Steel is a common material for doors. Modes of finishing exterior steel doors vary; homeowners could apply a vinyl coating for weather resistance, for example, or a laminated wood veneer. No matter how you package your steel entry door, it can economically add character to your home.
Costs of Exterior Steel Doors
Choosing a steel door is a great way to save money. Exterior steel doors are less expensive than wood, ranging from $150 to $400 for standard doors and more for custom doors.
Durability of Steel
Though durable and strong, steel doors have a shorter lifespan than wood or fiberglass doors. Steel tends to dent easily and is susceptible to rust if scratched or chipped. If exposed to salty sea air or regular, heavy rain, steel’s tendency to rust increases dramatically.
That said, steel is also the toughest building material, and so it offers a sturdy barrier against intruders. Magnetic weatherstripping will allow your steel door to seal tightly and, unlike wood, steel does not rot, twist, bow, or “move” in any way. Additionally, steel requires less overall maintenance than wood.
How to Treat Steel
When finishing a steel door, it is important that homeowners carefully clean the door’s surface area. Steel doors can be treated with acetone or mineral spirits. After drying, the door can then be lightly sanded and washed with mild detergent in warm, soapy water. When painting a steel door, use exterior oil-based or 100% acrylic water-based paint.
Repairs and Maintenance
The most common repairs for steel doors are for dents, scratches, and chipped paint. Unfortunately, it is more difficult and expensive to make these repairs on a steel door than on a wood door . As such, the best way to maintain a steel door is to make sure that it does not undergo high levels of stress. If you do need to repair a dent or a scratch, the best way to do so is to remove the paint around the damaged area, apply auto body filler into the dent or scratch, smooth with a putty knife, sand, prime, and then re-paint.
Energy Efficiency and Tax Credits
Steel doors are are much more energy efficient than wood doors. The R-values of most steel doors are between R-5 and R-6, and a 1-1/2 inch thick steel door offers about five times the insulation value as a wood door of the same thickness. Windows can detract slightly from a door’s R-value, but weatherstripping your steel door can further increase its energy efficiency.
Summary: An Economical and Sensible Choice for Your Home
Despite the difficulties in repairing this material, steel doors are very affordable and durable, providing stability and insulation with reasonable price tag. A properly maintained steel door is a practical and economical choice for any home. Get started installing an exterior wood door by contacting contractors in your area today.