You might not think about it much if you’re a new homeowner, but your garage door and the entry doors of your home are some of the most important features of your house. Why? Well, they’re major parts of its curb appeal and highlight its overall design, and they’re the entrances most likely to be confronted by uninvited guests.
So, you want to make sure you put some thought into the materials used for those doors, and the design of the doors, to ensure that your home is as safe as possible and still looks great.
Today, we’re going to go over how to contemplate garage doors and entry doors.
Let’s get started.
Key Aspects to Consider When Choosing Exterior Doors
Before we start getting into the types of materials and designs you should be considering, let’s go in-depth about the key points we highlighted earlier.
These can fall into three categories:
- Aesthetic Appeal
This is one of the most important aspects of an entry door or garage door. It doesn’t matter too much if your interior doors are built with security in mind, because if someone has already managed to get into your home, you have a much bigger problem on your hands.
However, your entryways must be designed with security in mind.
When an intruder or otherwise uninvited “guest” attempts to enter your home, they might opt for a window or other unconventional entryway, but for the most part, they will attempt to walk right through your exterior entryways, after all, that’s the easiest way in, and the average criminal isn’t looking to make their job harder.
Luckily, this means a highly secure door is your primary deterrent method, when someone looking to get in without permission is met by a door that can’t be bypassed easily, they are statistically more likely to walk away than to continue their break-in attempt.
Of course, the type of lock system you have installed also greatly affects a door’s security level, but a door made from good materials that complement that lock system is infinitely better than a weak, unreliable, door with a great lock.
This goes for garage doors, too. If an uninvited guest can simply slide up your garage door and bypass the garage’s entryway with ease, they can do so, and your neighbors might not even know that something is up. In comparison, if the door is strong and difficult to bypass, as well as locked securely, they will most likely walk away.
It’s important to note that, when talking about the garage entryway, we mean both the large garage door that slides up for vehicles to enter and the entryway leading from your garage to your home. It’s important to make sure your garage entryway is just as secure, if not more secure, than your front door. If someone breaks into the garage, they have plenty of covers to mess with your garage entry door without neighbors and passersby harassing them.
Next, you have to consider the aesthetic appeal of your entry doors. You can have a beautiful, rustic, log cabin home, but if you slap a modern carbon door on it, it won’t look right. That disjointed look can lower your home’s curb appeal, and ultimately, the price at which you can sell it.
So, you want to pick entry doors that match the overall theme of your home and highlight its most important design themes. Is your home rustic with a lot of natural materials being highlighted? Try teak or rustic iron doors. Is it more modern and contemporary? Iron, steel, some paint-friendly woods, and even some modern polymers make great doors for that design style.
Also, keep in mind that the material itself isn’t the only defining factor.
For example, iron can be made to match rustic, modern, and even Victorian décor themes. Some wood doors can do the same. So, a big part of this depends on the design route the manufacturer takes rather than just the material, although polymers, steel, and some other door materials are more specific to certain designs.
Durability and Reliability:
This goes hand in hand with your door’s security in a way. If a door is very sturdy and difficult to damage, it’s likely to be secure, too. However, we’re not only talking about durability in terms of security. A good door should also stand up to the elements. After all, an entry door will still be exposed to harsh sunlight, rain, hail, snow, and other environmental factors.
We’ll go over the various pros and cons of different materials in this department later, but in general, any good door will exhibit the following traits.
- UV Resistance
- Water Resistance
- Surface Integrity
- Structural Integrity
- Ease of Maintenance
An entry door needs those traits to ensure you get the most out of your investment. If your $2000 front door is susceptible to water, you might end up replacing it in as little as a year or two. Luckily, most doors marketed as exterior doors aren’t like that.
Here are some basic descriptions of each trait.
Sunlight contains a lot of UV light, and that breaks down most materials over time. For example, most plastics will start to turn yellow and degrade when exposed to a lot of UV light, and some susceptible wood species can rot and break down faster because of it.
Most metal doorways are safe from this problem.
This is a big one; especially if you live anywhere where rain is a common problem. Water can rust metal and rot wood in most situations. However, there are water-resistant wood species, and certain metals are easily protected against rust. Door-grade polymers are basically impervious to water damage.
You do not want to purchase an entry door that is susceptible to water damage. That’s a good way to waste your money. Even garage doors should have protection because most garages aren’t as insulated against moisture and other water-related problems such as flooding.
Unless you want to put big gouges in your entry doors every time you buy a new couch, you want a door that has a strong surface. This will help keep it from being damaged while moving furniture, during hailstorms, or when your kids accidentally launch a baseball at it.
This one’s not as necessary, but it is good to have to keep your door looking great for years to come with minimal maintenance.
If the door is capable of being splintered or bent with a hard slam, you want to go with another option. Not only does that make it easier for a particularly stubborn intruder to bypass the door, but it also means that something as simple as your child slamming the door as they run out to play with their friends can cause irreparable damage to the door. You don’t want that.
A good, solid door won’t give you that problem.
Ease of Maintenance:
Doors do have to be maintained. Some need it more than others. You don’t want to spend a lot of time maintaining your front door, though. Ideally, a good wash, maybe a new coat of paint, and at most, a little sanding should be as far as you’re willing to go. If you need to patch rust spots, spend all your time repainting it, or otherwise do labor-intensive tasks, it’s not a good choice.
Different Materials and Their Pros and Cons
Now, you know the basics of what an entry door should provide. However, different materials affect whether or not a door provides those basic necessities quite a bit.
In this section, we’re going to go over the most common door materials and whether or not they meet the requirements.
Since steel and polymer doors have some serious drawbacks when used for entryways, we’re going to stick to good old iron and wood doors.
Iron doors make exceptional entry doors. While not the cheapest, iron doors are typically reasonably priced, they’re strong, look great, and don’t require a lot of upkeep.
Here’s how they stack up against our requirements.
Iron entry doors are highly secure. As long as you have a good lock system installed, intruders aren’t getting through an iron door. They can’t break the iron, and if they think they’re going to jerk on the door until the portion around the lock bar gives out, they’ll be there all day for months with no results.
These are probably the most secure doors you can get.
Another major benefit of iron doors is that iron isn’t exclusive to one design theme. You can find iron doors made to match rustic, Victorian, modern, and even some oddball home décor themes without having to look too hard.
Durability and Reliability:
Yes, iron can rust. However, it’s extremely easy to prevent it. As long as you keep a good coat of paint on it, you should only have to repaint your iron door once a year. Portions that become exposed also develop a patina as long as the water doesn’t sit on the exposed spots for long. That works as a natural rust repellent, and along the hinges, it even acts as a lubricant.
Other than that, there are no durability concerns whatsoever. An iron door isn’t going to rot, break, get dented up or gouged, or anything else. They are exceptionally strong.
Iron doors tend to cost a little more than wood or steel doors, but they’re still reasonably priced, and they can match any design theme. If you purchase your door from a high-quality door company, you’ll enjoy a nearly impenetrable and beautiful door for generations.
Wood doors are the most common entry doors around. Wood is easy to work with, and the manufacturing process is cheaper than working with premium iron. Of course, the quality of wood doors can vary dramatically based on the wood species used to craft them. A door made from teak or mahogany will make an exceptional, heritage-quality, wood door. However, a door made from cheap compressed board or poplar won’t be nearly as optimal for an entry door.
This massive variance in quality based on the wood species used (and the process used to manufacture the door) is one of the biggest downfalls of using wood.
This will vary dramatically. Premium hardwoods such as teak or mahogany will be more than enough to prevent break-ins from damaging the door. However, if it’s made of poplar, your home’s security might be compromised.
Wood looks great with nearly any design theme. It can be painted for more modern looks, or it can be stained for a rustic look. Of course, different species will lend themselves better to certain designs, but no one can deny that wood looks great regardless of a home’s design theme.
Durability and Reliability:
This is another one that varies dramatically. However, wood in general will need to be stained or painted to prevent water and sun damage, and harder woods are necessary to defend against gouges and general wear and tear.
Maintenance is fairly easy, though. You can simply strip any paint on it, sand it lightly, and repaint it to keep it in good shape. The problem is that once damage sets in, it’s usually bound to get worse.
Wood doors can meet our requirements, but there is a lot more variance in quality when compared to iron doors.
Choose Quality and Performance
As you can see, iron doors are typically going to be your best bet when contemplating garage doors and entry doors. That’s not to say wood doors can’t compete, but you’ll have a far better chance at getting a door that lasts generations with iron, and the maintenance requirements are practically nothing.
In either case, you want to purchase a high-quality door from a reputable manufacturer like Wholesale Iron Doors. The way the door is made has a big part in determining how great it will be as an entryway.