Types of Entry Doors
Major door manufacturers offer a wide range of entry doors made of various materials. Here are the types of entry door materials to consider.
Fiberglass Entry Doors
Fiberglass Entry Doors are the practical choice for most people. These doors are available with a smooth surface or, more typically, an embossed wood-grain texture. An edge treatment on some makes them look more like real wood.
Pros: Fiberglass doors resist wear and tear better than steel. They can be painted or stained, are moderately priced and dent-resistant, and require little maintenance.
Cons: They can crack under severe impact.
Steel Entry Doors
This type of door accounts for about half the market.
Pros: They’re relatively inexpensive and can offer the security and weather resistance of much pricier fiberglass and wood doors. Steel doors require little maintenance—unless dents are a part of your home scenario. They’re energy-efficient, though adding glass panels cuts their insulating value.
Cons: Steel doors didn’t resist weather as well as fiberglass and wood doors in our abuse tests and the laboratory equivalent of torrential rain, strong winds, and a decade of wear and tear. And while they’re typically low-maintenance, dents are hard to fix, and scratches may rust if they aren’t painted promptly.
Wood Entry Doors
Wood Entry Doors provides the high-end look that other materials try to mimic.
Pros: Solid-wood doors were best at resisting wear and tear in our tests. They’re also the least likely to dent, and scratches are easy to repair.
Cons: Wood doors remain relatively expensive. And they require regular painting or varnishing to look their best.
Entry Door Features
Manufacturers offer dozens of options for panel and glass designs, grille patterns, sidelights, and transoms. The more elaborate the design, the more the door will cost. Here are the door features to consider when shopping.
This helps keep any door weather-tight over time. Otherwise, you may eventually need to add a new sweep to the bottom to seal out rain and drafts.
Glass inserts are attractive, but they add to the cost. If you’re buying a door with glass near the doorknob or with glass sidelights, consider a double-cylinder dead-bolt lock. You need a key to open this type of lock whether you’re inside or outside, so a burglar can’t simply break the glass and reach in to open the door. Some municipalities ban double-cylinder locks since they may make it harder to get out in an emergency; check with your building department, and always leave a key within arm’s reach of the interior lock. Glass inserts also cut the door’s insulating value, though double- or triple-panel glass reduces that effect.
Rails and Stiles
These are the horizontal and vertical parts that brace a wood door. Solid-wood rails and stiles may eventually bow or warp. Look for rails and stiles made of laminated wood covered with veneer, which provides the greatest resistance to warping.