In both aesthetic and security senses, exterior doors are significant within home design. Aesthetically, they welcome occupants and guests, setting the tone for the rest of the time they spend in the interior. Exterior doors are also one of the most important barriers to a burglary that a home can have. According to recent statistics from the United Kingdom, 74 percent of burglars enter through the front door of the island nation. In the United States, the number is far lower (around 34 percent), but still represents a significant portion of all burglaries. A good exterior door can put off all but the most determined thieves.
In the modern United States, exterior doors are usually made of one of four materials. Here is a very brief guide to the most common materials used in the construction of exterior doors.
Wood is the traditional material with which people have been constructing doors for thousands of years. There are a huge variety of different woods that are suitable for exterior door construction. Oak, cherry, and maple are hardwood varieties that remain strong for many years if they are looked after correctly. Oak has been a traditional door construction material in Europe for at least 1000 years. Some softwood species, like pine, are also sometimes used, mainly because of how well-suited they are for painting. Modern ‘stock’ doors are created out of sandwiched layers of pressed wood. These doors are cheap to manufacture and extremely durable.
Many people looking for an exterior door replacement do so to beef up their security. Steel doors offer the most impressive obstacle against would-be thieves. Steel is a composite of carbon and iron that has been forged at extremely high temperatures. It was first created around 400 BC and revolutionized the creation of durable structures and tools. Steel doors are usually not ‘solid’. Instead, they are constructed using a series of layered panels. Insulating foam is usually sandwiched in between these layers to counteract the poor insulating properties of plain old steel.
Aluminum doors are relatively cheap and require very little maintenance. They might not be as strong as steel or as beautiful as polished oak, but they do the job. Aluminum doors can be treated in several days to beautify them. Woodgrain finish and enamel finish aluminum doors are very popular. Treated aluminum will not rust and can be extremely strong. Aluminum doors can be mass-produced, making them very popular with property developers looking to outfit large numbers of homes with secure and durable doors, and at a reasonable cost.
Fiberglass composite doors are perfect for houses in tough environments. They last a long time and require very little maintenance. They are made of several layers of fiberglass, plastic and wood. These doors can be textured and painted to emulate more traditional solid wood doors. The surfaces of these doors are molded using a press, making them relatively quick to produce, despite their structural complexity.