Door Materials: How to Choose the Right Front and Interior Door for Your Home

by Purvin Arshad

Looking to replace your front or interior doors? It’s not a big deal once you know all the pros and cons of the various door materials. The traits that make an exterior door great and ones that make an interior door exceptional. Believe it or not, both types of doors are very different. So without further delay let’s get started.

Exterior Entry Doors

External entry doors are most usually fabricated out of wood, fiberglass, or steel. It is commonly crafted out of multiple materials. A wooden door with a metal frame for extra security and a glass window for viewing is a common sight.

Wood

wood exterior door

Natural wood portrays the charm of tradition, quality, and warm welcoming. You can choose from a variety of woods like walnut, oak, teak, mahogany, and cedar, etc. Stains allow you to showcase the natural grain of the wood and further enhance its natural beauty. Although solid wood doors are very popular, they do have a tendency to warp and crack over time.

So if you don’t want to deal with the twisting and turning of wood but still love the wood look. Then wood doors made from engineered-wood cores topped with a layer of dense veneer are for you. The added benefit of these doors is the insulation and durability they offer. Besides saving energy, the insulation also helps cut on any outdoor noise.

The beauty of wood doors is that it is an easy material to work with. A wood door can easily be customized and made to fit any size. You can also paint it with your favorite color after a period of freshness.

There is no question that wooden doors have a lot more character compared with metal doors. They don’t show dents like metal. They also require regular maintenance to protect them against natural elements like temperature fluctuations and moisture.

Steel

steel exterior door

Previously steel doors were more commonly used on commercial properties, however now trends have changed. In part this is due to the increasing concerns over the carbon footprint humanity is leaving behind.

Steel doors are remarkable when it comes to energy efficiency. This may seem counterintuitive considering metal is a conductor. However, the tight-fitting frames coupled with good insulation prevent any exchange of heat. Steel doors are the most energy-efficient compared to wood, aluminum alloy, or vinyl and at par with fiberglass. Obviously, there will be variations from door to door depending on insulation thickness and glazing selected.

There are a large variety of steel doors. You can choose different wood grain textures, designs, paint finishes, and with/without glass. The doors constructed out of 20-gauge steel, are among the strongest available. They offer your family the greatest protection compared to any other kind of door.

You only need very little maintenance for steel doors. Although if the galvanization is scratched, it will start to rust. Steel doors are also prone to denting. While the scratches and dents can be treated with fairly simple repairs, this will be a regular thing.

They are much more affordable compared to wooden doors and last almost forever. Cost is always an important factor when thinking of replacing quality interior and exterior doors. Steel doors run about the same price as a good-quality wood door. They are cheaper than fiberglass.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass doors are available in an extensive range of styles. You can select from wood grain texture to factory-finished paint coating. There is something to suit every personality. They are immune to shrinking, cracking, or warping, making them suitable for all types of climates.

Like steel front doors, they are excellent when it comes to energy efficiency. Unlike steel, fiberglass is lightweight. This puts less stress on hinges, hence reducing the chances of sticking.

Fiberglass doors offer significantly more security than wood doors, but not quite the same level as a steel door. Adding extra deadbolts and the use of strong hinges further improve against forced entries.

Fiberglass is absolutely the lowest maintenance front door option available. It resists scratches and dents, there no expansion or contraction due to changes in weather. The best part is easy maintenance, requiring nothing more than periodic wipe down with soapy water.

In terms of cost, they are more expensive than high-quality pure wood entrance doors. They make up for that in terms of ease of maintenance and energy efficiency.

Aluminum

aluminum door

Aluminum is a naturally lightweight material with inherent strength. If you think about airplanes that are mostly fabricated out of aluminum, you will understand what I mean by strength. It is lightweight and easy to work with. So that saves your money in installation. Aluminum doors are also easy to customize. Its fundamental strength means it will last for generations; install an aluminum front door and forget about it.

For those concerned with the negative impact on the environment. Aluminum can be recycled countless times and it only uses 5% of the energy needed to excavate and process new aluminum. Seventy percent of the aluminum ever extracted is still in use today. Aluminum doors generally have little insulation, making them just average when it comes to energy saving. They resist corrosion and are easy to maintain.

When choosing aluminum doors, ask the manufacturer what kind of treatment the door has. Generally, fluorocarbon coating is one of the best treatments for aluminum doors. It has excellent resistance to fading, corrosion, UV, and crack. It can withstand harsh weather without peeling.

Aluminum doors are a fairly inexpensive option. Just keep in mind that at higher temperatures the metal expands. This may lead to issues with a door closing properly and locks sticking. Over time they do develop scratches and bumps which require minimal maintenance every few years.

Interior Doors

Interior doors are very different from your main entry door. Quality exterior doors must safeguard against any intrusion and as such need to be much stronger than interior doors.

They also have to directly face the full impact of nature, while interior doors don’t need to. This is why exterior doors are specially treated to prevent rain, snow, UV light, and so on.

If not solid then exterior doors will definitely have insulation to protect against wind and drafts and conserve energy. Exterior doors will always be heavy, unlike interior doors. Unless specifically sought after, interior doors are almost always hollow. This is because they don’t face the elements.

They are more about aesthetic appeal and physical separations between rooms. Interior doors will have designs on both sides whereas exterior doors only have decorations on one side.

Interior doors tend to have a standard size of thirty inches whereas exterior ones are 36 inches or more.

Hollow Core Doors

This is the least costly option for interior doors. They are made from hard, honeycomb cardboard with wood or fiberboard frame encasing. But veneer finishes of oak, mahogany birch are more popular. The construction of hollow core doors makes them very lightweight, which means they are poor sound insulators.

For obvious reasons they are not very durable nor are they fire resistant. They are however good at resisting warping. As long as they are not in the exposure to abuse, they can last for decades.

MDF Doors

MDF door

MDF doors or medium-density fibreboard is engineered wood created out of 69 % recycled wood content. The combination of adhesives and primers makes a strong hardwood-like product. As opposed to traditional wood, MDF resists termites, moisture, and warping. However, it also lacks the texture you get with real wood. Its smooth finish makes painting it with any color you desire easy. Being a dense material it provides great soundproofing.

Metal and Glass Doors

metal and glass door

Metal doors can be grouped according to the types of protection they provide. For example, you can have fire-resistant doors, security doors, steel doors, etc. Commercial places may require fire protection or very high security, but may not be necessary for home interior doors.

It is very stylish to use metal and glass doors in homes. A metal frame with a glass insert makes a room look bigger and brighter. This option is also fairly inexpensive without having to give up style.

Once you have decided the materials that will best suit your doors and budget you can then turn your attention to styles. You can finalize the types of finishes, styles, number of panels, and how much glass to use. It is worthwhile to spend money on a heavy-duty entry door. Because it is your first line of defense against intruders.

Interior doors do not need the same level of security so hollow core doors may serve your purpose. Where soundproofing is necessary indoors like bedrooms, you can opt for an MDF door. As there is humidity in the kitchen and bathroom, a UPVC door or aluminum glass door will be the most suitable.

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