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Compare entry door materials: fiberglass vs wood vs steel

posted by Sarah Mueller on September 13, 2017 in Global Blogs

Entry door materialsA home’s entry door serves many functions, it’s the main portal to your home, it’s where you welcome visitors and friends, and it also has a significant impact on curb appeal. Choosing a new entry door is no small undertaking. For one thing, a new entry door can be a major investment, one that you’ll continue to enjoy for a number of years. Before you choose your door, we recommend you consider and evaluate all of the styles, options, and materials available to you.

Common Door Materials

Stephanie Bollard, Entry Door Specialist

Entry doors are made out of multiple materials, the most common of which are steel, fiberglass, and wood. Each material has its advantages, and there’s no one right answer. The choice between these materials often comes down to preference.

“Each customer is unique with their own set of personal preferences and desires, so it’s hard to say which entry door is “best.” Pella offers a diverse set of materials and aesthetic options paired with a high performing frame system achieving a high quality door system without sacrificing beauty,” says Stephanie Bollard, Entry Door Product Specialist at Pella. To explore door materials in detail, we put together some of the differences to consider.


Steel Entry Doors

Steel Entry Doors

Steel entry doors are a common option found in many homes. Basic steel slab doors are not just for front entry doors, but also often seen in side entrances, garage entrances, and back doors. Steel requires little maintenance, and has a smooth surface that can be painted to change the door’s appearance. Steel is an economical material and offers a durable product that is easy to maintain.

Explore Steel Entry Doors

Fiberglass Entry Doors

Fiberglass Entry Doors

Fiberglass is a reinforced material composed of fibers woven together to create an exceptionally strong, low maintenance material. A fiberglass door offers a quality finish that can be smooth or have a wood grain texture. Fiberglass is more resistant to denting than a steel door and can be stained to look like wood. Fiberglass can withstand extreme heat and cold, and is a good option for seacoast environments.

Explore Fiberglass Entry Doors

Wood Entry Doors

Wood Entry Doors

Wood provides a rich look for an entry door. As a traditional material, wood offers virtually unlimited interior and exterior color options as well as multiple panel options and styling. Nothing compares with the look, feel, and weight of real wood. A genuine wood product can add beauty and quality to a home with options.

Explore Wood Entry Doors

Fiberglass vs. Steel Doors

  • Look - Steel doors offer a smooth, paintable finish, whereas Fiberglass doors can come with either a smooth finish or a wood grain. Fiberglass can also be stained to look like wood, giving a high-end look with a low maintenance exterior. Steel cannot be stained and may dent more easily.
  • Maintenance - Both materials are low maintenance options. Fiberglass is a popular option because it offers a wide variety of styles and finishes, and a low maintenance interior and exterior with dent-resistant door panels and clad frames.
  • Cost - A number of factors will influence the price of a particular door including many of the optional features, however steel is typically more economical.
  • Bottom line - Both materials are highly energy-efficient, but many homeowners prefer the wood-grain surface because it offers more texture and dent resistance. Steel doors are a good option for homeowners who prefer strength, durability, and a smooth finish.


Fiberglass vs. Wood Doors

  • Look - With a textured fiberglass door and a professionally-applied stain, fiberglass can mirror the look of real wood with a lower-maintenance exterior.  Real wood doors offer the real feel, with doors that have the weight you feel when using them.
  • Maintenance - True wood requires exterior refinishing, and the frequency at which it needs to be refinished can depend on the conditions that the door is subjected to, whereas fiberglass is a low-maintenance material that typically will not need to be refinished as often.
  • Cost - Wood has a different warranty than other materials, requires exterior finishing (especially if you hire a professional to do the work), and generally comes at a higher price point.
  • Bottom line - The choice between wood and fiberglass entry doors comes down to preference. If lower maintenance is important to you, fiberglass may be a better choice. If you want a door with a unique look and custom capabilities and accessories, take a closer look at wood. There are a number of other variables to consider as well, including your climate and which direction your door faces.


As with many other decisions in your home, the material of your entry door will likely come down to preference. We recommend visiting a showroom to view door materials in person. You may discover that when you view the materials in person, you prefer one over the other. Each material has its advantages, and when you’re choosing a quality door, you can’t go wrong.

A closer look at each door

Steel Fiberglass Wood
Closeup on Steel Door Closeup of Fiberglass Door Closeup of wood door
Look Quality appearance with a smooth finish surface that creates an even color when painted Available in wood-grain or smooth finish - available unfinished or prefinished with paint or stain Beautiful and unique - almost unlimited paint and stain combinations
Maintenance Easy to maintain Low maintenance, dent-resistant and won’t rust or corrode, a smart choice for harsh climates May require slightly more maintenance than other material types
Bottom Line Sturdy and durable Tough and low-maintenance Versatile and beautiful


Sarah Mueller

About The Author

Sarah is a professional writer by trade and passion. She specializes in writing about windows, doors, home design and decor, and learning all she can about the home improvement industry. Sarah spends her time away from the office cleaning up stray socks and pokemon cards strewn about by her two little boys. She is an avid reader, runner, and gardener who is known for her atomic salsa.

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