Added Safety and Security That Will Last a Lifetime
Excellent fire resistance and sound dampening have made steel doors popular in hospitals, offices, factories, and other industrial and commercial buildings for decades. Now, a growing number of homeowners who value security and durable construction are installing doors made from steel. Available in styles that mimic intricate wood grain patterns, steel doors can be both tough and tasteful.
Steel Door Considerations
Steel doors are typically used for security doors, interior fire-rated doors, or exterior applications. The construction and thickness of the door dictates which uses it is best suited for.
- Hollow Core Steel Doors: This type of steel door has lower insulating and sound deadening properties and is most commonly used as an interior door in commercial buildings that require doors with a high fire-rating.
- Solid Core Steel Doors: Different types of materials, each with unique properties, are used to fill these doors. Polystyrene and polyurethane cores are the most common, while honeycomb, steel-stiffened, and temperature-rise cores are also available. A residential exterior steel door should have a solid-core construction.
Steel doors are available as stand-alone doors (no frame) that can be installed in place of your existing wood or fiberglass door, or you can purchase a pre-hung steel door frame unit.
The gauge, or thickness, of the metal used in steel doors affects both its weight and fire rating. Note that gauges are measured in descending order: the lower the number, the thicker the metal. Most commercial steel doors come in 18 or 20 gauge. Residential steel doors are often 16 or 18 gauge. Depending on your needs, heavier or lighter gauges are also available.
Steel Security Doors
Many homeowners choose steel doors for use as security doors. Steel security doors are of solid-core construction and tend to have a thicker steel gauge, such as 16 or even 14 gauge. They usually come as pre-hung units with a solid metal frame. Commercial security doors typically lack glass but residential units can have a small window.
If security is a concern, but you don't want to spend the extra money for a steel security door, make sure to buy a steel door that at least has a steel frame. Some companies offer steel entry doors with wood frames, which do not offer the strength that a steel frame has.
Steel Door Benefits
Where security and safety are main concerns, steel doors have no equal. In fact, they are actually mandated by building codes in areas that require additional security. Other benefits include:
- No warping or cracking, a common flaw with wood doors.
- Steel doors are excellent insulators and can improve the energy efficiency of your house.
- With routine maintenance, expect a steel door to last for the lifetime of your home.
- Steel doors and frames are 100% recyclable.
- Manufacturers offer steel door coatings to improve weather and corrosion resistance as well as appearance. Vinyl coatings are common, and you can also buy steel doors with a laminated wood veneer.
Steel Door Costs
Prices for common steel doors sizes are provided below. 1 5/8" thick by 3' (36") wide by 6' 10" (82") tall:
Exterior Wood Doors
The following prices are for a typical 3' (36") x 6' 8" (80") exterior oak wood door:
- $800 to $2,000 installed for a solid wood door
- $1,500 to $4,000 installed for an engineered wood door
- A pair of sidelites adds $300 to $800; a single sidelite costs $150 to $400.
- A typical 18" transom costs $200 to $500.
- Custom wood doors (i.e. doors made to order and built by hand in a workshop) typically cost $5,000 to $10,000.
- Actual wood door prices can vary widely according to the door's size and style, as well as the type of wood used. Removal and disposal of old doors might add $100 to $400 to the total project cost.