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Replacing Your Entry Door: Which Material Should You Choose?

A brown front door with an oval window.
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For many consumers, it’s tough to beat the beauty and character that a real wooden front door can bring to a home’s curb appeal. Some of the most common species used include mahogany, oak, walnut or cherry, all of which can be painted or stained a variety of colors and finishes.

But there are other options when it comes to the front door, and wood is not the most common material. Steel, followed by fiberglass, are the primary materials used for entry doors in the residential market, according to the 2015/2016 Study of the U.S. Market for Windows, Doors and Skylights from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). Together, these two materials make up 87 percent of all residential doors in the U.S. This gives wood a mere 13 percent of the market.

If you’re thinking about updating your home’s entrance, you’ll want to weigh all the options to decide which front door material is right for you. There are pros and cons to all of the front door options, but how can you tell what’s the best entry door material for your home? Here’s a look at some key considerations that can help you make your selection and find the perfect door.


If aesthetics are important to you, wood doors will be at the top of your list. There are hundreds of options to help you match the look and feel you want for your home. Many wood grains give a home a high-end look. These doors can be stained or painted, and scratches are repaired easily.

Wood doors can also pose a number of challenges. These include continual maintenance as well as a high price tag, with doors ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The material can be subject to swelling and rotting, as well as fading from direct sunlight. In addition, they aren’t always as energy-efficient as other material options.

If you still want the look of wood without the hefty price tag there are other options. For example, some doors are constructed of wood-veneer skins over an engineered-wood core, which helps minimize warping.


Steel is the most common type of material used in today’s residential entry doors. According to the AAMA study, it made up 47 percent of the market in 2016. Many homeowners find it’s a cost-effective selection with plenty of aesthetic options. According to Consumer Reports (, steel doors are relatively inexpensive and can offer security and weather resistance comparable to some higher-priced materials. They are also low maintenance, though they can dent easily. As with wood doors, there are some disadvantages. According to a Consumer Reports magazine study, tested steel doors didn’t always weather as well as fiberglass or wood doors in the abuse tests and the laboratory equivalent of torrential rain, strong winds, and a decade of wear and tear.

While these doors typically are considered low-maintenance, the dents may be difficult to fix, and scratches may rust if they aren’t painted promptly. They also conduct temperature, so may feel cold or hot to the touch.


Fiberglass makes up 40 percent of the entry door market, according to the AAMA study. Many fiberglass-composite options are in the same price range as steel and are insulated with dense foam. They do not dent or rust, and are available with a smooth skin that can be painted or a textured skin that can be painted or stained. They can also come with a wood grain. Because of the foam core, these doors are designed to be an energy efficient option.

According to the Consumer Reports study, fiberglass doors resist wear and tear better than steel. They are also moderately priced and dent-resistant, and require little maintenance. One consideration, though, is that they can crack under severe impact.


Though not a common option for residential doors, aluminum is sometimes used. It doesn’t rust, but the powder coat finish can be damaged. These doors, which are custom-built to your home’s opening, could be an option if you’re looking for a long warranty. These entry doors typically have a 10- or 20-year warranty that covers a range of features and components, such as insulating glass and hardware.

Other Options

Now that you know more about the material choices when selecting a door for your home, there are also some other options and features to keep in mind. Glass sidelites and transoms, for example, can be added to help increase the curb appeal that the entry offers. Some homeowners opt for an adjustable threshold, which can help keep the door weather-tight over time.

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Other points to keep in mind:

  • When buying a complete entry system, make sure all components come from the same manufacturer. This helps ensure all parts are in perfect alignment.
  • If the door includes glass panels, look for low-E glazing, which helps improve energy performance and efficiency.

Do Your Homework

When you’re ready to make a purchase, it’s ideal to see the doors in person. Many dealers and distributors have a showroom you can visit so that you can get a close look and feel for what the door will bring to your home.

Also, keep in mind that door installation requires skills and expertise. You’ll want to be sure to work with an expert who will ensure the job is done correctly.

And, don’t forget to read the warranty so you know exactly what’s covered. Also, ask lots of questions to ensure you’re getting the door that’s right for you and that it’s installed by a quality contractor.

Following these steps will help you find the entry door that’s perfect for you and your home. Now that you’re ready to shop, look to to start your search for door dealers and distributors near you.

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.



Ellen Rogers

Ellen Rogers has been involved with the glass industry for nearly 20 years and is the editor of USGlass magazine and Architect’s Guide to Glass magazine. Ellen received a degree from Peace College where she studied journalism. Ellen enjoys running and competes regularly in races including half and full marathons. When not on the go, Ellen enjoys reading, wine tasting, true crime shows, and family game nights with her husband and son. Their favorite game is Clue. Ellen also bakes what is known locally as “World Famous Oatmeal Cookies.” Find out more about Ellen on Linkedin.

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16 Responses

  1. I’m glad you talked about replacement doors, I wanna improve the appearance of my house and I think I should start by replacing my front doors. I like your tip about considering wood type doors, I believe so that it could give a home a high-end look plus it can be matched easily with the overalls of the house by just painting it with the right color.

  2. Thanks for mentioning that fiberglass doors are energy-efficient and can come in with a wood grain. Our wood one has warped so much that we can’t close it properly, and we want to get a replacement that looks similar. If we get a replacement door frame made from fiberglass, it can look like our old one and be more efficient.

  3. Thanks for the tip about how wood doors are very aesthetically pleasing. It would be smart to consider how a door looks before getting it installed. I just moved into a new house and the front door needs to be replaced, so when we choose a replacement, maybe wood would be a good idea.

  4. This has been some really helpful tips to remember when replacing a door. I am one of those people that like to fix everything up on my own. For this, I really take the advice that making sure this is done with skill and expertise to make sure the job is done correctly.

  5. I really like what you said about aluminum doors and how they don’t rust. This is the primary reason why I have been considering installing an aluminum door at my house because the air is very humid and I don’t really want my door to fall apart or corrode. I think aluminum would be a great choice so I might just go with that.

  6. Thanks for these great tips! I am helping my brother renovate their house and I wanted to know what are the best types of entry door could be implemented in our project. I would agree with wood doors is the best idea if we are considering of aesthetics, we just have to come up with a plan regarding the whole renovation. Cheers!

  7. Our door was damaged because my brother accidentally knocked it over while they ware playing football. It was explained here that we can choose from wood, steel, and other materials as door replacement. Moreover, it’s best to go to a trusted residential door dealer for high-quality doors.

  8. My mom wanted to have a new front door at home because the current one looks old and not secure. It was explained here that when planning to have a new entry door, we should also consider the materials that will be used. Having said that, it’s advisable to hire professionals when considering having replacement doors.

  9. It got my attention when you said that steel doors are a good option because they add safety, security, and weather resistance all for an inexpensive price. If that is the case, then I will see to it that I use this for the business door. After all, we need to keep the shop safe and secure. Then we also need something that is weather resistant since we experience both extreme heat and cold here.

  10. It got me when you said that the steel material is affordable and does not have to be maintained regularly. I guess this would be perfect for someone as busy as me since I won’t have the time to maintain it. I just need to have a new door installed, and it must be durable to prevent criminals from barging it since there is another incident of burglary in our neighborhood just a day ago.

  11. It sure is interesting to know that fiberglass doors tend to resist wear and tear better than steel. My aunt’s home recently got broken into, and the burglar made quick work with her old main door. She’s posed to retire soon, so she’ll definitely need something that will be at least twice as durable than her previous entry door. I’ll be sure to recommend a fiberglass entry door to her as well as some decent home security systems. Thanks!

  12. It sure got me when you pointed out that using wooden doors is perfect if the person is after aesthetics because many wood grains give a high-end look. I will be sure to give this a try for the entry door replacement project we will be having in the near future. After all, my mom has had the paint of the house changed into something that looks elegant, she wants to make sure that the house matches it. Thank you for sharing the idea.

  13. It caught my attention when you said that a wooden door is also a good option if the person is after aesthetics since it has a hundred different designs that will meet the needs of a person. I will mention this to my mom since she is interested in replacing the door. She mentioned that she wants to use something else, and since I am aware of how much of a beauty aficionado she is, I think it is best to consider this type of door.

  14. I like what you said about how design-conscious people should look for wooden doors. My wife is a stickler for design, and she will not settle for anything less than premium and pretty. Should our old door break down on us, I think going for a wooden door will please the artist in her.

  15. I wanted to thank you for this advice for replacing an entry door. It’s good to know that steel doors can offer additional security. I’m kind of interested to learn how thick the doors could be depending on how secure someone wants them to be.

  16. I think my sister wants to buy a new entry house for her door to match it with her new windows and garage door, so she’s excited about finding the right one. It’s great that you explained different doors’ materials and their maintenance needs, so I’ll email this to my sister to help her make a well-informed decision. Thank you for the insight on how wood doors need regular maintenance to avoid rotting.

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