Fiberglass doors are becoming more popular in home design of every style. Manufacturers are creating more types of fiberglass doors to fit different needs and budgets.
These doors, comparable to steel doors and wooden doors, resist scratching and warping. Architecture Magazine, the journal of American architects, has rated smooth fiberglass doors as one of the top innovations since they started ranking building products in 1990.
How are Fiberglass Doors Made?
Fiberglass doors are a combination of two parts: the core and the shell. Fabricators create the core of the door from polyurethane foam. This provides good sound and weather insulation. It also makes the door light and easy to hang.
They make the outer shell of the door from a composite material crafted of polymers strengthened with thin glass filament particles. Because the fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) uses glass particles, experts call this glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP). Most door companies simplify this and call the composite material fiberglass.
Manufactures craft fiberglass shells with a smooth or textured surface. The textured surfaces often resemble wood graining. The texture and the material of fiberglass makes staining and painting fiberglass doors possible and more comparable to wood doors than steel doors.
Fiberglass Doors Pros and Cons
Fiberglass doors are becoming popular in residential and commercial design, but they do not work for every situation and budget.
- Weather Insulation – The U.S. Department of Energy recommends fiberglass entry doors as one of the most insulated types of exterior doors you can buy.
- Weather Resistance – Exterior fiberglass doors stand up to weather without rusting, cracking, or warping.
- Maintenance – Fiberglass exterior doors do not require the maintenance of repainting and restaining like doors made of wood.
- Durability – Fiberglass doors do not scratch and dent like wooden or steel doors.
- Appearance – Fiberglass doors have a more attractive and more variable style than other weather-resistant options like PVC doors.
- Strength – In a comparison between fiberglass vs steel doors, they are not as strong. Therefore, if you are concerned about security in your home, a steel door is a better door for you.
- Cost – Exterior fiberglass doors are more expensive than other exterior doors like wood or steel. Interior fiberglass doors are more expensive than other options like MDF or wood.
Fiberglass Doors: Types
Fiberglass is a versatile material that manufacturers craft into doors of every kind.
Fiberglass Front Doors
Fiberglass front doors are one of the most popular types of fiberglass doors. This is because most of the benefits of fiberglass are best utilized in outdoor spaces where they are exposed to the weather.
Also, because of the higher cost associated with fiberglass doors, more homeowners are willing to spend this amount for a fiberglass front door to help set off the look of their home than they would for fiberglass interior doors. If you want to allow more light into your entry, try a fiberglass front door with sidelights.
This door is an example of a contemporary style Therma Tru fiberglass door. It has frosted decorative glass to allow in light without sacrificing privacy.
Fiberglass Garage Doors
This is another popular fiberglass exterior door. These are prized by homeowners and designers who want the look of wood garage doors but find the cost prohibitive. Fiberglass garage doors are molded into panels that have a shape and texture that resembles wood. Most fiberglass garage doors are also constructed with steel to reinforce their strength. They have polyurethane cores that help maintain the energy efficiency of your home.
These fiberglass garage doors come from the Impression Collection from Overhead Garage Doors. They have the appearance and texture of real wood doors without the maintenance and cost.
Fiberglass Sliding Patio Doors
Other popular exterior fiberglass doors are sliding doors. Fiberglass sliding doors have all the benefits of sliding doors like a large window expanse and opening for entertaining but with the advantages of long-lasting fiberglass. Some manufacturers create composite doors with the dual advantages of mixed materials. For example, composite sliding doors with a wood interior frame and fiberglass exterior frame are common.
These are fiberglass sliding doors from Milgard’s Ultra series. The frames are strong and can hold the large panes of glass that are so effective in sliding patio doors.
Fiberglass French Doors
Fiberglass French doors are popular when used as a patio and entry door. Some homeowners use them as interior doors, though this is less common because of the high cost. French doors have a more elegant style than sliding patio doors but still offer the same amount of light.
This French door from Marvin is a composite door. It has a pine interior that you can paint or stain. This interior material is paired with a fiberglass exterior to give it more strength and durability.
Folding Fiberglass Patio Doors
Folding fiberglass doors, also called bi-fold doors, allow you to create a larger opening between the indoor and outdoor spaces than French or sliding glass doors. These are also known as movable walls because of the large expanse of the doors.
These open accordion styles from the middle or from one side depending on the size of the door. Manufacturers call the middle opening doors bi-parting bifold doors. They call the doors that open on one side unidirectional. The biggest drawback to these doors is the amount of space that the panels occupy when you open them.
These Infinity replacement fiberglass bifold doors come from the provider Martin.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What is the best paint for fiberglass door painting?
The best kind of paint for fiberglass doors are 100% acrylic, alkyd, or enamel paint. Therma Tru, an industry leader in fiberglass doors, recommends painting Therma Tru fiberglass doors with acrylic latex paint. It is important to choose paint according to the location of the door. If the painted side is on the exterior of your home, use exterior paint.
Where can I find fiberglass doors near me?
You can find fiberglass doors at your local home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes. If you are looking for more specific styles and colors, you may want to order online. Look for doors at large retailers like Therma Tru, Pella, Milgard, Andersen, and Jeld-Wen.
Should I buy a fiberglass door with glass?
Buying a fiberglass door with a window will decrease the R value of the door. This means that it will be less energy efficient. Fiberglass doors have an R value between 5 and 6 but less with a window. Windows in doors also make them less secure. On the positive side, windows increase the light in your home and make them look more open and spacious.
Which is the best material for an exterior door?
Most experts tend to say that wood, steel, and fiberglass doors are all good. When comparing a fiberglass door vs steel door, consider their appearance, durability, cost, and energy efficiency. Fiberglass and steel are about equal in terms of their appearance and durability. Fiberglass is better for energy efficiency and steel is less expensive. Consider a fiberglass door vs wood door. Fiberglass doors are more durable, energy efficient, less expensive, and less maintenance. For some people, the appearance of wood doors alone is enough to make them preferable to fiberglass.
How long will an exterior fiberglass door last?
The amount of time that a fiberglass door will last depends on the quality of construction and maintenance. If you buy a quality door and practice a minimum of maintenance, your exterior fiberglass doors should last several decades. Check with the manufacturer of the door when you buy it. Some of them will offer warranties for as long as you own your home.
Fiberglass doors are a good option if you are looking to combine beauty and durability in an exterior door. Look for a composite fiberglass door with wood cladding if you prefer a warmer material facing your interior spaces. Because of their popularity, manufacturers have customizable fiberglass doors for any style home.