before new paint or stain begins to wear and need a new coat.

Here are the primary reasons we suggest another type of material for your exterior door than wood:

  • Costs: Wood doors are far from the cheapest to buy brand new. Additionally, you will need to paint or stain the wood in order to maintain its appearance. So that’s another cost you wouldn’t have to pay if you invested in fiberglass or steel. Secondly, expect to reserve a lot more funds in the future toward upkeep and repairs. Wood will inevitably fall apart quicker than fiberglass and steel, regardless of where you live. So wood doors ultimately end up costing you more.
  • Time Demands: Money means a lot in the world, yet it is nothing compared to time. Do you feel like you can’t get away on the weekend because you got house chores? The bottom line is by going with a wood exterior door you are eventually going to commit even more time to your home in the future. Maintenance and repairs take time. So does shopping for a replacement door if your old one falls apart within 10 years. Wood doors are not hassle-free.
  • Unstable Operation: Even if appearance isn’t everything to you and you can deal with some fading of the paint or stain, or wood rot you also need to consider the operation of the door. Your exterior doors, especially your front door, get a ton of use. What happens when the door doesn’t open or shut correctly because the wood has warped or swelled? Exterior wood doors demand constant adjustments and maintenance in order to operate correctly. Once again, do you have the time?
  • Safety Concerns: If your wood door does not function properly it is exposed to intruders. Burglars constantly do sweeps of homes with vulnerabilities in order to gauge how easy they are to break into. While a burglar may avoid a structure with an aluminum or steel door, they may target a wood door because it is easier to compromise.

Wood Doors & Weather Elements

If it wasn’t for the elements wood doors would remain the personal favorite for doors, and other exterior features like siding and windows. However, years of assessments have proved time and time again that wood and the weather don’t cooperate very well.

Wood can sag, peel, crack, or warp. It is also a haven for pests you want to keep out of your home. Wood also lacks some of the safety and stability of more secure types of doors. There is also the potential for more exposure to drafts which increases energy costs and makes the structure less eco-friendly.

Weather stripping and other accessories of exterior doors need to constantly get monitored and replaced as they fall apart. You can expect to have to repaint or stain an exterior door every 5-7 years in order to maintain the appearance and structural qualities of wood. Do you have the time and money?

Wood suffers in all types of outdoor settings. It is especially vulnerable in places where the weather experiences extreme temperature shifts. For example, the Midwest can experience sun and snow in the same year, and temperatures can shift from mid-90s to below freezing in the winter.

Wood is not suitable for handling such extremes.

Stay Away From Exterior Wood Doors

Frankly, wood is not a smart investment. It costs more than cheaper types of exterior doors like vinyl and aluminium. It will also require more upkeep costs and time for maintenance over the years.

The lifespan is not nearly as long. Consequently, if you want your money to stretch further you should avoid exterior wood doors regardless of how beautiful they look.

If you have a wood door and need to replace it, Feldco offers the best steel and fiberglass entry doors in the Midwest. We’ve installed over 100,000 doors and yours is next. Get a free quote now to start your project.

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