Entry Door Replacement: Steel vs. Fiberglass
Having a beautiful new entry door on the front of your home can be a good investment. In fact, a replacement entry door has one of the highest return-on-investments for homeowners, recouping over 90% of the cost at resale.1
On top of that, your entry door is often the most visible part of the house, and can make an impressive look to the neighbors and guests. Installers from Delco Windows and Doors, a door-replacement company in Toronto Canada, mentions how their customers feel about replacing an entry door. The entry door is often is the primary focal point of a home. It is like the big “welcome” sign that a house displays. In fact, a front door is the “representative” of the entire house. A bad door can make a whole home look bad. An impressive door, can bring up the impression of the entire house.
Replacing your old entry door with a newer one can not only add value and impressive looks, but it also saves energy, reduces sound, and adds security to your home.
There are two major modern replacement door options on the market.
Steel Doors, and Fiberglass doors.
Let’s dig into what they are, and what makes them unique.
Made of specialized steel, most premium steel doors are constructed of 24-gauge steel, and coated in alloy materials like zinc, to resist scratching, and withstand the weather. Contrary to popular belief, most residential steel entry doors are not made of solid steel, but rather a 1/40th inch thick “steel wrap” around a foam core. This allows the door to be light enough to move and use, yet strong enough for the benefits of a metal door. The insulative core adds energy efficiency to the door, helping block heat and cooling loss, and saving on energy bills.
Weight: A standard size 80” x 36” door weighs about 60-100 lbs,. They are typically lighter compared with solid wood core doors.
Prices: Average, $500-$1,300 for premium quality models
Pros of steel entry doors:
- Tough and secure
- Energy efficient
- Affordable replacement option
- Has the highest return-on-investment, compared with premium fiberglass
Cons of steel entry doors:
- Virtually impossible to customize on-site
- Can get hot in the sun, including some possible fading
- Can scratch or dent
- Scratches can rust if exposed to moisture over time
Fiberglass Entry doors
Using the same material that is used for the body casting of airplanes, and lightweight sportscars, fiberglass entry doors include lightweight benefits, with long-lasting looks.
Fiberglass doors are NOT PLASTIC DOORS. Rather, they use glass fibers, which have the benefit of insulation, but sealed, for weather resistance. Like steel doors, the fiberglass skins wrap around a foam core, to provide insulation against energy-loss, while making it lightweight. Lower-end fiberglass doors which are found in most big-box stores, actually have a different construction method, with thinner skins, that can crack over time. Standard to high-quality premium fiberglass doors, which are usually available through custom door installers, are usually fully encapsulated, and thicker in the skin, which allows the manufacturer to offer lifetime warranties.
Weights: 50-100 lbs typically, for an 80 inch by 36 inch door. Often can be lighter weight than premium steel doors.
Prices: $1,000 - $5,000 for most premium quality doors
This is a newer product on the market, becoming popular within the past 15 years. 3 Yet, they have some of the highest benefits, especially for high-efficiency, and longest-lasting use.
Pros of fiberglass entry doors :
- Can be textured to look like real wood
- Endures temperature extremes better than steel, as it expands and contracts with hot and cold weather, without compromising the structure and energy efficiency
- Due to the weight being light, it may have the least opening noise, because of less tensile weight on the hinges
- Often have lifetime warranties, due to their long-lasting nature
- Excellent sound resistance
Cons of fiberglass entry doors:
- More expensive than other entry door options
- Not as secure as steel doors
- Skin may crack from extreme impact
How to choose:
Depending on the neighborhood and look you want to go for, can influence your choice of a replacement door. Both Steel and Fiberglass entry doors are tougher and more secure that most wood doors, especially hollow wood doors.
If you want to retain the wood-grain colour look of a classic or traditional door, you will want to go with a fiberglass door. They are beautiful, and can be almost indistinguishable from a traditional wood-grain door, yet without the warping, fading, and energy loss. But even if you don’t want a wood-grain texture, there are many fiberglass smooth texture doors to choose from. Ultimately, fiberglass doors, are the longest lasting. 4.
But if you are going for a door that provides a greater sense of security, and toughness, a steel door is your option. Besides, the pricing is significantly less than fiberglass doors. This makes steel doors the best return for your money spent. A good value, recouping almost all of the costs at resale.
Choice of installation: Also, as mentioned earlier, homeowners in Toronto, for example, who are looking for entry door replacement from Toronto companies, have a choice between big box stores, and door replacement and installation companies. Door installers typically focus on premium quality models, and usually offer advice and follow-up service, as compared with stores. They are able to help you choose the right door material, depending on your home, the neighborhood, and your personal needs.
Overall, replacing an old entry door with a new one, will give your home, and its primary front focal point, benefits for years to come.
Christine Gold is an avid home remodeling editorial contributor, and enjoys writing about fine homecrafting and modern design throughout Canada and the USA.