Among all the doors in your home, the front door is often considered the most prominent and important. It’s vital for both home aesthetics and practical needs, and among those looking for a new front door, choosing the proper material to meet your needs is important.
At Rocky Mountain Windows & Doors, we’re proud to provide a wide range of door replacement services to clients throughout Utah, from fiberglass doors to wood, steel, aluminum and numerous other high-quality materials. We’ve helped a variety of clients identify the ideal front door material for their home based on several factors, and we’re here to do the same for you. What are the important elements to be considering when choosing your new front door material, and which materials are available to you? Here’s a basic primer.
Factors to Evaluate
As you’re looking through your options for front door material, here are some of the basic elements to consider:
- General costs: For obvious reasons, cost is an important consideration when choosing a front door material. How much are you willing to spend on a new front door, and what are the associated costs?
- Maintenance: All front door materials require some level of maintenance in order to look their best and perform well over time. Some materials, like wood, may require more frequent attention than others, so be sure to factor in the necessary maintenance costs and time commitments.
- Energy efficiency: A high-quality front door can play an important role in your home’s energy efficiency, so be sure to consider this when making your selection. Some materials, like fiberglass, are particularly good at blocking drafts and keeping your home comfortable all year round.
- Style: Of course, you want to choose a front door material that communicates the right style for your home. While some materials, like fiberglass, are more modern and sleek in appearance, other materials can complement traditional or classic looks.
- Window or solid: You’ll also need to choose whether you want a glass window or a solid material. In some cases, you may prefer the style of one over the other, but keep in mind that glass windows can offer better views and access to natural light.
Our next several sections will go over the top materials available to you when selecting a front door.
Wood Front Doors
For those looking for a classic aesthetic for their homes that also offers a high degree of durability and energy efficiency, wood is a great choice. Wood front doors are available in a variety of different species depending on your needs and preferences, with popular options including redwood, cedar and pine. All three species offer fantastic energy-efficiency benefits while also serving as terrific barriers to keep drafts out, but all three can also be prone to rot and decay over time if not properly maintained.
Among the major benefit to wood front doors is that they’re very attractive, offering a warm, natural look that can work well with either traditional or modern home styles. Depending on the species you choose, individual pieces of wood may also showcase unique patterns and grain details to deliver even more style.
The main downside of a wood front door is that it requires more maintenance than some other materials, including regular paint and stain touchups in order to keep it looking its best over time. It’s also a bit less energy efficient due to the presence of gaps between each slat or board, though this can be mitigated with basic insulation measures.
If you’re looking for a classic and attractive front door material that also offers high durability and energy efficiency, wood is hard to beat. Just be sure to factor in the necessary maintenance time and costs, as well as the proper installation procedures, if this is the material you decide on.
Fiberglass Front Doors
Another quality option here, one that offers a combination of excellent performance and low maintenance, is the fiberglass exterior door. As the name implies, fiberglass is made of layers of glass strands built around a basic mesh frame, which can be finished in either woodgrain or smooth styles.
As several consumer reviews point out, there are two major benefits to this option: durability and ease-of-maintenance. Fiberglass exterior doors are resistant to rot, rust and other damage that can wear down wood doors over time, especially if they’re frequently exposed to harsh seasonal weather.
Fiberglass is also a great choice when it comes to ease of maintenance, since no paint or stain touchups are required in order for the door to look its best. While individual pieces of fiberglass may scratch or dent over time, they can easily be replaced without affecting the rest of the door.
One downside to fiberglass is that it doesn’t have quite the same level of warmth and attractiveness as natural wood, so it might not be the best choice if you’re going for a traditional look. However, you can easily mitigate this by choosing from various forms of grained fiberglass, which have the look of traditional wood finishes at a much lower cost.
Aluminum Clad Front Doors
This form of door refers to one that’s made of wood on the inside, but then is coated with a thin layer of aluminum on the outside. This offers a number of benefits, including protection against the weather and lower maintenance requirements.
Wooden doors are prone to weathering and warping when exposed to rain, snow and other elements, but an aluminum clad door can help mitigate these issues. The aluminum also helps to reflect heat away from the door and inside of the home, keeping it cooler in the summer and reducing energy costs.
The main drawback associated with aluminum clad doors is that they tend to be less durable than other materials, particularly when it comes to high-traffic situations. If you’re looking for a door that can handle heavy foot traffic or commercial application, aluminum clad isn’t the best choice.
But for a residential home, this option can be a great way to combine the appearance and feel of wood with the practical benefits of aluminum. Just be sure to factor in the cost, as they tend to be more expensive than other materials.
Steel Front Doors
Finally, one of the most durable and low-maintenance front door materials available is steel. This option can be made in a variety of ways, including solid steel, steel with a wood veneer or even fiberglass over steel.
As you might expect, one of the biggest benefits of a steel front door is its durability. It’s extremely resistant to weathering, warping and other types of damage, making it an excellent choice for those who live in very harsh climates or are looking for extra security.
This door also offers excellent energy efficiency, though this depends on the type of steel you choose. Some options may be more energy efficient than others. However, all tend to fall well within the range of comparable wood and fiberglass doors.
One downside to steel is that it can be quite heavy, so you’ll need to make sure your doorframe can handle the weight. It also doesn’t have the same level of insulation as some other materials, so if energy efficiency is a top priority for you, steel might not be the best choice.
For more on the various front door materials you have available if you’re looking for a replacement, or to learn about any of our window or high-end door services, speak to the staff at Rocky Mountain Windows & Doors today.