What's the Difference Between Steel and Fiberglass Doors?

Megan DeMatteo
Written by Megan DeMatteo
Reviewed by Robert Tschudi
Updated January 11, 2022
Steel door in modern house
Photo: Mint Images / Mint Images RF / Getty Images

When it comes to replacing an exterior door, steel and fiberglass both have a lot to love

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Your front door should greet both you and your visitors and help boost your curb appeal. But if your old wood door has seen better days, fiberglass and steel are two common candidates for a replacement.  Both offer significant advantages to traditional wood doors in terms of durability and security. Steel doors are often the No. 1 choice for commercial or industrial buildings, but they make a secure, weatherproof door option for residential properties as well. Meanwhile, fiberglass entry doors provide the same endurance but come with a more comprehensive range of finishes for a polished look.

Be sure to consider all of the differences between steel, fiberglass, and wood doors. Ahead, we break down the differences between these common door types so you can feel confident in your choice.

Best Type of Entry Doors: Fiberglass vs. Steel

Both fiberglass and steel doors are budget-friendly, long-lasting, energy-efficient, and sleek. Thanks to new technology and design, you can find an array of colors, styles, and options for both kinds of door materials.

Fiberglass Doors: Pros and Cons

Fiberglass doors are the most popular replacement option for upgrades and often found in newer homes.

Pros of Fiberglass Doors

  • Lots of design options that mimic the grain of stained wood

  • Customizable color

  • Available with glass panes

  • Durable (won’t shrink, warp, split, crack, or fade)

  • Low-maintenance (dent and scratch-resistant, washable with soap and water)

  • Energy efficient (heat- and draft-resistant)

  • Secure

Cons of Fiberglass Doors

  • May be more costly than other door types, but may last longer

Steel Doors: Pros and Cons

Solid steel entry doors make a natural choice for industrial buildings, garages, and warehouse structures. They offer significant security improvement over hollow or wooden-core doors. The galvanized steel technology makes these doors nearly impossible to bend.

Most steel doors consist of 24-gauge steel with a coating that's 0.0250 inches thick and weighs 1.15 pounds per square foot.

The steel is galvanized (coated in zinc oxide) to prevent rust and corrosion. These doors are mostly scratch-proof—but if a sharp object does scrape through the sealed surface, you might have to deal with rust.

The strong, durable steel makes them one of the most secure entry door types. And since you can paint them your preferred color, they don’t look half bad on residential homes.

Here are the pros and cons of steel doors.

Pros of Steel Doors

  • Available in smooth or wood-grain textures, stains, and colors

  • Most durable doors available on the market

  • Generally low-maintenance

  • Somewhat energy efficient

  • Highly secure

  • Very affordable (with long-term value) compared to other door types

Cons of Steel Doors

  • Fewer design options than fiberglass doors

  • May rust if not properly primed and painted

  • May be drafty compared to fiberglass doors

Are Steel or Fiberglass Doors Better?

Each type of door has benefits and drawbacks. Mainly, fiberglass doors come with more fashionable finishes, so you might make up your mind based on aesthetics alone. The choice also depends on the door and door installation labor cost, not to mention what size options are available in your area. 

As for the cost of the doors alone, fiberglass doors can be a little pricier, ranging from $3,200 to $5,000. Meanwhile, steel doors go for $600 to $1,800, depending on market availability in your region.

“Steel doors are stronger, but they’re also heavier,” says Bob Tschudi, Angi Expert Review Board member and general contractor in Raleigh, NC. “So be sure to use stronger hinges and longer screws when installing.”

Fiberglass vs. Steel: Which Is Right for You?

As you consider which type of entry door is best for your house, consider factors like cost, your favorite door color, whether you want glass windows in your entryway door, how secure you want your door to be, and what kind of weather resistance it needs. Every type of front door has its pros and cons.

“Fiberglass doors have some distinct advantages,” says Tschudi. “Fiberglass never rusts or rots.”

However, you can’t go wrong with either a steel or fiberglass door, both of which offer exceptional protection compared to the wooden doors of yore.

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