Table of Contents
Not all winters are the same and neither are doors. Poorly designed doors can make homes draft and raise heating costs. A low quality door can also become a safety hazard if it cannot keep your family safe during winter (think jammed doors, wind chill and security).
Finding the best exterior doors for cold weather is essential. In this article we are going to explain what the best exterior doors are for cold weather, how energy efficient can save you money and little addons like door draft stoppers that make your home just so comfortable.
Let’s get this out of the way:
A solid wood door offers one-fifth the insulating value compared to a steel or fibreglass door!
Types of door materials for the best exterior doors for winter
The perfect door recipe starts with the shell material. Wood has poor insulating properties, requires regular maintenance and is prone to cracking in cold weather. The best materials for making a winter door are fibreglass and steel.
Fibreglass is a favourite among homeowners because it is affordable, long-lasting and requires only as much maintenance as you want to give it. Fibreglass is even easily painted to match your home. Fibreglass is a poor conductor of heat, making it inherently suited for home use. Fibreglass doors can also incorporate thermal foam cores to improve their insulation properties.
Think steel and you think strength – and strong they are. Steel doors are some of the strongest exterior doors you can find. They are a great option if you are looking for a door that will provide excellent security and keep your home warm in the harshest of winters. Steel may seem like a bad option because it conducts temperature very well, however, a high-density insulating core and quality construction makes them exceptionally warm. In fact, many energy efficient doors are steel doors. Unlike wood, they require little maintenance and will not crack under the weight of snow or in extreme cold.
Did you know cutting out panels for glass panes in any door will reduce its insulation rating.
Which doors are most energy efficient?
If you are looking for the most energy efficient doors for your house, look for the ENERGY STAR logo. This little blue and white sticker will tell you that the door has been lab tested to be energy efficient.
An ‘energy efficient’ door is one which has excellent thermal insulation properties. This is measured by the ‘R-value’. The bigger the number, the more energy efficient the door will be.
The R-value measures the properties of the door only. If you get glass pane cut-outs, the R-value may not reflect the reduced insulation as a result. Also, things like weatherstripping can affect a door’s draft performance.
If the door frame has sidelights or glass panes are inserted, these will be double-panes and air-filled (double- or triple-glazing). This reduces the heat loss from the glass area of the exterior door.
Fibreglass and steel doors without an insulating foam core will have a value of R-5 or R-6. Compare that a wood door which may have a rating of only R-1 or R-2. Doors with high-density foam cores offer greater energy efficiency than those without.
Optional features the best energy efficient exterior doors have
‘Door draft stopper’ refers to a number of add-ons that reduce air leakage from door sills. Here are the ones you should know about:
Weatherstripping – It is one of the most important features for any door. Weatherstripping acts like the magnetic seals on your fridge door. Once the door is closed, it seals the door seams tightly, reducing heat loss.
Adjustable threshold – An adjustable threshold replaces static thresholds. They consist of a vinyl top and height-adjustable threshold plate. They help make a tight seal on the door sill.
Weatherproofing – These strips run along the edges of the door. They help to complete the seal when the door is closed and prevent cold air from entering.
Door sweep – Think of them as little brushes for the bottom edge of your door. As the name suggests, they have little bristles that sweep along the floor and act as a windbreak, covering gaps between the door
Weatherstripping, door sweeps and adjustable thresholds all come under the banner of ‘door draft stopper’.
High quality exterior doors that last many a winter
Contact The Window Experts to schedule a free home visit by one of our experienced door professionals. We can tell you what type of door is right for your home and budget; whether you need a storm door; and how you can make your glass patio doors more comfortable in winter. Best of all, our doors are installed by a team of professional and polite installers who will make sure you are satisfied with the results.