Residential front doors have traditionally been wood, but now, fiberglass, steel, and glass are also options. But choosing which material is best for your front door requires balancing maintenance, security, and energy efficiency.
It’s difficult to argue with the natural beauty of a wood door. Wood doors provide a decent, if not high, level of insulation. Most consist of wood veneers enclosing a core of insulation made of engineered wood. Solid wood doors are heavy and beautiful, but they’re also expensive.
Wood doors require regular maintenance, from refinishing to painting. Natural wood tends to expand in humid weather and shrink in cold, dry conditions. This can cause warping and affect how the door fits in the frame. Nevertheless, wood doors are highly customizable, and if well maintained and protected from moisture, they should resist warping.
Also, wood doors are more amenable to hanging creative accents on your front door than other types of doors. You can add a simple picture hanger to a wood door without having to drill, and if you ever want to remove the nail or hanger, you can fill the hole and make it blend in with the wood grain.
Fiberglass is a low-maintenance alternative to wood. These doors are available in textures that mimic wood grain, and you can stain them to look like oak, cherry, walnut, or other types of wood. Fiberglass won’t corrode, and they usually use polyurethane foam insulation for energy efficiency. Fiberglass doors are customizable, and they won’t dent or chip. This makes them a good choice if longevity is your primary concern.
Steel is a great choice if security is a concern. However, steel can corrode, and keeping it in good shape requires periodic repainting. Steel doors can dent or rust, and they’re not energy efficient. They also have very few designs, coming mostly in flat panel styles without the textures available in wood or fiberglass.
The main advantage of a glass door is light: if you want natural light to stream into your home’s entry, a glass door might be your choice. However, glass isn’t energy efficient, even if it has a treatment to screen out UV light. Glass doors are usually panels of glass framed with aluminum-clad wood, wood, or fiberglass.Choosing the best material for your front door involves determining your aesthetic sense, your home’s architectural style, and your attitude toward maintenance. Beautiful new doors can improve the value of your home, so consult your builder, door supplier, or handyman for advice on selecting new or replacement doors for your home.