A storm door refers to a type of door that is installed in front of an exterior access door to protect it from bad weather and allow ventilation. Storm doors typically have interchangeable glass panels and window screen panels to provide visibility and prevent flying insects from entering the home.
Wood was the original material from which storm doors were made. While wooden screen doors can be visually the most appealing, the wood itself requires painting or some other form of coating to protect it from the weather. Wooden screen doors less than one inch thick are used primarily as screen doors with no glass installed. Using wood thicknesses greater than one inch allows the storm door frame to accommodate glass panels. The door also becomes more rigid and durable as the thickness increases.
The main advantage of aluminum over wood as a storm door material is aluminum’s corrosion resistance. Aluminum storm doors do not need to be painted repeatedly to protect them from the elements. Aluminum storm doors are available in a variety of thicknesses. All of these thicknesses can accommodate interchangeable glass and screen panels.
The least expensive storm doors are the thinnest. As the storm door frame gets thicker, the door frame becomes more rigid. The strength and rigidity of the door is limited however, by the relatively brittle aluminum alloy corners that hold the frame together. If the door gets blown open during a storm, the corners can crack and the door will lose its strength. The corners however, can be replaced if parts can be found.
Materials such as PVC and fiberglass offer the most corrosion resistance of all when used in a storm door. They can also be moulded in such a way as to realistically mimic wood grain to provide the appearance of a wooden storm door. PVC or “vinyl” storm doors often require internal steel frames to provide the necessary strength to the door.
Fiberglass storm door frames are extremely strong, but the material is more expensive. Both PVC and fiberglass storm doors incorporate chemicals to slow the effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. UV radiation tends to make plastics become brittle. Again thicker doors have an advantage. The thicker the plastic, the longer it takes to become brittle.
One disadvantage of pvc and fiberglass doors is that their frames are often glued together. If the door frame breaks, there is limited opportunity for repair.