Not exactly a woodworking question, but who better
I'm in the market for 5 new entry doors for my house.
Choises are steel, smooth fiberglass and wood grained
fiberglass. (I guess wood is an option, but I didn't
price any of those.)
Price roughly doubles as you move from steel to
smooth fiberglass, and doubles again when you move
to wood grained fiberglass.
So who's got an opinion about the material and if its
worth the price jump. Who makes a good door? a
p.s. If you want to write up a quote, I need one 3-0(36"),
three 2-8(32"), and one 2-6(30") fire door, all with 5 1/4" jams,
no brick mold.
p.p.s. Any leads on a replacement for the 6-8 double
door for the back of my garage.
Without question, fiberglass is superior to steel, but I'm biased.
I built a fiberglass, not a steel boat.
Is it worth a 2:1 cost difference?
If you plan on staying in the house, yes.
Wood grained fiberglass requires a more complex mold, thus higher
Ask yourself a question:
If you chose steel, wouldn't it be smooth?
If so, why not smooth fiberglass?
All these wood-grained accouterments make me scratch my head. When you
side a house with clapboard, the clapboard, if wood, is smooth. If
vinyl, it's grained. Of course, that may have something to do with
how cheesy vinyl looks when smooth.
My fiberglass front door is grained, and "oak" colored. I'll paint it
someday soon, I guess, but with the oval glass, that's going to be a
PITA. I can pop the hardware before painting, but I'll be triple
dipped if I want to remove the glass.
Unless you are going to do this yourself, I would just go to a local
contractor and start there with him.
All steel doors are not the same, nor are their cores. The same with
fiberglass. The skins on both steel and fiberglass vary quite a bit
in thickness as do the composition of their cores and their respective
Ditto if you get prehung. With the actual product varying all across
the map, so do the prices. And since you will be relying on pricing
in your area as well as the exact manufacturer of the units sold
locally, it would be a bit of a stretch to make a qualified remark.
You should also consider your finishing skills. When I do a steel
entryway door, I use commercial alkyd paints mixed with different
thinners and a metallic hardener and sprayed in multiple coats. I
found no one wants to see brush strokes from using a can of Rustoleum
on a brand new door.
Fiberglass can present its own problems with adhesion, and with latex
finishes, no matter what the manufacturers say, I have always had
problems with adhesion in high traffic areas.
Staining fiberglass to look like wood.... take a class if they offer
it. Getting the color on isn't difficult, but getting it on evenly on
a semi slick surface is a trick. Then of course, you have to seal it.
You and me both. But after doing a lot of emergency repairs (kick-
ins) and replacements, I found that the insides range anywhere from
loose laid panels of styrofoam (sometimes glued to one side), random
squirts of urethane on the perimeter, all the way to solid urethane
I have even seen them where there is nothing in them except materials
glued in place to stiffen them up in the center and at the door lock
hole. (Hint: When you see an $89 metal entry door, think of this..)
The material I am using is rated for marine use. It is a modified
urethane product, and you are right. It is perfect. It dries hard,
hard, hard. It is extremely abrasion resistant, and it looks like it
was baked on in a factory.
OK... now you overshot me. I don't know how to apply that stuff, and
I don't know anyone that would pay for it! My favorite is about $55 a
gallon (Coronado "Corotile" from their industrial line) and is rated
for "medium" industrial use for manufacturing and processing plant
I can't imagine what your stuff would cost or how much it would cost
to apply it.
Just trying to make a living here, Lew.
IMHO, a solid urethane core should be the minimum specfication.
After that, look at the skins.
About the only thing more expensive than marine L/P are aviation
Before crude oil prices went bonko, good marine L/P was about
You can apply it with a mohair roller (1/4" nap) on a phenolic core.
Based on your description, stick with what you are using<G>
Crap! I don't know a homeowner that would let me build in that kind
of finishing price. Couple with he fact that it probably has to be
colored at the plant and shipped, that would be an exciting day to get
the invoice on that stuff!!
Wow... no kidding. Like I said, just trying to make a living over
There are a few that sell them finished, but less and less. The
prefinished doors are too easy to damage in transit, and by the folks
that sell them.
So (like Thermatru, Jeld Wen which are a couple sold around here) they
sell finishing kits. The kits have a tiny (but good quality) can of
stain, and a water based poly with their respective names on it. The
stain is great, but the top coat isn't.
Currently, no one in town sells prefinished doors unless they are
solid colored. In that case, one of the doors I saw a few months ago
had a dark brown gel coat and from looking at the edges it was
probably a colored resin as well. The homeowner told me it came in a
bark brown, hunter green, and merlot.
The fiberglass doors I have finished have some kind of strange "paint
grip" type of finish on them. It isn't a good marine grade gel coat,
and it isn't UV resistant. It isn't smooth, but it isn't rough,
either. When it isn't finished, it will hold up for a year or so,
then the finished powders, and you are screwed. Whatever that stuff
is (mold release?) it isn't made to be left in the raw.
But if you clean it and finish it right away, it seems to do well, but
only with solvent based finishes. No matter what they do to the
surface, waterborne just doesn't stick as well. The stuff they send
with the door kit I usually toss. I don't know whose product it is,
so I won't use it.
As a sidebar, I have gone to many client's houses that have steel
doors installed, and they thought the priming was the protective
finish! Surprisingly, it does quite well, and a good cleaning and you
can start finishing if there is no rust. I have finished doors that
have probably been installed for 2 - 3 years with no adverse effects
to the top coat of paint.
One possible explanation for that is a universal lack of color sensibility.
In my house the missus is the color expert. I am the color idiot/savage,
according to the resident color expert.
Soooo......, to a lot of folks, a primer coast may look like a finish
color/coat. But even I think I can tell a primer coat from a finish one.
That would make a lot of good sense. From what I understand, that
primer is some kind of specially formulated super fast dry stuff, with
little or no resins in it for any kind durability.
Since you are "up the road" from me in San Antonio, do you mind me
asking what you use for finish on your metal doors?
I would love to hear what you are charging these days for a standard
entry installation with new trims, with the door and trims painted, if
you don't mind. I'll swap pricing with you if you want.
If you don't want others to see, I can be reached at
just take out "the trash" and the "can" at the end if you are
I worked for 2 different window and door companies a few years back,
and if the doors were painted any dark colour the warranty was also
void - as was it if a "storm door" was installed (heat build-up
The best finish was a sprayed catalyzed automotive enamel - and we had
a LOT of them done by a couple of automotive paint shops.
I'll bet you can!
I got a chuckle out of that one. Most of the folks I run into that
don't paint are just HOPING that the flat finish on the door is
actually some kind of protective finish.
I think they all know better.
On Thu, 19 Jun 2008 17:11:01 -0700 (PDT), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
We have already replaced one steel door on the north side of the house
(water heater) with another steel door. On the south side of the
house, we replaced the steel entry door with a fiberglass door. Beinf
world-class procrastinators, we haven't yet applied any finish to the
fiberglass door. So far, it looks fine.
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