Steel Doors 101
Surprising Benefits to Steel Doors
If you’re looking at entry doors for your home or business, a steel door might not be on your list. After all, in homes, wood is more common and in commercial, they’re often aluminum. You might have thought, steel doors are too heavy, too ugly, too expensive. But you’d be wrong on all counts.
It turns out, steel doors are relatively light in weight, come in all kinds of customizable styles and sizes, and are frequently less expensive than solid wood doors. In fact, steel doors have a lot of advantages over wood or fiberglass. Here’s a few of the most obvious:
If your entry has a lot of activity – a “high-traffic environment” – then a steel door is a contender, for in “cycle” tests of a million cycles – essentially opening and shutting a door on its frame a million times – steel doors far surpass wood, which is the worst performer in these tests. In fact, steel door and frame assemblies held up to as many as ten million cycles! That translates to decades of repair-free, solid performance.
You can probably guess the outcome here. In fact, they’re so fire resistant that a steel door “rated” at 20 minutes generally meets the three hour standard regardless, and in the construction industry, a three hour rating is the gold standard for fire protection. If fire safety is a concern, a steel door is not only safer but cheaper than anything else.
It’s well-established that quiet environments improve both our health and productivity; less noise is simply better. Building components, like windows, all have a tested STC, or Sound Transmission Coefficient; where the higher the number, the better they are at blocking sound. Steel doors are clear winners here, with the highest STC ratings (up to 55 STC – as quiet as it gets) of any door material. This means they block unwanted noise as effectively as a double stud wall filled with insulation. Although a wood door can be customized to optimize for STC, it costs far more than its steel equivalent.
Energy Efficiency & Sustainability
Unless you’re building at the Pentagon, steel doors are not constructed of solid metal. They have two very thin plates of 24 or 22 gauge steel that sandwich a core of high-density polyurethane foam, basically solid insulation, giving a thermal resistance similar to a fiberglass door. This allows steel doors to easily achieve the Energy Star certification. And, though steel isn’t thought of as a sustainable material, it’s the most recycled material in North America. Steel also has what’s called an Unlimited Life Cycle, meaning it can be continuously reused without losing strength or durability, a classification most materials cannot achieve.
In areas where hurricanes or tornadoes occur, steel doors are an easy choice. They have the highest hurricane resistance (up to 100 pounds per square foot) of any door, even in very large commercial door sizes. Wood hurricane doors are available but they have lower resistance and are unavailable in large sizes. Tornadoes – with stronger wind speeds than hurricanes – can only be resisted with steel doors, since no others have passed tornado resistance tests.
Maintenance, repair, longevity
Due to steel’s natural strength, it consistently outperforms all materials in resisting natural and man-made abuse (vandalism, etc.). Maintenance of steel doors is also easier than wood, aluminum, or fiberglass doors – steel doesn’t crack or dent as easily as they do. This gives steel doors a longer useful life-span with lower costs of ownership over time.
And finally, if you still have any doubts about these versatile, sturdy, and practical doors, keep in mind they can be just as stylish as their wood and fiberglass counterparts. They can incorporate many decorative features into their designs such as customized colors, wood surfaces on the interiors, various trim and panel patterns, and generally they adapt well to a variety of modern or traditional styles.
Revival Sash proudly partners with Portella Steel Doors and Windows to create the design that fits your home or business. Visit our website for more information or better yet, our Manhattan showroom at 135 East 57th St 15-121.