Steel Entry Doors
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Your home’s front door is most likely a steel entrance door. Steel entry doors are the most common exterior door panels sold into new homes and most often used in replacement situations. A residential insulated steel door is not the same as the typical commercial steel door found in entrances to business and malls, for example. A commercial door is glass framed with extruded aluminum material and designed to be part of a curtainwall system. A typical steel entrance door is a panel where an exterior steel skin is applied to a core made up of rigid foam, surrounded by wood.Note that GEM takes steel doors up to the next level by utilizing injected polyurethane foam that prevents the typical gaps found in doors with rigid foam. Steel doors can be embossed in a number of designs. They can have cut-outs to allow for a variety of different sized glass lites be inserted directly into the panel. The glass lite is held in place by a small frame on both the interior and exterior.
Steel entry doors have a lot of benefits;
- They are reasonably rigid
- They can be processed to take a variety of sizes of glass lites
- They can be processed to take a variety of styles of hardware
- They can be used with different framing materials including wood, vinyl, metal and more.
- They can have a variety of panel designs
- The can be painted in multiple colours and can even have different interior and exterior colours.
- They are available in popular widths and heights and can be customized for a non-standard opening
- They can be combined to create French doors as well as garden doors
As noted, steel doors are made as a sandwich panel with insulating foam inside. As a result of the foam, they are energy efficient. Of course, a proper installation is essential so that the sealed on the door frame make proper contact with the door panel, when closed.
Of course, the ultimate question is, how much does a steel entry door cost? That depends. Choice of a glass insert plays a big part in determining door cost, as does hardware choice. What we can say is that compared to alternative, an insulated steel entry door provides an excellent value while meeting the requirements of most homeowners.
There are other possible choices besides steel doors. Each one has benefits and drawbacks.
Steel vs Fiberglass:
Fiberglass is a growing choice for homeowners looking for a wood grained look without the maintenance of wood. The ability of fiberglass to have an actual grain is one of its best features. Because fiberglass lacks the rigidity of a steel panel, GEM always recommends the use of a multipoint locking system with fiberglass panels. This is to prevent the possibility of warping when a single locking point results in pressure from seals bending the fiberglass panel. Fiberglass will also have a higher price than steel.
Another difference between steel and fiberglass is in regard to how the two materials handle an impact. Steel can be dented by a relatively low impact. Fiberglass is much more likely to not show any negative results from a low impact. Steel can always be puttied and painted to remove the appearance of dents accumulated over time. With a high impact, fiberglass can split or even shatter where steel is more likely to only dent significantly.
Steel vs Wood:
Of all materials, wood requires the highest level of ongoing maintenance to prevent degradation and the possibility of rotting. Exposure to the elements such as snow is inevitable for a door. It is quite common for a wood door that has not been properly maintained to have rot occur in its lower section.
So, since fiberglass can easily mimic the look of wood, why is wood still a material of choice in extremely high-end door panels? While fiberglass can look like wood, it will never have the warmth and ambience of real wood. Also, it is not customizable to the degree that a solid wood door can be. Steel entry doors and wood entry doors are such completely different species that trying to compare them is a foolish task. They are not designed for, nor do they appeal to, the same consumer in the marketplace.
What about relative energy savings between wood and steel? Time can be the enemy of wood. Over time, wood islikely to fall prey to a lack of the required high maintenance. Deterioration and warping will result in seals failing to make the required compression to keep the door from leaking and its performance, which may start as an equivalent to insulated steel, will fall in its performance.
Steel vs Aluminum:
For many window companies, the uses of a typical residential steel entry door and a commercial aluminum door are so far apart that a comparison is hardly required.Not true for GEM, where we are more and more using commercial steel entrance doors on high end residential properties. Another usage where either may be considered is as access to balconies in high rises. Many residential high rises opt for less costly steel doors as commercial aluminum doors would add significantly to the cost of a project. There are metal door frames to use with the steel panels specifically designed to add structure for this purpose. High end condos, where cost is less of a factor, can opt for commercial aluminum door products, often built with tilt and turn hardware, offering extreme performance specifications. These door products would be far too costly for a typical residential high rise aimed at working class to middle class occupants.
As noted, commercial aluminum doors are the doors of choice for commercial buildings. They are designed to handle the constant traffic of a commercial establishment, which is much greater than a residential steel entry door is designed to handle. The lesson is, use a product for the application for which it is designed and specified!
Storm Doors and Screen Doors
Storm doors are designed to add an extra layer of insulation to your exterior door system. There is a potential problem if the storm door is not vented. In summer, heat build-up can be significant between to storm door and the entry door which, in some cases, has been known to damage or warp components of a modern entry door.
A storm door can have venting lites or interchangeable glass and screen components. Because of this, sometimes they are referred to as screen doors.
GEM vs Big Box Stores
There is no GEM vs Big Box Stores. Their floor people can sell you a basic product at a good price. Don’t worry, if after it is installed you have issues, you can always take it out of your wall and return it, few questions asked. Of course, GEM services what it sells on site.
GEM staff are the experts you need after talking to a Big Box staffer who is not trained in the fine details you require for your home.
GEM Windows and Doors as a source of Steel Entry Doors:
If you have the opportunity to work with a supplier that has an expansive showroom with many different residential door styles, both traditional and contemporary, and materials on display, a room full of hardware options, a full complement of glass options and some of the best door installers in the industry, can there be a reason to shop elsewhere? Add that the knowledgeable sales staff can offer you a tremendous variety of colour options. Well yes, there could be if pricing is not competitive! However, GEM is totally competitive. While GEM has many higher end custom door products, it has the same types of products you will find available from dealers who don’t have the full breath of GEM’s product range and, GEM has something they don’t, a price match guarantee. If you can find a comparable product elsewhere for less, GEM will match the price and throw in 10% of the difference! So, the truth is, there is no reason to, after you shop, to buy from anywhere but GEM!