Why Fiberglass Doors Are Better – Part 2

As far a security goes I believe that the durable fiberglass surfaces of these doors combined with solid wood blocks in the lock installation area will make these doors just as secure as a wood panel or solid core door.  I am looking for testing to back up this belief up or prove me wrong…Have not found it yet but I will let you know results as soon as I find them.

One of the most important features of fiberglass doors is their warranty.  Depending on the manufacturers these doors are guaranteed for at least twenty years.  Some carry a lifetime warranty.  There are limitations of course but consider that most typical wood doors are warranted for just one year.  Less if the rep comes out and sees that you have excessive sun or rain and an overhang that doesn’t match their formula.  A typical four to six foot overhang is not enough to be considered sufficient for door and therefore warranty protection.  I have installed fiberglass french doors on the back of two story houses with direct sun and rain contact and no overhang.  After six years I went back to do some other door work for the folks and checked out my french doors….They looked as good as new!!  In contrast  here is a picture of a wood french door  that I replaced with fiberglass doors recently. The owner said that the doors had only been in place for six or seven years….Just check out the damage:

One limitation on fiberglass door warranties that should be noted:  While the doors are warranted for twenty years or more, the glass inserts are usually only guaranteed for ten years.  It varies from different manufacturers from ten up to lifetime but it is worth noting.  Still a vast improvement over wood door guarantees.

All fiberglass doors can be painted just like wood doors.  According to the manufacturers, ThermaTru and Plastpro and Jeldwen, their smooth paintable lines are ready for top coat…You don’t even have to prime them.  They look great painted.

You might be tempted to buy a steel door instead of fiberglass.  They are usually a bit cheaper and just as energy efficient and carry the extended warranty that fiberglass does but they can dent and will rust if the finish is damaged by scratching or chipping.  The steel surface will absorb heat and could be hot to the touch in direct sunlight.  The manufacturing process is stamping rather than moulding.  This means that the corners and raised panel areas will have more of a rolled look and not be as crisp as fiberglass doors.

Part 3 coming soon!

12 Responses to “Why Fiberglass Doors Are Better – Part 2”

  1. Deb says:

    > Hi,
    > I was just on your website and read that Plastpro warranties fiberglass doors for 25 years. Just had Lowe’s here and they give a Lifetime warranty on their fiberglass PlastPro doors.
    > They said that Plastpro was better than the Therma Tru only in that there is NO wood at all- in the ProPlast- and the Thermatru fiberglass has some wood on the edges.
    > Is this true? Do u think that PlastPro is better than the ThermaTru- in that I cannot have any wood or rot, as the door can and will get wet. The steel door I have has rotted, alont the edges- and I am replacing it. Thanks for you guidance,
    > Deb

    • TheDoorGuy says:

      Hi Deb,
      Thank you for your inquiry.
      I did a little research and found that the Plastpro warranty varies a little between their different door series. Here is a link to the warranty page on their website: http://www.plastproinc.com/fiberglass-door-features/fiberglass-door-warranties.html . All but two of their brands/series carry a lifetime warranty. The smooth skin and white oak lines carry the 25 year warranty….Personally, I think that a 25 year warranty is pretty much a lifetime warranty but hey, I’m an old guy!
      I don’t know that I would say that Plastpro are a better door overall than the ThermaTru but the fact that they do not have any exposed wood on their doors at all is a good feature, mostly for outswing doors exposed to the weather. For inswing doors I really don’t think that it makes much difference.
      Getting away from your steel doors is a great idea. They are an outdated technology.
      I hope that helps a bit….Holler back with ? or comments.

      • Deb says:

        Thanks so much for your reply. It figures that I have to have the smoothskin finish, and therefore the lesser warranty- 25 years….- my development is coded that way, and all the doors must be uniform.
        But my other major concern is if this door is “hurricane impact rated’….I live in FL, and would need a really good door to withstand very high impact winds.
        Will the Plastpro 6 panel Smoothskin door hold up in a hurricane?

        The salesman is the one who told me that the ThermaTrue 6 panel door has some wood at the bottom, and therefore said that the Plastpro was better because my door gets sprinkled with neighboring sprinklers. That caused it to rot. Fiberglass will avoid that- but ThermaTru makes them with wood around the frame. Is this true?

        • TheDoorGuy says:

          Hi Deb,
          I live in California and have very little experience with hurricanes and doors.
          I did a little noodling around online and found a couple of links that might prove helpful:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-s0vO69eQY youtube video about Plastpro doors.
          http://coast-force.com/ An independent Florida based company that does hurricane related construction projects.
          http://www.columbiaaluminumproductsllc.com/catalog/ This is the weatherstripping company that I use …. Page 81 has hurricane rated Tastragal.
          I suggest that you deal with a well established independent door and window specialty shop in your area. They will be more closely connected with their installation contractors and you stand a better chance of getting quality work.
          ThermaTru has wood on the sides. They have a composite product similar or same as Plastpro on top and bottom. For that reason I suggest the Plastpro doors for heavy weather applications. Plastpro makes a composite door jamb material that would be a good investment. Make sure to seal the ends of door jambs and the tops and bottoms of doors.
          Take a look at my comments on another french door question:
          http://thedoorguy.com/blog/french-door-basics/#comments scroll down to last question and response for similar situation to yours.
          I hope that helps a bit….Best of luck with the project!!

  2. Deb says:

    I called Lowe’s back and asked about the warranty. They said the model I am getting is a lifetime warranty- however her’s the catch. i was installing a replacement door- and no frame. if a storm hit- I don’t know if my insurance would pay for a door in which the frame was not replaced, which now includes the price of a permit.
    My frame is in perfect condition, however, i was told by someone that just replacing a door, while a good idea, may not cover me as far as the insurance goes.

    • TheDoorGuy says:

      I only know doors….I don’t know insurance!
      Check with your insurance broker and enjoy your nice new door!

  3. Deb says:

    Is it a mistake to just replace a door without replacing the frame?
    But it does seem like Proplast is the way to go for sure.
    Thanks, deb

    • TheDoorGuy says:

      Assuming that your frame is in good condition, fitting door to that frame is a good, cost effective solution. Replace the door shoe and weatherstripping and seal bottom and top of door. Should be good for many years.
      Plastpro would be best in the situation that you describe.

  4. Deb says:

    By “door shoe” u mean the threshold on the bottom?
    I was concerned about putting a fiberglass door where the old steel door is now. The frame is in excellent condition.
    I was just concerned with putting in a new fiberglass – when a pre-existing steel door is now.

    I am concerned about not replacing the frame as one installer said that most people replace the frames when they replace the doors. The door is an upgrade for sure, but since he mentioned his concern, I thought I would run that by u. He said the Proplast door is the better door for sure. The difference in cost is only about $150.
    However- If I replace the frame- that would require a permit and the cost now rises to twice the price, from $600 to around $1200 which would include the permit and the frame.

    • TheDoorGuy says:

      The door shoe is attached to the bottom of the door and has vinyl fins on it that create the seal on the threshold which is attached to the slab.
      As long as your residential steel door fits in the opening, a fiberglass door will fit the same way….Just need to line up hinges and locks with existing cutouts.
      If the frame is in good condition and is reasonably plumb and level, there is no need to replace it. Probably !/2 of the exterior doors that I install are on existing frames. People without the tools or skills to fit door to existing opening will tell you that you have to replace the frame.

      • Deb says:

        Well, there’s been a turn of events. here is hurricane country- this past march- u cannot get a door impact rated, unless u replace the frame too. So in order for my insurance to hold up- with an impact rating, I have to replace both.
        I spoke to the door installer, who works/subcontractor for Lowe’s, and he said that it is always better to install both- as the overall fits better and more likely my insurance company could have nothing to say in the event of damage. To get an impact rating here now, u have to replace both. My neighbors all went and just replaced the slabs- but i have to say, I want the fiberglass- not the steel….and being that I am changing to the Fiberglass, upgrading, I want the impact rating which I won’t get unless I change the frame with the new fiberglass door , or put the same steel door in as is there now.
        So- better to be safe than sorry….
        How much do u think this Proplast Fibergalss 6 panel smoothskin door and frame + installation should cost? ballpark? I know I will have to add in the extortion fee for the permit!

        • TheDoorGuy says:

          I cannot speak to pricing. Please check with established local full service door shop for a competitive bid.
          Best of luck with the project!

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