The doors on your home provide a barrier between the indoors and the outdoors. They offer you safety and protection, both from intruders and from the elements. A good entry door does this all while looking beautiful. When you start shopping the market for a new entry door, one of the first decisions you'll need to make is what material you'd like your door to be made from. Common options include steel, wood, fiberglass, and wood composite. Each material has its own upsides and downsides. Take a look!
If your primary goal is to choose a door that's tough, then steel is the material for you. It's a common choice of homeowners in "rough" neighborhoods since it's tough to break into. You can't just saw through it or hit it with a sledgehammer as you can a wooden door. Steel doors are also quite affordable, and you don't have to scrape and paint them. (Unless you want to change your home's look.)
The down side to steel doors is that they're not entirely impervious to the weather. If you live near the ocean, the salt in the air will cause the steel to corrode rather quickly. And If something blows into the door in a high wind, it may leave a dent, which is tough to pound out and repair.
Wood doors are certainly traditional. They look right at home on a rustic or country home, and they're essentially a hallmark element of Craftsman architecture. Wood is also a "green" option since it is a natural material that you can dispose of naturally when it reaches the end of its serviceable life. There's a wide range of prices with wood. You can find cheaper pine doors and more expensive hardwood ones.
One downfall of wooden doors is that they are not fire-resistant. They might not be the best choice if forest fires are a common issue in your area. Wood also requires periodic scraping and painting -- or waterproofing -- if you don't want it to get moldy and rotten.
Fiberglass doors are very lightweight, which is an advantage if you plan on installing your entryway door by yourself. They are regularly sold at home improvement stores, too, so they're essentially perfect for DIY-ers. Fiberglass can be molded into an array of shapes, so you'll find doors with a lot of unique detail. You can even find some made to look like wood; you can only tell the difference from up close.
One downside to fiberglass doors is that they can crack if hit hard. This makes it possible for someone to break in through the doors if they have a heavy hammer or otherwise use brute force.
Wood composite doors are quickly gaining popularity because, in many ways, they offer all of the benefits of wooden entry doors without the downfalls. Wood composite is made from a mixture of wood pulp and a plastic agent. The product looks like wood, so it will create a beautiful facade for your country, rustic, or Craftsman home. However, you don't have to worry if it gets wet, and you don't have to paint it every year because the plastic in the composite makes it impervious to moisture.
The primary downfall to wood composite entry doors is their price. They cost more than doors because of the intricate manufacturing process. Since they are so heavy, they typically need to be installed professionally, and the price of installation can be a bit steep. Still, if you want a door that looks great and will last for many decades, composite is a wise choice.