Steel vs. Fiberglass Front Doors: Pros and Cons

Choosing a front door is an important decision, and can be a tricky one. You have to balance many variables like price, security, longevity, and aesthetic. While we all love the look and quality of solid wood doors, they can be expensive and require regular maintenance. Metal doors are a realistic option, and readily available in a broad range of options from all door suppliers. Metal doors are more affordable, more durable, and require minimal upkeep.

Metal door materials most commonly are steel or fiberglass. Even though these materials are less costly, they can still be quite impressive and are designed in an incredibly wide variety of styles. These low-maintenance doors are usually very strong and resist wear and tear that wood doors may be more susceptible to. Depending on the quality of the door, both steel and fiberglass can have high energy efficiency as well.

So what’s the difference between steel and fiberglass doors? Steel doors are often less expensive, and chosen for their durability and security. Fiberglass doors may be pricier, but are more attractive and compete with the style of classic wood doors. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each:

 

Steel Front Doors

Pros

Affordable: Steel is generally the least expensive option available.

  • Durable: Steel doors are well known for their strength. They resist damage from impact such as dents and dings. They hold up to weather quite well.
  • Minimal repair: Compared to wood or fiberglass doors, they require very little maintenance or repair.
  • Energy efficient:This depends on the construction of the core, but steel is usually more energy efficient than other materials.
  • Secure:As they are impact resistant, steel doors provide a high level of security from intruders, though you must also have a good lock system and strong frame.

Cons

  • Aesthetics:Steel doors are not the most beautiful front doors, typically they have an industrial look. Because they can’t be painted, and their designs and colors are generally limited.
  • Susceptible to rust:If scratched or dented, steel doors can begin to rust, a problem that is not easily fixed.
  • Irreparable:Steel doors are not easily repaired, so you may have to replace your door completely if it is damaged.
  • Poor insulation:These doors do not insulate well against cold weather, and may even form condensation on the inside.
  • Heat:Steel doors can get quite hot when exposed to direct sunlight, and may even swell in extreme heat.

Fiberglass Front Doors

Pros

  • Aesthetics: They are much more stylish than steel doors. They come in a endless variety of designs, from modern and sleek to traditional. Transoms and sidelights are also extremely common and sold as a matching set.
  • Wood Grains: Fiberglass doors are well known for their ability to mimic many wood styles such as oak, mahogany, cherry, and fir. They can have an authentically rustic look when paired with wrought iron, for example.
  • Resistant to rust:Unlike steel doors, fiberglass will not rust if damaged.
  • Minimal Upkeep:These doors are not easily damaged, as they are resistant to dents and scratches, and can be cleaned with a mild soap.
    Repainting is not a problem as the paint fades or chips.
  • Durable:Fiberglass doors are resistant to warping and cracking from heat and weather.

Cons

  • Difficult to repair:Repairs and refinishing need to be professionally done, which can be costly.  Dings and dents cannot be filled like wood doors.
  • Security:Fiberglass doors are not as impact-resistant as steel doors.
  • Price:While price depends on the quality and style of the door, fiberglass is generally more expensive than steel.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a door material, and it all depends on the style and location of your home, and your personal opinions and goals. The unending options out there can be confusing, or even overwhelming. If you’re still unsure of which door is best for your home, ask one of the experts at ETO Doors.

 

Tal Hassid, founder of ETO Doors, is a door and wood expert in the industry for 15 years. ETO Doors, one of the largest online marketplace for doors, carries solid wood and fiberglass doors including Interior, Exterior, and French doors.