I frequently get the question: Why should I get a fiberglass door? The most important reason is durability. Now, I’m an old wood guy but you just can’t beat fiberglass doors for holding up.
Traditional wood doors are usually constructed by making a wood framework and assembling it around beveled wood panels that are slid into the frame during manufacture. Because these panels expand and contract with heat and moisture they are designed to “float” inside the framework. This means that there are joints all over the door that are potential points of water and air intrusion. Compounding the problem is that most of the production douglas fir doors are manufactured using very thin veneers as the top visible layer on the doors. This is ok if the door is not exposed to the elements but if it gets sun and especially rain Those joints will start failing and the veneers will start peeling in a very short time. Click on this picture to see all the points at which a wood door can fail:
In contrast, fiberglass door surfaces are moulded so that they don’t have any joints on them. They have a solid non-porous surface. This picture shows a ThermaTru six panel smooth fiberglass door similar to the wood door that I marked up before:
There are no joints or veneers…The skins are made from a liquid fiberglass product that is poured into a mould. Those vertical lines that you see on each side are an aesthetic addition to give the painters a stopping point when they brush in different directions. The tops and bottoms and even the side pieces of many of these fiberglass doors are made of a non-rotting composite material that will out perform wood for many years.
Fiberglass doors come in all of the same styles as the wood doors. The raised panel and moulding areas have crisp corners and step details, much like you would see in a real wood door.
The basic panel fiberglass doors are the same or less in cost than comparable wood doors.
There are probably more glass designs available, especially from Therma Tru, than there are in wood doors. Styles range from clear glass to traditional bevel glass to very modern angular styles. Typically, the larger the decorative glass panel is, the more expensive the door will be.
Another benefit of fiberglass doors is that they are energy efficient. They have a very dense industrial foam filling inside them that slows heat and cold transfer. They usually qualify for energy star rebates offered by your state or the federal government. When properly installed they will help keep your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Part two coming soon!