Steel, Fiberglass, or Wood – Which Exterior Door is Best?

by Jess Andree

Nothing compares to the organic beauty and warmth of a wood door. Wood doors today are built with an engineered core to resist warping and splitting, and they carry a high R-value (energy efficiency). Wood doors can also be built with fire-rated core if your project requires it. Wood doors require yearly maintenance such as oiling or sealing to avoid any damage from moisture. A benefit of wood doors is that they can be sanded and restained/resealed several times over the lifetime of the door. It’s recommended that wood doors be installed with an overhang to further reduce exposure to wind and water. With proper care, wood doors can last a lifetime and although the upfront cost is typically higher than steel or fiberglass, it can be seen as an investment in your home.

PROS: long-lasting, energy efficient, beauty
CONS: initial cost, requires a lot of maintenance


Fiberglass doors biggest selling point is they require little maintenance. Fiberglass doors can be smooth or textured to mimic wood grain, and they can be painted or stained. They have a high R-value (energy efficiency) and resist dents/scratches. One of the cons of fiberglass doors is price (compared to steel). Another downside to fiberglass is the textured wood patterns may feel too ‘synthetic’ for homeowners who want the look of a traditional wood door. Most of the doors we sell at Remodelers Outlet are fiberglass.

PROS: little to no maintenance; energy efficient, durable
CONS: pricier than steel, woodgrain may look synthetic


Although at the lowest price point for exterior doors, a high-quality steel door still provides great energy-efficiency and security for your home. Steel doors are available with fire-rating if needed, and have a smooth finish making them easy to paint. A potential con for steel doors is some lower gauge steel doors may dent or rust easily. Remodelers Outlet offers high-gauge double-dipped galvanized steel, polyurethane core, and a composite frame system with our steel doors. See our post on what to look for when buying a steel door.

PROS: price, energy efficient, little maintenance
CONS: may rust or dent


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