Fiberglass Entry Doors


Introduction - Installation

Did you know some 15% of new houses have fiberglass doors? This is despite the fact that the material was only invented about 50 years ago in the midst of World War II. The popularity is attributable to how other materials age so poorly in even moderate climates. And people who own houses notice all the small details about their house.

fiberglass entry doors

Door system installation


If you live in a moist, wet climate, say for example in the South, you're going to see the wood soak up the moisture, get moldy and warp. If you live in a dry climate, say in the Southwest or West, that wood is going to dry out, peel under the hot sun, or crack. Moreover, seasonal changes add additional stress due to variations in moisture, temperature and sunlight. This is one of the main reasons a lot of people are switching, to reduce the cost and time associated with continuously maintainence. There will be an initial upfront sunk cost because they are more expensive than traditional materials, but you save on recurring upkeep over the years.

Fiberglass Doors Are Extensively Customizable

customizable entry doors for home

The size, finish, and lites are all customizable aspects
One of the most important choices is the size. Are you thinking of enlarging the rough opening of the house to make space for a larger entry way? This could mean either a wider slab or even a double width. Remember you have to make space for any sidelites added to one or both sides. The texture of the slab makes it look either more or less like wood. What about adding a transom to the top? The transom is a design feature, basically an arch-like accoutrement added to the top of the door. If it holds a piece of glass it lets light into the home.

Fiberglass Doors Require Less Maintenance

maintenance of entry doors

Wooden door peeling
This kind of wear usually happens pretty quickly, within a year or two of getting it. The standard way to remedy these problems is to refinish or restain every year. For some, the thought of doing this year after year is going to be painful. Staining is no small feat since you've got to remove it from its hinges and then lay it out to dry outside or in your garage for a few days. Now, for composite fiberglass you won't have as many problems with maintenace but when you do it'll be a little more problematic because the procedures to renovation are quite different.

Fiberglass Are Available At Different Cost Levels

cost and quality of doors

Fiberglass looks good and lasts long
The big bright option to which many homeowners turn: the fiberglass entry door. Read here about the upfront cost. Now, I know you might be thinking that it might be kind of cheating because it's a nasty composite material or that they're difficult to repair. But the truth is that the time-savings for maintenance will be enormous, as you'll spend much effort and expense fixing it up to keep it looking new. Furthermore, they come with absurdly long warranties because of the high durability. Some famous brands are Provia, Thermatru, Masonite, and Plastpro. We will review them at a later date. If you want to spend a little less, then check out the big retailers like Lowes and Home Depot and Rona in Canada. The big retailers do not sell big brand names directly but instead outsource manufacturing and slap on a private label.

Fiberglass Doors Can Be Cut

jigsaw for cutting

Cutting With Power Tools
These entry doors are a relatively new choice for homeowners. They are made of a composite material that is a mixture of ultra thin filaments of glass fibers, but also mixed with plastic resins which bond the fibers. The result is a strong, durable, weavable material that can be layered to build up any shape. But with some effort these are also cut to fit the rough opening of your home. Just don't use the same methods you use for cutting wood. Use a jigsaw blade which is good for precision cutting and then file down the jagged surface.

Garages Benefit From Fiberglass

fiberglass garage doors

Used in other products
Skis, boats, tent poles, roofing material, have all been made in fiberglass to take advantage of its robust and waterproof properties. Homeowners now have a choice in choosing it as the main entrance to their homes. Why? These entryways has all of the above properties, but most importantly, modern manufacturing allows them to be made in such a way as to mimic closely the classy and traditional look of ones composed of wood. Garages benefit because the slab is so large and cumbersome to replace. Using a composite material means less cost over time.

There Are Many Brands And Types Of Fiberglass Doors

The other major material used for front doors is steel, which happens to be not only cheap, but also fairly widely used and sturdy. In fact, this is the most popular type because of these qualities. The problem is that most houses (but not apartments) in the U.S. are made of wood, so steel stands out a bit. It is made to mimic wood down to having grain patterns, but does not have the short life span or expensive upkeep. For a more thorough and unbiased comparison take a look at our page on front doors for homes.

Drawbacks

There are a few drawbacks, namely the cost of repair (in the rare event that it happens). Exterior doors cannot be simply repaired by sanding or cutting, and instead require specialized repair kits. Homeowners will have to carefully weight the pros and cons should they face a choice for a new or replacement. You should also know that compared to steel, the lower strength does mean more likelihood for cracking. Finally the biggest problem may be the initial cost because there are fewer manufacturers for this specialized type of material, which raises the cost due to scarcity. Since there are fewer outlets around the country be prepared to pay hefty shipping fees to get the product from the manufacturer to your home.



Double configuration

Doors can come in a double configuration. Moreover, "side-lites" can be added to adorn the frame of the door.

Customizable

Depending on your home, your door can be customized to include a "transom" that runs over the top.

Robust to Weather

Regions with changeable climates that see wintry rain and snow can be ideal for non-wood doors.

(C) Copyright 2014 Fiberglass Entry Doors

photo by jdickert via CC 2.0

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