Exterior Door Help

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  #1  
Old 10-20-09, 08:23 AM
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Exterior Door Help

What is the best exterior door for insulation and efficiency? I live in Chicagoland area and my current exterior doors (steel/insulated) are roughly 15yrs old. In my opinion these doors do a terrible job in keeping the cold out... The temp around the doors is at least 10-15 degrees colder than the other parts of the house. The doors feel like ice cubes (no joke) when you place your hand on the surface from the inside

I am confused bc everything that I read says steel and fiberglass doors are the best for insulation and efficiency.

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 10-20-09, 08:31 AM
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They are.....
Not much difference between the two in my opinion..at least insulation wise. Make sure your weatherstripping is in good shape and making good contact. A good storm door can help by creating an air space. If you feel like doing it, take the interior trim off and check for insulation in the gap between the door jamb and the house framing.

I doubt if new doors would really make much difference, the construction hasn't really changed that much.
 
  #3  
Old 10-20-09, 01:10 PM
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Ya, the doors should have a 'solid' styrofoam core. I'd also check the weatherstripping. Are there any drafts?
 
  #4  
Old 10-21-09, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Ya, the doors should have a 'solid' styrofoam core. I'd also check the weatherstripping. Are there any drafts?
There does not appear to be a draft.. The door seems to seal really good when closed.. I still dont understand why its so cold to touch thou
 
  #5  
Old 10-21-09, 11:33 AM
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Hi WC, part of what you are experiencing is the metal itself. place that door in the middle of your living room and put your hand on it and it will still feel cold. That is just the ability of metal to transport heat away from your hand. Cover that door with 1/8" of felt and it will feel a lot warmer, but there is very little r-value in the felt.

The other part is what GG stated, they aren't great and new ones aren't that much better. A typical new metal door will have an r-value of 5 or maybe 6. Your wall (2x4) will be twice that, 2x6 three times and they are covered with drywall. Plus we are not accounting for any glass in the door which makes things even worse.

Now, I don't have my chart in front of me, but an r=5 wall on a cold 20 degree day should be about 8 degrees cooler on it's surface than the inside temp. That drops to about 4 degrees for an r=10 wall and to 2 degrees for an r=19 wall. Wall or door, that gives you an idea what temps to expect. Now throw in the door handle, hinges, and some air leakage and what you are experiencing is happening to all of the homes in your area.

I have seen home made insulated doors 4" thick, 2" of rigid added over the existing door and a nice wood and trim applique on the inside. He did some extra weather sealing as well, but it really made a difference and didn't look that bad either. Never seen a store bought unit anything like that.

So, you are not crazy, that is just how they build doors.

Bud
 
  #6  
Old 10-27-09, 10:33 PM
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So my only choice is to do a home made insulated door as you mentioned? My cousin lives right down the street from me with the exact same house and his living room area where his exterior door is not as cold as mine... What is the highest R-Value door on the market? Would I benefit with a fiberglass door as opposed to a steel?

To give you an example, the kitchen becomes so cold during the winter months bc of the kitchen door that my glass plates/bowls will chill a hot meal in no time... The rest of the house is great, even my basement with has a glass sliding door to the outside patio area I dont get it...

Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
Hi WC, part of what you are experiencing is the metal itself. place that door in the middle of your living room and put your hand on it and it will still feel cold. That is just the ability of metal to transport heat away from your hand. Cover that door with 1/8" of felt and it will feel a lot warmer, but there is very little r-value in the felt.

The other part is what GG stated, they aren't great and new ones aren't that much better. A typical new metal door will have an r-value of 5 or maybe 6. Your wall (2x4) will be twice that, 2x6 three times and they are covered with drywall. Plus we are not accounting for any glass in the door which makes things even worse.

Now, I don't have my chart in front of me, but an r=5 wall on a cold 20 degree day should be about 8 degrees cooler on it's surface than the inside temp. That drops to about 4 degrees for an r=10 wall and to 2 degrees for an r=19 wall. Wall or door, that gives you an idea what temps to expect. Now throw in the door handle, hinges, and some air leakage and what you are experiencing is happening to all of the homes in your area.

I have seen home made insulated doors 4" thick, 2" of rigid added over the existing door and a nice wood and trim applique on the inside. He did some extra weather sealing as well, but it really made a difference and didn't look that bad either. Never seen a store bought unit anything like that.

So, you are not crazy, that is just how they build doors.

Bud
 

Last edited by WCrider; 10-27-09 at 11:04 PM.
  #7  
Old 10-28-09, 04:20 AM
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I'm no door expert but every steel door should have the same amount of styrofoam inside the core. There are 2 basic types. 1 has metal stiles with a small gap between the sides, the other has wood stiles. This gap/spacer between the metal sides prevents or slows down the temperature on the outside from transferring to the inside.

Does your cousin's door get the same amount of weather? [wind and/or sun]
 
  #8  
Old 10-28-09, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
I'm no door expert but every steel door should have the same amount of styrofoam inside the core. There are 2 basic types. 1 has metal stiles with a small gap between the sides, the other has wood stiles. This gap/spacer between the metal sides prevents or slows down the temperature on the outside from transferring to the inside.

Does your cousin's door get the same amount of weather? [wind and/or sun]
I took a look at my door this morning and it appears to have metal stiles and not wood... My cousin's door does get the same amount of weather...

 
  #9  
Old 10-28-09, 08:06 AM
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When the two doors were installed, the details of sealing and insulating around the frame can make a big difference in their efficiency. Two identical doors can perform totally different. I inspected my sons new home with the infrared camera and his expensive front door was pouring cold air from under the threshold. Someone forgot the silicone.

Pick up a punk stick or incense and test around the frame for air leakage. R=value is a slow heat loss process. An air leak gives you an immediate sense of cold. My computer is right next to my back door and the double pane half glass portion has failed. Moisture can be seen inside the two panes. It was annoyingly cold, so I took a 4' wide piece of that foil bubble wrap and taped it over the entire door and frame, eliminating any air leaks and providing a bit more r=value along with the radiant barrier. The temp gauge sitting 3' from the door went up 5 degrees and I recovered the feeling in my left arm. The wife wanted to kill me, so a new door will be going in soon, but my test proved the problem was the door, both air leakage and a poor door.

When I smoke test a large window or metal door, there is a constant sheet of cold air flowing down their surface, the convection. An r=3 or 4 door is just going to loose some heat, especially when it is cold out. I would opt for fiberglass myself over steel and foam the perimeter solid when installed. A good storm door will help also.

Bud
 
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