What Are the Different Types of Front Doors?

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated September 13, 2021
Mom hugs little girl at front door
Photo: Wavebreakmedia / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Your key (pun intended) to every type of front door available for your home

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Your home’s door can make a big impression on visitors or potential buyers, but it also serves several important functions, from keeping the cold from those chilly nights outside to preventing intruders. The many different kinds of doors each have their respective pros, cons, and costs, and it’s important to know which is right for your home. Here’s a definitive guide to every type of front door.

1. Steel Doors

There are a lot of reasons to recommend steel doors. In addition to being low maintenance and sturdy against extreme weather, reports show that you can recoup over 60% of your investment in resale value. They are also an affordable choice, with some options as inexpensive as $150. That said, these entry doors can rust and are easily dented, so they’ll need regular maintenance; typically, they are painted with a polyester finish that will need to be repainted from time to time, though some higher-end models have a vinyl coating for better weather resistance.

2. Wood Doors

Wood door on house
Photo: Studio D / Adobe Stock

Many find wood doors appealing because of the wide variety of options the material presents; you can choose your wood, the stain color, and whether or not you want stained glass installed to create a striking appearance for this classic entry door choice. In addition, they are heavy, making them very secure and dent resistant. 

Unfortunately, wood doors are one of the most expensive options on this list, ranging from $40 to $5,000, depending on the type of wood used (mahogany and walnut are some of the most expensive). Additionally, this natural material is prone to swelling and rot and will need to be re-stained every year to prevent excess fading from sunlight.

3. Fiberglass-Composite Doors

Typically ranging between $250 and $2,000, fiberglass-composite entry doors are priced similarly to steel doors, though they can be more expensive the more elaborate they are (if you want glass panels, for instance). They are built with insulation (made of a dense foam) and do not dent or rust. Generally speaking, this is a low-maintenance option, though they can crack if hit very hard with a sharp object (we’ll let you imagine the hypothetical scenarios). You can purchase these with a wood grain or have them stained or painted to your preference, and many people love that they can get the look of wood without the common problems associated with it.

4. Aluminum Doors

Dealers sell custom-built aluminum doors, cut specifically for your door opening’s dimensions. They’re extremely low-maintenance, as their enamel finish prevents rust and doesn’t need to be repainted. They typically come with very long warranties, sometimes up to 20 years. 

If you live in an area with any kind of harsh weather, an aluminum door would not be a good choice, as they have virtually no insulating properties, though some people choose them to act as storm doors, protecting the main door from harsh elements. This low-maintenance option doesn’t come cheap: aluminum doors run $500 or more.

5. Wrought Iron Doors

Wrought iron door on row house
Photo: benedek / E+ / Getty Images

Wrought iron doors can add a big punch of personality to the front of your home and are a heavy, sturdy, secure choice (which also makes them more difficult to move and install). Typically built with a steel base, they can be customized with wrought iron, glass, or wood details.  And, as with most things, the level of customization will cause a price jump. These doors start at $1,500 but can run many thousands of dollars more.

6. Glass Doors

If your entryway is filled with calathea, protea, and pothos plants, a full-panel glass door may support the greenhouse you’re building, letting in lots of natural light. There are a few major downsides, though, the main one being safety; intruders can break into a glass door easily, although double-paned ones offer better protection.

In addition, birds and other critters might find them confusing and fly into them. They are not very insulating, but one way to make your glass door more energy efficient is to add curtains. If you’re concerned about cost, consider other options on our list, as full-panel glass doors can cost anywhere from $700 to $3,000.

Tips Before You Buy a New Door

  • If you can, inspect the door before purchasing it, so you can get a sense of its weight, sturdiness, and general feel.

  • Be mindful of any door system’s durability, and get a “rot-free door jamb,” since that’s usually where failures occur.

  • Because door installation is complicated, consider hiring a local professional to do the job for you; you can expect to pay $400 to $900, though prices will go up with added complexity. 

  • Always ask the manufacturer about insulation.

  • Read the warranty so you know what’s covered in case of any unexpected disasters or damage.

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