Your entry door is a major aspect of your home. It is the first thing your visitors see before they enter your home, and it can act as both a means of security and a selling point. Investing in an entry door to withstand your area’s climate will ensure it remains functional and attractive for several years to come. Unfortunately, if you choose a material that warps and cracks under your area’s conditions, you could be looking at repairs and potential replacement in less than a year.
Here are four common door types and their climate categories to help you choose wisely:
Wood doors can be hit or miss in humid climates. Depending on their veneer, some species of natural wood can be prevented from shrinking, swelling and warping — but natural wood is generally not recommended in areas with a lot of moisture. Homeowners in arid climates can likely invest in natural wood doors without worry — save for the fact that the doors may smooth over time, particularly in desert climates with blowing sand. Most modern wood doors have insulation to prevent rotting; however, they are not as secure as other models against break-in, so a good lock is required. Because it is a natural element, wood will wear down over time and will therefore require maintenance — such as periodic staining and refinishing — to stay in top form.
Best area: Severe weather conditions or low-sun areas
Steel doors are best suited for climates with severe weather: thunderstorms, high winds and even monsoons. On the upside, they’re filled with high-density foam insulation and coated with vinyl to protect against the weather. On the downside, they get hot with direct exposure to sunlight, making them a poor choice for tropical climates without a lot of shade. Steel doors are great for security; it’s not easy for someone to kick them down.
Fiberglass and Composite Doors
Best area: Humid climates
For those who want a natural-looking door but live in humid, muggy climates, fiberglass and composite doors are a practical option. These materials can be made to look like wood but require almost no maintenance. Fiberglass and composite can be stained to appear like oak, cherry and many other natural wood types. They also share the benefits of metal doors in that they’re durable and secure. The only drawbacks associated with fiberglass and composite doors are that they can be expensive — as much as $1,500 — and any maintenance will require a door contractor rather than a local home improvement store pro.
Best area: Stormy weather conditions or low-sun areas
Aluminum doors are similar to steel doors in many ways — such as the inclusion of insulation to protect against the elements. What sets them apart, other than their material, is that they are custom-built by specialists to fit the opening of your home — and no two aluminum doors are alike. The finish is baked onto aluminum doors, which means they never need repainting or staining, and aluminum also never rusts in the face of the elements. Though aluminum doesn’t quite match up against steel, aluminum is among the strongest door materials available.
Where you live should guide your choices when it comes to the material of your entry door. If you live in Albuquerque, you might choose a fiberglass door for security or a wooden door for a natural feel. If you live in New York, you might consider investing in a steel door for added security or an aluminum door to make your home stand out on the block. Whether you’re going for the door that makes you feel safest or the door that adds the most to your home’s resale value, make sure it’s a door that will last for many years to come.
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