exterior doors homes

Unfortunately, the best front doors for home security aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing. People like their doors to look inviting by adding glass inserts, sidelights and decorative and stained glass. But the truth is, the most secure front doors do not have windows or glass and should not have sidelights, especially on the lock side, and have a peephole camera.

But not all exterior doors for homes are alike. There are things to consider, among them are the cost, maintenance, appearance, energy efficiency and how effective they are to prevent door kick ins.

Wood Doors

Wood doors are a good security option for your front entry but it must be a solid wood door. Typically, wood doors that are described as exterior doors are solid and are always 1 3/4″ thick. They can be purchased as a pre-hung door that includes the frame or as a slab where it is just the door and no frame.

There are some characteristics to be aware of if you plan on purchasing a wood front entry door. Wood doors are less energy efficient than a fiberglass or insulated steel door. And must be maintained more often than a steel or fiberglass door.

I know someone who had a very nice solid wood door. It had to be re-stained every couple of years due to the effects of being exposed to the weather.

The door had to be completely removed from the hinges for the whole day while it was sanded, stained, sanded again then a final coat of stain had to be applied. Needless to say, after going through that process 3 times he opted for a fiberglass door with a wood look.

In terms of security, if paired with a proper deadbolt and jamb reinforcement, solid wood doors work well. Usually the jamb will splinter before the door breaks.

But that is not to say you need to steer clear of wood doors. Solid wood doors look nice, however maintenance on them is a must. Manufacturing processes have gotten better but a real wood door will warp due to rain, freezing and heat cycles if they are neglected. So if you’re willing to keep them maintained they’re a viable option.

Best Wood Front Door for Security

best wood front door

Available for Home Delivery from Home Depot

The best wood door for security is the Rustic Mahogany Door made by Main Door Corporation. Main Door has an exclusive arrangement with Home Depot so you won’t find these doors at Lowe’s or on Amazon. This is a solid wood door with no fillers which means there is no plywood or fiberboard used in the construction of this door. If you want to add a peephole it is very easily done in the speak-easy door. The speak-easy door comes with weatherstripping to keep out the elements and heat/cold.

Pros:

  • Solid Wood Construction – no filler or veneers
  • Comes already prepared for a standard handle and deadbolt installation
  • Comes standard with a “speak-easy” type opening for viewing visitors
  • Door comes pre-hung with hinges for easy installation
  • Comes in standard size of 36 inches X 80 inches (3′ X 6’8″)
  • Comes in both left-handed and right-handed models

Cons:

  • Heavy door, will need assistance or a professional with installation
  • Not as energy efficient as a steel or fiberglass door
  • Because it is real wood will need to be periodically maintained

Steel Doors

steel embossed wood look

Steel entry doors are the most economical doors. They are a better security option than wood doors, or even fiberglass doors.

When kicked or abused steel doors are more likely to dent or bend rather than get busted through. But they resist warping and effects of weather.

Steel doors come with a energy efficient polyurethane core inside a galvanized 22 or 24 gauge exterior. Making them more efficient than a wood door but less than a fiberglass door.

Steel doors don’t have to be smooth. If you like the look of wood doors but want the security of a steel door you can get them with an embossed texture that mimics the design and paneling of wood doors.

If your first concern is security then steel doors are the best doors for home security.

Best Steel Front Door for Security

best steel front door

Available for Home Delivery from Home Depot

The best steel door for security is the Camber Top Mission Primed Steel Door made by Jeld-Wen. This galvanized steel door is made with a decorative, insulated glass. And it is located at the top of the door – letting light in without compromising security. A peephole can easily be added with a simple drill. It comes primed and ready to paint for design flexibility. Comes with a 10-year limited warranty.

Pros:

  • 24 gauge steel shell – with polystyrene core
  • Comes already prepared for a standard handle and deadbolt installation
  • Door comes pre-hung with hinges and brickmould for easy installation
  • Comes in standard size of 36 inches X 80 inches (3′ X 6’8″)
  • Comes in both left-handed and right-handed models
  • Lightweight door, can easily be installed without professionals

Cons:

  • If dinged or bent will need to be painted to prevent rust

Fiberglass Doors

home depot security doors

Fiberglass front entry doors, over the long run, are more economical than wood or steel doors. They cost more at first but because they do not rot, dent, ding or rust there is little to no maintenance required.

Fiberglass doors are very versatile to give you the look you want. They can be smooth and painted, or with a textured wood look and painted or textured wood look and stained.

Because they are not truly solid doors with a polyurethane core some manufacturers provide fiberglass doors with a reinforced lock area. This makes the area of the door that would receive the most abuse stronger.

These are more energy efficient than wood doors. They have a polyurethane core that maintains their U-factor rating and it doesn’t retain moisture. A fiberglass door without windows can be up to 3 or 4 times more energy efficient than wood doors.

Using a fiberglass door for a secure front entry is a very good option. They don’t easily crack or break. Fiberglass doors are a big security improvement over wood doors. Of course, I would still suggest a good deadbolt lock and jamb reinforcement.

Best Fiberglass Front Door for Security

best fiberglass front door

Available for Home Delivery from Home Depot

The Speak-Easy

The best fiberglass door for security is the Oxford Mahogany Stain Grade Door made by Steves & Sons. This fiberglass door is made with a 4″ lock stile and a 2.75″ hinge stile with a polyurethane core. The lock stile is made with a 12″ lock block for added strength and security for the handle and deadbolt. The speak easy door comes with an iron grille, seedy glass and lever bolt latch. Comes with a 25-year limited warranty. Will require little to no maintenance during the its lifespan.

Pros:

  • Fiberglass lock and hinge stiles – with polystyrene core
  • Comes already prepared for a standard handle and deadbolt installation
  • Comes standard with a “speak-easy” type opening and iron grille for viewing visitors
  • Door comes pre-hung with hinges for easy installation
  • Comes in standard size of 36 inches X 80 inches (3′ X 6’8″)
  • Comes in both left-handed and right-handed models
  • Lightweight door, can easily be installed without professionals

Cons:

  • Fiberglass can split or crack when subjected to force

Considerations when purchasing a new front door

Purchasing a new door is, thankfully, not a complicated endeavor. Whether it is a wood, steel or fiberglass door, most will come with a pre-hung frame and holes in the door are pre-cut for levers and a deadbolt.

getting a door for security

The pre-cut holes are a standard size within the industry, it doesn’t matter what manufacturer you get your door from. This is because the diameter of the levers and deadbolts are a standard within the lock industry.

The diameter of the bore hole, the hole through the door, is always 2 1/8″. And the hole is always 2 3/8″ or 2 3/4″ from the edge of the door, this distance is called the backset. Again, this is an industry standard with locks. All locks have an adjustable length latch so they will work with either 2 3/8″ or 2 3/4″.

The only adjustment to the door that you might need to do is drill a hole for the peephole. Which is easy enough, you just have to drill a small hole. Of course, this is if you get a solid door without a window at eye level, which I do not recommend when considering security. When ordering a door some manufacturers will add a hole for the peephole for free or maybe a small fee.

Putting it all in perspective

Generally, wood doors are attractive but they can be expensive, need to be maintained and not very energy efficient.

Steel doors are less expensive, can get dinged, dented and scratched which must be repaired to resist rust, very energy efficient. These are the best front doors for home security if only security is taken into consideration. But they will require maintenance if they become damaged, dented or scratched to keep them strong.

Fiberglass doors are more expensive than steel but less than wood, require little to no maintenance, more durable than wood or steel doors, very energy efficient but fall in between wood and fiberglass doors with regards to security.

Overall, fiberglass doors are the best front doors for home security when maintenance, cost, appearance and resistance to attack are all taken into consideration.

And if you want to use a screen door with your best door for security check out the best residential security screen doors to use.

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10 Comments

Uneek Security Doors Newcastle · September 27, 2019 at 4:20 am

Fantastic post about security doors. This is an incredible posting! I quite enjoyed reading it…Thanks for sharing!

Doors 4 U Garage Doors · June 27, 2019 at 2:01 am

I like your blog post. Keep on writing this type of great stuff. I’ll make sure to follow up on your blog in the future.

Henry · January 27, 2019 at 6:14 am

Hi! I agree with you! The font door is the first impression a person that comes to visit us will have of our house. So, it should be a stylish door!

But it should also be secure.

I’m really on a budget. But I believe we can have both with a Fiberglass door. I clicked over the price link and saw that Home Depo has Fiberglass doors in that really have a cool design. Thank you very much for this useful post!

    Bill · January 27, 2019 at 7:26 am

    Right, the fiberglass door seems to be the best of both types of doors. And their price point falls between both of those as well.

Steven · January 27, 2019 at 4:50 am

Thanks for explaining these different types of doors with the price range comparisons. Do you know which type of in-door insulation is most efficient? I’m getting a basic fiberglass door for my garage because the old steel one is all dented and has had multiple paint jobs. The old front door is also un-secure (lots of glass near handle). I think everyone love the look of a wood door but the fiberglass makes good replicas. 

    Bill · January 27, 2019 at 7:40 am

    The energy efficiency of both steel insulated and fiberglass insulated doors are about the same. They both have and R-5 and R-6 rating. 

Seun Afotanju · January 27, 2019 at 4:39 am

Thanks for sharing this article i find this very informative, getting a good quality front door is the first line of defense against potential intruders. A steel door would be my preferred choice in getting a door for my home. It is stronger than most wooden doors and it is quite affordable in price.

Kenechi · January 27, 2019 at 4:39 am

I  think a door that is not susceptible to weather and climatic changes is far coupled with the security.

Riaz Shah · January 27, 2019 at 4:35 am

I’m super attracted to that steel door Bill,

I thought they only use plain steel doors in canteens or factories, didn’t know they can create steel doors with that of a wooden door’s pattern, now that’s better looking! I am pretty curious though, if steel doors are stronger than wooden doors and a cheaper too, why aren’t many people getting more steel doors though?

    Bill · January 27, 2019 at 7:51 am

    People like the way wood doors look. Plus wood doors can be stained or painted which gives the homeowner multiple color choices.

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