For homeowners in the market to replace an exterior door, there are more viable options available than ever—and choices for things like size, color and design variety are either plentiful or customizable. So, with an entire suite of options available to the discerning purchaser, why should oak doors or a fiberglass oak door alternative be part of the conversation?
Why Choose an Oak Door?
When it comes to materials for exterior doors, it really doesn’t get more traditional than wood. The different types of wood available are numerous and include mainstays like mahogany, cherry, walnut and oak. If you’ve narrowed your choice of building material down to wood from options like steel or fiberglass, why should you continue to narrow that choice down to oak?
The Pros and Cons of Oak and Wood Doors
As with most decisions in home design—and in general—there are positive and negative outcomes when choosing to go with a particular door material. Oak is no different, but it does differentiate itself from other materials by being a wood, and from other woods due to its unique characteristics. Whether or not those characteristics interest you enough to convince you to ignore any possible flaws will be a major deciding factor in your use of oak or any of its alternatives.
An Overabundance of Oak
If you’re choosing oak as the material for your home’s front doors, the possibilities that decision presents are plentiful. There are hundreds of species of oak to choose from, including the popular white and red varieties. In addition to the large number of oak options, the large amount of oak in existence in this world ensures that your use of some with which to craft a front door has little impact on the species’ overall population.
Oak and Finishes
Oak can be easy to pick out due to its wide, visible grain. This grain is even more pronounced in oak that’s quarter sawn, which means the wood is quartered horizontally before it’s sawn. This differs from the more common plain sawing or flat sawing and because it involves extra work it’s also more expensive. However, quarter sawing will cause the oak to have less cupping, more stability, and an overall higher quality than plain sawing.
Oak’s very prevalent grain means that homeowners with oak doors must maintain a consummate finish on the door. Luckily, oak is stain compatible as it stains easily, and it usually weathers finely which turns its wear and tear into a personality trait.
Oak and Durability
In general, wood is a less durable material to trust with your front door duties than metal or fiberglass. Wood’s also less energy efficient and less resistant to damage from extreme weather. Despite this, oak is one of the best woods with which to fashion a front door.
The high density of oak means the wood is hard, sturdy and strong, making it a good candidate if wood is the necessary route for your next front door. The increased density will reduce outside noise from entering the house, preserving privacy and allowing for peace and relaxation.
The flip side of this is the wear and tear oak can dish out to hinges. It’s okay to install the same number of hinges on an oak door as you’d install on any other door, but the hinges on an oak door should be longer than usual.
You should also use screw anchors to solidify the door’s place when installing it into the doorway. Taking precautions like this can help lengthen the lifespan of a door while saving you a world of trouble in the not-too-distant future.
Oak is also high in tannin, a biomolecule that gives the wood a natural resistance to attack from fungi and insects. Tannin is named after oak and other woods containing high counts of the biomolecule. Bark from those woods is used during the tanning process that creates leather.
Oak is High Maintenance
Wood doors, including oak, require refinishing every 2-to-3 years if they’re being used as an exterior door and they’re exposed to the elements. If you live in places with extreme temperatures or harsh weather, you may want to steer clear of oak altogether.
The wood has a habit of warping, swelling or shrinking in climates that are rainy or humid, regardless of whether they’re being used on the interior or exterior of a home. It’s best for oak doors to be used in more mild climates, but even then, they’ll need the sort of attention described above.
When refinishing the door, you’ll need to sand away the old finishing and apply the new, which means removing the door from its hinges and placing it back on after the job is done. There are professionals who perform refinishes, but this route can be costly.
Oak Door Costs
If you’ve ever shopped for doors, you know that a sturdy, solid oak exterior door can carry a high price point. However, like any product, that price is decided by a range of features that are mostly optional, including ornate detailing, utilization of the aforementioned quarter sawn wood, or handcrafting the door to fit an unorthodox space.
In reality, if you’re shopping for a door and have a budgetary range, you should be able to find an oak door that fits into any size budget. You should also be able to find doors made with other materials that fit your monetary parameters, too, including materials that will require less and offer more.
Oak Door Alternatives
While oak is a popular and versatile choice for an exterior door, alternatives exist that may better match your needs.
Choosing a different wood is a decision that’s mostly aesthetic—woods do vary in density and weight, but for the purposes of an exterior door, they’re very similar when it comes to their durability and the level of upkeep necessary to keep them in good condition.
Metal doors last longer and are more energy efficient, but they can’t provide the classic look that a wooden exterior door lends to a home’s entryway. If you’re in the market for longevity but still value the curb appeal that a traditional wooden door lends to a home, fiberglass is the way to go.
The fiberglass oak door series available from Plastpro replicates the look of an oak door, grain and all, to provide the aesthetic of a natural exterior door while affording its owner the amenities accessed by choosing fiberglass. Plastpro doors also include a polyurethane foam core that increases a home’s energy efficiency, and the makeup of their materials means they’re better suited to withstand extreme conditions. Check out Plastpro’s oak series of doors to preview the line’s design variety and benefits, including complementary decorative glass.
The doors in Plastpro’s oak series also feature stain compatibility, just like their natural counterparts. Fiberglass doors are a cost-effective option since they require very little staining and maintenance, saving you money in the long run. That isn’t to say staining won’t be necessary if you want to achieve your preferred presentation. In addition to the mimicked look and texture of oak’s unique grain, use Plastpro door stain kits to achieve the perfect color!
For a timeless, clean look, Plastpro’s white oak series offers pre-pigmented doors that come in a wide array of panel designs, feature decorative glass and offer the same perks as the base oak series.
Upgrade Your Door with Plastpro
Of all the different species of wood used to create exterior doors, oak is one of the most popular options on the market today. It’s dense enough to offer privacy, it has a built-in defense against natural threats like bugs and fungi, its grain is uniquely beautiful and it naturally appears in a vast array of colors.
However, oak is also temperamental in temperate or humid climates, can weigh down hinges, and can be pricey. It also suffers from the same pitfalls of any wooden exterior door—it takes a lot of time and money to keep up, with staining replacements recommended every 2-to-3 years.
Plastpro’s oak and white oak fiberglass doors offer a strikingly similar recreation of natural wood that’s affordable and saves money by cutting down on maintenance and energy costs. The doors can be customized—both feature-wise and with different staining kits—as well as built to fit most entryways. Additionally, fiberglass doors aren’t impacted by extreme weather like wood doors are, and they can better protect themselves and the home they hang on from extreme situations.
To purchase a Plastpro fiberglass door from the company’s oak series, white oak series or any other design you’re interested in, click here to find a Plastpro dealer. If you want a wooden look, Plastpro's fiberglass exterior doors provide a pleasing aesthetic while taking advantage of modern door technology.