Purchasing a door might not seem like a big decision to most people. After all, it’s often taken for granted despite being constantly used day in and day out in nearly every home and business. However, it really is a big choice.
When you choose a door for your home or business, you’re making a decision that will change the building’s appearance, curb appeal, and yes, even its security level; all of which are important for businesses and homes alike.
Nowadays, there are a ton of doors on the market. They can be made from various polymers, woods, metals, etc. However, if you strip the choice down to the two most basic and most common options, you’ll get iron and wood.
Iron and wood doors have been used for centuries, and that’s for a very good reason. They both provide excellent results, and they beat pretty much every high-tech modern option out there.
Which one is better, though – iron door vs. wood door?
Today, we’re going to pit these two juggernauts of the door world against each other in an in-depth comparison, and while both of them are great options, we’ll figure out which one comes out ahead.
Let’s get started.
The Key Aspects to Consider for Any Door
Before we dive into the comparison section, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for in a door. Your first thought might be that a door is just a door, and whatever the cheapest option is will work just fine. That’s not true.
First, you have the aesthetic that it adds to your business or home. For businesses, clean, sharp, distinguished lines are typically best, and of course, plenty of visibility helps. For a home, you have a lot more leeway. You want something that matches the overall design theme of your home while also providing attractive traits and characteristics. While the aesthetic of a door is largely up to your personal taste, it is best to look for something that specifically matches what you’re using the door for.
Then, you need to consider the maintenance requirements of the door. Regardless of whether or not you’re a homeowner or a business owner, you don’t want to spend tons of time maintaining something as simple as an entryway. You have more important things to worry about, and long periods of performing maintenance tasks on a door are just wastes of time.
Finally, the security level of the door is a big concern for everybody. Weak, cheap, poorly-made doors are easy to bypass, even if you have a good lock system installed. The lock can’t do its job if the door’s construction is so shoddy that a hard push crumbles the material around the lock. Your framing has a lot to do with this, too, but that’s an entirely different guide that needs to be written.
How Our Comparison Works
There are a lot of factors that go into the overall quality of a door. For example, wood doors are made from a lot of different species, and each one behaves differently. Some are even made from rejected wood that is mulched up and reformed. With iron doors, that’s less of a problem, but there is still a range of quality options available.
To keep everything fair, we’re going to assume you’re looking at mid-range doors in both categories. We won’t be considering the downsides of buying a particle board door or an iron door that was poorly welded and sent out rusty.
We also won’t be considering the cream of the crop. If you spend tons of money on a fully-custom, hand-made door made from either of these materials, you’ll get an absolute piece of art that will outlast you, your children, and your grandchildren. However, those aren’t accessible options for everyone, and they’re not indicative of the quality the average consumer should expect.
Finally, we’re focusing mostly on residential consumers looking for a door for their homes, but some of these comparison points are relevant to businesses, and we’ll take note of that when it’s needed.
Iron Doors VS Wood Doors: Aesthetic
The aesthetic of a door is a key feature. Even if you don’t really care about the appearance of your home’s exterior, it makes a big difference when it’s time to sell, and a mismatched door that lowers your curb appeal can make your home value take a hit.
The aesthetic differences of iron door vs wood door are extremely noticeable, but both can be fairly flexible.
Iron Doors: Aesthetics
Iron doors have been around for centuries, and they were most prominent during the Victorian era. That’s why many of the traditional iron doors you find will have design themes reminiscent of the Victorian period, and they tend to add a sense of classic charm to the entryways they’re added to. That makes traditional iron doors the perfect option for front entryways on historic homes or homes with a more elegant and historical design theme.
However, iron doors are not limited to the themes of yesteryear. They’re also commonly manufactured with clean lines and minimal artistic detail to match modern homes. These iron doors typically have large glass inserts that provide plenty of visibility, this is a point that makes modern iron doors ideal for businesses, they’re strong and have the professional look a business needs, and the added functionality of glass inserts provides ample viewing of the interior. Iron doors like that can be used residentially if measures are taken to ensure privacy when needed.
In general, iron is incredibly easy to mold into practically any design theme, and if you look hard enough, you can find an iron door to match almost any use.
Wood Doors: Aesthetics
Wood doors are almost as flexible as iron doors. This is due to how easy it is to dramatically change the door’s appearance with routing and carvings, and the many species of wood that can be used can provide anything from a rustic look to an elegant modern aesthetic.
However, visibility can be a problem. Some wood doors do have glass inserts around eye level, but they’re not as large. That’s a good thing for most residential uses. You typically want privacy while in the comfort of your home, and a big door filled with glass inserts can ruin that. However, it’s a negative in the business world. This is why you’ll rarely find a wood door on any modern retail storefront, and they’re mostly relegated to bars and other places where people don’t need to look inside to be enticed to enter.
Iron Doors VS Wood Doors: Maintenance and Durability
Maintenance and durability are key points for any door. First, you don’t want to constantly have to perform time-consuming maintenance tasks on your door to keep it in good condition. Life is short, and any savings you gain from buying a cheap door that requires that will be lost in sheer time alone. Then, you also don’t want your door to get hideously mauled every time you move furniture in or the kids get a bit rambunctious.
Iron Doors: Maintenance and Durability
Iron is misunderstood by many casual consumers. Obviously, it’s durable. You would have to do something pretty drastic to damage an iron door, and unless you do it intentionally, you’re unlikely to do anything that can noticeably blemish it.
However, when it comes to maintenance, you might not know that it is one of the easiest door materials to maintain. Unlike what most people think, it doesn’t rust. At least, it won’t rust if you keep an eye on it and occasionally touch up its protective coating. Even on exposed areas, a patina develops that is slightly discolored, but it naturally repels water and prevents rust from building up. In order for an iron door to rust, you’d really have to neglect the door.
The patina we mentioned also keeps you from having to lubricate its hinges. It will naturally smooth out the hinge point and keep the iron door opening smoothly.
To maintain an iron door, you really just need to clean it off every once in a while, don’t let snow or water sit on it for long periods of time, and if you notice the coating peeling or a small rust patch, take care of it immediately. If you do that, which typically only equates to a few minutes of basic maintenance tasks once in a blue moon, your door will outlast you.
Wood Doors: Maintenance and Durability
Wood doors obviously aren’t as durable as iron, but they can be extremely hard to damage. This mostly comes down to the species of wood used and the quality of the craftsmanship. Let’s say you purchase a nice oak door; a mid-range door that is built properly and with a quality material. Although, nothing is overly extravagant. The door will be highly resistant to scuffs, dings, and water damage. The same goes for doors made from any other wood commonly sold in this price range and made to a high standard.
However, there are still durability concerns to consider. A wood door can swell, which isn’t a big deal most of the time, but that can lead to more serious issues. The door can also be dinged up if you don’t take care to avoid gouging it or doing something else that’s destructive. Under normal circumstances, a wood door’s durability is plenty for residential use. It can be a bit lackluster at a business with customers constantly swinging it open and not taking as much care of it as they should, though.
Maintenance wise, you also have to do a lot more. While an iron door can more or less sit around most of the time and take care of itself, you have to consider the sealant and stain on a wood door. If those wear off, and you don’t do anything, you’ll lose your door. This requires you to regularly sand, stain or paint, and seal the door. You don’t have to do this too often, but it is an annual or semi-annual requirement if you want the door to stay in prime condition for decades.
This section makes wood doors look bad, but the requirements aren’t as bad as they sound; a wood door just requires a bit more than an iron option.
Iron Doors VS Wood Doors: Security
Finally, we get to the whole point of a door, keeping unwanted guests out of your home.
Both iron door vs wood door do a fantastic job, but one is the clear winner.
Iron Doors: Security
An intruder isn’t getting through an iron door unless they bypass the lock. Especially if the frame is iron, too. There is no amount of force an intruder could exert with hand tools or sheer bodily power to bust the locking bar through the iron. With that being said, glass inserts that can be broken and provide a loophole to reach the lock can compromise this.
This is why iron doors, both single iron doors and double iron doors, are so popular with businesses. Intruders are going to have to make a lot of racket to get past them, and if there aren’t glass inserts to break, they really aren’t getting in. That same benefit goes for residential homes, too.
Now, this can vary. As we said, glass inserts can provide a loophole; especially if they’re not security glass inserts that aren’t commonly found on residential doors. The frame can also cause a weak point, because if you have a wood frame, the door might be fine after a few hard kicks or a hefty pry bar, but the frame won’t.
Wood Doors: Security
A wood door is perfectly secure for most residential purposes if you buy from the price range we highlighted earlier. They’re very hard to kick in, and they’re resilient enough that trying to pry the door open won’t be an easy task.
With that being said, under the best conditions, they’re not as sturdy as iron. A pry bar can damage the frame and door enough to get the lock bar to slip through, and someone experienced with breaching can usually get through them with a few good rams.
Luckily, the average criminal isn’t going to do all that and alert all your neighbors just to steal your stuff. A business might want to be a little more careful; especially if it’s a business with lots of value inside.
Iron doors win in this battle of iron door vs wood door. They can match most visual designs if you pick the right door, they don’t require much maintenance and are nearly impossible to damage, and they’re highly secure.
This doesn’t rule out a wood door as a good option, but if you want the best, iron is what you need to be looking at.
However, you do need to pick up your new iron door from the best iron door manufacturer possible to ensure you get one that is crafted properly.