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Best Exterior Doors: Types of Front Entry Door

Updated on May 3, 2012

Choosing the best exterior doors for your home involves taking into account a number of important factors, balancing budget, security and style. A good front entry door will protect your home from criminals while adding elegance and value, especially if augmented by complementary door furnishings. A well-selected door can add an individual touch, making your home stand out and creating a great first impression.

Depending upon your exact needs, you can select from a number of types; the traditional elegance of wood; the extra security of steel; versatile aluminum; or cost-effective fiberglass and vinyl. All of these front entry door types have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and you will be able to find the best exterior doors for your home, quickly and easily.

Wood Entry Doors

In terms of elegance and style, nothing can beat the traditional wood entry doors, which are available in a huge range of finishes and styles, from traditional Victorian to minimalist contemporary. Stains, varnishes and paints can enhance the beauty of wood and help you augment your external architectural theme perfectly. They are easily to customize with carefully selected door fittings, decorative glass, doorknockers, and doorknobs, developing a delightful theme to welcome visitors to your home.

Wooden exterior doors are easily available, and can be easily made to order, fitting any size doorframe. However, wooden entry doors also carry a number of disadvantages. Firstly, they are very susceptible to adverse climates, and damp conditions can cause the wood to rot if they are not painted or varnished annually.

Conversely, hot climates often cause the door to expand and warp, causing the door to stick in the summer and shrink in the winter, leaving gaps that will compromise the efficiency of your insulation and central heating. Wooden doors are usually sturdily constructed, but can be kicked in or forced open; as a result, they are not the best option in areas where security is of paramount importance.

Steel Entry Doors

Steel entry doors are a great option where security and durability are your primary concerns, deterring criminals and resisting anything that the elements can throw at your home, even a harsh Canadian winter or a Florida hurricane. They will not warp, crack, or chip, and steel exterior doors are easily the best option where fireproofing is important. Considering the long lifespan of these doors, they are extremely cost effective and will protect your home or business for many years.

The main drawback of steel entry doors is the appearance; while they are available in a huge range of colors, including imitation wood grain, and can be fitted with decorative glass and door fittings, they cannot match the elegance of traditional wood. The other disadvantages are the sheer weight, the difficulty of fitting door adornments, and the poor insulation qualities; I find that in the Greek summer, these doors radiate heat inside your home.

Fiberglass Exterior Doors

As a good compromise between budget, insulation, security, and aesthetics, the fiberglass exterior door is an excellent choice. Fiberglass doors look almost as good as wooden doors, and they will not crack, warp, swell, rot or peel, and fiberglass doors are up to three times stronger than their wooden counterparts. Fiberglass entry doors are also resistant to attack by insects and microorganisms, without the need for constant maintenance.

Fiberglass exterior doors are usually molded to imitate the texture of wood grain, and they can usually be finished and stained in the same way. The extra security, durability, and superb insulation make fiberglass doors a great all-round option, but they are also the most expensive option, costing up to five times more than a steel door.

Vinyl Entry Doors

Vinyl entry doors are a decent budget option, covering all of the basics and providing security and durability at the expense of style. uPVC exterior doors are resistant to rotting in wet, damp climates, and they provide excellent insulation against heat and noise.

Vinyl doors are possibly the ugliest option, and they are difficult to individualize with door embellishments. Finally, uPVC is degraded by strong sunlight, which will discolor your door and eventually cause it to crack and crumble, one of the reasons why this type is rarely used in hot climates. uPVC external doors are an extremely cheap option, but this has to be weighed against the distinct disadvantages.

Aluminum Exterior Doors

Aluminum exterior doors are growing in popularity, as a reasonably priced alternative to the other types. They share many of the characteristics of steel doors, but are more resistant to corrosion and rusting. Aluminum is the most common material used for making sturdy storm doors, which fit outside your regular external door and protect it from damage by storms and adverse weather.

Aluminum external doors are much lighter than steel doors, although they are much more prone to denting and physical damage, especially around the corners of the door, because aluminum welds are much weaker than steel welds. Aluminum entry doors are expensive, and they suffer from the problem of poor heat insulation.

Best Exterior Doors: Types of Front Entry Door

Balancing the various factors that go into finding the best exterior doors for your home can be tough, and you should avoid using price as the only factor. From the added security of steel or aluminum doors, the insulating qualities of fiberglass and vinyl, or the timeless elegance of wood, you can find the perfect front entry door for your home.

Exterior Doors

Fiberglass Exterior Doors – Fiberglass Entry Door Pros and Cons – Fiberglass exterior doors are a new addition and they have rapidly grown in popularity. Blending the durability of steel with the elegance of wood, they are a great choice if you are seeking to install a new front door.

Steel Exterior Doors – Steel Entry Door Pros and Cons – Steel doors are still the best option where security is the prime concern, protecting your property and family from harm. This guide explains what to look for in a front entry door.

Find The Best Accordion Doors Online – Accordion doors are a practical solution where floor space is an issue, and they have moved on from the cheap and tacky vinyl accordion doors of yesteryear.

Door Accessories

Home Improvement Guide: Buy Door Knobs Online: This Hub looks at the various types of doorknob available, highlighting some of the advantages and disadvantages of the various types.

Home Improvement Guide – Finding the Perfect Exterior Door Handle – Finding the perfect exterior door handle can be a tough chore, especially with the sheer range of options available. This guide shows you how to balance security, elegance, durability and budget to find the perfect entry door handle.

Home Improvement Guide – Best Exterior Door Hardware – This guide shows you how to select a theme for your exterior door hardware, blending durability, security, budget and elegance. Good exterior door hardware can rejuvenate the front of your home, making it stand out.

Find The Best Doors Online

Exterior Doors – Guide to Buying the Best Exterior Door: This article is designed for homeowners wishing to buy a new exterior door, helping them to choose between the various different types. Balancing budget, security and appearance is the key.

Best Exterior Doors: Types of Front Entry Door – This article explains the differences between the various types of front entry door, explaining their advantages and disadvantages. This will allow you to balance budget, security and style, helping you to find the perfect door for your home.


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    • Rae Saylor profile image

      Rae Saylor 

      6 years ago from Australia

      What a great hub! Thanks for the useful tips :)

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for visiting, Entry door :)

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for that, Dave - it is always good to have the input of an expert. I also love bespoke wooden doors, although they are expensive in this part of the world :)

    • Dave Framer profile image

      Dave Framer 

      8 years ago

      as a framer I have installed almost every door imaginable and to this day for beauty, elegance and quality I will take the traditional solid wood doors with side lites, there are a lot of custom door makers as you mention, they are my favorites

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks for commenting, bailbonds :)

    • bailbonds8616 profile image


      8 years ago

      very useful hubpage.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks, Anesidora - thanks for the kind words and I hope that you eventually managed to find the best one for the job :)

    • Anesidora profile image


      8 years ago from Pandora's Box

      I do wish you had been our salesman when we went to buy a replacement for our storm-battered back door. That guy was not at all good at explaining the differences in the types of doors for us.

      You did a great job!

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      Thanks, Leanman - I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to wooden front doors :)

      Thanks, Steve - if you go for pine or fir, you can find cheaper doors. They are perfectly good, but make sure that you buy a high quality varnish!

      Great to see you, kaltopsyd - there are some lovely doors featured on Amazon. Hardwood is expensive but very, very nice!

      Hi Door Smart - Thanks for the kind words. I never worked directly in the door industry, but I have many years experience in construction and in hardware retail, so picked a few things up :)

    • DoorSmart profile image


      9 years ago from

      Have you ever worked in the industry? I found your article informative. I'm glad you are not focused on cheap doors, but rather the different types of low cost doors to the most expensive doors.

    • kaltopsyd profile image


      9 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      I really like the doors featured in this Hub. I think the front door of my house is one of those. Now I'm tempted to get up and walk outside even though it's 3:22 in the morning. Haha.

    • SteveoMc profile image


      9 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      I would rather gouge my eyes out with a rusty nail than buy a $5,000.00 door. OMG, I thought they cost like $500.00. I know now that I will need to steal a door if I am ever to have one like that.

    • LeanMan profile image


      9 years ago from At the Gemba

      My personal choice is always a good solid hardwood door.. They always look the best in my mind.

    • Sufidreamer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sparti, Greece

      @Research Analyst - Me too. I love mahogany, but it is not worth buying here, because there are too many insects that like to eat wood!

      @Melinda - Thanks! Always great to see you :)

      @Hello,hello - Thanks for taking the time to drop by :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      You certainly chose some beautiful ones and although they are not cheap but you can see the quality.

    • msorensson profile image


      9 years ago

      Oh.. I love your choices..beautiful!!

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 

      9 years ago

      Nice work, I have always liked the wood doors of mahogany.


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