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Exterior Door

What is the best materials for an exterior door?


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Posted 2013-07-01T17:46:24+0000  by MikeDoyle1124 MikeDoyle1124


Hi Mike,


I my opinion a solid wood door is still the best choice, it looks good, is easy to work with, stains well and can be painted easily. Stay away from veneers though.


Fiberglass is becoming more popular, but even with a wood grain effect it still does not look like real wood. Good quality fiberglass doors offer low maintenance and durability.


Cheap fiberglass doors will crack, and the core will rot from the moisture that seeps in. Paint doesn’t adhere as well as with wood and the door can easily be damaged if glass replacement is required.


Steel doors are durable, but dent easily and are more difficult to maintain. Check the gauge of the steel, most are 22 gauge. Stay away from 24 gauge doors, they are too thin and will bend and flex too much.


Steel doors will cost less than solid wood, and are becoming more popular all the time.



Posted 2013-07-01T18:44:07+0000  by Mike_HD_OC

 Speaking as a former  painting contractor who has painted literally hundreds of entrance doors, you will have far less problems with a fiberglas door than a wooden door, especially if you are in a climate with great swings in seasonal temperature and humidity, and the door is exposed to the elements.


Even the best of wooden doors will swell and schrink with the seasons. The panels are actually designed to move. They are not glued in place.  If they were, they would crack. The place where wooden doors often fail first is at the bottom of the panels where a break in the paint or varnish film occurs, letting water enter the wood. The sun then beats on the door and the vapor pressure causes the paint or varnish to fail.


As a note here, only use exterior spar varnishes on stained wooden entrance  doors. Besides having UV blockers in them, spar varnishes or urethane spar varnishes are formulated to have elasticity. Regular urethanes are quite brittle and will crack with panel movement. I have seen warnings on the back of wooden garage doors from the manufactureer stateing that the warranty would be voided if regular urethane was used on them!


Of course, if a door is completely shelterred from rain and sun, they will last much longer, but then, so would any paint finish in absence of the elements. Varnished  doors and garage doors are a continuing pain in the rear! They require constant attention. Eventually, they will have to be stripped and that is a LOT of work!


The most neglected surfaces of most doors are the top and bottom edges. Even fiberglas and metal doors will often have wood on these surfaces. If they are not kept sealed with paint or varnish, moisture will enter and the door will rot.


Fiberglas, unlike mere vinyl. is actually quite stable due to the glass reenforcement. I have never had a problem getting paint to adhere to it. Fiberglas is also not subject to the no dark color restictions that vinyl products are. You can confidently paint a fiberglas door black if you want.


Preparation is the usual clean, scuff sand, prime and paint, paint and primer acrylic being the preferred.


I too am not a fan of metal doors, although they are more stable than wood. They inherently transmit more heat. They dent.


I personally have a textured fiberglas door on my 14 year old house, which was painted dark green 8 years ago with Rustoleum acrylic paint. It gets southern sun  exposure and plenty of rain here in Portland. It looks and works as good as new!


Hope this has not confused the subject.

Posted 2013-07-02T04:21:37+0000  by ordjen
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