blogpost
Front Door 101: The Pro’s and Con’s of Different Materials
author Anna Sitta, March 26, 2018

The look, feel and features of a property’s front door are more important than most might think.

To begin, it is important to note that the front door is one of those subtle elements that can actually make a big difference to the overall feel of a property. Our experts point out that a property’s front door can actually be responsible for significant fluctuations in the value of the property, while naturally also contributing to its curb appeal. Potential tenants will likely take notice of a damaged, flimsy or older-looking entryways and often interpret this as a sign of lacking interest in upkeeping the property for the well-being of tenants. Additionally, a damaged front door can make it easy for burglars to identify a certain property as one that they could successfully break into, which poses a serious threat to the safety of the tenants and the property’s condition alike.

With countless design and material options, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to purchasing a new door and evaluating the pro’s and con’s of different types of doors available. While purchasing a brand new door should certainly not be a routine expense - and whether or not you are currently in the process of purchasing a new door for your property - this article should be a reminder for thoroughly checking your front door(s) and assessing what kind of front door would be ideal for your needs, budget and expectations.

Wooden Front Doors
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Pro’s:
1. Ultra-customizable - wooden doors can be tailored to match countless designs, shapes and color schemes, while also being able to house additional decorative elements, such as glass mosaics and panels
2. Flexible price points - the unique natural look of wood can be accessible for most budgets as different varieties of woods are available at a variety of price points
3. Unique look - Many property owners and designers find wood to be worth the investment as it presents a naturally variegated and “high-end” refined look that other man-made materials cannot replicate

Con’s:
1. Weather-sensitive - wood is a material that is prone to be affected by its exposure to the weather and other environmental elements. Direct sunlight can fade the natural coloring of the wood, and high-moisture levels in the air (or from precipitation alone) can lead to warping and even rotting of the wood
2. High-maintenance - to ensure that the wood ages well and without being damaged by the natural elements discussed above, it’s essential to regularly treat the wood. Tinctures and sealants should be regularly applied by a reliable maintenance professional, which will be an added maintenance cost to consider.
3. High-price for top-quality - some wood varieties are naturally more resistant and sophisticated-looking, which contributes to their one-of-a-kind appeal and/or ability to last through the years without needing major attention. Premium varieties, such as mahogany or cedar, will be considerably pricier.

Steel Front Doors
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Pro’s:
1. Super safe - when it comes to property intrusions, reinforced steel doors are known to be safest against breaches, allowing for increased confidence in a property’s overall defenses against unwanted visitors.
2. Affordable but effective - when considering its wood and fiberglass counterparts, steel stands out as being far more affordable, while still offering the safety element that it shares with fiberglass and being much more low-maintenance than wood and its issues with exposure and aging.

Con’s:
1. Insulation is not its forte - steel is a known conductor of heat and electricity, which makes it problematic when it comes to wanting to keep a property’s interior temperature at a set level. Steel will contribute to heating up the space when heated by outside temperatures and/or sunlight and will struggle to keep the cold out during the winter months. Insulating layers and treatments can improve this downside, but they will come at an added cost.
2. Denting - steel can easily become dented or chipped following impact, and this often results in unappealing marks that are difficult to completely erase. To effectively get right of the unappealing look of those visible surface damages, an entirely new door might need to be purchased.
3. Rusting - while steel is not as sensitive to moisture as wood, it can easily rust over time as it is exposed to moisture and precipitation. Our experts encourage consulting the manufacturer to understand whether and how professional treatments can help with rust-proofing.

Glass Front Doors
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Pro’s:
1. Unique look - solid glass doors can be made to match a great variety of preferred styles, with varying cuts, shapes and opacity available to be reproduced as desired.
2. Luminosity - glass allows natural light to enter the home like no other material can, which some property owners find to be a valuable addition to the look and feel of their property.

Con’s:
1. Fragility - experts agree that glass is naturally delicate even when it is reinforced, making it essential to be mindful of potential scratches, cracks and chipping that could easily occur.
2. Privacy - while some might be excited about the way glass allows for natural light to illuminate the home, some can be put off by the way glass makes it easy for passerby’s to peak inside a property
3. Questionable safety factor - glass door made for the purpose of being utilized as a property’s front door are generally reinforced to make it difficult for intruders to gain access by easily shattering the glass surface. This being said, glass remains rather fragile and much more easy to break than wood, steel, and fiberglass combined.

Fiberglass Front Doors
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Pro’s:
1. Versatile - fiberglass paneling is man-made, which allows for creating a variety of unique textures and styles. Fiberglass doors can be made to resemble a natural wood grain, or also present smooth and glossy or matte and satin surfaces for distinguished coloring that can match a variety of architectural elements.
2. Resistant - many property owners choose fiberglass front doors as opposed to wood because they are not vulnerable to discoloration and damage from exposure, while still closely resembling the look of wood. They are also more resistant to wear and tear than their steel counterpart.
3. Low-maintenance - these door should be maintained occasionally as they age, but they do not require sealants to be regularly applied, which does help with saving considerable amounts when it comes to maintenance expenses.
4. Secure - our experts confirm that fiberglass doors are just as secure as their steel counterpart, which allows them to stand strong and dent-free following forced impact
5. Efficient - while all door types can be treated to add insulating properties, fiberglass vastly surpasses wooden and steel door when it comes to insulation. While steel will always struggle with efficiently insulating and wood is vulnerable to temperature and humidity changes, fiberglass is not affected by any of these issues. Having optimal insulation can help ensure lower energy use and expenses as it allows for a property to easily remain hot or cool temperatures as desired.
6. Affordable - while aesthetic additions - such as integrated wood or glass decors - will rise costs, basic fiberglass door models are generally rather affordable

Con’s:
1. Pricey add-ons - fiberglass doors are fairly affordable, but can get expensive as they are further customized with the addition of decorative elements or coats.