Exterior Door Quality Advice Needed

Old 08-09-05, 02:36 PM
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Exterior Door Quality Advice Needed

I am looking to replace my worn, drafty front door. I'm faced with wood, fiberglass, or steel as options, but I cannot seem to find sound advice as to what features each offers or why one is better than the others. Can anyone help?

Old 08-09-05, 04:09 PM
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The slab of the door itself is not that energy efficient, being only 1 3/4" thick. Wood is R-1.3 per inch, so a solid wood door would give you about R-2. Steel and fiberglass skinned doors are usually filled with a urethane foam, which gives the majority of the door a rating somewhere around r-7. If you get a steel door, ensure that it has a thermal break between the interior and exterior skin. Metal conducts heat & cold, so if you get a steel door, make sure it's thermally broke. Usually, steel and fiberglass doors have wooden stiles which seperate the 2 skins. You should also ensure that the threshold of the door is thermally broke. Steel doors sometimes have magnetic weatherstripping, which seals well. Other doors will have q-lon weatherstrip which is okay too. If you get a glass lite, it will probably be the least efficient part of the door energy-wise, so that's something to consider.

Fiberglass doors are a little more expensive than steel doors, might be a little more energy efficient, and like wood, give you the option of staining the door. Steel doors will be the most economical door out of the three. Whatever you do, make sure the door you buy has an adjustable threshold.

One of my favorite things to do is to take steel doors to a local auto body shop, and have them paint the door whatever color the customer wants. It usually costs between $100-150, but it looks like a million bucks, and has just as nice of a finish on it as a brand new car. very impressive.

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