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Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Posted by money_pit2007 (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 23, 07 at 8:00

I currently have a few wooden doors on my new "old" house that are in terrible shape. One has some cracked glass, and all of them are warped and swell when it's really humid (I live in the NE, on the water).

So I'd like to replace them. My question is, which would you recommend for replacement? I've seen steel and fiberglass doors in Home Depot and Lowes, often under $300. Are these worth it? And which would you recommend - a steel door, which I would think wouldn't be too energy efficient, or a fiberglass door?

Any help is appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Like their windows, I'm not a big fan of the cheap doors sold by HD, Lowes etc. I've replaced too many that have warped molding around the glass in both figerglass and steel, dents and dings in the 24 and 26 gauge steel doors and warping in the fiberglass due to daily exposure to the heat from the sun. With that said, it's not going to make a big difference either whether you choose steel or fiberglass as long as both have an insulated core. If you want the door painted, I'd make sure to buy one painted by the factory as opposed to just primed. It's makes a huge difference in the appearance.

If you decide to go with them anyway, make sure you get it with a new construction frame, threshold etc. Then pray they assign you the "good" installer.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I still haven't decided what to do here. My dilemma is that I have two very old wooden doors that need to be replaced. They're terribly drafty in the winter, and now in the summer, they're so warped it's hard to open and close them (I live near the ocean, and it's typically very humid).

I'm on a very limited budget, having to also replace many of my windows (same problems - warping, drafty, cracked glass, broken). Would you buy one GOOD door (wood, fiberglass or steel), or would you just buy a HD special and at least have something better than you already had? Also - would you also invest in a good storm door as well?

Just trying to prioritize things... any advice is much appreciated.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Sounds like any new door would be better than what you have now. If you still want to go the low end HD route, go with a steel door. At least it won't warp like the other junk they sell. A storm door would be helpful, but I'd be careful in the summer if you get much direct sun. Take the storm panel out and put the screen in or it's possible to recieve a really nasty burn.

I'd also watch the installer like a hawk. Make sure he gets the door square and plumb and uses lots of insulation. Make sure they include capping the trim with coil as part of the job. Insist they use Quad caulk, too.

While there are some good sub-contracted installers working for HD, it's very hit and miss whether you'll be "assigned" a good one. If you have a problem with the install, you must be relentless with your demands that they fix it.

Good luck.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

skydawggy, is this your opinion of ALL the Feather River fiberglass doors from Home Depot? Would a $1000 Feather River door be cheap/low end and tend to warp? The one I'm looking at has the "center arch" glass insert. Thanks,
Monica


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Probably not. I was responding to the post about an "under $300." fiberglass door. I have just replaced too many of the low end hardware store doors to have a good opinion of them. Feather River is a decent mid grade door.

I'm just very partial to Precision Doors. They are the best out there IMO.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

skydawggy: are you still around? What makes Precision the best? We're building new in the humid southeast and want to use fiberglass doors because there's not the problems with movement in response to either humidity or heat. But, when last I priced Precision they were just out of sight. We need 8 entry doors. They're all sheltered at least 5 feet back under porch roofs.

If you had to pick a second and maybe third manufacturer of fiberglass doors (less expensive), who would it be?


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

There are a lot of misleading facts on what type of door the DIY stores sell. In most cases the cheaper "Utility" type doors are bottom of the line, pop can thin skinned doors. Their upper end or mid-ranged doors are basically not a bad worthless door. In most cases they are made by respectful manufacturers stamped with the stores brand name. I'm not up to date with HD's door supplier. I'm not a fan of their installation program or the people that run it. So I can't offer a fair opinion in their favor.

Lowes on the other hand puts food on my table. The installation program here is run well and we get paid well for what we do. Since I deal with Lowes daily I can offer a fair opinion on their products. Their off the shelf steel and nominal sized doors carry the Reliabilt name on them. The doors are made to Lowes standards by Jeldwen and then stamped with the Reliabilt sticker and information tag. The Reliabilt name is just a fictitious name Lowes uses to tag their own line of doors. Jeldwen also makes the upper end fiberglass doors you see with the higher price tags. They also carry the Therma-Tru brand which is usually provided by a local supplier used in each region. These are two manufacturers that sell a lot of doors and receive great respect around the nation.

The glass used in the doors is really the same across the industry. The "Lite-Kits" or window frames used with the glass can differ from one to the other. Each manufacturer uses different suppliers for their glass products. It just depends on where they buy it from. Over the past 25 years these kits have made some huge changes in what they're made with. The old style kits had serious issues with heat and direct sunlight. The major issues were related to heat build up between the entry door and the storm door. If both doors were closed and latched without any venting capabilities, the kit would literally melt from the heat. We would test the heat range between the doors back in the late 70's and early 80's to see how bad it would get. During the Summer months we would test a house with a southern exposure and dark colored paint. The temperature would reach anywhere from 125 to 150 degrees. This kind of heat would melt the kit and also delaminate the door. Delamination is the breakdown of the bonding of the door skin and the insulation. Ounce this occurs the door is junk and needs replacement.

Todays foamed in place doors and more durable kit material have eliminated a lot of these issues. The heat build up between doors is still a big issue and can cause all kinds of problems. It's very important to keep your storm screen open at least three inches at the top in order to vent the heat build up. There are some door manufacturers out there that will void your warranty if you install a storm door on their entry system. Make sure you check this out when purchasing a new door.

In most cases you can get a good door for a great value if it's a door you can buy off the shelf. This value is based off the abundance of doors they buy from their manufacturer. This price is only for certain models they carry in the stores. If you want anything different than what's on the floor, get out the checkbook. You'll pay more for anything special ordered.

The last and most important issue is as skydawggy pointed out earlier, installation. Expensive doors are junk if not installed properly. Your rolling the dice when you go through the DIY stores in most areas.

Money pit go with the fiberglass door over the steel door. The steel door can rust away where the fiberglass door won't. It's also much more durable and if stained properly looks exactly like wood. Good Luck!!!


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A few more issues

About a year ago Consumer Reports magazine compared wood, steel, & fiberglass doors. They concluded that they all have their advantages, but fiberglass was to them the overall best choice for the long term.

Statistically speaking, nowadays steel doors outsell wood & fiberglass for exterior doors.

Most glass used for steel & fiberglass doors is in the form of a "lite kit" as Guy previously mentioned. Unfortunately, those same lite kits often have the shortest-lived sealants used for sealing an insulating glass unit (single seal PIB). Look for a decent warranty on the glass to hopefully ensure longevity. Twenty years or more non-prorated would be nice.

Most steel and fiberglass doors are prehung in fingerjointed primed wood door frames. Yuck. After a number of years the fingerjoints can start to show if the frame isn't properly maintained. You may wish to consider ordering a clear, non-fingerjointed frame, or better yet a clad door frame to eliminate this variable. It will cost more though ($50-$100).

Oberon or Guy, any observations on the IG seal used on steel & fiberglass doors?


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

after reading about all the goodness of fiberglass doors and how they do not dent or warp, I bought a set of double doors. During our first winter, one of the doors warped - the top edge bends inwards leaving a gap for the cold wind to blow in.

I want people to know that you will NOT get any support from a local company called Classic Openings. The old man was convinced there was something else wrong and was not helpful AT ALL. So I contacted Therma-Tru directly. They sent a professional to check the door and determined that it was indeed a defective door. 8 months later,
Thermo-Tru sends a replacement door -- to Classic Openings. These people calls me up, tell me to take off my old door and go into the store to swap out with the new one. They actually suggested I put up a plastic cover. The original doors that I bought were delivered, however for this replacement I need to do all the work. Doors cost me $2800 total.

Basically just want to let folks know:

1) fiberglass doors can warp
2) therma-tru was somewhat supportive
3) Classic Openings in Irving, TX has NO concept of customer
support. You are on your own.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

ti009

That's why I like Precision doors. When you look at the Precision parts next to the Therma-Tru, or any other manufacturer, it a no brainer which is the better quality door.

Contrary to what some may think, Precision offers a 20 gauge galvinized steel door with a lifetime warranty that covers everything including rust. Steel ball-bearing hinges, lifetime Schlage hardware or optional Emtek Designer hardware, baked on factory paint and options galore. Precision also offers a very high quality fiberglass door and even a stainable steel door, all with lifetime warranties.

Most of the hardware store doors I've seen are 24-26 gauge. That's a huge difference from 20 gauge. Once you start adding in paint (if that's even an option) basic hardware (included with Precision) there isn't a huge difference in price if you shop around a little.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Also want to add, my neighbor also has a set of double fiberglass doors and guess what? they warp!! Not sure what brand his was but we notice the on a double door set, the one that swings tends to warp at the top.

So why are all these lying manufacturers out their saying these fiberglass doors do not warp? I notice a second set now that does. and if people pay more attention to theirs, I bet there will be alot more people with the same problem.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

The last two words in entry doors.

Precision Entry.

Michael


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

"The last two words in entry doors.
Precision Entry"

Amen. I cannot in good conscience recommend another brand to my customers based on experience. Anyone who looks at a Therma-Tru and thinks it's a good quality door, simply hasn't looked at a Precision Door. They aren't cheap but, nobody I'm aware of can match them for quality and service. Especially if you buy them from a reputable contractor and get a quality install and good labor warranty. We give 10 years on the install and very rarely have to make a service call.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

sky,

It's the ONLY entry door we show and or sell.

Michael


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I am a homeowner, I replaced all my doors with fiberglass Precision Doors. Two have opaque 3/4 glass, the front door has 1/2 decorative glass, 2 have full glass with interior blinds, and one has 1/2 glass with interior blinds. They have been in place for 2 years (I live in North Carolina). They function beautifully. The installer also did a great job, you can't overcome a bad install with a good door. My only complaint, talk about picky, is that the fiberglass buttons that are inserted around the glass framing are a slightly different white from the rest of the frame, I would guess a different dye lot. No one else ever notices.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

rileysmom,

Unfortunately the buttons are not made by the glass trim manufacturer. It's as close as possible in the world of manufacturing differences.

I'm glad you enjoy the doors.

Michael


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I would think fiberglass would be a better choice, because unlike steel doors, fiberglass one won't dent, rust or warp. Fiberglass also resists shrinking and swelling with temperature changes, allowing the finish to last three times longer than on a wood door. The solid polyurethane foam core offers five times greater insulation value than wood doors.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home & Garden


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I too live in NE about 4 miles from the water and I know exactly what you are talking about. Hands down fiberglass is the way to go. Do your self a favor and go to a lumber yard, not a big box home improvement store. You may pay a little more but the service and the advice is well worth it. Ask to see a BROSCO catalog (major distributor of mill products). Most lumber yards have seasoned long time employees who deal with builders and know what the benefits and caveats are.
I am not a lumber yard owner, employee or Pro builder but have done quite a few extensive renovations and have a brother who is a licensed builder who clued me in on the the difference


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I am considering the Precision Entry Door system with two 10 in sidelites. Precision Door Company is now Provia Door, and their cataloge is the same as before. The local company I wuld order thru comes recommended by 2 friends, however my husband wants to order thru HD here in Atlanta and use a low cost installer and order the door sold by HD manufactured by "Feather River." I read that Feather River Door coompany is now owned by a Korean Company and they have had defects, bad customer service and product low quality in the past. I would like any advice on the "you get what you pay for" line of thinking about the quality of Precision, now Provia Doors. It will cost $4000, which includes whole system (door w sidelites), hardware and custom install for an older home with parque entry foyer. Post comparison and advice. Please


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I had two Feather River exterior doors installed in April of 2009. In January of 2010 I noticed that one door was warped, and the other had a crack in the fiberglass. I called Feather River and was so mad to find out that they told me that the warranty was void because I did not paint the door. An exterior door that is sealed should not need to be painted. Why ruin a beautiful finish on the door by putting paint with brush strokes on it. I was in Home Depot yesterday (Salem NH) and I swear the same door in the store looked warped. I think with mine it is a problem for the doors that have glass at the top of the door. There is not enough structure up at the top of the door because of this.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

"The following exceptions are not covered and shall otherwise not be considered to be defects in material or workmanship as applied to this limited warranty: any damage or discoloration caused by not painting/finishing smooth or unfinished fiberglass doors within 6 months of installation."

Seems clear to me. Standard door warranty that i have seen a thousand times over.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I know I'm jumping in late on an old thread, but here goes anyway.

We had a Menard's Mastercraft fiberglass door with two sidelights installed several weeks ago. We paid extra to have it pre-finished, plus a continuous brass sill, ball-bearing hinges, and vinyl wrap over the brickmould. The door has a half-lite while the sides have full-lites. Cost of unit was around $2500. We hired an established local builder to install it. The door enters from a porch with a roof extending 8 ft from the door wall.

All has seemed fine, until today. It is a sunny day in frosty Michigan. I've been home all day and have been hearing assorted popping sounds coming from the entry. At one point, they were so frequent that I went to investigate.

I was surprised to see the sunshine beaming through a gap at the top of the door. The bottom was closed tight, but the top was warped inward to the point that it no longer made contact with the weatherstrip! The brisk outside air was spilling through.

From outside, the sun is hitting only the bottom half of the door due the porch roof, and there is a pronounced temperature difference between the warm sunny part, and the cold upper portions.

As the day progresses and the sun is moving away, the door is still popping, but seems to be recovering its shape. From outside I can now see that the gap between the door and the weatherstrip is nearly sealed.

Is this the norm for fiberglass doors? Did we just choose poorly? Ironically, we replaced the original steel door in our 8-year-old house because it was cold and drafty in the winter. (We are the second owners.)

Any advice?


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Hi - I live in NJ. I need to change my Entry door to the Kitchen - the original storm door came off a few months back and we are living with a exposed old wooden door..

I went into Lowes & HD and the guys there suggested Fibreglass door against Steel - as per them the Fibreglass doors dont dent etc etc and with small kids it will be better than Steel - while the contractor with whom I am likely to work with suggested STEEL only - says stronger and better than Fiberglass

So my Questions:
1 - Fiberglass or Steel
2 - Which Brand is better - Lowes sells MASONITE and HD sells JELD-WEN doors -
3 - This question is directed to Skydawgy and anyone who can guide as to where can I get a PRECISSON DOOR in NEW JERSEY - name of Retailer or website - etc...

THANKS


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I'd just call a couple of local contractors and ask if they carry Provia Doors, formally known as Precision Doors.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I am currently trying to find two exterior doors. I am having a hard time trying to find a supplier for a door with a fiberglass exterior and a wood clad interior. Looking for good quality with insulated glass and SDL (simulated divided light). Where should I look?


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

never heard of one made that way


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Are these entry or patio doors?


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Good point WoW, I was assuming entry doors, there are patio doors available in that or similar but I am yet to see nor hear of an entry door like that.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Some of the fiberglass doors look so much like real wood doors that wood is becoming less desirable. I just installed a Provia Signet fiberglass door on my own house and it looks terrific. Fiberglass is a much better exterior product than wood.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Lots of good info here. The only listed Provia installer here in Houston says they only do steel doors. How to interpret that? Does the heat/humidity here make fiberglass prone to warping? Lowes was more than happy to quote $1100 for a fiberglass door...


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

So I called them up to get a price, they sent out their sales guy, and quoted $3900 installed for a standard 36" steel door. (provia) No side lites or anything fancy. Wouldn't quote fiberglass. So no provia for me... =(


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Different dealers have different price structures.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

The 'steel' doors are very thin steel with an insulting core, and some wood in the knob area (on better ones).

Use fiberglass.

There is no real advantage to the thin steel.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

xanderak, I just had a provia dealer leave my house after giving me some quotes. Just jumped on google to find other people's.

20 gauge steel door, half glass (emerald style glass, door style 400), sidelights with half glass -- $3400. Also getting a back patio door so that may have helped bring the price down a bit for both. I'm surprised they're telling you $3900 for just a single door and nothing else.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

correction to my previous post --- the style door was 460, not 400. And so there is no confusion, the $3400 quote was for that door and sidelights, excluding the patio door I said I was also planning on getting.


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another correction!

Wow, I really stink at this. The style of door is 430, not 460! I swear this time!


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Provia make a great door, so does HMI . Both offer 20 gauge commercial grade steel doors as well as very high quality fiberglass. I think precision is now provia. Cant go wrong with HMI or Provia. Keep in mind, you won't find quality like this at home depot or lowes.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Precision = Provia

I would also throw Polaris in that group of good door manufacturers.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Yes, forgot about Polaris. Pilate also make a great window.
So yeah, Provable, HMI, and Polaris for doors.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I meant Polaris also makes a very good window , the ultra series. I had auto spell check and it didn't recognize provia or Polaris.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors - what can I use for my patio?

HI folks - I have a need for a single door that leads from my kitchen to my screened porch. (small house - no room for sliding door) What is the best door for that?

I want full view glass and the porch is medium-dark stained wood. We use this door all the time because it is one of our main entrances to the house. I have looked at provia and several people have steered me away from anderson and I don't like the handle on that door anyway. I'm asking the supplier to price out a high level Jeld Wen. I see that many people on here don't like Jeld Wen and I get that but are their top line doors OK? Any thoughts? Thanks, John - Arlington VA


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

You will be much better off with a Provia Door.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Provia or Therma Tru would get my vote, not Jeldwen unless your building a garage or a shed.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Or an outhouse.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

lol, true


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

We're replacing our entry door and sidelights and Provia is the company I am most interested in using.

I want a wood look exterior (Mahogany) and am wondering how long the finish will last. What should I know to ask the deliver who is installing and finishing the door to make sure I get the longest life out of it. I assume the fiberglass is painted somehow to get the brown wood look?


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one more thing

I should add I am in Chicago and the door faces west and will not have a screen or storm door over it


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Depending on how much sun you get will determine how long the finish lasts. My guess would be around 20 years, depending on how much deterioration you find acceptable. Fiberglass doors are stained to give them a woodgrained look. I would definitely go with the Signet fiberglass if you want a door that looks almost exactly like wood. It can be re-stained when you want to refresh it. When you re-stain it, make sure you use a quality stain with UV block. You will also need to strip off the old finish with a citrus based paint stripper.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

I have 3 therma-tru doors and am very happy with them.The main pro with fiberglass door is that it won't get dent as much as steel. I have one with wood grain finish and one textured. The appearance is also fantastic to enhance the overall look of our home.

Here is a link that might be useful: Replacement doors


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

We want to replace our garage doors with double French doors that both open. After reading all these comments I'm wondering how long they will last. We live in East Texas and the doors will be facing North. Our local lumberyard sells Masonite doors.....any thoughts or advice?


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Go with Provia , Homeguard, or HMI .
By the way, dont click on that link above, you will get a nasty computer virus.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

You can replace your old windows and doors with vinyl windows and doors as they can help you in lowering your electricity bills as well as they are more durable,click here to get best quality vinyl windows and doors.


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Ha...

Bring it MWM!!!


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

very good post, thanks for sharing!

Here is a link that might be useful: Chicas de mi ciudad


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RE: Steel vs. Fiberglass Doors

Kevinross1,
Your website GTA windows looks like a scam..be careful, looks like you will get a nasty computer virus if go to your scam site.


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