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Choosing The Right Material For Your Exterior Doors: Durability Meets Design

Exterior doors are an essential aspect of any home. They not only add to the overall aesthetic appeal but also serve as a protection from various external elements. With such an important role, it is crucial to choose the right material for your exterior doors that provides both durability and design.

From wood to steel, fiberglass to vinyl, there are numerous options available in the market. Each material has its own unique features and benefits, making the decision-making process even more challenging. In this guide, we will help you understand the different materials used for exterior doors, their pros and cons, and how to choose the perfect one for your home.

What is the role of exterior doors?

Exterior doors play a crucial role in providing security and privacy to your home. They are the first line of defense against external elements such as harsh weather conditions, intruders, and noise pollution. Additionally, exterior doors also act as an insulator, keeping your home warm in winters and cool in summers.

Along with functionality, they also add to the overall aesthetic appeal of your home. Exterior doors come in various designs, styles, and materials, allowing homeowners to choose one that complements their home's architectural design.

Choosing the right material for your exterior doors is essential as it determines the durability, maintenance, and overall cost of the door. With a wide range of materials available, understanding their individual characteristics is key to making an informed decision. So let's take a closer look at the different materials commonly used for exterior doors.

Top materials for exterior doors

Now you have a basic understanding of the role of exterior doors, let's dive into the different materials available in the market.


Wood is a traditional and timeless material used for exterior doors. It offers a classic look and can be easily customized to match your home's style. Wood is also known for its natural insulation properties, making it energy-efficient. However, wood requires regular maintenance and may warp or rot over time if not properly treated.

It is also susceptible to termites and other insects, which can compromise its durability. Despite these challenges, wood remains a popular choice for homeowners due to its aesthetic appeal and versatility in design options.

Plus, wood can be stained or painted in different colors, giving homeowners the freedom to change the look of their exterior doors whenever they want.


Steel is a popular choice for exterior doors due to its strength and durability. It provides sturdy protection against external elements and is resistant to warping, cracking, and rotting. Steel doors also require minimal maintenance and can be painted in various colors.

However, steel doors are prone to dents and scratches, which can affect their appearance. They also conduct heat and cold, making them less energy-efficient than other materials. To combat this issue, some steel doors come with a foam core insulation that helps with temperature control.

Additionally, steel doors may not offer as many design options as wood or fiberglass, but they are a cost-effective choice for those looking for durability and security.


Fiberglass is a versatile material that has gained popularity in recent years due to its durability and low maintenance requirements. It is resistant to warping, cracking, and rotting and can withstand harsh weather conditions without deteriorating.

Fiberglass doors come in various styles and designs, with some even mimicking the look of wood grain. They also offer insulation properties, making them energy-efficient. However, they can be more expensive than other materials and may fade or discolor over time if exposed to sunlight.

But overall, fiberglass is a durable and stylish option for exterior doors that offers a balance between cost and low maintenance.


Vinyl is a relatively new material used for exterior doors but has quickly gained popularity due to its affordability and durability. It is resistant to warping, rotting, and insects, making it a long-lasting option for homeowners.

Unlike other materials, vinyl does not require painting or staining and is relatively low maintenance. However, it may have limited design options and can fade or change color over time if exposed to sunlight.

Vinyl doors also offer good insulation properties, making them energy-efficient. But they may not be as sturdy as other materials such as steel or wood.

So when considering vinyl for your exterior door, make sure to research the brand and quality to ensure its durability.

Does it all come down to personal preference?

While the material of your exterior door is an important factor, ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and budget. Each material has its own unique features and benefits, making it vital to understand what you prioritize in a door.

For example, if durability and energy-efficiency are crucial for you, then steel or fiberglass may be the best options. If you value aesthetics and don't mind regular maintenance, then wood could be the perfect choice.

Moreover, consider factors such as your home's climate and location when selecting a material for your exterior door. Consulting with a professional can also guide you in making an informed decision that meets both your functional and design needs.

Mistakes to avoid when choosing an exterior door

Choosing an exterior door may seem like a simple task, but it's easy to make mistakes that can lead to costly repairs or replacements. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when selecting an exterior door:

  • Not considering the climate and weather conditions: The material and design of your exterior door should be suitable for the climate in which you live to ensure its durability. Plus, it should provide adequate insulation to keep your home comfortable. Also, consider factors such as humidity and extreme temperatures that can impact the performance of your door.

  • Ignoring maintenance requirements: Some materials may require more maintenance than others. Before making a decision, research the upkeep and costs associated with each material to ensure you are prepared for it. Also, consider the long-term durability of the material and how it may impact your maintenance needs.

  • Not taking security into account: Your exterior door is the first line of defense against intruders, so it's essential to choose a material and design that offers sufficient security measures. Look for doors with reinforced frames, multiple locking points, and sturdy hardware to ensure your safety and peace of mind.

  • Not seeking professional advice: While it's tempting to DIY and save on installation costs, consulting with a professional can help you make an informed decision and avoid costly mistakes. They can also provide insights into potential issues that may arise with specific materials or designs.

  • Focusing solely on aesthetics: While it's important to choose an exterior door that complements your home's design, don't sacrifice functionality for looks. Make sure the material and design you choose also meet your practical needs and provide long-term durability.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can select an exterior door that meets both your aesthetic and functional requirements. So take the time to research and consult with professionals to ensure a well-informed decision for your home.

How much does an exterior door cost?

The cost of an exterior door can vary greatly depending on the material, design, and additional features. Generally, wood and fiberglass doors are more expensive than steel or vinyl doors. However, these materials also offer better durability and insulation properties.

The average cost for a basic steel entry door can range from $200 to $500, while a wood or fiberglass door can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,200. High-end options with decorative glass panels, custom designs, and advanced security features can cost upwards of $3,000.

Plus, installation costs should also be taken into consideration when budgeting for an exterior door. It's recommended to get quotes from multiple professionals and compare prices before making a final decision. Remember, investing in a quality exterior door can add value to your home and provide long-term benefits.

Why is it important to invest in a quality exterior door?

An exterior door is more than just an entryway to your home; it also serves as a barrier between your living space and the outside world. Therefore, investing in a quality exterior door is essential for several reasons:

  • Durability: A good-quality exterior door made from sturdy materials can withstand daily wear and tear, severe weather conditions, and potential break-in attempts. This ensures its longevity, saving you from the hassle and expense of frequent repairs or replacements.

  • Energy-efficiency: A well-constructed exterior door with proper insulation can help reduce energy costs by keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. It prevents air leaks and drafts, making your heating and cooling systems more efficient.

  • Curb appeal: Your exterior door is one of the first things people see when they approach your home, so it can significantly impact its overall appearance. A quality door with a stylish design can enhance your curb appeal and make a positive impression on visitors.

  • Security: As mentioned earlier, your exterior door serves as a barrier against potential intruders. A high-quality door with advanced security features can provide peace of mind and protect your home and family.

  • Value: Investing in a quality exterior door can add value to your home and potentially increase its resale value. Plus, it can save you from costly repairs in the long run, making it a smart financial decision.

By investing in a quality exterior door, you can enjoy these benefits and ensure the safety, comfort, and curb appeal of your home. So make sure to do thorough research and choose a reputable manufacturer for your exterior door needs.

Should you opt for a pre-hung or slab exterior door?

When purchasing an exterior door, another important decision is whether to opt for a pre-hung or slab door. A pre-hung door comes with the frame and hinges already attached, making installation easier. On the other hand, a slab door only includes the door itself and requires additional hardware and installation.

The choice ultimately depends on personal preference and the condition of your current door frame. If you are replacing an old exterior door, it may be more convenient to opt for a pre-hung door. However, if you are looking for more customization options or have a sturdy existing frame, a slab door may be the better choice. Consider factors such as cost, installation, and design options before making a decision. Consult with a professional if needed, to ensure the best choice for your home.

Also, keep in mind that pre-hung doors are typically more expensive than slab doors due to the added components. However, they can also provide better insulation and security with their complete frame installation. Ultimately, the decision between a pre-hung or slab exterior door will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Visit Bari Decor for all your modern decor needs

Bari Decor is your one-stop-shop for all your modern decor needs. We offer a wide range of European imported doors, electric fireplaces, bathroom appliances, and lighting selections to elevate the aesthetic of any interior. Our Italian designs are meticulously crafted with visual elegance in mind, adding a touch of sophistication to any space.

Explore our collections and choose from our featured products such as sliding French pocket doors with clear or frosted glass, solid wood interior swing doors with hardware, and sliding closet bi-fold doors with frosted glass. We also offer sturdy barn doors, sliding bypass doors, and swing doors in various designs and finishes.

At Bari Decor, we understand the importance of customization and offer custom interior door options to suit your specific needs. Contact us at (800) 301-9454 or email and let us help you enhance the beauty of your home.


How do I choose between wood doors and steel doors for my front entry?

When selecting door materials for your front entry door, consider both aesthetics and functionality. Wood door offer a classic, warm look but may require more maintenance to withstand weather conditions. Steel doors provide enhanced security and durability with less upkeep. Evaluate your priorities such as style, security, and climate resilience to make the best choice.

What are the advantages of using wood for entry doors?

Wood entry doors bring natural beauty and can be customized with various finishes and designs, making them a popular choice for homeowners seeking a traditional aesthetic. While they require regular maintenance to protect against the elements, their ability to be easily repaired and refinished can extend their lifespan significantly.

Why might a steel door be considered the best exterior door material?

Steel doors are often valued for their strength and durability, making them an excellent choice for security-conscious homeowners. They are resistant to warping, shrinking, and cracking. Additionally, steel doors can be energy-efficient and are typically more affordable than other high-end door materials.

Should I consider storm doors for my front door?

Yes, adding a storm door to your front doors setup can offer several benefits. Storm doors protect your main entry door from weather damage, help reduce drafts and improve energy efficiency, and provide an extra layer of security. They also allow for additional light and ventilation without opening the main exterior door.


Investing in a quality exterior door is important for the durability, energy-efficiency, curb appeal, security, and value of your home. Consider factors such as material, cost, and installation when choosing between a pre-hung or slab exterior door.

And for all your modern decor needs, visit Bari Decor and explore our wide range of European imported doors and other interior design options. Our Italian designs are sure to elevate the aesthetic of any space and add a touch of sophistication.

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