Steel exterior doors are an old stalwart of the trade, an entry door that provides excellent security and durability for a very reasonable price. Steel entry doors have been around for many years, and as manufacturers have improved the technology, steel doors have moved on from buying an ugly lump of steel, resplendent with institutional grills and bars.
Until a few years ago, steel doors were the preserve of industry, providing security and surviving the rigors of heavy use. In recent years, steel doors have become very popular as entry doors for the home, and manufacturers responded by designing elegant steel doors that are worlds away from the industrial, cyberpunk look.
Available in various colors, textures, and finishes, they rival wood, vinyl, and fiberglass as excellent choices; like the other types, they have advantages and disadvantages.
The Advantages of Steel Exterior Doors
Steel exterior doors are extremely robust and secure, making them a realistic option for many homes and businesses. The price has fallen dramatically over the past few years, making steel front doors an excellent mid-budget choice.
Durability: Wooden exterior doors are prone to rot and splitting, especially in harsh climates. Steel doors can handle adverse weather and, unlike wooden doors, do not require treating with paint, stain, or varnish every year. Even if they develop dents, the auto-body filler will do that.
Security: Your entry door is often the weakest part of your home, and you want to ensure your door is sturdy. Steel doors and frames can survive the attention of the most determined criminals, and if fitted with high-quality locks, bolts, and security grilles, they are practically indestructible.
Screens: Many steel doors are fitted with a screen that lets air and light in when the door is open but keeps insects out. In mosquito countries, this is a very useful addition.
Design: While steel exterior doors cannot match fiberglass or wood for elegance, the range of colors and styles available ensures that you can find one that matches your external décor perfectly. Some versions incorporate decorative glass panels, allowing natural light to flood the home.
Price: Steel doors are very reasonably priced when compared to the better quality wooden and fiberglass doors, and they are a great investment, adding to the value of your home, especially in areas where security is a concern.
The Disadvantages of Steel Entry Doors
Steel exterior doors are an excellent solution where security and strength are paramount but they have unique disadvantages. Most of these are minor, but steel doors are inappropriate for every home.
Insulation: Steel entry doors are very poor insulators of heat, making them a poor choice in many climates. In the winter, a steel door will let a large proportion of the heat out, driving up your utility bills. In the hot summer, steel doors can radiate the sun’s heat into the home, making it uncomfortable.
Fitting: Steel doors require a very strong and robust steel frame, and fitting these is beyond all but the most competent DIY enthusiasts.
Door Hardware: If you want to personalize your door with door knockers, doorknobs, and address plaques, drilling and filling holes is difficult when compared to wood and fiberglass doors.
Weight: Many steel exterior doors are made from very thin gauge steel for lightness, compromising security and durability. Opting for heavier gauge doors can become unwieldy to open and close, often requiring pneumatic closers.
Appearance: The range of steel exterior door options has grown in recent years, and you can choose from various styles, from vivid color to imitation wood. However, they are not as elegant as wood or as subtle as fiberglass.
Taking Care of Your Steel Doors
Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential to maintain your steel exterior doors’ pristine appearance and functionality. Following a few simple steps, you can keep your steel doors looking their best and ensure they operate smoothly for years.
Cleaning and Caring for Steel Doors
To begin, gather your supplies: a mild detergent or dish soap, a soft cloth or sponge, and a bucket of warm water. With these in hand, you’re ready to start the cleaning process.
Dampen a soft cloth or sponge using soapy water and wipe down the door. Clean the surface thoroughly, paying extra attention to any stubborn dirt or stains. A non-abrasive sponge or brush can be used for gentle scrubbing.
Once the cleaning is complete, rinse the door thoroughly with clean water to remove any residue from the soap. Don’t forget to rinse the hinges, handles, and other hardware, ensuring they are free from any soapy buildup.
To prevent water spots and corrosion, take a clean, dry cloth and wipe the door and hardware until completely dry. This step helps maintain the door’s appearance and ensures its longevity.
Lubricating Hinges and Maintaining Hardware
Regular lubrication and hardware maintenance are crucial for the smooth operation of your steel exterior door. By following these steps, you can keep everything in working order:
Start by inspecting the hinges, handles, and locks for signs of wear, loose screws, or misalignment. If you notice any issues, tighten loose screws and address them promptly.
Next, apply a silicone-based or high-quality door lubricant to the hinges. Move the door back and forth a few times to distribute the lubricant evenly and ensure smooth movement.
A small amount of graphite powder or a lubricant designed for door hardware can be used for handles, locks, and other moving parts. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application to keep these components in optimal condition.
Dealing with Scratches or Dents
Despite your best efforts, scratches and dents occasionally appear on your steel doors. Here’s how to address them effectively:
For minor scratches, use a soft cloth and a mild abrasive cleaner to buff the affected area gently. Be cautious and apply gentle pressure to avoid further damage. For deeper scratches, consider using touch-up paint specifically designed for steel doors. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a seamless repair.
When it comes to small dents, you may be able to fix them yourself. Carefully use a rubber mallet or wooden block to tap the dent from the inside gently. This method often helps restore the door’s surface. However, it’s best to seek professional assistance or consult the door manufacturer for guidance for larger or more severe dents.
Steel Exterior Doors – The Secure Choice
There is little doubt that steel entry doors deserve their place as a popular and practical choice. Where security, durability, and peace of mind are important, they are a great option for most homes and businesses. As with any door, you should try to ensure you look for a good quality option because cheap steel exterior doors can carry all the disadvantages with a few advantages.