Finding the right exterior front door for your home can be an essential decision as it will affect the aesthetic and thermal efficiency. These two factors are so important when looking for a new front door so making the right decision should be properly researched beforehand. Hopefully, this post will help you make the right decision. Within this post, I’m going to talk you through the main door material types and their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.
If you are renovating your house, shopping for new entry doors will likely be on top of your list. Being one of the main focal points of your home, you should spend a little time finding the best match for your style of home. Old front doors always appear to be among the top reasons for lower energy efficiency and higher utility bills so it’s important to also consider the thermal efficiency of your chosen door. This is why most homeowners consider installing new entry doors to boost energy efficiency, aesthetics and comfort.
This article shares all the benefits homeowners get with new exterior glass door installation whilst comparing all popular door frame materials to ensure you pick the best fit for your house. Not only will the right door look amazing but will also add curb appeal to your home and add significant value.
Table of Contents
- Why is choosing the right frame material for your door so important?
- How to choose the best front door for your house?
Why is choosing the right frame material for your door so important?
Frame material is pretty much the core of your new door that directly affects its energy efficiency, aesthetics, durability, configuration and of course, price. Hence, finding the perfect match for your preferences and house exterior is vital.
The most common frame materials for modern entry doors are:
Each of these materials has their own unique properties and will suit certain installations more than others. Let’s take a look at each to see where they might be used.
Wood exterior doors
Despite its complex maintenance, high price tag and very traditional appearance, many homeowners still prefer installing wood entry doors for their homes. That is because wood is the most natural-looking and eco-friendly frame material you can find. Timber can also be stained or painted any colour so you will have a vast range of options available in terms of design and style.
But with those benefits, timber framed doors can still be the most expensive frame material for exterior door replacement projects, with poor energy efficiency capabilities. Add glazing to the unit and the prices can shoot up even further. Prices will vary depending on the complexity of the design but can be as much as £2500 for the door alone. Timber as a material should be carefully looked after and annual maintenance is essential. Fresh coats of stain or paint should be applied to ensure protection from harsh weather conditions, both hot and cold.
Fibreglass exterior doors
A fibreglass entry door is made of a rigid insulation core and fibre-reinforced polymer. The sealing of this long-lasting material provides this door type with amazing durability without compromising the required flexibility and aesthetics.
As a material, fibreglass can be wielded in almost any shape, making it a perfect material for any front door ideas. These door models are durable and reliable and can withstand tremendous loads without getting cracked, shrunk, broken, dented, or rotted. But homeowners get much more than that:
- Best energy efficiency properties. Fibreglass doors are considered the most energy-efficient units among all available alternatives. Even if you prefer glass entry doors instead of solid ones, choosing a door made out of fibreglass guarantees decent savings on energy bills throughout the year.
- Aesthetically pleasing appearance. Fibreglass doors can perfectly mimic wood’s natural look, making these units a perfect fit for any traditional exterior.
- Low maintenance. The material is durable, robust, and not subject to deformations, rotting, scratches, or dents. Many fibreglass exterior doors have a modern weathertech feature, full-length composite stiles, and composite top & bottom rails to stop water infiltration on all sides.
Steel exterior doors
Steel doors are the go-to option for any homeowner who places security on top of the list. A steel frame is solid and heavy, so the doors made of this material perform exceptionally well at preventing burglar attempts, being almost impossible to break.
When it comes to energy efficiency, steel entry doors might not be the leader. However, they still offer decent savings since all modern models are made of galvanised steel and composite materials, providing a stable insulating function from the elements.
Moreover, steel doors are cheaper when compared to wood or fibreglass and coupled with a longer lifecycle, these units are trendy among homeowners looking for replacement doors on a budget.
Aluminium exterior doors
Aluminium is a great material for exterior doors due to its strength, low maintenance and the ability for precision-engineered parts. It can be powder coated for a durable, long-lasting finish in any RAL colour you chose which makes it a popular choice for many modern home designs.
The aluminium frame can support energy-efficient insulation and is considered an eco-friendly option as a construction material. This is because aluminium is readily available from 100% recycled materials. Prices can be on the higher side but can benefit the home in many ways.
PVCu front doors
PVCu is a type of plastic and a very popular choice for many homes, mostly due to the low prices. Manufacturing costs and low and installation is generally very easy.
The downside to this type of door is the movement of materials throughout the year. Heat can cause the material to expand and the colder months cause it to contract which can cause havoc on the smooth operation of your entrance doorway. We’ve had continuous issues with our back French doors which become almost inoperable during the summer due to the amount of expansion in the material.
PVCu doors are constructed with a sturdy steel frame, housed by a plastic outer finish and offer a medium amount of insulation. Thermal efficiency isn’t quite as good as some of the other options but for many houses would be considered suitable.
Composite front doors
Composite front doors are made up of several materials which in turn make for great insulators. Due to this construction method they are also considered to be very strong, making for a great security feature on your house.
The materials used in these types of doors generally include steel, uPVC, wood, foam and glass-reinforced plastics. They can be made to look a lot like a traditional timber door and offer other benefits like low maintenance, long lifespans and are very durable, especially when withstanding harsh weather elements.
Prices will vary but most will sit in the mid-range across all door types. They are a very sensible option for most homes due to their high performance in most areas. Strength, thermal and durability.
The only known downside to a composite door is the slight movement in materials during very hot weather. Slight creaking can be heard during the height of summer but this can generally be avoided during the installation. Make sure there and no issues immediately after installation and the door is operating smoothly before your installer leaves. Call them back immediately if things are not right after the first few weeks.
How to choose the best front door for your house?
Any door replacement project is a solid investment into your house, its energy efficiency, look and comfort. This means that new doors can be costly, and you should treat buying new entry doors as a long-term investment.
While you can always find cheap entry doors, their quality might be questioned and bring more problems than benefits. So despite choosing one of the above-mentioned materials for your door, make sure to check if any of your preferred models comply with the following industry requirements:
All exterior doors must meet or exceed the standards set to be recognized and approved as energy-efficient front doors by ENERGY STAR. As for today, these standards are:
- Min Energy Rating of 34 and higher, taking into account the customisation of your front door;
- Maximum U-factor W/m2∙K of 1.22 or less
Durability and warranty
Door replacement is not a project you want to have every year, so your new entry door should last at least 15-25 years, provided it is made of quality materials and installed correctly. Make sure to ask your installer for a warranty and read what it contains. Ideally, you should have both a 25-year product and labour warranty for any replacement door you buy and install. Moreover, it should have all the energy specifications of your product.
Appropriate colour scheme
Even though this is the last point here, it is still of utmost importance. Installing a door that perfectly matches your exterior and interior design is vital if you want to add aesthetics and increase the market value of your house.
While you can go with traditional paint in and out, such as White, Black, Beige or Brown, try experimenting with brighter or mute colour alternatives that can improve your curb appeal and provide a wow effect.