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Article: Fiberglass or Steel Doors: Which Is the Better Option?

Fiberglass or Steel Doors: Which Is the Better Option?

Shopping for new doors is a complicated process. Purchasing and installing them is a significant investment, so it's not uncommon to fret over whether you're making the right decision.

One of the most pressing questions that many homeowners encounter is whether fiberglass doors or steel doors are better. Both offer a distinct set of advantages. Here's what you need to know to make the right choice.

Advantages of Fiberglass Doors

Before you choose between fiberglass and steel, understanding the distinct advantages each type of door replacement offers is essential.

Fiberglass doors are durable, low-maintenance, energy efficient, and exceptionally aesthetically versatile.

Durability and Low Maintenance

Thanks to the unique internal construction of fiberglass entry doors, they're highly resistant to rot, rust, and other forms of decay.

Fiberglass doors are constructed with several insulating inner layers surrounded by a robust compression-molded fiberglass exterior.

Energy Efficiency

Fiberglass exterior doors also provide excellent insulation. They're able to accomplish this thanks to the unique qualities of fiberglass. Unlike wood doors, fiberglass doors don't expand and shrink when exposed to extreme temperatures.

As a result, they can hold better internal temperatures. Fiberglass doors are generally rated as having insulation values between R-5 and R-6 by the U.S.

Department of Energy, exceeding the average wood door's rating of R-3. You may even qualify for tax credits for energy efficiency when installing a fiberglass door.

Aesthetic Versatility

While a steel or fiberglass exterior door is aesthetically appealing in its own ways, many prefer fiberglass entry doors because of their versatility. There's a massive selection of fiberglass entry door styles on the market, ranging from classic options to vivid contemporary designs.

You don't have to settle for a classic fiberglass door, either. If you're interested in the rustic charm of a wooden door but don't wish to deal with its inherent fragility, you can purchase a special fiberglass door with a wood look.

Advantages of Steel Doors

Much like fiberglass doors, steel entry doors have a unique set of advantages to consider.

They offer a higher level of security than any other type of door, and as an added benefit, they're also highly durable and cost-effective.

Superior Security

Much like fiberglass doors, steel doors are extremely strong. They have an insulating interior surrounded by a durable heavy-gauge galvanized steel shell. No matter what force your steel door is subjected to -- from powerful blasts to brute force -- your door won't warp or break.

In fact, steel doors are powerful enough to surpass even fiberglass doors in terms of security. While both options can with-standing normal levels of force, fiberglass doors may fracture when subject to extreme force. The worst you can expect for your steel door is a few unsightly dents.


Steel doors also offer considerably better longevity than other types of doors. They're resistant to warping, cracking, and shrinking because extreme temperatures don't affect the steel. They're not prone to rust or corrosion when maintained correctly.


The best part about steel doors is that they're incredibly cost-effective. Steel doors are cheaper than comparable fiberglass alternatives and aren't significantly more expensive than wooden ones.

In the long term, steel doors are more affordable than wooden doors because they last much longer and require less maintenance.

Considerations When Choosing

So, is a fiberglass or steel door better? Well, it depends on your preferences. Climate, aesthetics, and maintenance are three essential factors you should consider when weighing out steel vs. fiberglass.

Climate and Weather

First and foremost, you should consider the climate you live in when deciding between fiberglass and steel doors. If you want extreme insulation, you should choose a highly-rated fiberglass door.

Steel doors are capable of similar insulation levels, but you may not enjoy how the surface cools and heats to air temperature if you live in an extreme climate.

Style and Aesthetics

When choosing the perfect door material, you should also consider curb appeal and your preferred home aesthetic.

Steel front doors offer an interesting look that complements contemporary homes but aren't very versatile. Fiberglass doors can be purchased in a wide variety of styles.

Maintenance Requirements

Finally, you should consider both styles' maintenance requirements before deciding. Fiberglass and steel doors are relatively low maintenance but have different requirements.

Steel doors need more maintenance in humid, rainy climates to prevent corrosion. Fiberglass doors will need the occasional application of a protective topcoat.

Making the Right Choice

It's easy to feel indecisive when weighing the pros and cons of fiberglass and steel doors. You'll need to assess your priorities and potentially seek professional advice to make the right decision.

Assessing Priorities

Instead of weighing out every pro and con of each type of door, you should consider what is most important to you. If security is your primary concern, you don't need to weigh yourself down thinking about energy efficiency and aesthetics.

Seeking Professional Advice

If you aren't sure about your priorities, consulting door experts may be the best way to resolve your problem. Speaking to an expert is the best way to understand what door suits your home's unique characteristics.

Install the Perfect New Door

Whether you choose a new steel door or a fiberglass entry door, you're unlikely to be disappointed. Both doors offer incredible advantages that make it hard to consider ever using a wood door again. Give yourself time to consider both options carefully and consult with a professional if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are fiberglass doors as secure as steel doors?

Fiberglass doors are almost as secure as steel doors but are slightly less durable. Both doors can withstand extreme impacts. However, fiberglass doors are prone to fracturing at a much lower level of force than steel doors.

Do fiberglass doors require painting or staining like wooden doors?

Fiberglass doors require a hard polyurethane or acrylic topcoat occasionally, generally every one to two years, depending on the climate and level of sunlight exposure. They don't need as much maintenance as wooden doors, however.

What is the typical lifespan of a fiberglass door compared to a steel door?

Fiberglass and steel doors both have long lifespans. Even if your fiberglass or steel door is poorly maintained, you can expect it to last between 15 and 20 years at a minimum. Your door will last decades if you follow a basic maintenance and repair routine.

Can I install a steel door in a coastal area with salt exposure?

You must use a protective coat on your steel door if you live in a coastal area and your door is subject to high salt exposure. Failing to use a protective coating will eventually lead to rust and corrosion. You should consider installing a fiberglass door if you prefer to avoid high maintenance levels.

Do either fiberglass or steel doors come with warranties?

Fiberglass and steel doors often come with warranties, but it depends on whether the vendor you purchase a door from offers a warranty. You should avoid buying a door from a vendor that doesn't provide warranties, as fiberglass and steel doors are expensive.

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