A well-maintained entry door should last 30 years or more
It’s the statement piece to your entryway, but a front door should be about more than just curb appeal—you want a door for your home that will stand the test of time. So what type of door lasts the longest? Your decision will likely “hinge” on a few factors.
What Type of Front Door Lasts the Longest?
In general, any exterior door with an overhang protecting it and a reasonable amount of yearly or bi-yearly maintenance should last a homeowner 30 years. Gaskets, weather stripping, and exterior wood door frames may need to be replaced every eight to 10 years. The material of your front door, be it wood, steel, or fiberglass, is by far the most significant factor in its life expectancy.
A steel entry door offers protection from both the elements and intruders, as most steel doors are made with 24-gauge steel. This thickness is also more energy-efficient, and steel doors are frequently the prime choice for homes where the winters are long and cold.
Unlike some types of doors, steel doors require less effort to maintain and look good for years to come. Most steel doors are made from galvanized steel—steel coated in zinc oxide—which is rust- and scratch-resistant. You can find them in a variety of colors, and you can even customize them yourselves with weather-resistant metal paints.
Steel doors can last between 30 and 100 years.
Many older homes have wood doors that are centerpieces to the porch, and the material adds a traditional element to any newer homes, too. Wood doors come in a variety of designs, from contemporary to mid-century modern to a country cottage—there’s a door for any style home! They can come factory painted in bright colors or raw and ready for your personal touch.
So what are the cons of a wood door? Wood doors require some additional maintenance to look their best, such as yearly sanding and paint touch-ups. Unlike steel doors, they are also not fire-resistant.
How long a wood door lasts depends on the type of wood, but on average most that have been properly maintained can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years or more.
They can come factory-painted in bright colors or raw and ready for your personal touch, but you can also build a solid wood door yourself if you have intermediate DIY skills.
The most common woods used for solid exterior doors and their average life expectancy are:
Cedar: 40 years
Mahogany: 60 years
Oak: 30 years
Pine: 20 years
Maple: 30 years.
Fiberglass doors come in an array of styles to suit most entryway looks. Though they weigh less than steel or solid wood doors, fiberglass doors are usually durable and offer good protection from the outside elements. They are also typically more affordable than heavy steel or custom wood doors.
Fiberglass doors, on average, can last up to 70 years.
Glass doors are an aesthetically pleasing option for entry doors, with every type from traditional French doors to modern contemporary. They let in natural light and come in everything from wood-glass to fiberglass-glass combos.
But take note: your door can’t be just any glass. It needs to be difficult to break and made from safety glass, tempered glass, or reinforced glass. For the most insulation, opt for double-glazed glass.
While glass doors are seen more frequently in southern climates with mild winters, even homeowners in colder climates can enjoy the snowy view in comfort and safety.
Glass doors can last 50 years or more, typically longer. And because they have less wood that’s susceptible to rot, the door’s maintenance is more manageable than others.
What Other Factors Affect How Long My Front Door Will Last?
Before deciding what kind of door you want, you should consider a few other factors to determine what type of exterior door is right for your home.
A door that has some kind of overhang or a small roof over it will last significantly longer than a door that does not. Rain, heavy snow, and hail can all wreak havoc on even the strongest of doors. Sun and wind exposure can also affect your door, especially on a wooden one, over time.
Paint or Coating
The right door finish makes a big difference. Any door with weather-resistant paint or a sealed coating will last significantly longer than one that is simply stained.
While storm doors are frequently chosen as a way of keeping your home more energy-efficient, they can offer some protection from the elements, therefore prolonging the life of your exterior door.
Is It Worth Replacing My Front Door?
Replacing your front door is a worthwhile investment for homeowners if the front door is damaged or no longer energy efficient. Replacing a front door costs $200 to $1,500 or more. While it’s an investment, the money saved over the door’s lifetime on heating and cooling costs can be significant. It also adds curb appeal to your home.
Should I Hang My Own Front Door?
Installing a new front door can range from a simple replacement to a more complicated job. The door and its jam need to be in perfect alignment to ensure maximum weather efficiency. Consider hiring a local door installer if you prefer to just shut the front door rather than hang it yourself. It’s a straightforward job and only takes about an hour or two.