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Steel vs. Fiberglass Door: Which is Best for Your Home?

steel vs. fiberglass door

There’s a saying that the front door to your home is the gateway in more reasons than one. For starters, it sets an impression for the rest of the home as it’s likely the first aspect guests will notice after the exterior paint and landscaping.

Secondly, your front door enhances the security of the home. Criminals may be more prone to try and bust through a front door that looks rickety and outdated.

Yet a brand new steel or fiberglass door makes an example that your home is not to be messed with. Who doesn’t care about keeping their loved ones safe and protected?

When it comes to selecting a new entry door for your home, there are a number of factors to consider:

Presentation

Of course for many homeowners, how the actual door looks is very important. Fiberglass and steel doors are now sold in a number of different textures, stain or paint colors, and with or without windows.

Maintenance

Though wood doors are absolutely beautiful when they’re stained and regularly maintained, they do require a lot of attention to keep them looking sharp. Weather is just hard on wood. Fiberglass and steel, meanwhile, are very low maintenance compared to wood which is why many prefer them.

Energy Efficiency

If keeping your energy bill low is important to you, then these two types of doors are well known for being highly energy efficient. Strong, durable metal when combined with high quality insulation can keep heat trapped in your house and where it belongs.

Energy efficiency is especially important for people that live in extreme temperatures, whether it’s the desert of Phoenix or long and cold winters of Minnesota. Also note that doors generally lose some efficiency when they also have glass. Check to make sure the door is Energy Star certified.

Security

Since most people stop by your front door to knock and see if you’re home (strangers or friends) many homeowners are willing to spend more for added security. The goal is not to save a few dollars and then question later on down the road if the door is safe and secure. Spending more upfront can help reduce worry and anxiety, and there is no price to put on that luxury.

Endurance

Metal doors feature terrific long-term value. In addition to not requiring much maintenance, they can also last for decades. Metal does not easily bend or warp, so if you can avoid getting dents in the door it can last for a very long time.

Cost

The cost of the door widely varies not only on the type of material it’s built with, but also the finish and how much (if any) glass is present on the door. In general, steel is the cheapest followed closely behind by fiberglass. Wood doors are very expensive, though some fiberglass ones rival the cost of wood.

Steel Doors

If you were to ask someone knowledgeable about entry doors ten years ago chances are they would have told you wood, and not steel or fiberglass. However, wood doors have slowly been replaced by types of metal as advancements in the science and fabrication have progressed.

Steel doors share several similarities to fiberglass:

  • Resilience to extreme weather and outdoor elements.
  • Less maintenance required after the door is installed.
  • Improved energy efficiency, means more savings each month.
  • Generally less expensive compared to wood doors.

Though more common in commercial settings, recent reports suggest steel doors account for nearly half of the market. Some of the reasons consumers opt for steel over fiberglass include:

  • Inexpensive. Steel doors are a fraction of wood doors and usually cheaper than fiberglass.
  • Require almost no maintenance after the initial installation.
  • Secure with heavy duty material that is built to last and is why many commercial properties opt for it based on how durable they are.
  • Weather resistant. No staining every five years like wood and the elements do little damage to them.

The only major drawback with steel is if a dent does occur on either side they’re difficult to repair. Scratches may also rust if they’re not painted over quickly.

One reason steel doors have gained a lot more traction with residential properties is that they’re beginning to get sold in wood grain. The entry doors are offered in a number of different textures and paint or stain finishes. So from a distance they can look very much like they are made of wood yet they are in fact steel.

Overall, the variety of types of steel doors have significantly improved over the last couple of decades. They’re no longer plain and ugly, and are mistakable for wood grain at first. The varieties really depend on price and some are sold with glass as well.

Fiberglass Doors

There’s a reason why fiberglass doors represent the number one option for homeowners looking to replace their entry door. Fiberglass has many of the advantages of steel yet also takes it a step further by being more suited to handle the limitations that steel doors are known to struggle with.

First off, fiberglass doors very closely imitate actual wood. Steel doors have attempted to replicate the look and feeling of wood yet not all of them look all that realistic. Fiberglass, meanwhile, is very mistakable for actual wood as the number of faux textures and grains have really expanded.

Fiberglass looks great and reacts well to weather. Here are its primary benefits:

  • Can be painted or stained to look every more like wood. It’s a nice option to have for later when you may decide to repaint the exterior of the home again.
  • Rust-free. Though it’s not extremely common, steel doors can rust. Fiberglass is 100 percent rust-free making it even more low maintenance than the very durable, easy to maintain steel doors.
  • Lightweight and quiet. For a metal door, fiberglass is fairly lightweight. It’s something to consider if you’re installing the door for a senior, or someone with a disability that doesn’t want to constantly open and close heavy steel doors. They also don’t make a gigantic thud sound when they’re closed, so some homeowners will appreciate that they’re quiet but not too quiet.
  • Doesn’t easily crack, swell or warp. A common plague of beautiful yet vulnerable wood doors, fiberglass stands up to extreme temperature fluctuations and nasty weather. If you live in a setting that has drastic temperature changes from summer to winter or is very humid, than you may want to consider fiberglass.
  • Improved “curb-appeal.” Though many will agree that steel is not exactly ugly it just doesn’t have the same value as fiberglass. The material closely mimics wood and a number of faux-grains like cherry, oak and mahogany can fool your average person into believing it’s wood, especially from the street.

Fiberglass is a lot like steel only its not as heavy, rust-free and tends to crack or swell less. Its’ two major drawbacks are that fiberglass is more expensive and can crack under severe impact. However, with proper maintenance and caution the latter should be avoidable.

Steel or Fiberglass — Which one is the best?

steel vs fiberglass entry doors

Though steel is a distant second, if you have the funds in your budget than fiberglass is almost always a better selection.

Both doors are capable of withstanding a lot of abuse from either people or the weather, are low-maintenance, and safe and secure. Yet fiberglass gets the nod as its more lightweight, rust-free, durable and looks ultra realistic to actual wood.

Stick with fiberglass if you can afford it. If not, steel makes a high quality alternative.

Entry Doors at Feldco

At Feldco, we offer steel or fiberglass entry doors. Our doors are customizable and with so many color, hardware and decorative glass options, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for at Feldco.

Create the perfect entry door for your home today and get a free quote now.

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