Entry doors offer more beauty, value, and performance than any other doors in your home. Your entry door is the first thing that visitors and prospective buyers see when they arrive at your home. It also protects your family and belongings from thieves and harsh elements. When doors are properly selected, installed, operated, and cared for, it can provide years of enjoyment.
To find the most appropriate entry door, you need to take into consideration multiple factors, including the location of the door, the style of your house, security, budget, and many more. But one factor that is often overlooked is the local climate. Gusts of wind blowing all kinds of precipitation against your door – rain, hail, snow, sleet – combined with direct sunlight, can dramatically reduce the life of a door made from the wrong choice of materials.
So, how do you choose the entry door material for your climate?
Natural wood entry doors look great in all kinds of climates. They are particularly well suited for traditional or historic homes that have sheltered entryways. This way, your door will be protected from the elements and you won’t spend a fortune on maintenance.
Here are some things to note about wood entry doors:
- Homeowners in hot climates can invest in natural wood doors without much concern, except for the desert-like climates where blowing sand may smooth the doors over time.
- Natural wood is not recommended for humid climates. But if you want to stick to natural wood, you should choose the type of wood that will be protected from warping, shrinking, and swelling.
- Wood doors are typically fabricated using frame and panel construction to neutralise the effects of seasonal changes.
- Contemporary modern doors come with insulation that prevents rotting, as well as the option for heavier or lighter doors, with or without glass.
- With regard to security, wood doors are not as protective against break-ins as other materials are, so you should invest in a good lock.
- Wood is a natural element that wears down over time, so you should be prepared for periodic maintenance in the form of refinishing and staining to preserve its appearance and durability.
A properly installed steel door can stand up to thunderstorms, high winds, hurricanes, blizzards, and even tornadoes. This makes steel doors ideal for climates that experience severe weather, as well as places with high security concerns, because they cannot be easily kicked down. Other things to note about steel doors include that they:
- Are stronger and more cost effective than fibreglass and wood doors
- Are fully weather-stripped, reducing the risk of swelling, warping, or shrinking
- Come with high-density foam filling for insulation and vinyl coating to protect against the weather
- Tend to get hot when exposed to direct sunlight, so they are not recommended for hot climates except where shelter is provided
Aluminum doors share many similarities with steel doors, such as the additional insulation to safeguard against the elements, low maintenance and the ability to withstand harsh weather. That said, aluminum doors are pretty unique in that they must be custom fitted to suit your specific needs. In other words, no two aluminum doors are the same! Other notable features of aluminum doors include:
- The finish is baked onto the door, which eliminates the need to stain or repaint
- Rust resistant – aluminum can withstand exposure to different elements
- Secure – although it is not as strong as steel, aluminium is one of the strongest door materials available
- Fibreglass and composite
Fibreglass doors are known to hold against heat, rain, humidity, and snow without rusting, cracking or warping. They can be stained to resemble natural wood, making fibreglass doors a great alternative to wood doors in humid areas. These doors are also extremely secure. Here are some other things to note about fibreglass doors:
- They require nearly zero maintenance
- They can be stained to appear like different natural wood types, including oak and cherry
- They can be painted or stained to match the style of your home’s exterior
- They can be insulated with foam for energy efficiency and weather-stripped to block heat and cold
- They are durable, weather resistant and secure, which makes them ideal for high-traffic entrances
- They are more expensive than other types of doors, but their exceptional durability also means that they will outlast doors made from other materials
Although the choice of entry door for your climate largely depends on the material used, proper care and maintenance of the door is important to prolong its life. To protect your investment, you should consider the placement of the door in relation to the sun and direction of wind and determine whether any supplemental protection is necessary.
As a rule of thumb, fibreglass or composite doors are great for south-facing entryways, while natural wood doors are great for north-facing entryways. But if you have a covered, south-facing porch, the overhang can protect any door material from destructive elements, reducing the need for maintenance.