Wood Doors Vs. Fiberglass. How Do You Know?

How to decide between wood or fiberglass doors.

You are tired of looking at that old, drafty and sad looking front door and have decided that is time for a new one. So, you begin to look around online at the various companies around the nation and who has what and you get confused as to what is what and what is available and what is not… You then begin to look at other homes in and around your neighborhood to get ideas of what you like and do not care for. You have come to the conclusion that you want a nice, new wood door. But are you sure?

While it is true that a real wood door has certain characteristics that are tough to duplicate, many fiberglass door options now available make it very difficult to distinguish which is which, even to a professional.

“People often come into our showroom and point at a door and say that they want “that wood door right there” but they are actually pointing to a fiberglass door, “said Heather Heckard of Heckard’s Door Specialties. “The grain, texture and of course color are so similar to wood, that most people can never tell the difference, even if they touch it.”

Fiberglass Door manufacturers such as PlastPro, Masonite, Jeld-Wen and ThermaTru have spent many years and millions of dollars researching, sampling and perfecting fiberglass doors that appear to be wood.

Why, you ask, are people so interested in entry doors that look like but are not actually wood. Because wood doors, while beautiful and unique, can have issues such as cracking, warping, splitting, sagging and rotting. The fiberglass door can give the homeowner the option to keep a look that they had with their old wood door or the look that they want to achieve, but in a material that will not have the problems and issues.

Fiberglass doors are now available in many different grains to simulate real wood doors. At first only Oak Grain was available, but now you can get Fir Grain or Mahogany Grain and now with PlastPro, Cherry Grain, along with finish colors to give your home the face lift that you are looking for in a unique and long lasting product.

Fiberglass Doors are also more energy efficient than wood, with a U-Factor (solar heat gain/loss) of as low as .22 (.30 is considered Energy Star Approved) so that you can keep your home cooler and warmer, depending on the season.

“I knew that I wanted a wood look for the front door and would have been fine either way because I have a front porch that would protect it, “said Al Clements of Gainesville, Fl. “But after really comparing the two, I went with fiberglass for the energy efficiency and the durability.”

While all the positive talk about Fiberglass Doors is true, that is not to say that you should rule out a real wood door altogether. There are many factors that effect whether or not a wood door is a good fit for your home or not. Does your home have a good overhang or porch over the front door? Is it protected from the elements such as rain and a lot of direct sun or is it fully exposed? Also the species of wood and how the wood door is constructed is key in determining which door is best for you. Some species of wood lend better to exterior doors than others. For example, Cypress, which grows in water, is better suited for a high exposure than an Oak door would be. Wood such as Pine, Maple and Cherry are really only suited for Interior Doors.