The fiberglass doors of yesteryear were inferior products that were impossible to paint or stain and fell apart quickly. Today's fiberglass doors are infinitely better quality and last much longer, but like any product, they do have their pros and cons. Steel, however, is the most popular material for doors, accounting for about 50% of the market. Before you make your choice, it's a good idea to compare the pros and cons of each type of door.
The doors themselves are moderately priced, but much more expensive than a steel door. If you have an older home whose door frame is not square, you will have to spend more for a trimmable fiberglass door or replace the entire frame, which can be costly.
In testing, fiberglass doors resisted wear and tear better than steel doors. They also resist denting, which is a common problem with steel doors. However, they can crack when subjected to impact, so they probably are not the best doors for areas with hurricanes, tornados or other severe weather that tosses things around. In fact, many hurricane-prone areas require steel doors, so check with your local building authorities beforehand.
Fiberglass doors will need to be refinished periodically, which is a complicated process that is best done after removing the door. Steel doors can be painted in place in a very short period of time. However, you may first have to repair dents and scratches by filling, sanding and priming them.
Steel is your best choice for security. Steel doors are stronger than fiberglass, do not warp or crack, and are almost impossible to kick in.
Because steel doors eventually rust, they can wear out faster than fiberglass doors. However, a well-maintained steel door will last many years if dents and scratches are quickly repaired to prevent rust and it is painted regularly will last for many years.
Steel doors with rigid foam cores compare favorably to fiberglass doors in R-value, with both being an R5 or R6. Weatherstripping either type can reduce energy loss from air leaks. The energy efficiency rating will usually be posted on the door, or ask your door installation professional to find it for you.
Both fiberglass and steel doors have their good and bad qualities. If budget or security are your main concerns, steel doors are your best choice. If appearance and low maintenance are important, then fiberglass is a good option. Be sure to check with your local door installation professional or building authority to ensure that fiberglass doors are approved in areas with severe weather. For more information, contact a professional like those at Port Orchard Glass.