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Kwak 09-20-2018 04:39 PM

Need advice on replacing a front door
Any brands/retailers I need to be looking at beside what's available at the big box hardware stores. I'm also curious about any educated opinions on steel vs fiberglass. I'm looking to replace out basic wooden storm door (with no side panel windows) with something more energy efficient and slightly more decorative.

I was looking a steel door with 4 raised panels and a half moon window with basic window glass for $209 but my wife wanted something slightly fancier. I found a steel door with a more decorative window for $150 more ($351) but the guy at Lowe's recommended fiberglass because of better durability and insulation for $230 more ($587) - jacking up the cost of the project from $500 to $1000 and making my wife balk.

This is one of those "can't win"situations and we *need* a new front door before the weather gets cold. Any advice would be appreciated.

Captain Tuttle 09-20-2018 08:31 PM

Sounds like that guy at Lowes is full of crap. I mean, he's just doing his job and trying to upsell you but I'd get the steel door if I were you

Kwak 09-20-2018 10:22 PM

I'm inclined to agree. I would likely go elsewhere for installation services as well. Even with the decorative glass steel was a better option. My only concern was with Justin potentially denting it.

Don-Dad 09-20-2018 11:51 PM

if you have an 84 Lumber nearby, they might be worth checking out (I think they have stores in PA). We bought some nice exterior doors there a few years back.

Kwak 09-21-2018 03:50 AM

Thx Don. I will. 84 Lumber is actually based nearby. The HQ is located about 15 minutes south of here - in Eighty-Four, PA.

TwoCubs 09-21-2018 01:39 PM

Steel door, definitely. Fiberglass won't dent, it breaks. A little bondo will fix a dent. The decorative leaded glass of the door is usually sandwiched between two other sheets of glass.
I agree that the sales guy was full of crap. I replaced our wooden, west-facing door, in Oklahoma with a steel-clad door with a half oval decorative glass window. Night and day difference. Virtually little to no heat during the summer and no cold during the winter. A much tighter seal, too.
You could cook on that wooden door during a summer afternoon.

Kwak 09-21-2018 03:07 PM

Cool, TwoCubs. That's exactly what I was hoping to hear. Was it a prehung door and did you DIY? I've watched videos on YouTube and it didn't look that hard to do solo. Just lots of measuring and shimming.

TwoCubs 09-26-2018 11:19 AM

It was a pre-hung door. A much tighter seal. I had some termite damage to deal with, but once that was replaced and squared, the whole thing came together nicely.

3 or 4-inch screws that match the heads of the hinge screws. I tend to replace them all instead of just one on every hinge. Level/square the hinge side first and draw it up tight with the extra long screws in the hinges. You may want to pre-drill the holes so you don't crack the wood. Square everything else off of the hinge side with shims. Make sure to deepen the mortise where your dead bolt goes so that it fully engages. Most houses I've been in don't. Lazy carpenters.

gduck 09-26-2018 12:16 PM

A few years back we replaced our crappy wooden door from the 50ís with a steel clad door - same kind of oval type deal glass as you see just about everywhere. It was a pre-hung door which from all I had seen looked easy to install. And it would have been really easy to install if where the original builders had cut the door had been even close to square. You could tell with the naked eye how bad it was. They must have had a good couple dozen shims wedging the original door in so it was straight. My couple hour project turned in to an all day affair. But once I had dealt with the idiocy of whoever built this house, the door was really easy to install. That part of it ended up taking less time than I thought.

Mark B. 09-26-2018 01:07 PM

I have a solid wood door that has a slight split in one of the panels you notice in the winter when everything dries out. It gets a lot of sun and I have had to repaint it twice already and probably will need a 3rd go around soon. That being said I plan to do what my neighbors already did. Buy a new pre hung fiberglass door and just transfer it to the existing door jamb. Done!

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