Types of Exterior Doors

Published April 30, 2024
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Lake Washington Windows

Selecting the right entry door for your home is vital, as it’s often the first feature people notice and plays a crucial role in your home’s security and energy efficiency. In Seattle’s challenging climate, with frequent rain and temperature fluctuations, materials like vinyl, fiberglass, and insulated steel are top choices due to their durability and ability to withstand moisture.

Available varieties such as front doors, patio doors, and storm doors are designed to complement both your architectural style and local weather conditions. From sliding patio doors that maximize light to steel entry doors that bolster security, each option offers distinct benefits. Fiberglass front doors and wood front doors enhance aesthetics with various wood grain finishes, while steel front doors merge strength with style, featuring optional glass panels and decorative glass.

Prehung doors, which come with the door frame and door jamb already assembled, simplify installation and improve insulation, essential for keeping comfortable and reducing heat transfer in Seattle’s variable weather. Whether upgrading or choosing door materials for new construction, the right type of exterior door can significantly enhance your home’s curb appeal and energy efficiency.

Types of Entrance Doors

Selecting the appropriate door materials significantly impacts the functionality and aesthetic of your home. Although solid wood doors have a classic appeal, we do not typically offer them due to their susceptibility to weather damage.

Exterior Doors

Fiberglass exterior doors are popular for their durability and excellent energy efficiency. This material effectively mimics wood grain finishes without the ongoing maintenance required by real wood, making it an ideal choice for the variable Seattle climate.

Composite exterior doors blend the strength and low maintenance of synthetic materials with the visual appeal of wood doors. They are resistant to weather-related damages such as warping and rotting, offering good insulation and suitability for Seattle’s moist environment.

Steel exterior doors are known for providing maximum security and affordability, making them an attractive option for those seeking a strong, durable front door without a high cost. In cooler climates like Seattle, steel doors often require additional foam core insulation to enhance comfort and prevent heat transfer.

Aluminum exterior doors are valued for their lightweight strength and corrosion resistance, making them perfect for wet climates like Seattle. These doors require minimal upkeep and can handle various weather conditions, including rain and wind.

Vinyl exterior doors stand out for their cost-effectiveness and exceptional insulation properties, contributing to enhanced energy savings. Moisture-resistant and easy to maintain, vinyl doors provide longevity and practicality in the damp Seattle environment.

Patio Doors

Sliding patio doors are excellent for conserving space and offering unobstructed views, allowing maximum light into your home. They operate smoothly on tracks, ideal for areas with limited space for doors that swing open.

French patio doors deliver a traditional aesthetic, enhancing your home’s architectural style with their symmetrical design. These doors swing open from the center, seamlessly merging indoor and outdoor spaces, and are often equipped with decorative glass to enhance their beauty.

Bi-fold doors are the best choice for fully opening up an area, enabling a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor environments. They fold neatly and are fully retractable, maximizing both space and accessibility.

Storm Doors

Storm doors add an extra layer of insulation, helping to maintain indoor temperatures and reduce energy costs. They also increase security and permit enhanced airflow while keeping insects out, thanks to their integrated screens.

Aluminum storm doors combine lightweight strength with high resistance to corrosion, ideal for the rainy Seattle climate. These doors are customizable with various finishes to match your home’s exterior.

Vinyl storm doors excel in insulation and durability, resisting environmental damages like fading, peeling, cracking, and warping with minimal maintenance required over their lifespan.

Composite storm doors merge the aesthetic qualities of wood with the durability of synthetic polymers, enduring harsh weather without needing frequent upkeep. This choice is perfect for those seeking minimal maintenance without sacrificing style.

Specialty Doors

Dutch doors feature a unique split allowing the top half to open independently, enhancing airflow while keeping children and pets secure, and adding a charming element to your home’s entryway.

French doors offer a grand entrance for homes with ample space, providing a wide, welcoming entry and boosting the home’s curb appeal. They facilitate easy movement in and out and are often seen in craftsman style homes.

Internal blinds and grills, in windows and doors, provide privacy and style without extra cleaning. This innovative design reduces maintenance and protects the glass, extending the durability of the door.

Choosing the Right Material by Door Type

For each type of door, selecting the right door material is crucial, especially in Seattle’s climate. Here’s the best material for each door type and why it stands out as the top choice:

Entry Doors

Material Durability Maintenance Energy Efficiency Weather Resistance Cost
Fiberglass High Low High Excellent $$$
Composite High Low High Excellent $$
Steel High Moderate Moderate-High Good (with proper coatings) $$
Aluminum High Low Low Excellent $$
Vinyl Moderate Low High Good $
Wood Moderate High Moderate Moderate (with treatment) $$$

Fiberglass is the best choice for entry doors in Seattle due to its excellent weather resistance and low maintenance. It won’t warp or rot like wood, and it doesn’t dent or rust like steel. Additionally, fiberglass provides good insulation, which is crucial for energy efficiency in your home.

Patio Doors

Material Durability Maintenance Energy Efficiency Weather Resistance Cost
Vinyl Moderate Low High Good $
Fiberglass High Low High Excellent $$$
Aluminum High Low Low Excellent $$
Wood Moderate High Moderate Moderate (with treatment) $$$
Steel High Moderate Moderate-High Good (with proper coatings) $$

Vinyl is ideal for patio doors because of its durability and energy efficiency. It resists moisture and condensation, making it perfect for Seattle’s rainy environment. Vinyl doors are also excellent at retaining heat, keeping your indoor space comfortable without hiking up energy costs.

Storm Doors

Material Durability Maintenance Energy Efficiency Weather Resistance Cost
Aluminum High Low Moderate Excellent $$
Vinyl Moderate Low High Good $
Composite High Low High Excellent $$$
Steel High Moderate Low Good (with proper coatings) $$

Aluminum is the top material for storm doors because it’s lightweight yet strong and resistant to corrosion. This makes it perfect for protecting against Seattle’s frequent rains and occasional harsh weather, while also being easy to handle and maintain.

Considerations Before Buying

Curb Appeal

The door you choose should complement your home’s exterior design and enhance its overall look. Think about how the style, color, and material of the door fit with your home’s architecture and exterior finishes.


Consider the strength of the material and the quality of the locking mechanisms. Features like reinforced frames, deadbolts, and even additional side lights can improve security while also adding to the door’s aesthetic value.

Weather Resistance

Essential for withstanding local climate conditions. Look for doors with effective weatherstripping to prevent drafts and energy-efficient cores to help maintain indoor temperatures. Materials that can handle moisture, frequent rain, and temperature changes are particularly important in areas like Seattle.


Reflect on how the door will be used daily. High-traffic areas may require more durable materials. If the door is exposed to harsh weather, consider more resilient materials and designs that minimize maintenance and enhance longevity.


Understand the initial costs and long-term value of different door types. More durable, energy-efficient doors might cost more upfront but can save money in the long term through reduced maintenance and energy bills. Custom features and premium materials can also affect the overall cost.

Cost Overview for Seattle Door Prices

In Seattle, where both labor and material costs can be above the national average, homeowners should prepare for the following price ranges for different types of entry doors, accounting for both materials and installation:

Vinyl Entry Doors: Vinyl entry doors are a budget-friendly option, typically ranging from $500 to $1,500. Known for their excellent insulation properties, these doors help reduce energy costs. They require minimal maintenance, making them a cost-effective choice not only at purchase but over their lifespan due to reduced upkeep expenses.

Fiberglass Entry Doors: These fiberglass doors generally cost around $12,000, reflecting their durability and more insulating value. Fiberglass doors are a higher investment upfront but provide significant long-term value through energy savings and minimal maintenance. In terms of getting bang for your buck, you can expect total cost recouped to be around 90% so it really is an investment overall. At Lake Washington Windows and Doors, our commitment to quality can come with a higher initial cost but we make sure that you’re getting value out of every penny.

Steel Entry Doors: A secure yet cost-effective choice, ranging from $4,000. Steel entry doors may require additional features like triple panel insulating glass, which can increase the overall cost but improve performance in Seattle’s cooler climates.

Wood Entry Doors: Prices typically start from $800 and go up to over $2,500, influenced by the quality of wood and design complexity. While wooden doors offer aesthetic appeal and a smooth surface, they require more maintenance and are not as durable as other materials.

Patio Doors

  • Sliding Doors: Prices range from $2,000 to $6,000. Factors like frame material and the type of glass (e.g., energy-efficient, tempered) can influence the final price.
  • French Doors: These start at around $1,200 and can go up to $5,000 or more, especially for custom-built designs using premium materials.
  • Bi-Fold Doors: Typically the most expensive, these can cost between $3,500 and $12,000, driven by the complexity of installation and high-quality materials.

Storm Doors

  • These can vary from $250 to $1,200 in Seattle, with costs fluctuating based on material strength, energy efficiency features, and aesthetic details like custom colors or hardware.

FAQ on Exterior and Entry Doors

What materials are commonly used for an entry door?

Common materials for an entry door include wood door, steel door, and fiberglass door. Each offers unique benefits: wood door provide classic appeal, steel door offer enhanced security, and fiberglass door are favored for their durability and energy efficiency.

What is the advantage of a prehung door over just the door?

A prehung door comes complete with the door frame and door jamb, which simplifies installation. In contrast, just the door refers to the door slab alone, suitable for when you already have a functional frame in place.

Can steel entry doors be customized to enhance home security?

Yes, steel entry door can be customized with security bars and advanced locking mechanisms to enhance home security. They are constructed from durable materials that resist forced entry.

How do sliding patio doors and French doors differ?

Sliding patio door are designed to save space and provide ample natural light with minimal structural requirements. French doors, on the other hand, swing open and are ideal for adding a traditional aesthetic to your home, often featuring glass panels for enhanced style.

How do storm door improve energy efficiency?

Storm door add an extra layer of protection against weather elements, helping to reduce heat transfer and maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. They typically feature glass panels or screens and can be fitted alongside your existing entry door.

What should I consider when choosing door panels for my exterior doors?

When selecting door panels, consider the door material and the overall door designs to ensure they complement your home’s style. Exterior doors add significant visual impact to your property, so choose door panels that enhance aesthetic appeal and functionality.

Why choose fiberglass patio doors over other materials?

Fiberglass patio doors are highly valued for their durability and the ability to withstand harsh weather without warping, unlike wood. They also offer excellent energy efficiency, helping to keep your home comfortable in all seasons.

Ready For a New Exterior Door?

As a ProVia Platinum Dealer, we are committed to providing expert advice and creating tailored solutions that meet your specific needs and preferences, whether it involves prehung doors, innovative door systems with pet doors, or front entry doors with decorative glass. Our goal is to ensure that every new door is not just a functional entry point but a key component of your home’s aesthetic and functionality.

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Written by Lake Washington Windows

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