There are many different exterior entry doors on the market today. For the average homeowner it is difficult to try to find out what is a quality door and what will break down over a short time.
You should first decide whether you are looking for a wood, steel or fiberglass door and you should understand the pros and cons of each.
Wood doors may be traditional, but in all likelihood you are already replacing a wood door. Why replace an inefficient door that has been prone to warping with another inefficient door that is prone to warping, rotting and cracking?
Fiberglass doors can give you the warm look and durability of a wood door. There are good fiberglass products and there are some fiberglass products that just look like old plastic. Before making a decision on a fiberglass door, make sure you can see and feel a sample of the door.
Steel doors can be super high quality or they can be super low quality. Generally, the doors that you will find at the big box home improvement stores are going to be lower quality. You will want a door with a steel edge. Wood edge steel doors simply have a thin steel skin attached to them and compared to a quality door, they offer very little security for your family.
Look for a heavy gauge steel door. A .22 gauge door is a good, heavy thickness that will resist denting. Many companies sell .24 or even .26 gauge doors. Be careful. Unless you can be sure that you will never have to carry groceries in through these doors, you will need to be real careful so they don’t dent. Don’t settle for a gauge with a number greater than .22
HOT TIP: Some homeowners will make the mistake of purchasing their doors from a big box home improvement store thinking they will save money. These doors are often super low quality and they are marked up by the store. You will want to have a professional who will be responsible for the final product to sell you the door. If you don’t, you may find that you purchased the wrong jamb depth, height or width. These doors may never fit right in your opening. The clerk will tell you that they are warranted against that but the clerk isn’t offering to install it for you and come back if everything he or she tells you isn’t true. Their job is to sell you and they have sales quotas. Don’t be fooled.
Keep in mind that you will want one or two professionals installing your door — not the handymen that the big box stores have on their lists.
Is your steel door galvanized? If it does not have zinc adhered to it as part of the manufacturing process prior to being primed, you may find your door showing rust spots within a year or two of being installed.
So are steel doors good? The answer is sometimes. Be careful and ask the questions. A steel door can be the best door you could ever hope to own or it could end up being a temporary quick fix.