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Fiberglass vs. Steel Entry Doors
Choosing the Best Front Door for Your Home and Style
There are some home improvement projects that are primarily made for functional reasons, such as repairing a leaky pipe under the kitchen sink. And there are some projects primarily made for aesthetic reasons, such as planting flowers or painting the living room walls. And then, there are the projects that find themselves at the hinge where the two meet, with front door replacement being among the most popular and impactful.
At Thompson Creek, we understand the importance of making an entrance. We have seen the transformative power of new front doors for homes time and again, and pride ourselves on helping our customers find the best fit for their house and personal style. Our extensive selection of exterior steel and fiberglass doors answers for any and all of the ‘checkboxes’ on your list, from enhanced safety and durability, to additional light and energy efficiency. Let’s delve into some of the pros, cons, and considerations to make when exploring your entry door options.
Steel doors are a popular option for homeowners craving a bold color, exceptional durability, or both! Available in your choice of smooth or textured steel, they are also a bit more affordable than fiberglass, and significantly less expensive than most wooden doors. Let’s examine some of the primary pros and cons of steel doors to help you in deciding if they’re the right fit for your home…
- Affordability: The three most popular materials for entry doors are wood, fiberglass, and steel, with steel being the most affordable among them
- Security & Strength: Steel doors are among the strongest on the market, providing homeowners protection against the elements and potential intruders. While they are a favored choice for homeowners in all areas, their resistance to the elements and would-be intruders makes them especially popular in larger cities, and for rental properties
- Maintenance: Unlike a wooden door that must be regularly cleaned, stained or painted, and inspected for damage from pests or moisture, steel doors are exceptionally low-maintenance, requiring a simple wipe down once a month or so
- Can be Scratched & Dented: While steel doors are very secure, they are not impervious to damage. Steel doors can scratch and dent more easily than other materials, especially steel doors manufactured from thin steel. Thompson Creek doors use 20-gauge steel versus doors typically made from 26-gauge steel or thinner. If you live in a relatively quiet household, and don’t move large items in or out very often, this may not be a concern for you. But if you have young kids or teens who are always clamoring into the house with their arms full of books, bags, and sports equipment, your door may bear some battle scars from wayward field hockey sticks
- Can’t Be Stained: Unlike wood and fiberglass doors, steel doors cannot be stained, requiring painting instead. While some homeowners won’t mind this, paint can be easily susceptible to chipping with the regular use an entry door experiences, particularly if there is an area with an existing dent or ding.
- Easily Heats Up: As a naturally good conductor of heat, steel doors can become quite hot to the touch in summer months. While this might not be a major concern for adult-only households, it can be more difficult for kids to remember not to touch the outside of the door in the dog days of summer. Speaking of dogs, this can also be a concern for pet parents whose pooches like to relax against the door on the porch
Many homeowners choose fiberglass doors for the high-end look and versatility they offer, with a price point that’s typically in the mid-range between steel and wood. There truly aren’t many cons to the material, unless price is your primary concern.
- Wood-Look: Whereas steel doors can have a bit more of an industrial look and feel, fiberglass mimics the look of real wood, with none of the high maintenance that comes with a natural material. You will have your choice of a beautiful selection of light and dark finishes, or can opt for paint if that better suits your style.
- Durability & Longevity: It’s a good thing fiberglass doors can be so easily stained or painted, because you may not ever need a new one! Fiberglass is unmatched for durability, with Thompson Creek’s doors being crafted from the highest-quality materials available. Fiberglass is also resistant to the dents and dings steel doors are susceptible to, providing greater impact-resistance with a comparable level of security
- Energy-Efficient: While fiberglass is an energy-efficient material in its own right, our fiberglass front doors are made even more so because of our completely custom fit. The material is also resistant to fluctuations in temperature, meaning you won’t have to worry about your door warping over time, or the “hot or cold to the touch” concerns of steel doors in summer and winter
- Price: If cost is your primary concern, exterior steel doors are typically more affordable than fiberglass. That said, fiberglass is less pricy than wood, both in up-front costs and maintenance. Many homeowners find fiberglass the “happy medium” between steel and wood, providing the strength and security of steel, and the aesthetic appeal of wood.
- More Difficult to Install: If you’re in the market for a DIY front door replacement option, fiberglass doors might not be your best bet, being more difficult to size and install than wood doors. This isn’t a concern when buying an entry door in any material from Thompson Creek as a custom fit and professional installation are included for all our doors, replacement windows, and seamless gutter systems.
Front door ideas and Inspiration
At Thompson Creek, every door we design, build, and install is customized for your home, with new interior and exterior trim included in the price. By working not only to achieve your desired look from the door color to the hardware finish, but also with the specific dimensions of your doorway, we are able to provide a perfectly secure fit. This aids in improved energy-efficiency, keeping out the elements, proper structural support, and continued enjoyment of your door without worry over a bad fit causing ‘sticking’ or other common issues.
While most homeowners opt for front door replacement choices from our extensive catalog of options, our design team can also work with you to create a custom front door completely unique to your home. Customization options include glass, etchings, caming, hardware, and more.
When most of us imagine a stately entry way, it is not one, but two front doors that come to mind. But there’s more than good looks and grand entrances to exterior double doors; yes, they truly have both brains and beauty!
More Natural Light: While you can certainly opt for solid double doors if you don’t want or need additional light, many homeowners opt for double doors with glass insets, sidelights, and transoms to maximize their natural light potential.
Makes Moving Furniture Easy: Anyone who has struggled with getting a couch, box spring, or dresser through a slim entry door can attest to the level of frustration it brings. Double entry doors help ensure that no matter how oversized the recliner or sofa, you’ll never again feel like Ross from Friends yelling, “Pivot! Pivot!”
A type of double door, French doors are most popularly chosen for exterior doors at the rear of the home, with their large single glass pane – or more common smaller panes, separated by grids – providing a clear view into the backyard or patio. French doors can also be customized for the front of your home, featuring decorative glass insets, or no glass at all if you prefer solid doors. Our high-quality French doors are available in your choice of steel or fiberglass, in an array of colors, finishes, and hardware options.
Whether you simply love the look of sidelights – or “sidelites” as they’re also known – or your home doesn’t get much light and every extra ray counts, Thompson Creek’s selection of entry doors with single and double sidelights is sure to offer the look your desire.
While many homeowners prefer the balance that double sidelights offer, others prefer the modern look a single sidelight can bring. Single sidelights are also a great choice for smaller homes where one on each side might overwhelm the front of the home, or simply not accommodate two. Whether you’re craving contemporary, or are more tempted by traditional, our extensive selection of glass options is sure to include your ‘dream door’ perfect match.
Light-lovers rejoice for doors with transoms! Whether your existing doorway already features a transom, or you’re taking advantage of the perfect opportunity to install one with your new door, these horizontal windows that sit directly above your entry door add ample light, and curb appeal, to your home. This appeal is only amplified if your home has an elegant interior lighting fixture that will “shine through” the transom window in the evening, lending charm and sophistication.
While doors with a glass inset window are a popular option for those in need of some extra light, many homeowners prefer the look and privacy that solid doors offer. Those who crave bold color also often choose a solid door for maximum impact, with Thompson Creek being able to match any color in the Sherwin Williams catalog for all our exterior door styles.
An added benefit of solid entry doors is they are the easiest style to outfit with a peephole, a top consideration for many homeowners in larger cities. If your front door isn’t set back far from the curb, solid doors can also offer much-needed privacy. Does the sidewalk in front of your home get a lot of foot traffic? Solid doors can also help you better tune out the outside world, while entry doors with glass can draw your attention with the shadows of people moving past. This can be especially beneficial for homeowners with dogs or cats who respond to all movement, protecting their palace!
No matter which material or style of our front doors for homes you choose, including double doors, we can customize storm doors to fit perfectly. Out aluminum storm doors are crafted to withstand whatever the Mid-Atlantic climate throws their way, helping protect the beauty and integrity of your exterior door. They also allow you to open the door to let the sun or fresh air in, without also welcoming pests or the neighbor’s cat.
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