11 Disadvantages of Fiberglass Doors Homeowners Need to Know

Fiberglass door

Last Updated on May 8, 2024 by Kravelv

Fiberglass doors have gained favor in recent years because they last a long time, don’t need much upkeep, and can be designed in a variety of ways. Fiberglass doors, like any other building material, do have some problems, though. As a professional handyman, I’ve seen and fixed these problems myself. I’ll talk about the disadvantages of fiberglass doors in this piece so that people can think about them before they buy them.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fiberglass doors are susceptible to impact damage and may require costly repairs.
  • Warping, bowing, and delamination are common issues with fiberglass doors, affecting their performance and longevity.
  • Limited customization options and potential for fading or discoloration may deter homeowners from choosing fiberglass doors.
  • Alternatives like wood, steel, aluminum, and composite doors offer different advantages and may be better suited to specific needs and preferences.

Disadvantages of Fiberglass Doors

Vulnerability to Impact Damage

While fiberglass doors are known for their strength, they are susceptible to impact damage, especially from heavy objects or extreme weather conditions. Unlike steel doors, which can dent but usually retain their structural integrity, fiberglass doors can crack or break upon impact, requiring costly repairs or replacement.

Limited Repair Options

Repairing fiberglass doors can be challenging compared to other materials like wood or steel. Minor scratches or dents can often be repaired with fillers and paint, but significant damage may require replacing the entire door slab, which can be costly and labor-intensive.

Susceptibility to Warping and Bowing

Fiberglass doors, particularly those with a foam core, are prone to warping and bowing over time, especially in regions with fluctuating temperatures or high humidity. This can result in gaps between the door and the frame, compromising energy efficiency and security. Proper installation with adequate sealing and weather-stripping can mitigate this issue but does not guarantee prevention.

Limited Color Options

Compared to other door materials like wood or steel, fiberglass doors offer a more limited range of color options. While they can be painted, the process requires special primers and paints designed for fiberglass surfaces, limiting customization possibilities. Homeowners seeking unique or specific color choices may find fiberglass doors lacking in this aspect.

Environmental Concerns

While fiberglass doors are often marketed as environmentally friendly due to their longevity and energy efficiency, their production process involves the use of petroleum-based resins and chemicals, which can have negative environmental impacts. Additionally, fiberglass doors are not biodegradable and may contribute to landfill waste at the end of their lifespan.

Initial Cost

While fiberglass doors offer long-term cost savings through energy efficiency and low maintenance requirements, they typically have a higher upfront cost compared to alternatives like steel or wood. Homeowners on a tight budget may find it challenging to justify the initial investment, especially considering the aforementioned drawbacks.

Potential for Delamination

Over time, fiberglass doors may experience delamination, where the outer fiberglass layer separates from the door’s core, resulting in unsightly bubbles or blisters on the surface. This can occur due to prolonged exposure to moisture or extreme temperatures and detracts from the door’s aesthetic appeal.

Lack of Architectural Detail

Fiberglass doors often lack the intricate architectural details found in wood doors, such as carved panels or decorative moldings. While some fiberglass doors mimic the appearance of wood grain, they may still appear relatively plain compared to their wooden counterparts, which can affect the overall aesthetic of a home, particularly in traditional or historic settings.

Potential for Fading and Discoloration

Exposure to sunlight and harsh weather conditions can cause fiberglass doors to fade or discolor over time. While manufacturers may apply UV-resistant coatings to mitigate this issue, prolonged exposure can still result in noticeable color changes, detracting from the door’s appearance and requiring refinishing or repainting to restore its original look.

Limited Design Options for Customization

While fiberglass doors offer versatility in design, including options with glass inserts or sidelights, homeowners may find their choices limited compared to wood or steel doors. Customizing fiberglass doors to specific sizes, shapes, or design preferences may be more challenging and costly, restricting homeowners’ ability to achieve their desired look for their entryway.

Potential for Gelcoat Cracking

Fiberglass doors are typically coated with a gelcoat finish to provide protection and aesthetic appeal. However, this gelcoat layer can be prone to cracking over time, particularly in regions with extreme temperature fluctuations. Cracks in the gelcoat not only detract from the door’s appearance but can also compromise its weather resistance and require timely repair or replacement.

Alternatives to Fiberglass Doors

1. Wood Doors: Wood doors offer timeless beauty and architectural detail, making them a popular choice for homeowners seeking a classic look. While wood doors require more maintenance than fiberglass, regular upkeep can prolong their lifespan and enhance their natural beauty.

2. Steel Doors: Steel doors provide superior security and durability, making them an excellent choice for homeowners prioritizing strength and protection. While they may require occasional repainting to prevent rust, steel doors offer long-term reliability and low maintenance requirements.

3. Aluminum Doors: Aluminum doors offer lightweight durability and resistance to corrosion, making them suitable for coastal or humid environments. They can be customized with various finishes and styles to complement any home design.

4. Composite Doors: Composite doors combine the benefits of different materials, such as fiberglass, wood, and PVC, to create a durable and low-maintenance option. They offer the appearance of wood with the strength and insulation of fiberglass, making them a versatile choice for homeowners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are fiberglass doors suitable for all climates?

While fiberglass doors offer excellent insulation and durability, their performance can vary depending on climate conditions. In regions with extreme temperatures or high humidity, fiberglass doors may be more prone to warping, bowing, or discoloration over time. Proper installation and maintenance are crucial to maximizing their lifespan and performance in any climate.

Can fiberglass doors be painted to match my home’s exterior?

Yes, fiberglass doors can be painted to match your home’s exterior color scheme. However, it’s essential to use paint specifically formulated for fiberglass surfaces and follow proper preparation and application techniques to ensure a long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing finish.

How do fiberglass doors compare to other materials in terms of energy efficiency?

Fiberglass doors offer excellent energy efficiency due to their insulating properties and tight seals. They can help reduce heat transfer and air leakage, resulting in lower heating and cooling costs compared to traditional wooden doors. However, proper installation and weather-stripping are essential to maximize energy savings.

Final Words

Before choosing fiberglass doors, homeowners should carefully think about these cons, such as the fact that they are easily damaged by impacts, there aren’t many fix options, the doors can warp, and there are environmental issues. Talking to a skilled handyman or door expert can help people make smart choices and make sure the one they make fits their needs and budget. Finally, it’s important to think about the pros and cons of fiberglass doors compared to other materials when choosing a door for your home.

Kravelv is a full time digital marketer and part time furniture and cabinet maker. During his free time he would like to create something out of recycled woods, this varies from toys, furnitures plant boxes etc. Follow him on Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook