Vinyl Alternatives to Fiberglass Patio Doors

Vinyl Doors: An Economical Alternative

There are times when you just have to turn to a more economical alternative for the major types of exterior doors. Fiberglass entry doors are a pricey choice, just as wood is. However, many people are turning to using vinyl doors. Vinyl is a petroleum byproduct, basically made of plastic. It is highly durable like fiberglass, although not with the same sort of sturdy, heavy feel to it.

Before you dismiss using vinyl doors thoroughly because of its cheap connotations, consider the fact that vinyl doors can be made into many styles, for example to accomodate glass panels in the french door style.

PVC Or Vinyl Chloride

Vinyl is known also by its chemical name, PVC, which is a polymer plastic. PVC stands for poly-vinyl chloride. The word "polymer" denotes a type of chemical that is composed of long chains of carbon, derived as a by-product from organic compounds like natural gas and petroleum. For the chemists among readers, the chloride is an addition into the carbon chains. The fact that it is a polymer has no great import on the final consumer, except for the fact that it can be molded into so many different kinds of shapes, and then cut and fit into so many kinds of structures. Vinyl is the third most commonly manufactured plastic. In terms of weight about 40 million tons are made every year. fiberglass entry doors

Vinyl doors are synthetic like fiberglass entry doors

Uses In Doors

The addition of impurities into the carbon polymers allows control over the hardness and softness of plastics. If softened sufficiently it is used in fabrics for clothing and furniture upholstery, and inflatable products like pool toys, mattresses, and boats. With reduced plasticizers, it is a hard, durable material that is resistant to degradation. This is why it's used in home products like entry doors. PVC has an additional property: besides being resistant to physical damage, it is also resistant to biological and chemical agents. The upshot is that mold and mildew do not grow well on this material.

Pthalate And Dioxin Controversy

Some environmental groups are clamoring for the ban of PVC because they claim that its production liberates dioxin chemicals into the environment. Dioxins are thought to be a carcinogenic agent, which lead to cancer. Other health effects of dioxins include affecting developement in children, the functioning of the nervous system, problems in the thyroid, immune system damage, endometriosis, and even diabetes. Many of these links are not scientifically established and are being subject o further scientific investigation.

Resistance To The Elements

In addition, these doors, since they're made of plastic, are really resistant to many of the same elemental pressures as fiberglass entry doors. Moisture? Check. Warping? Check. Mildew? Check. Cracking? Check. Of course, since vinyl doors are much cheaper than all the other doors, you should not be surprised to find that these doors belong to a category called "lightweight doors". However it turns out that many (check your brand) will pass muster for home building according to industry trade groups. Consider querying the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) for more information on the quality of products of a particular company.

Painting Vinyl Doors

Like fibergass doors, it is possible to paint the surface but it is not straight-forward. Wood is a porous material that readily accepts liquid paint by absorbing it in its surface. Vinyl is not like this and requires some preparation before-hand. The surface should be thoroughly cleaned of dust which inhibits binding. Then it should be lightly sanded down to create an abrasive, semi-porous surface which takes paint better.

Companies That Sell Vinyl Doors

A number of companies sell vinyl doors albeit for different parts of the house. Milgard, for example, sells a line of vinyl patio doors for the yard. PGT Industries specializes in large sized, multi-panel and mult-track versions. They claim to make doors for spaces as wide as 40 feet. VWD Corp makes vinyl storm doors specifically. These sit between your door and the outside to help cut down on wind and rain pounding on your normal door. The frames are lined with aluminum for extra strength and have a panel of safety-tempered glass to prevent shattering. Wayne Dalton also sells a vinyl garage door.

Double configuration

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


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 2015 Fiberglass Entry Doors

photo by jdickert via CC 2.0

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