Steel doors are becoming increasingly popular. "In 2008, the industry will sell 12 million entry doors,” Kibler says. “Out of that pie, 65 percent of doors are steel, 26 percent are fiberglass and 9 percent [are] solid wood doors."
Peachtree Doors and Windows Rustic Collection, a plank-style, alder-grain entry door in low-maintenance, energy-efficient fiberglass.
Standing up to adverse weather conditions is the hallmark of a steel door. "These doors can dent depending on the gauge of steel and can rust in certain climates," notes Kibler. "Steel comes in 24, 25 and 26 gauge. The smaller the gauge, the heavier the steel."
Fiberglass models offer the appearance of wood, are basically easy to maintain and are resistant to rust and warping. Kibler explains that fiberglass doors are taking a big chunk of the market share from steel and wood doors.
Greg Miedema, certified graduate remodeler and president of Dakota Builders in Tucson, Ariz., says, "I'm a big fan of clad door products where the exterior is wrapped in aluminum and the inside of the door is wood. These doors are good for all-weather conditions."
When looking for your new door, figure in the maintenance factor. Are you willing to do the upkeep on a wood door? Wood warps, twists and crack. It can be difficult to keep a wood door looking its best. Miedema says it’s simple: "Wood doors will last as long as you keep up the maintenance." But if a wood door does warp, the result is a reduction in energy-efficiency due to more air from the outside getting into the house since the door won't fit as securely as before.
When Miedema's customers ask him about door prices, his typical response is a question: "How much do you want to spend?" Door prices are dependent upon the options you choose and the money you have to invest.
For wood doors, Mayer says look at the workmanship to determine how the door is assembled. Look for tight joints, dowels to reinforce the joints and, of course, ask if the door is manufactured with waterproof glue for exterior doors. "There is a concept that steel is tough, but I would put white oak and African mahogany up against any residential steel door product," says Mayer.
Security Factors One of the big concerns when replacing exterior doors is the issue of safety.
"Your solid panel doors will offer the most security—no glass in the door, more secure,” says Kibler. For added security, he says," We reinforce the back side of the door jam with a steel plate on all of our doors."