How to Select an Entry Door: Factors to Consider

Choosing the correct material—fiberglass, wood, or steel—can mean the difference between a door that lasts decades and one that breaks down after a few years.

A new multifamily complex owner in the Pacific Northwest chose fiberglass entry doors a few years ago to lower future maintenance & ensure long-term durability.

The doors, however, failed to seal soon after installation. Entry Doors NJ are supposed to endure a long time, yet they were failing considerably sooner.

Despite being composed of fiberglass, the doors had exposed wood edges, which the owner noticed after they were installed. The doors’ wood stiles and rails accumulated moisture after being exposed to rain and high temperatures, and they needed to be replaced.

According to Herb Martin, district sales manager for Plastpro, these lessons are sometimes learned the hard way. Choosing the correct material—fiberglass, wood, or steel—can mean the difference between a door that lasts decades and one that breaks down after a few years.

Keep Weather in Mind

Wood has a lot of personalities, but it may be damaged by sunlight, rain, hail, wind, and high temperatures, causing fading, twisting, splitting, and rotting. “Wood doors must be treated as furniture,” adds Martin. “You should keep them every six months, based on my experience.”

Steel, while stronger than wood, is susceptible to corrosion when exposed to the weather. The integrity of the door is jeopardized once rust reaches the exterior. Steel is also prone to dents and dings, which can worsen its rusting propensity.

Despite the multifamily complex’s experience, fiberglass doors may resist extreme climatic conditions if they are designed and built properly. They are very resistant to wear and tear and require little upkeep. If you choose fiberglass, seek doors with composite edges on all sides, such as Plastpro fiberglass doors.

Testing for Brutal Conditions

Entry doors must not only withstand daily climatic changes, but they must also withstand extreme weather. A door’s physical and structural qualities can be determined through extensive third-party testing. Steel and wood, for example, are vulnerable to damage by flying debris under high winds; they can also shatter or fail when pressure builds up behind the door.

Fiberglass doors have a higher impact resistance than wood or steel doors and are less likely to be punctured, dented, or cracked. Plastpro doors, for example, may bend during design pressure testing; nevertheless, when utilized with composite stiles & rails, they will revert to their original position once the pressure is released.

Entry doors must withstand damage from toolbelts and workers bringing materials in and out of the building or residence because they are often erected during rough framing. “There are often expensive callbacks, especially with steel, where a door needs to be fixed immediately after installation as it was damaged during construction,” Martin notes.

Sustainability at Every Level

According to Martin, the first question many architects and owners have when choosing a door is how to make a sustainable, responsible decision.

Steel trumps wood in terms of energy efficiency due to its high insulating qualities. Fiberglass doors save the most energy since they’re made with a high-density insulating foam that helps keep interior air temperatures consistent. Because fiberglass doors last for decades, they are changed less frequently, reducing trash in landfills.