I've been reading up on steel vs. fiberglass entry doors. There's
seems to be a lot to consider.
One article I read said steel doors seal better because of the
magnetic weather stripping. Any truth to this?
I've read I need to be concerned about the gauge of the steel as it
relates to denting. What's the thinnest I should consider for normal
household use - kids (mid-teens and up), dogs, etc. If the door gets
dented, I'll notice it everyday and be pissed. Should I avoid steel if
for no other reason than this?
As far as looks, it seems that wood-grain fiberglass would be better
since I can stain it. I think that would look better than a painted
steel door. What I gain in looks, I lose in efficiency - yes or no?
What about windows? See through windows are a must, and I assume I
should go with a minimum of double-pane. Does it matter as far as
steel or fiberglass when it comes to windows? I assume the same
options exist for both.
What else should I consider when I stop reading and actually start
looking at doors?
How can steel doors insulate better than wood. I have a steel door and
its cold inside as the cold conducts to the inside. I can understand
the foam cores High R value. Windows as a whole are tested by U value,
have you seen door U value tests. A U value test would be the proper
test of the door system as a whole. Wood is about R 3.5", the foam
they use maybe R 5" now the steel ruins the equation. Fiberglass- foam
core sounds good and durable.
My front door is painted metal. It has a full southern exposure and
can get hot to the touch July-August. A wooden door might warp. Metal
door weather stripping works just fine. An overhang helps a lot. I
didn't think fiberglass doors were practical for an exterior door,
they are just too light. R-values are not nearly as critical as
properly installed weatherstripping.
On Tue, 2 Dec 2008 10:26:37 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03
You got kids? You do NOT want a steel door - PERIOD. Steed doors dent.
It's a fact of life. They need to be painted a light colour as well -
and a good paint job needs to be done with some real care..
I like PAINTED fiberglass - the stain never really stands up in real
life - or go with a solid wood door.
The requirement for a window again takes steel out of the running in
my experience, as the door expands and shrinks with temp more than
fiberglass or wood. and with a higher difference to the trim
surrounding the window. You need to paint the door and the door trim
separately before installing the trim - and then prevent the trim from
sticking to the paint on the foor so the paint is not damaged or
"torn" when the trim moves against the door.
I worked for 2 door/window companies and the horror stories I saw are
one reason I have not replaced the solid wood front door on my house.
And if you need a new one, you can have one made by any number of
good local craftsmen = particularly if you live in southwestern
Ontario, Pensylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and many other parts of North
America. Of any wood your heart desires.
I had a pair of steel French doors that I just replaced due to rust with
The steel doors didn't have magnet seals and they sealed just fine, as do my
fiberglass doors. That is a bunch of bunk.
1. You can stain steel doors - Not exactly a stain, more of a thick paint
that exactly mimics wood.
2. I would think steel doors are more resistant to being kicked down than
3. Fiberglass will never rust.
4. Some door windows introduce a vulnerability to entry. If you have windows
on a door, make sure the deadbolt requires a key on both sides.
Alternatively, the addition of a burglar-bar door may be suitable.
5. There are (at least) two thicknesses of steel doors; one normal and the
other fire. The fire doors are impregnable.
The prisoners in my state make things (for sale only to other branches of
government), but you might look here for additional ideas:
Here's a standard door:
Maximum security door:
Main directory of stuff:
The prisons also grow virtually all their own food (except pepper, coffee,
tea, and and a few other imports) including veggies, pork, chicken, beef,
rice, wheat, milk, and so on. They also grow a lot of cotton which is woven
into cloth. The women's unit makes mattresses, uniforms, bedding, etc.
On Tue, 2 Dec 2008 10:26:37 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03
Climate! In the desert at triple temps, 90 days a year beading on the
west facing door it get's hot. I've seen instances of fiberglass
drying out, cracks, warps, etc.
Wood will dry out - touch up painting, if painted.
Metal gets dented, and best fixed at an auto body shop and painted
with professional care. It looks better when dents are fixed
Pick your poison....
We just installed a ThermaTru fiberglass door. Nice product, tight
seal, limited heat transfer compared to nearby steel door. It was much
heavier than I expected, and the prehung framing was very robust.
Haven't painted it yet, but even in the light colored primer it looks
good. We have a family member who does astonishingly realistic faux
wood finishes and I must figure some way to bribe her to make the
TheraTru look like real light oak.
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