Maintaining and Preserving Your Exterior Doors

exterior door longevity

When we look to purchase exterior doors, we know that they play a vital role in the aesthetics and energy efficiency of your home. Maintaining and preserving your exterior doors is essential to your home and its aesthetic. Exterior doors are exposed to various weather conditions and daily wear and tear, which can take a toll on their appearance and functionality over time. To ensure the longevity of your exterior doors, it’s essential to adopt a regular maintenance routine and take the necessary measures to protect them from damage. In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips and insights on how to maintain and preserve your exterior doors of any material. 

Importance of Exterior Doors

Exterior doors serve as the main point of entry and exit to your home, making them an important component of your overall security system. They also contribute to the curb appeal of your property, leaving a lasting impression on visitors and potential buyers. Additionally, well-maintained exterior doors help in preserving energy by keeping drafts out and maintaining optimal indoor temperatures. Therefore, taking proper care of your exterior doors not only enhances their lifespan but also improves the overall functionality and value of your home.

Choosing the Right Material

The first step in maintaining your front doors is selecting the right material that suits your needs and preferences. There are several options available, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore some popular choices:

Wood Exterior Doors

Wood doors exude elegance and charm, adding a timeless appeal to any home. They are known for their natural beauty and can be customized to fit various architectural styles. However, wood doors require regular maintenance to prevent moisture-related issues, such as warping or rotting.

Advantages of Wood Doors

Aesthetics: Wood doors offer a warm and inviting appearance that complements both traditional and contemporary designs. Customizability: They can be stained or painted in a variety of colours, allowing you to match your desired aesthetic.– H2: Insulation: Wood has natural insulating properties, which can help regulate temperature and reduce energy costs.– H2: Durability: High-quality wood doors, when properly maintained, can last for decades.

Disadvantages of Wood Doors

Maintenance: Wood doors require regular maintenance, including sealing, staining, and occasional refinishing, to protect against moisture and maintain their appearance. Vulnerability to Weather: Exposure to extreme weather conditions, such as excessive sunlight or heavy rain, can cause the wood to warp, crack, or fade. Cost: Wood doors tend to be more expensive than other materials due to their craftsmanship and natural beauty.

fiberglass door maintenance

Fiberglass Exterior Doors

Fiberglass doors are gaining popularity due to their durability, low maintenance requirements, and versatility. They can mimic the appearance of wood or other materials while providing enhanced resistance to weather and everyday wear.

Advantages of Fiberglass Doors

Durability: Fiberglass exterior doors are highly resistant to dents, scratches, and warping, making them ideal for high-traffic areas. Low Maintenance: They require minimal maintenance, as they don’t need regular painting or staining. Cleaning with mild soap and water is usually sufficient. Energy Efficiency: Fiberglass exterior doors often come with insulated cores, providing excellent thermal performance and reducing energy loss.

Disadvantages of Fiberglass Doors

Cost: Fiberglass entry doors can be more expensive upfront compared to some other materials. However, their longevity and energy efficiency can offset the initial investment. Limited Customization: While fiberglass entry doors offer various styles and finishes, they may have fewer customization options compared to wood entry doors.

Brown fiberglass door with big sidelite

Steel Entry Doors

Steel doors are known for their strength, security, and low maintenance. They provide exceptional resistance to forced entry and are a popular choice for homeowners seeking enhanced security.

Advantages of Steel Entry Doors

Security: Steel front doors offer superior strength and durability, making them highly resistant to the environment and dangerous weather. Low Maintenance: Steel doors require minimal upkeep, usually limited to occasional cleaning and touch-ups. Affordability: Steel front doors are generally more cost-effective than wood or fiberglass doors, making them a budget-friendly option.

Disadvantages of Steel Entry Doors

Prone to Dents and Scratches: Despite their strength, steel doors can be susceptible to dents and scratches, especially in areas with high impact. Limited Insulation: Steel entry doors may not provide the same level of insulation as wood or fiberglass entry doors unless they have an insulated core.

steel double door installation downtown Toronto

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Regardless of the material, regular cleaning and maintenance are essential to preserve the appearance and functionality of your exterior doors. Here are some guidelines for cleaning different types of doors:

Cleaning Wooden Entry Doors

  • Begin by removing any dirt or debris using a soft brush or cloth.
  • Prepare a mixture of mild soap or detergent with warm water.
  • Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the soapy water and gently scrub the door surface, paying attention to any stains or marks.
  • Rinse the door thoroughly with clean water and wipe it dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • If your wooden door has a finish, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining the specific type of finish.

Cleaning Fiberglass Entry Doors

  • Wipe the door surface with a soft cloth or sponge to remove dust and dirt.
  • Mix a solution of mild detergent and water.
  • Apply the soapy solution to the door using a cloth or sponge, gently scrubbing away any stains or grime.
  • Rinse the door with clean water to remove any residue.
  • Dry the door with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Cleaning Steel Entry Doors

  • Remove dust and dirt from the door surface using a soft cloth or sponge.
  • Mix a solution of mild detergent and water.
  • Apply the soapy solution to the door using a cloth or sponge, gently scrubbing away any stains or marks.
  • Rinse the door thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  • Dry the door with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Remember to avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that can damage the door’s finish or surface.

Protecting from the Elements

One of the primary challenges exterior doors face is exposure to the elements. Taking preventive measures can significantly extend their lifespan and maintain their visual appeal. Here are some steps to protect your exterior doors from the elements:

Weather Stripping

  • Weatherstripping is a crucial component in sealing gaps around your door to prevent drafts, moisture, and energy loss.
  • Inspect the weather stripping regularly for signs of wear or damage.
  • Replace worn weather stripping promptly to maintain a proper seal.

Sealing and Staining

  • Wood doors benefit from sealing and staining to protect them from moisture, UV rays, and other environmental factors.
  • Clean the door thoroughly before applying a wood sealer or stain.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate application method and frequency.


  • Painting your exterior doors can provide an additional layer of protection and enhance their appearance.
  • Choose a high-quality exterior paint suitable for the door’s material.
  • Properly prepare the surface by cleaning and sanding before applying the paint.

Preventing Damage

Taking precautions to prevent damage to your exterior doors can help maintain their longevity and functionality. Consider the following tips:

Avoiding Scratches and Dents

  • Be mindful of sharp objects or heavy items that can scratch or dent the door surface.
  • Use caution when moving furniture or other large objects near the door.
  • Consider installing a kickplate or doorstop to protect against accidental damage.

Addressing Moisture Issues

Moisture can be detrimental to wooden doors, leading to warping, rotting, or mould growth. Ensure proper drainage around your door by clearing debris and maintaining gutters and downspouts. Repair any leaks or water damage in the surrounding areas promptly.

door frame repair

Fixing Damaged Door Frames

Damaged door frames can affect the functionality and security of your exterior doors. Regularly inspect the door frame for cracks, rot, or damage. Repair or replace damaged door frames to maintain a secure fit. The entire door frame and make it more resistant to forced entry.

Seasonal Care

Different seasons bring unique challenges to exterior doors. To ensure their longevity, implement these seasonal care tips:

Winter Preparations

  • Cold weather can affect the performance of exterior doors and increase energy loss.
  • Inspect and replace weather stripping if needed to prevent drafts and maintain insulation.
  • Clear any snow or ice buildup around the door to prevent moisture damage.
  • Consider using door draft stoppers to minimize drafts and heat loss.

Summer Maintenance

  • Hot and humid conditions can cause expansion or warping of exterior doors.
  • Check the door for any signs of swelling or sticking and address the issue promptly.
  • Keep the door clean from dust and debris to prevent buildup and maintain proper operation.
  • Consider using a UV-protective coating on doors exposed to direct sunlight to prevent fading or discoloration.

Professional Inspections and Repairs

While regular maintenance is crucial, there may come a time when professional expertise is necessary. Here’s when you should consider a professional inspection or repair:

Signs It’s Time for a Professional Inspection

  1. Persistent drafts or air leaks around the door.
  2. Difficulty opening or closing the door.
  3. Visible signs of damage, such as cracks or rot.
  4. Unusual noises when operating the door.
  5. Issues with the door’s locking mechanism or security features.

Hiring a Professional

  1. Consult a reputable door specialist or contractor for complex repairs or replacements.
  2. Get recommendations from friends, family, or neighbours.
  3. Request quotes from multiple professionals and compare their expertise and pricing.

Living in the Toronto and GTA area, I know how important it is to choose the right exterior door for your home. When it comes to fiberglass or steel doors, ALDA is here to assist you. With our expertise and a wide range of high-quality options, we can guide you through the selection and installation process. Whether you prioritize style, security, or budget, our professionals will ensure a seamless installation that stands the test of time. Don’t compromise on the quality and security of your exterior doors. Contact ALDA Windows and Doors today and  schedule a free consultation. Let us help you enhance the beauty and functionality of your home with the perfect fiberglass or steel door. Your satisfaction is our top priority, and we look forward to transforming your entryway.


How long does an exterior door typically last?

Typically, a front door that is shielded by an overhang and receives proper maintenance once or twice a year can serve for 30 years. Components such as gaskets, weather stripping, and the frames of wood doors might need replacement every eight to ten years.

Which exterior door is the longest lasting?

When choosing a durable door, steel is unmatched. Not only are they fire-resistant, but they also offer exceptional security and last for over 100 years.

How can I protect wooden doors?

It is crucial for the doors to be primed, given an undercoat, and then finished with a top coat to protect them against weather. A wood front door that is properly painted and maintained can remain in solid condition for years.