Although the name would seem to imply it, the purpose of buying storm doors is not really to protect against wild windstorms or hurricanes. Its protection in a hurricane, for instance, is actually quite low. Their main purpose is to provide an extra layer of insulation against the cold, especially in areas such as the Northeast. By installing storm doors on the outside of the home’s main door, an insulating air space is provided to keep out the cold. Storm doors are used in the South as well, but the purpose there is for ventilation by replacing the door glass with screens.
The most common materials from which these types of doors are made are vinyl, aluminum, and wood with vinyl being the most inexpensive and wood the most expensive.
Why Buy a Vinyl Storm Door?
Storm doors of vinyl are usually the least inexpensive option in material, making it a popular choice among the budget conscious. Some of its benefits include:
- Available in a variety of designs and colors to match the color of your house.
- The color is completely through rather than just a top layer, meaning small holes and scratches do not show easily.
- Resistant to being dented.
- Easy to maintain because they don’t need painting and can be cleaned by washing.
One drawback of a vinyl storm door is that it may not be as long-lasting as aluminum or wood. The fact that it is inexpensive makes it easier to replace, however.
Why Buy an Aluminum Storm Door?
Aluminum storm doors are a popular choice because of their strength. But keep in mind that the strength is based on the thickness of the aluminum used. Thicker aluminum means the storm door will be better at standing up against bad weather. Overall benefits of aluminum storm doors include:
- Durability and strength make it more resistant to humidity and excessive temperatures.Corrosion resistant.
- Available in styles and colors that can complement your home.
- Easy to maintain compared to wood storm doors.
- Vinyl clad aluminum doors offer the benefits of both aluminum and vinyl, but at a cost.
One drawback of an aluminum storm door is that it may not be the most energy efficient door choice. That’s because aluminum is a conductive material that absorbs heat and cold. However, buying and adding insulation strips can help overcome that issue.
Why Buy a Wood Storm Door?
Most homes have traditional wooden front and back doors. Therefore, a wooden storm door in front of your front or back door can blend in visually with your house. The benefits of wooden storm doors include:
- Sophistication and appeal because a wooden door is recognized as the standard door for a home.
- Durability and stability if the door is built solidly.
- Good insulation if a quality wood is used in construction.
- If properly sealed and treated, can provide long life.
- A good choice for security purposes.Wood core doors with an aluminum skin offer added benefits, but at a cost.
The drawback is that regular maintenance is a must. Wooden doors can swell and warp from moisture and are susceptible to damage from the weather. You should inspect a wooden storm door at least once every season.
Many people who love the look and elegance of wood feel that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
Styles and Designs
No matter what material is used, various styles, colors and designs available for storm doors.
The full panel storm door means the door uses a full length glass panel. The advantages include:
- People can see a decorative door behind the full panel.
- An unobstructed view of the outdoors when your front or back door is open.
- Allowing more sunlight in the house when your regular door is open.
- With the regular front door open, you can see who is at your door through the glass in the full panel.
- People tend to ring your front door bell, rather than beat loudly on your regular door.
A ventilating storm door, also called a self-storing door uses both a glass panel and a screen panel in the door. You can slide the glass panel up or down so the screen can allow air into the house. When the screen is not in use, it slides down into the bottom panel out of sight.
Having a screen allows you to open your regular door and let breezes into your home.
For security purposes when buying storm doors, look for features such as laminated security glass. It is extremely strong and break resistant and will stop or slow someone trying to smash the glass. Lock systems with two or more bolts that fasten the door to the frame will help keep it secure. There are also multi-locking systems with two or more locks on each door.
When buying storm doors, weigh all options such as material, durability, design, security and cost. The lowest cost may not be the best option when taking into consideration maintenance, replacement, and safety. Aim for the best quality that fits the budget and meets the need.
For additional information, read Protect Your Home From the Weather With a Storm Door.