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Community and Q&A

Best-looking and best insulated fiberglass door?

Karen Miller | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

We need to order a fiberglass door for our new, net zero home in Massachusetts. Can you recommend some brands below. Any other that are better or I should be considering? Realize some the Canadian fiberglass window companies make doors as well but it needs to be beautiful not just functional. Thanks for your help, – Karen
Kolbe & Kolbe.

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  1. Andy Ault, CLC | | #1

    For exterior doors, we like Therma Tru for budget sensitive projects and a line called Pro Via when we need something more custom and/or with higher security levels.

  2. Travis T | | #2

    I think the Jeld-wen looks the most like real wood but are prohibitively expensive for my customers. I have installed more Therma-tru's than anything else but have been unhappy with their fit and finish so we are moving away from them. We just installed a couple of Pella fiberglass doors with the metal clad exterior jambs. I was thoroughly impressed with them. Most fiberglass doors still have wood jambs and the durability and maintenance issues that come along with exterior wood. The Pella's metal clad jambs will reduce or eliminate the maintenance issue. They were right in line with costs of Therma-tru etc. In general I also found that you will have very limited choices in 2-8 doors in fiberglass. 3-0 sizes are much more common.

  3. Karen Miller | | #3

    Now looking at ProVia, Jeld-Wen, Pella and Therma-Tru for an entry door. Would love to hear comparisons with these doors.. and is there a really good insulated wood door that close in R value to a fiberglass door?
    - Karen

  4. Andy Ault, CLC | | #4

    "insulated wood" falls into the same categories as "military intelligence" and "I'm from the IRS, you have nothing to be worried about" ;-}

  5. Jesse Thompson | | #5

    There are many beautiful insulated wood doors available in the US, but they seem to be currently mainly available from european manufacturers. Once US builders start asking for them, I'm sure that will change. Some of these doors are insulated up to R-10 and have thermally broken sills.

    Or, you could ask a local fabricator to make you a sauna door a bit taller than usual.

    A few manufacturers:

    We've specified triple glazed Drewexim doors recently, they were less expensive than a double glazed un-insulated wood entry door from Marvin or Loewen. They can also be extremely expensive, they span a whole range of prices, just like US doors.

  6. Andy Ault, CLC | | #6

    Jesse - great links! Thanks for sharing those. (learn something new everyday :-)

    I can only imagine what that 3" thick EAS slab must cost and weigh??? But I bet it's a beauty.

    With all three options being fully custom and imported from Europe, it would be interesting to see an embodied energy comparison vs. a domestic product and then how those would balance out over the course of the life-cycle (i.e. long term energy savings vs. first cost: both financial and carbon). I suspect that it would be a pretty close fight.

    It will be great when there is enough domestic demand that we won't have to ask those questions. When instead, they'll be made just up the road and considered standard material. I'll be interested to price these for an upcoming project and see how they compare to something like the ProVia product.

  7. Jesse Thompson | | #7


    These doors are heavy, but the GU / Hoppe hardware standard on these doors makes them extremely easy to operate, even if the slabs are heavy. I have been surprised at how much difference high-quality hardware makes.

    Here on the east coast, it might very well be less energy intensive to ship via boat from the EU than truck from the mid-west. But we'd prefer to not have to choose between those two options, it would be much preferable to purchase windows and doors of this quality from a local manufacturer.

    Honestly, it doesn't look that hard. You can buy the spindle router bits that mill these profiles, and build them out of the wood species that works for your climate. I would think a good casework shop wouldn't have many problems fabricating doors like these european manufacturers are offering.

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