Some manufacturers have become so good at copying the look and feel of materials like wood that you could open and close a door for many years, thinking that is real oak or mahogany. You might come to find out later that it was an imitation, through your contractor or by yourself, especially if the door does not last. One of those doors that can perfectly mimic wood are fiberglass doors.
Fiberglass entry doors feature well-textured fiberglass skins with energy-saving insulations and a good finishing with many options to choose from. To match your house style, you can choose to include a glass or molding. Finding the right fiberglass doors for your home will require you to do a lot of research and reading, and this WindowTech Windows and Doors guide will make it easier for you. Take a gander.
1. What to Know Before Buying Fiberglass Entry Doors
a. A slab or pre-hung?
A slab requires you to attach the hinges, drill holes and hang the door on the existing jamb while the pre-hung has all the hinges installed, a threshold, and a weather-stripping system. You can choose to go for a factory-installed lock and latch. The only task remaining is for you to trim it to fit your house.
Fiberglass doors are durable. The glass and factory-finish can last you over 10 and 20 years, respectively. They also come with a warranty of one and three years. Some have a lifetime warranty where the maker will replace it for you for as long as it stays in your house.
c. Where to buy
You can check the doors in big-box stores. If you are after a big selection of hardware and glass, an independent door supplier would be the best for you.
2. Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Doors
- Energy-efficient– while wood is about R-2, the fiberglass is R-6. This is due to the insulating foam inside and this makes fiberglass exterior doors excellent insulator.
- Stable– Fiberglass doors are not affected by water and cold, so do not expect the doors to shrink and swell during winter and summer.
- Low maintenance– the only maintenance this door will need is wiping it with a dump cloth to keep the coat clean. It does not require repainting, neither does the color fade.
- It can crack– although the material used to make fiberglass exterior doors is hard, a fiberglass door might not take a hard hit from a golf ball and bangs when the door is being delivered. Also, the doors that have wood stiles and rains absorb water and start rotting. The skin will even start peeling away from the frame.
- It might not fit– in some cases, fiberglass does not fit in the openings that are not square. This even becomes worse because the door cannot be trimmed. Some only allow you to cut them at the top or bottom. So, when ordering your door, you need to take the right measurements for the opening and know the shape.
3. Comparing Fiberglass and Wood Door
The natural will, in most cases, take the lead. However, it is a different case here because wood is more prone to water and insects. With time, the water causes sticking and swelling, which results in rotting. This reduces the lifespan of the door. Wood is also vulnerable to sun, and too much scorching will cause the paint to fade. While this happens to wood, fiberglass does not rot or swell neither does the paint fade.
4. Comparing Fiberglass Doors With Steel Doors
Steel conducts heat, and on the touch, it can either be hot or cold. Manufacturers have strived to make the best steel by galvanizing, but this does not last long, and if this coat falls off, the door is prone to rust. Again, steel cannot make a better door than fiberglass.
5. Fiberglass Door Designs
- Craftsman style– they have a recessed panel and wood grain texture. Spot some patterned and leaded-glass lights and dentil shelves.
- Colonial style– characterized by a molded raised panel that won’t need recalling because fiberglass does not expand or contract. It is mostly used in vintage homes.
- Victorian style– it has a 19th-century look. Look for the oak grain pattern and tall arched lights.