The door is an important choice for your home as it can make an architectural statement and set the tone for the rest of your log home. The Log Homes Council has some great information about the materials that are best in the selection for your exterior doors. Below we highlight the different materials, but you can visit loghomes.org for a list of the pro’s, con’s and cost of each material. http://loghomes.org/exterior-doors:-which-material-is-best-93/
Thanks to their durability and price point (less than a third of custom wood doors), metal doors are among the most popular exterior doors installed in new construction. Just because they are metal doesn’t mean they have to be ugly. Some manufacturers duplicate the appearance of wood grain with texture lines stamped into the metal. Because these steel doors are often filled with insulating foam or a wood-and-foam core, they offer greater insulating properties or R-value than wood doors. Inherently strong, steel doors are often the solution when fire protection or security is an issue. Building codes often require a fire-rated door between the home and the attached garage, which explains the popularity of this material. Steel can come in different gauges or thickness to provide different levels of security. Steel doors can be rated for keeping smoke and fire at bay, from 20 to 90 minutes, with the price of the door rising proportionately to its fire rating. Is there a downside to these doors beyond tactile feel? They can be scratched and dented on moving day.
Exterior doors made of fiberglass have the look and warmth of wood, yet have the many of the durable qualities of steel. Fiberglass won’t dent or rust like steel will and it won’t crack, split, splinter or warp like wood. They also resist swelling and shrinking like wood doors do, when subjected to moisture and temperature changes. Fiberglass doors offer the same energy efficiency as steel doors, since many incorporate solid polyurethane foam cores that give greater insulating value than wood. They also have wood grain texture molded into the face of the door so they give the appearance of a real wood door when painted or stained. These doors are often the first choice for extreme climates. Fiberglass doors are impervious to salt, for example, so they are often employed in homes near the beach. In years past, some fiberglass doors were distinctly light in weight. That light weight put off homeowners interested in the feel of a heavy front door. This is not the case today, with fiberglass doors weighing nearly as much as wood doors.
The natural beauty of wood doors is often the first choice among log and timber frame home buyers who want to preserve the integrity and aesthetic feel of their new home. The substantial weight of a wooden door adds a sense of security and sturdiness when you shut your door. However, to maintain their natural, warm appearance, they will need to be stained or painted on a regular basis. If your front door is south facing without the protection of a porch, this maintenance will be needed every year or every other year.
These types of doors are usually made using frame and panel construction from kiln dried wood to counteract the effects of climatic or seasonal changes. The wood itself can be any hardwood species—maple, mahogany, oak, alder. And just as with the logs in your new home, these doors may warp or twist, especially when not sealed properly against temperature changes and moisture. Wood doors have lower R-values than other types of doors. However, it is an excellent insulator against temperature changes.
Wood-composite or molded skin doors look very much like natural wood, but they provide better insulation because of their foam cores. The doors share the same internal construction as the steel or fiberglass but they are covered with hardboard skins molded in the shape of traditional stile-and-rail doors. Manufacturers such as Masonite, Jeld-Wen, Weyerhaesuser and Caradco process wood scraps, sawdust and other wood detritus into a soft, fuzzy mass of wood fibers that is mixed with binders and loosely arranged on conveyor belts. These conveyor belts then feed these long sheets of what resembles damp oatmeal into enormous stamping presses that heat and compress the material into molded door skins. These skins are stamped with a wide variety of designs that include smooth or wood-grained surfaces, arched or straight rails, and different panel configurations.