While there are several differences between exterior patio doors and entry doors, the most critical factor is construction materials. Different door models also offer varying levels of security for exterior doors. Since the large panes of glass that cover the length of french patio doors are less secure than solid wood, manufacturers offer reinforced deadbolt locks to provide homeowners peace of mind. To help decide what type of exterior doors are the right investment for you, read on for more information.
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Although slightly more expensive, traditional wood species provide a classic look, typically ranging from $200 to upwards of $2000 for high-demand materials like mahogany. Fiberglass and steel offer comparable style options for a fraction of the price of wood exterior doors, ranging from $250 to $900.
Durability of Exterior Doors
An exterior door's durability depends on the materials used as well as stain and treatment options. Many manufacturers can combine fiberglass and wood or other materials to maximize both strength and beauty.
Both steel and fiberglass doors are highly resistant to harsh and humid climates, while wood tends to be more susceptible to weather-induced splitting or warping. To prevent this deterioration, wood patio or entry doors should be treated with clear, durable stains. Polyurethane, for example, offers a high-gloss appearance while also providing ideal protection for exterior doors.
How to Treat Your Entry Door
Options for treating exterior doors are nearly limitless. For French patio doors that are dominated by glass, for example, reinforced or laminated windows are available to boost the door's energy-efficiency. Additionally, to ensure a tight seal and smooth finish, homeowners usually sand their wood doors several times before applying stain. Overall, when it comes to treating and staining an exterior entry or patio door, it's important to find an attractive, yet durable finish.
Repairs for Exterior Entry Doors
Paint and stains will fade from exposure to the sun no matter what material the exterior doors are made from. While only wood doors are prone to dent or warp, fiberglass and steel doors still usually need their finishes touched-up after several years of sunlight. Homeowners should expect to inspect and touch-up their exterior doors every one to three years.
Energy Efficiency and Tax Credits
Because glass and wood are poor insulators, french patio doors and solid wood entry doors lose much more heat than other exterior doors. A basic wood or french door may have an R-value as low as R-1. However, additions like double-paned glass and an insulation core – or more energy efficient materials like fiberglass – can boost the R-value of exterior doors to as high as R-5 to R-6 or higher.
Summary: An Important Choice for Your Home
Exterior doorways experience more foot-traffic than any other area of the home. Consequently, choosing the right exterior door is crucial. Whether wood, steel, fiberglass, or french doors, there's a material, design, and price to meet every homeowner's needs. To get started today, contact contractors in your area.