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Fiberglass vs. Wood Doors: cost, durability, maintenance, and look

June 24th, 2021 | 7 min. read

Fiberglass vs. Wood Doors: cost, durability, maintenance, and look

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After living in your home for almost a decade, you decide you want to switch up the look and feel when friends and family come through your door.

You’re not too sure what material your current front door is made of, but you know you want a wooden replacement door. They’re classic, sturdy, and reliable because they’ve been around for so long.

As you do more and more research, you’re learning about fiberglass doors that can be made to look like wood. They’re less expensive than wood doors, but will they give you all the qualities you love about real wood?

Southwest Exteriors has been a local door replacement contractor for over 30 years. We offer fiberglass, steel, and wood hinged doors and vinyl sliding doors from top-quality manufacturers. 

When you choose to work with us, we are experts in guiding you in the right direction to choosing what door is best for you. We always recognize that this is your project, and only you can choose what is right for you. 

However, we want to educate you on all your options and key differences between them so you can make the best decision. 

This article will outline the major difference between fiberglass and wood doors in categories like cost, durability, maintenance, and overall look.

After reading, you will understand what makes fiberglass and wood doors similar and unique in their ways so that you can decide which door type is better for you. 

Cost of Fiberglass vs. Wood Doors

When comparing two products, the cost is typically one of the first things you want to know. If budget is a top priority regarding your door replacement, it could be a make or break when choosing a door.

Cost of Fiberglass Doors

Fiberglass doors can be much less expensive than wood, depending on the quality of the door and installation. However, high-end fiberglass doors can still cost close to what you would pay for a wood door.

Fiberglass doors cost anywhere from $800 to $1,500 for a standard 36 in. x 80 in. door. 

While this is a starting range for the cost of a fiberglass door, you could look to pay upwards of $4,000 for a prehung, high-quality door. 

Cost of Wood Doors

The cost of wood is continuously increasing. Wood is always a sought-after material for home improvement projects, causing the demand to drive up the price.

The cost for a wood door ranges from $500 up to $4,000 for a standard 36 in. x 80 in. door. 

How they’re made affects the cost

The manufacturing of wood doors is much different than fiberglass. Wood is a hefty material that must be crafted to its shape and design, whereas fiberglass doors are man-made from a mold. 

Fiberglass is typically made by taking strands of fiberglass, placing them in a mold with resin, and compressing them under high heat. 

A fiberglass door is not made of a solid slab of fiberglass. The shell of the door is made of fiberglass with an insulating foam interior. If you’ve touched a surfboard, it was probably made of fiberglass just to give you an idea of what we’re talking about. 

Overall, high-quality wood and fiberglass doors can cost you about the same price depending on the size and customizations you add. These two factors will always increase the cost, no matter how small they may be. 

It’s important to clarify what is included in the cost of your project when choosing a contractor. Some companies may advertise a fiberglass door for only $500 but then add charges for the labor, installation, and other service fees. 

The most important things to remember when thinking about how much you want to pay for your project are your goals and being realistic about them. 

If you want a high-quality door that is going to last you for the rest of your life in your home, then you are going to have to pay more for it. 

Durability of Fiberglass vs. Wood Doors

The durability of a door is important. An exterior door will be exposed to sun, rain, wind, and maybe even snow. 

You want to know that you can trust your door to protect your home and your family inside of it. You also want to get your money's worth and know your door is going to last.

If you choose a cheap, low-end door, it’s not going to last you as long as a door should and will lead to recurring repairs and another possible replacement soon.

Durability of Fiberglass Doors

Fiberglass doors are one of the most durable types of doors you can choose. Because of what they are made of, they are incredibly strong and do not warp from heat as vinyl doors do. 

They will also not rot like wood can, or rust like metal doors. 

Fiberglass doors are incredible insulators because of the foam interior. This makes them energy efficient for your home, helping to trap cool air in during the summer and keep the heat out. 

Durability of Wood Doors

Wood doors have been around for centuries, giving them lots of credibility to how durable they are. 

Wood doors are indeed made to last with proper care. Like fiberglass, they are also great insulators that will help keep your home at the right temperature.

On the flip side, however, wood doors are susceptible to a few problems. Anything made of wood is threatened by rot and possible insect infestation from termites or carpenter ants. 

Rot occurs when excess water finds itself trapped in the wood, allowing fungi to grow in the space and break down the wood. This is the most common problem with wood doors and typically occurs around the bottom edges. 

Because of these issues, wood doors require the highest maintenance to make them last and function as they should. 

Maintenance of Fiberglass vs. Wood Doors

The maintenance required for a door is important to keeping the door functioning properly and looking amazing. 

Of course, nobody wants to always have to take the time to upkeep their door. Less maintenance is always better.

Maintenance of Fiberglass Doors

Fiberglass doors are known for being virtually maintenance-free. The biggest thing you can do to maintain your fiberglass door is to upkeep the finish and stain.

If the paint or stain has become dull or chipped in any way, it is easily repairable by thoroughly cleaning the door’s surface and reapplying the product according to the instructions.

Some manufacturers will provide you with specific cleaning kits with special products and instructions for you to use on your fiberglass door.

Overall, most maintenance you will have to do on your fiberglass door is repaint or stain the door if it becomes faded. If there are any marks or unwanted liquids on the door, you can simply clean it with some multi-surface cleaner to get it off. 

Maintenance of Wood Doors

Wood doors are much more complicated than fiberglass when it comes to maintenance. 

When you first get your new door, a protective coating should be applied to repel water and keep it from absorbing into the wood. If this protective layer becomes chipped and faded, it should be reapplied to fight against rotting in the door. 

If you want to completely restain or repaint the door, this will take several additional steps. You will have to remove the door from the hinges, sand it down, then reapply the finish for the best application. 

A protectant against UV rays should also be applied every 3-5 years, depending on the door's exposure to the sun. 

When a wood door is exposed to too much sunlight, it can cause it to crack and split. 

The majority of maintenance required for a wood door is to protect it from water and sunlight. Wood is a porous material, and if not properly taken care of, you will find problems, such as rot or cracking, which may lead to a full door replacement

It’s no secret that wood doors require more maintenance and upkeep than fiberglass doors. However, if a wood door is what you are looking for, the maintenance is worth it if you want to keep your door looking fresh and functioning for years to come.

Aesthetics of Fiberglass vs. Wood Doors

The visual aspect of a front door is just as important as its functionality. Your front door makes a statement to all who enter to let them know your style.

When it comes to choosing a fiberglass or wood door, the curb appeal is virtually the same. 

Aesthetics of Fiberglass Doors

Fiberglass doors are incredibly sleek and smooth. They can be made in various styles and come in different finishes and colors.

A popular look for fiberglass doors mimics the look and feel of wood. This makes them an equal competitor to real wood doors when looking at the appearance. 

The wood finish of a fiberglass door can even be made to mimic looks and stains of different wood types. 

Aesthetics of Wood Doors

Wood doors are always classic and traditional. The customizations and designs that can be made to a wood door are endless. 

They’ve been around for centuries and carry a history with them. 

While other doors can give off the look of wood, nothing can compare to the feeling of real wood. If you are looking for a simple, time-honored, and durable look, then wood doors are perfect to fit your aesthetic. 

Overall, fiberglass and wood doors can give off the same aesthetic. Fiberglass doors leave much more room for customizations as far as the finishing but are still comparable to wood. 

Fiberglass or Wood Door: Which is best for you?

Choosing a fiberglass door that mimics wood or a real wood door depends on your personal preferences and goals for your project.

If you just want the look of wood but not the extra maintenance that comes with it, then a fiberglass door would be the best option for you.

If you know you want a traditional wood door, you must know the extra maintenance required to keep them functioning properly. 

With Southwest Exteriors, our goal is to act as a guide to help to find the right door for you. Only you know what is best for you and your home, and we want to educate you on all your options to help you make the best decision.

Curious to learn about other types of doors? Check out this article that outlines seven different door types, their pros, cons, and maintenance required.