It is not an easy task to choose a front door for your house as it must give you protection and security, maintain a comfortable temperature and block the noise from outside. The front door should also perform a decorative function and be suitable for the design of your house.
Which is better for a front door: steel or fibreglass? Steel and fibreglass are both popular choices for front doors due to their affordability and durability. Both door materials are maintenance-free and wear-resistant and can have different energy efficiency levels. While steel doors are the most inexpensive of any door material while fibreglass doors are generally considered the best alternative to solid wood. Fibreglass doors are also slightly better equipped to withstand extreme temperatures and won’t rust if scratched or dented, as is often the case with steel doors.
Nowadays, the most popular materials for the front door are steel and fibreglass. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each material and decide which is better — fibreglass or steel front door?
Fibreglass Front Door Pros & Cons
Fibreglass has many very valuable properties that give it the right to be called one of the materials of the future. Fibreglass has low thermal conductivity, durability, biological and chemical resistance, is an excellent dielectric, does not rot. It can be difficult to burn, and in the event of a fire does not emit the potent gas dioxin, unlike polyvinyl chloride.
Fibreglass Front Door Pros:
- Fibreglass doors are light. That is why it is easy to transport this door from the shop to your house. A fibreglass door is easier to install than a steel door, for example. The specific gravity of fibreglass varies from 1.4 to 2.1 and averages 1.7 g / cm3. Is fibreglass stronger than steel? Yes, fibreglass is way stronger than steel, just recall that the specific gravity of metals is much higher, for example, steel is 7.8, and copper is 8.9 g / cm3.
- Fibreglass doors have good dielectric properties. Fibreglass is an excellent electrical insulator for both AC and DC applications.
- Fibreglass doors do not warp, rust, corrode and scratch. Fibreglass doors have high corrosion resistance. Fibreglass plastics as dielectrics do not undergo electrochemical corrosion at all. There is a number of resins that make it possible to obtain fibreglass resistant to various aggressive environments, including the effects of concentrated acids and alkalis.
- Fibreglass doors are stylish and will be suitable for any interior. Fibreglass plastics can be well painted in any colour during manufacture and fibreglass doors will not fade if manufacturers use persistent dyes. If you want your fibreglass door to be transparent, it is possible if you use some brands of translucent resins. This will make fibreglass door only slightly inferior to glass in optical properties. Fibreglass doors can imitate a variety of wood grains, including oak, cherry, mahogany and spruce.
- Fibreglass doors are durable and secure. How long do fibreglass doors last? Fibreglass doors usually last up to 100 years because, with its low specific gravity, fibreglass has high physical and mechanical characteristics. By using some resins and certain types of reinforcing materials, it is possible to obtain fibreglass which in its strength properties is superior to some alloys of non-ferrous metals and steel. Compared with wood and metals, fibreglass has an obvious advantage as fibreglass does not undergo corrosive destruction and it is not afraid of bacteria and fungus.
- Fibreglass doors have amazing thermal insulation properties. Fibreglass is a low thermal conductivity material. In addition, it is possible to significantly increase the thermal insulation properties by making a fibreglass “sandwich structure”, using porous materials, such as foam, between the layers of fibreglass. Due to its low thermal conductivity, fibreglass “sandwich structures” are successfully used as thermal insulation materials in industrial construction, shipbuilding, car building. That is why if you want your front door to retain the warmth inside, you should opt for a fibreglass door.
- Fibreglass doors are weather resistant. Fibreglass structures can be used indoors and outdoors. The material is resistant to moisture, precipitation, sun and wind. Fibreglass can withstand temperatures ranging from -50 to +100 degrees. Even though fibreglass gets hot in the sun, it is not afraid of the sun since fibreglass is resistant to sun and rain. So you can safely install fibreglass doors in your house because fibreglass is weather resistant.
Some people ask “How do you protect a fibreglass door from the sun?” The thing is — you do not have to protect a fibreglass door from the sun as it does not fade or deteriorate over time.
- Fibreglass doors do not need maintenance. If you want to wash your door, you can use any detergent but you do not have to. Fibreglass can be easily wiped with a damp cloth.
- Fibreglass doors are fireproof and eco-friendly. Fibreglass does not burn or melt, which makes it a fireproof material and avoids toxic substances that are released when many synthetic materials burn.
Fibreglass Doors Cons:
- Fibreglass doors are quite expensive. Since they are manufactured as a full unit, not only will you need to pay extra money for fibreglass door instalment, but you will also need to pay at least 1000$ for a door. The price can be as high as 3000$.
Are Fibreglass Doors Any Good? The Bottom Line.
As the quality of fibreglass doors has improved, fibreglass doors have become the main competitor for solid wood doors. While fibreglass is not nearly as beautiful as solid wood doors, modern manufacturing methods have made fibreglass front doors as stylish as popular solid wood doors.
Fibreglass is considered one of the best materials for front doors because it is more affordable than wooden doors and more stylish than steel doors. Fibreglass doors do not require special care or maintenance and they are always energy-efficient. If you want to save on your bills, opt for fibreglass doors.
Fibreglass doors are durable, resistant to deformation, splitting, shrinkage or cracking from weather and heat.
Fibreglass doors are also hard to scratch or dent. Fibreglass doors are stylish and they can imitate a variety of wood grains, including oak, cherry, mahogany, and spruce. Fibreglass doors are also resistant to rust and weather. Fibreglass doors will provide security, however, they are not as strong as steel when hit hard.
Steel Doors Pros & Cons
Modern front doors made of steel are one of the most popular choices on the market. The basic requirements for such products are reduced to ensuring security against external intrusion or burglary. The disappointing statistics of the number of thefts and burglaries over the past few years, makes people increasingly think about how to reliably protect their homes from “uninvited guests.” This is the reason for the high demand for steel options for entrance doors.
Steel doors are the least expensive door in terms of affordability. While steel doors are durable and safe, they also come in limited styles and colours, making them more practical than easy to customize.
One of the biggest advantages of steel doors is their durability. They tend to hold up well in extreme weather conditions, although they can swell at high temperatures. If you hit such a door hard, it will not break under extreme force like some door materials, though it may get dented.
Steel Doors Pros:
- Steel doors are affordable. One of the main advantages is affordability and a large selection. You can buy a front steel door in any construction market or in a hypermarket, in an online store, or in a manufacturer’s warehouse. The steel door market is well developed, you can choose an option for almost every taste and budget and for any task — from a temporary thin steel door for the period of repairing another door to a high-tech door structure to create a solid image, ensure the safety of material values.
Steel doors can cost as low as 150$ and up to 2000$. The average price of steel doors is 500$.
- Steel doors are not expensive to install. It is also not that expensive to install a steel door. However, it greatly depends on your location. If you want to check the prices for the steel door installation, click here. Usually, the price of steel door installation varies from 150$ to 300$.
- Steel doors are durable. On average, steel doors last up to 100 years. So you will only need to replace your steel door if you do not maintain it properly. Remember, steel doors should not be washed with water as they may rust. Other than that, steel doors are not very demanding and will last up to 100 years. A high-quality steel door can last for several decades, successfully protecting a room from environmental influences and burglary attempts.
- Steel doors are easy to maintain. Steel doors require low running costs. A properly installed steel door of high-quality construction requires virtually no repairs.
- Steel doors provide great heat and sound insulation. Modern steel doors are made of two steel sheets with a thick interlayer that provides protection from cold and extraneous sounds.
- Steel doors have the ability to ensure an accurate fit of the door leaf to the frame. New technologies make it possible to achieve a “refrigerator effect” so that the door closes almost hermetically.
- Steel doors are easy to install. Custom-made steel doors can be installed with equal success in houses made of concrete, brick, wood, and the doorway can be of any shape and size.
- Steel doors can have a huge number of finishes. A steel door can be painted, covered with artificial or natural leather, finished with veneer, laminate, MDF panels or solid natural wood. In addition, design options are possible with glazing, forging, inlaid with stones. You can easily make your front door an element of a well-thought-out individual or corporate style.
- Steel doors are reliable and secure. Manufacturers produce reliable locks of high resistance to burglary, high-quality fittings, technological adjustable hinges, peepholes with an extended viewing angle. All this makes the door more secure and convenient to use.
Steel Doors Cons:
- Steel doors dent and scratch easily. During use, the entrance doors may be scratched and dented because of the accidental mechanical stress that occurs periodically. Steel doors are especially vulnerable in the lower part where they are more likely to get scratched. However, the scratches and dents do not reduce the lifespan of the steel door and do not diminish its protective functions. But scratches and dents do not look good on doors, that is why you need to be careful with using steel doors.
- Steel doors may rust. All metal doors are reliably protected from rusting by various polymer compounds, galvanizing, paint and varnish coating. But when mechanical damage appears, rust does not keep itself waiting long. Rust will look even worse when a steel door is exposed to moisture which causes serious damage to the metal.On the front steel doors finished with paint, self-adhesive film, leatherette, scratches and dents easily appear. This coating is easily damaged and the quality of the steel sheet underneath is usually poor. This degrades the appearance of the door and draws unnecessary attention. In addition, if there are dents and scratches, the steel door can become rusty.
- Steel doors are heavy. Steel doors can weigh 60–120 kg, which makes them difficult to transport and install compared to doors made of other materials. Noise and a lot of dust are inevitable during installation.However, this does not prevent the widespread use of steel doors. It makes sense to speak seriously about their negative sides only in the context of price-quality ratio. There is practically no such drawback that could not be corrected by purchasing a more expensive and reliable steel door from a reputable manufacturer.In addition, a custom-made door will fulfil all your requirements. The disadvantages listed below only apply to cheap Chinese thin sheet steel doors.
- Cheap steel doors may not be secure enough. Thin sheet steel doors can be easily pierced with a sharp object such as a can opener. Even if such a door has armoured plates protecting the lock, they can be cut out without any problems.
- Steel doors can contain toxic material inside. A thick steel sheet makes the door heavier, and if the hinges are weak, the entire door structure can bend. You have to choose only the simplest finishing options such as paint, leatherette, veneer. The same applies to internal insulation: it can add a few extra pounds (for example, basalt wool), so it is important to use lightweight, but not toxic and not highly combustible material, such as polystyrene in steel door structures.
- Pay attention to the door frame of the steel door. Often it is made of a thin metal profile which is filled with polyurethane foam from the inside for insulation. In this case, the profile must be closed so that after filling with foam, it does not expand and deform the entire structure.
- Steel doors are noisy. Opening and closing a steel door is not always silent, and as a result, it may slam and makes unnecessary noise. In this case, the installation of porches is required. Think about whether you want to hear this noise if your front door is very close to your bedroom, for example.
- Steel doors will not retain heat. In winter, steel front doors in houses often freeze through, despite all the thermal insulation. Steel doors have so-called “cold bridges” which are metal elements common for the outside and inside of the structure. If there are such “bridges”, the door frame will be cold even indoors, and the street side of the door will be covered with frost or ice.
- Make sure you are not buying a fake steel door. When purchasing a steel door, you should take into account the possibility of fakes. It is easy to buy Chinese doors on construction markets, which are of poor quality. The safest way is to contact the shops of manufacturers and authorized dealers. If you live in a cold area, make sure that this particular steel door can withstand temperature drops.
What to Look for When Buying a Steel Door?
- Burglary resistance. This characteristic depends on various structural elements — the strength of the door leaf must be high enough to withstand burglary, this will ensure the thickness of the outer sheet is about 2 mm and the inner one — 1.5 mm.
- Presence of stiffening ribs as this will increase the weight and at the same time resistance to burglary attempts.
- Locks. It is recommended to use several types of locking mechanisms, for example, lever and cylinder locks, this will increase the security of the door.
- Functional characteristics. The functional characteristics of a steel door mean good sound and heat insulation, which are provided through the use of various fillers (mineral wool, polyurethane, foam, synthetic winterizer).
- Ergonomics. This condition concerns the ease of use of the entrance metal door, it should be easy to open, not too heavy, and have a simple but durable mechanism.
- The appearance of the steel door should meet your aesthetic requirements. To do this, the door can be finished with various materials such as wooden or plastic clapboard, vinyl-leather, MDF panels. When choosing a material, you need to take into account the future location of the door and the conditions of its operation.
Despite the fact that the main task of a steel door is to provide protection, many modern manufacturers have not ignored the design of steel doors. It is worth noting that today you can find a wide variety of different design options for steel doors. This means that, if necessary, you can always choose the very door that will ideally fit into the overall design of your house.
Are Steel Doors Any Good? The Bottom Line.
Before making the final decision on the installation of steel doors, it is worth calculating all the pros and cons of this option and taking into account all the positive and negative nuances. Anyway, the main task of a front door is to provide reliable protection for your house.
Steel doors have the following undoubted advantages — steel doors are durable, reliable and fireproof. Steel does not corrode, like iron and it is available in various types of processing and is well weldable.
Steel doors last as long as 100 years without fading or losing its shape. A steel door will not lose its shape even after several decades, it does not collapse under the influence of ultraviolet rays, high humidity, cold, and heat. There is also a possibility of a wide variety of equipment and construction of a steel door. They can be bulletproof, anti-burglar, explosion-proof, fireproof, etc.
Steel doors offer a variety of texture and design, which is achieved thanks to modern high technology processing. The steel door leaf can be produced in a wide variety of profiles, providing the required qualities, as well as any exclusive installation.
However, steel doors also have their disadvantages which include high thermal conductivity of steel. This means that steel doors do not adequately protect either from cold or heat. You should opt for steel doors if you live in a mild climate. If you need to retain the warmth in your house, opt for a fibreglass door. Steel doors leaves cannot be hermetically adjusted to the frame, there will always be gaps. Steel doors also have high sound permeability.
However, these disadvantages are fairly easily compensated by manufacturers using modern insulating materials, seals and decorative interior panels. However, the advantages of steel doors definitely outweigh the disadvantages.
Wood vs Fiberglass vs Steel Exterior Doors Video Guide
Fibreglass or Steel Front Door — Which Is Better? The Bottom Line
Steel and fibreglass are both popular choices for front doors due to their affordability and durability. Fibreglass and steel doors are maintenance-free and wear-resistant and can have different energy efficiency levels depending on their cores.
While steel doors are the most inexpensive of any door material, fibreglass doors are generally considered the best alternative to solid wood. This is because fibreglass comes in a wide variety of colours and designs. This material realistically imitates most major wood species and can be designed as decorative elements, wrought iron accents, decorative aluminium stripes and rustic panels.
Fibreglass doors are also slightly better equipped to withstand extreme temperatures and won’t rust if scratched or dented, as is often the case with steel doors.
So both of these front door materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. Fibreglass doors are more expensive than steel doors, however, fibreglass doors do not rust and are weather-resistant. Both fibreglass and steel doors can look amazing in any design, so it is all up to you what to choose to be your front door — steel or fibreglass. The most important thing is to take all their abovementioned pros and cons into account and make your decision.