Fiberglass vs Steel Doors

Published December 10, 2021
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Lake Washington Windows

When it comes to your home, you want the best of the best. You want quality products that will last for years and provide security for your family. In this article, we are going to compare steel and fiberglass doors to help you decide which is the best option for you. Both options have a great return on investment and security features, but there are also pros and cons to consider before selecting the right replacement door.

Types of Front Doors

When it’s time to choose a new entry door, there are many factors to consider. The most important decision is the type of material that you want your door to be made out of.  Here are three different types of material you have to choose from:

  • Fiberglass Entry Doors  – A fiberglass entry door is a great choice for durability and security, and offers a level of insulation comparable to many steel entry doors. While these doors are resilient depending on the brand and model you choose, they do not compare to steel in their ability to resist weather damage and warping.
  • Steel Entry Doors  – Steel doors are a popular choice for their durability and security. They are also more affordable than fiberglass doors and offer better insulation. However, they can rust over time if not properly maintained.
  • Wooden Entry Doors  – Wooden entry doors provide a warm, classic look to your home, but they require more maintenance than other materials. They are also the most expensive option.

Choosing a New Entry Door

A wood or Fiberglass door can be a great first choice but more and more homeowners are starting to prefer energy efficiency steel doors. Consider these factors when deciding on replacing your old front door with a new fiberglass, wooden or basic steel door:

  • What has higher ROI on replacement entry doors
  • What looks best if wanting to add glass inserts
  • Which is more energy-efficient/has energy-saving benefits
  • What has more curb appeal
  • Do you like real wood, wood grain, or a wood finish
  • Home security
  • Will you use a pressure washer to clean the door
  • Do you prefer a smooth surface
  • Do you desire a polyurethane foam core insulation

Which is Better: Fiberglass or Steel Doors?

Buying a new steel door will provide you with better insulation, greater durability, and increased security. Fiberglass doors are an excellent choice if you want a more affordable door that provides good insulation.  Wooden doors are the most expensive option, but they can be customized to fit any style and are very durable. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and wants.

Attribute Fiberglass Doors Steel Doors
Appearance More styles and options for finish Less stylish and limited finish options
Cost $3,200 – $5,000 $600 – $1800
Durability 30 years + 15 – 20 years
Security Less secure and safe More secure & safe
Energy Efficiency More energy efficient Less energy efficient
Maintenance Least amount of maintenance Most amount of maintenance
ROI 75% return on investment 98% – 102% return on investment

 

Steel Doors, Provia

Appearance

Steel and fiberglass exterior doors both come in a variety of styles to match your home’s exterior. If you are looking for a door that will make a statement, go with a fiberglass door. The manufacturing technology has advanced a lot in recent years. It’s now possible to get a fiberglass door that looks like a realistic wood door. If you want a more understated look and aren’t too particular on a specific appearance, consider security steel entry doors.

Cost

Steel exterior doors are more affordable than fiberglass, but fiberglass doors come in a variety of styles and can be customized to fit your needs.  As with any purchase, each has its pros and cons.  If you have a tight budget, steel doors will likely be your best bet. On the other hand, if you want your entry door to look exactly how you want it to, fiberglass may be a better option.

Steel entry doors cost about $200 to $300 less than fiberglass on average.  Typical installation costs can also vary depending on the material of your door, the style and features you choose, and the contractor you work with.

Durability

Upgrading to a new fiberglass or steel entry door are both considered very durable options, but steel doors are stronger by nature. Steel is less likely to dent or rust compared to fiberglass.  If you live in a climate with severe weather conditions, a steel door may be your best bet.  However, fiberglass doors are more impact-resistant, meaning they’re less likely to suffer a permanent dent from a regular impact. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we install a mix of fiberglass and steel entry doors, as both are durable in this climate.

Security

Both steel and fiberglass doors can be equipped with security features such as deadbolts and peepholes. Steel doors tend to be more secure than fiberglass, but they are heavier and more difficult to install. If you’re interested in security technology (such as fingerprint scanning), steel doors are typically easier to install than fiberglass. Homeowners in the Seattle area and urban environments tend to prefer Steel doors, while suburban and rural homeowners opt for the versatility of Fiberglass.

Energy Efficiency

Both steel and fiberglass doors provide insulation against the elements, but steel tends to be more energy-efficient. If you live in a climate with extreme temperatures throughout the year, steel doors may be more suitable for you. Fiberglass doors, on the other hand, are not as likely to warp in extreme weather conditions. This isn’t much of a consideration in Western Washington, as our climate is relatively moderate compared to other areas of the country.

Maintenance

Steel doors require less maintenance than fiberglass, as they don’t require painting and staining. However if they suffer a strong impact that exposes the metal, they may require treatment to prevent rust. Fiberglass doors can be made in a variety of styles and colors, so they allow you to update your door’s appearance whenever you want.

Resale Value / ROI

Remodeling Magazine’s Cost v. Value Report states that upgrading your front door is one of the best ways to increase the value of your home. However, is there a door type that is better than the other?

Steel doors are more likely to retain their value over time, so they will have a higher resale value compared to fiberglass.  If you’re looking to sell your home in the future, a steel door may be a wise investment.  However, fiberglass doors are becoming more popular, so their resale value may increase in the future.

What’s wrong with Wood doors?

Wooden exterior doors are beautiful and natural, but they require more maintenance than a steel or fiberglass door.  Authentic wood doors need to be stained and sealed every few years to maintain their beauty. They are also more likely to warp in extreme weather conditions and can be less energy efficient.

In the end, it comes down to personal preference. If you want a low-maintenance exterior door that will last for many years, steel may be best for you. On the other hand, if you really like the look of a wooden front door, consider a fiberglass entry door with a realistic wood appearance.

Heritage Fiberglass Doors

Fiberglass Doors are the most popular

A Fiberglass exterior door has become more popular in recent years because they offer a number of benefits that steel and wooden exterior doors do not. Your Fiberglass exterior door will be made of durable and lightweight material that can be finished in a variety of styles and colors. It is also resistant to weather conditions and can be installed in any climate. For the most part, a Fiberglass exterior door is a great option for homeowners who want a low-maintenance door that will last for many years.

To conclude, steel doors offer the best insulation and durability, but they are more expensive than fiberglass. Fiberglass doors provide good insulation and a lower price point, making them an excellent choice for those looking for an affordable option.

Whichever option you choose, make sure to contact a professional door installation technician before you tear apart the door. An experienced company can assess your front entrance door frame first, offer a variety of door styles to choose from, and install your door properly to ensure it meets all requirements for energy efficiency and security. Lake Washington Windows and Doors installs both Fiberglass and Steel doors on homes in the greater Seattle and Tacoma areas.

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Written by Lake Washington Windows

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