Wood vs fiberglass exterior door

crazySNJanuary 17, 2011

What do people think about getting wood vs. fiberglass exterior doors? Wood doors certainly look much nicer but I understand maintenance can be a problem. We live in the Northern VA area and with the weather changes and all, would a wood door give us too much maintenance headaches? I understand that insulation might also be a problem with wood doors.

Any comments and/or recommendations for either wood or fiberglass exterior doors is much appreciated.

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We went with fiberglass mostly because of where we live. Hot and dry in the summer and very cold in the winter. It really is amazing how much the fiberglass looks like wood when they are stained. We have had comments from people thinking our doors were wood!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 10:31PM
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Epiarch Designs

I would highly recommend fiberglass products where weather swings from and conditions change. They do not have the weight a solid wood door does, but it will be more insulated, less upkeep, can look just as good depending on the brand you get. Thermatru doors look great, and are some I would recommend.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 8:54AM
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crazySN thanks for asking this...I've been trying to find a good fiberglass 8'0" door that is 42" wide, and I can't find one in the style I am looking for. Actually, the designer had drawn in a 48" door, but I can't find anything that wide. I was starting to look at custom wood doors, but had the same concerns about energy efficiency and maintenance. I was looking online and came across Borano...their quote wasn't as high as I was expecting for a solid mahogany door and they had a style I liked, but it's still wood. I'd be interested to hear from folks with wood doors, or if anyone knows of a manufacturer that will make a custom fiberglass door.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 3:41PM
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Depends on if the door would be protected from the elements like under a porch. I put fiberglass in our last house and still had to replace it 4 years later. The piece between the door and sidelight rotted to the point that the whole thing moved when you opened the door. But, it was a euopean style with no front porch. Also, the door faced SW so it got full sun all day. The new door set was stained fiberglass. In 3 years the poly was faking off and looked terrible. I have purchased a solid mahogany double door set for our current build. It will be protected by a very large front porch. (both from water and sun)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 4:03PM
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Besides the spam. No Va is not such a harsh climate that you shouldn't have wood doors. The best plan is coverage regardless of door type. What direction does it face? Because anything facing south/west with no overhang is going to be an issue. A front door is pretty important to have something that looks and feels nice.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 6:02AM
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We've had a fiberglass front door within an east facing porch for twenty years.....it's been the most trouble of any door we've had in our ten different homes. Professional painters are not able to consistently maintain a presentable exterior finish. My wife wants a solid mahogany door on our upcoming construction.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 9:29AM
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We went with Knotty Alder. We have a rounded top double door 6'x8' and a "friends" entrance with a single rounded top 3'x8'. We live in a very cold Midwestern climate, but we chose wood for the look and the price. Jeld-Wen's fiberglass faux wood doors in similar styles (1/2 lite with Flemish glass, V-grooves, and Bronze wrought iron) were 4x what we paid!!

I should also add both of our front entries are covered, which allowed us to choose wood.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 1:29PM
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The largest maintenance problem is the paint on the door, and fiberglass doors get painted just like wooden doors.

The R value is a little higher, but the weatherstripping used to prevent infiltration is far more important than the R value.

There are numerous ways to retrofit older wooden doors to seal as well as newer doors.

Conservation technology, Baltimore, MD (formerly Resource Conservation Technology) has a lot of weatherstripping seals available for new and retrofit.

Look under "energy efficient building" and then "weatherseals."

Here is a link that might be useful: Conservation Technology

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 2:43PM
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