In the world of doors, there are a lot of options for you to choose from. You have the traditional wood doors that are found in most residential homes, iron doors that exude old-fashioned class, budget-friendly steel doors, and even fancy doors made out of fiberglass and various polymers.
However, all doors aren’t made the same way, and they don’t all perform the same way. Therefore, you can’t really go out, grab the most affordable and aesthetically pleasing option you find, and call it a day. There’s real weight to the decision, and it can impact your home in the long term.
So, we’re going to go after two popular options and compare how they stack up against each other; we’re talking about iron doors vs fiberglass doors.
We’ll go over what each one is, how they perform, and the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed purchasing decision.
Let’s get started.
What are Iron Doors?
The name is pretty self-explanatory, but in recent decades, iron doors haven’t been as common in the residential space. At least, it might not seem like that at first glance. Well, iron doors go back about as far as when people started making civilized housing solutions. Iron has always been plentiful, relatively easy to work with, and highly versatile. Most notably, you’ll find iron doors on a lot of Victorian-era buildings with highly ornate design elements.
This rings true today, too.
Modern iron doors can be cleverly designed to fit right into modern design themes, or they can be the elaborate, high-detail, doors that people associate with old, classy buildings and security. With modern technology, custom iron doors can be made to fulfill nearly any purpose.
However, they do have a couple of minor drawbacks, and we’ll go over those later.
What are Fiberglass Doors?
Fiberglass doors are pretty new. They combine wood and modern synthetic materials to create highly durable doors you can install and forget about for decades.
On the surface, fiberglass doors are basically a hard polymer. They’re created by reinforcing small bits of glass with various polymers to create something that isn’t damaged by natural factors, is highly resistant to accidental damage, and is overall reliable. However, most fiberglass doors aren’t made entirely of fiberglass. Instead, they consist of a fiberglass outer shell wrapped around a hardwood wooden core. This adds a bit of flexibility and weight, but it permanently seals the wooden component to prevent you from ever having to maintain it.
Fiberglass doors probably sound pretty great right about now, but have no fear, they do have drawbacks.
Iron Doors VS Fiberglass Doors: Comparison
Iron doors and fiberglass doors both do the same job; they seal the entryway to your home to protect you and your belongings while ensuring privacy. However, they differ dramatically when it comes to the little details. Here, we’ll compare all of those details so you can weigh the pros and cons of iron vs fiberglass doors.
Price is a determining factor in most purchases. After all, something can be amazing, but if you can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter.
The price difference between iron doors vs fiberglass doors is pretty dramatic.
Iron entry doors can cost as little as $600, or they can cost as much as $5000. It all depends on how intricate the door’s designs are, the process used to make the door, and the quality of the door itself; as well as the company selling it as, just like with everything else, some companies offer better prices than others. However, the price range is pretty wide, and there are good options in each part of that spectrum.
With fiberglass doors, the price range is a bit more limited. First off, you’ll probably pay a minimum of $1200. So, it’s already going to be more expensive than an iron door with similar pricing factors. However, you can easily pay up to $5000; whereas with iron doors, that end of the price range is specifically reserved for only the finest doors a company can produce. With fiberglass, you’re still not seeing any major difference in what’s available, and the difference in quality at that price range is minimal.
When it comes down to price alone, iron doors are the clear winner. However, if you can afford the high price of a fiberglass door, it’s still worth weighing the pros and cons.
Both iron and fiberglass doors can look absolutely amazing in a residential space; this is especially true when you put in the time and effort necessary to match your door to your existing décor theme and paint job. However, that part is a lot easier with iron doors.
Iron doors are most often molded by smelting raw iron into liquid and pouring it into a mold. Due to how malleable iron can be, iron doors can be molded and formed into extremely elaborate designs without too much effort on the part of the manufacturer, allowing for some highly impressive results at lower prices than with other materials.
As a result, you can typically find a massive variety of designs to choose from when browsing iron doors.
In comparison, fiberglass doors typically don’t have a lot of options. Due to them using reinforced glass as a primary component, they can’t be shaped too many ways, and that leaves your options for physical differences between doors a bit limited.
However, as long as you’re okay with a fairly standard door design in general, fiberglass doors can take on just about any color scheme. You can find fiberglass doors that replicate wood grain, come in matte colors of any kind, or any other paint job sort of look you can think of. Keep in mind that changing that design in the future is difficult to do, though. We’ll talk about that more later on.
For this comparison, the two are somewhat tied. You can paint an iron door any color you want, but getting all the details right can be challenging. Meanwhile, you get way more choices in terms of physical design elements such as engravings, cutout shapes, and more. With fiberglass, you can find them in a wide range of color schemes and designs, but you’re more or less always going to get a standard-looking door. We’ll call this one a tie based on your personal preferences.
This is a big one. No one wants to buy a new door just a couple of years after buying one. Doors are expensive, and that money can go towards a lot of other things. So, which door can take the most abuse?
For this category, we’re only talking about forms of abuse such as getting gouged while moving furniture, being broken if someone tries to pry the door open, and stuff like that.
Right off the bat, iron doors when. Fiberglass doors are resilient, and you’re definitely not going to put a gouge mark on them if you’re careful when moving a new couch in or doing something similar, but the potential for damage is there.
With an iron door, you can smack furniture against it, let your teenage child slam it recklessly, and any number of other abusive things, and it’s unlikely to get damaged. In fact, a robber could try to pry it open with a crowbar. We guarantee the door frame breaks before your iron door does.
Again, iron doors pretty much dominate this category even if fiberglass doors are somewhat robust.
How much abuse a door can take isn’t the only factor in how long it will last. Normal wear and tear must be taken into account, too. In this category, the two are a little more evenly matched, but let’s check it out.
Iron doors, because they’re made out of iron, are pretty resistant to everything besides water damage, and they’re typically painted to prevent that from being a problem. Even if the iron is exposed to water, it won’t rust. It will develop a patina that gives it visual character and protects it from further water damage. That layer of protection also “self-lubricates” the door to prevent it from rubbing and grinding when it’s opened and shut. So, it’s actually a good thing that it oxidizes a bit with age. If you keep the paint job refreshed once every year or two, your iron door can easily last past your lifetime.
With a fiberglass door, it’s a little different. For about twenty years, your fiberglass door will be a “set it and forget it” purchase. You don’t have to worry about any maintenance, because the door is resistant to sunlight, water, heat, cold, and practically everything else. However, at the fifteen-to-twenty-year mark, the door will quickly degrade. The fiberglass simply starts breaking down. This is a major trade-off because, while you don’t need to maintain the door, it will just randomly start falling apart.
Iron doors win this category unless a little annual painting is a too much maintenance for you.
Both of these door types look great. So, depending on your home and existing décor theme, either can add to your curb appeal. However, the elegant beauty of iron is timeless, and the synthetic, manufactured look of fiberglass just can’t compare if you like traditional appearances.
We touched on this when discussing the longevity of these doors, but our rating is actually reversed in this category. Yes, iron doors require minimal maintenance and last a lifetime. Yes, fiberglass doors will fall apart after about twenty years. However, there is absolutely no maintenance required for fiberglass doors. You install the door, forget it exists, and replace it in twenty years. It can’t get easier than that. Fiberglass wins this category.
Your preferences are very likely to change ten or twenty years from now. You might renovate your living room, paint the outside of your home a different color, or completely change the way the outside of your home looks. When that happens, that bright-red door you thought looked amazing when you installed it can suddenly stick out like a sore thumb and ruin all your hard work. So, you might need to change it.
Which type of door is easiest to do that with, though?
Well, first, most iron doors are just black. So, they can match virtually any home design. If for some reason it doesn’t match yours, you can paint it a suitable color. You just have to take extra care to get between the tiny details many elaborate iron doors have.
With fiberglass doors, you really can’t do much. Even slathering a coat of paint on the is a pain to do.
We’re giving the win to iron doors for this one.
This one is kind of obvious. One door is made out of lightweight synthetic materials with a wood core. The other is made out of solid iron. One is clearly going to be heavier, thus harder to install, than the other.
Fiberglass doesn’t stack up well against iron doors in most categories, but we will say it is far easier to have a buddy hold a fiberglass door while you drill it into the frame. In comparison, iron can be very difficult to install on your own unless you have a couple of friends and a bit of physical strength behind you.
With that being said, you can simply take the savings you got from buying an iron door instead of a fiberglass door and use about $50-$100 to pay for professional installation. Then, you can sit back and relax while the pros put in all the hard work.
We recommend just getting professional installation services, but if you insist on installing the door yourself, fiberglass is going to be easier for you.
Iron Doors VS Fiberglass Doors: The Winner
After going through and comparing every possible factor you should consider when it comes to iron vs fiberglass doors, we think it’s obvious that iron doors are going to be the best option for most people. They’re resilient, last nearly forever, don’t require too much maintenance, look great, and cost less.
If you want to purchase a premium iron door you can trust, check out Wholesale Iron Doors, today.