Cheap Exterior Doors: a Waste of Money or a Good Way to Save?

You get what you pay for. Cheap exterior doors seem a great choice at first glance – they are affordable, and might even look nice. Here, we'll explain why skimping on your exterior door is not a good idea.

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Jul 11, 2022

Feb 28, 2024

8 min read


Anyone considering replacing their exterior door and purchasing a new one will likely be amazed at how many options are available on the market today at different price points. There are so many expensive and cheap exterior doors for sale that the choice may be more challenging than you expected.

It’s a natural desire for many homeowners to buy cheap exterior doors and save money for other home renovations. After all, if the quality of protection doesn’t suffer, why pay more? Let’s find out the disadvantages of a cheap exterior door and if it makes sense to pay a higher price.

The Main Problems Cheap Entry Doors Can Bring

More expensive doesn’t always mean better; that’s a fact. But just like anything else, cheaper is going to be of lesser quality. If you decide to install cheap exterior front doors, sooner or later, you run the risk of facing such problems:

  • Poor insulation

At one point, you may notice that your energy bills have gone up. Is it your new doors to blame? Definitely yes, because poor insulation directly affects your home’s energy efficiency. Cheap exterior doors causing air leakage and heat loss are not suitable for the climate in Canada. Such savings will only force you to additionally look for ways to increase energy efficiency.

  •  Humidity problem

Doors made from low-quality wood will absorb water from the atmosphere and swell as a result. This will directly affect the functionality of the door and its security. A door damaged by moisture does not open and close well, and you will need to replace it soon. Thus, a cheap door will serve you less than expected.

  • Security issue

When you install exterior doors, safety is your priority. 34% of burglaries happen through the front door, while 22% are through back entrances. Cheap exterior doors, especially sliding patio units and doors with glass inserts may not be as reliable and are easier to break into, so they can compromise your security.

  • Door appearance

Unlike doors made of high-quality materials, their cheap counterparts are usually made from medium or even low-quality materials. Such units are more exposed to weather conditions, and their appearance deteriorates much faster. Cheap steel exterior doors get dented and rusted, and wooden ones rot and get scratched while paint cracks and wears.

  • Quality of hardware

The hinges of the cheap prehung exterior doors wear out quickly. It makes the doors creak, rattle, and hard to operate.

Buy nice or buy twice. By purchasing low-quality, cheap doors, you are unlikely to save money because you will have to spend more on solving the associated issues. You will not necessarily have all of these problems, but you may encounter them when using the doors. Therefore, before looking for where to buy cheap exterior doors, evaluate all the risks.

Cheap vs. High-Quality Doors: The Key Difference

When you look for exterior doors, you see that many models are similar, give or take –  the same material, the same configuration, a similar coating. But some are cheap, and others are more expensive.

For those who know nothing about doors, it isn’t easy to understand what makes such a run-up in the price reaching hundreds of dollars for doors that seem to have the same style. How can you be sure you’re not just getting an overpriced unit? Look at the construction, materials, and hardware.

Difference Of Materials

The material from which the door is made directly affects its cost. Natural wood is the most expensive option, steel has a more affordable price, and fibreglass tends to be the medium-priced material. You can also get on MDF (reconstituted wood panel) doors that are much cheaper than solid wooden units.

The price difference is due to the characteristics of the material. Wood panels are the least energy-efficient, strong, and durable options. It is subject to the influence of the elements, absorbs moisture from the air well, and over time it can begin to rot and swell. Steel is super strong and durable, but it can dent and rust over time if it’s cheap. Fiberglass, unlike wood and steel, does not rot, rust, or get dented and scratched, so fiberglass exterior doors simply cannot be cheap.

But what makes the difference in price between doors if the material is the same? The answer is simple: the quality of the material. If you find two steel exterior doors online, one is cheap, and the other is twice as expensive – be sure that the quality of the steel will be very different. The first door will most likely feature wood casings, while the more expensive one is all galvanized steel.

Difference Of Components

One of the things that can reduce the cost of a door (and thereby reduce its quality) is the components.

A more affordable option is a slab door – a basic unit that doesn’t have a frame, hinges, or any hardware. It may have holes for door knobs and other types of hardware, but in the first place, it will be just a piece of material that is not painted. And you will have to spend additional funds, time, and efforts to utilize it fully.

When you buy cheap exterior prehung doors, which come with frame, hinges, and other hardware, you just run the risk of getting short-lived components: hinges that can rust, wooden structures that can get dented and rotted, sill that is not energy-efficient and is easy to scratch, non-adjustable threshold, etc.

The quality of the door system affects the durability and performance of your door. If you want your exterior door to serve for a long time and without losing functionality, choose high-quality doors.

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    Why Ecoline’s Doors Are High-Quality?

    •  We have fully automatic assembly

    All assembly steps are carried out automatically, including all measurements, cutting the door to fit the frame, drilling holes for the hardware, etc. Unlike manual assembly, process automation minimizes the chance of error.

    • We allow you to fully customize the door

    You can choose custom size or threshold height – our doors can be fully customized to all design needs and specifications of any home. We completely control the assembly of the door, so we can fulfill any of your requests.

    • We use high-end components

    We use heavy-duty hinges for all units despite the size, all with bearing for quiet opening. In the case of cheap exterior doors, only double doors usually come with heavy-duty hinges.

    We have adjustable sills, which can be customized to prevent drafts, heat leakage, and water penetration.

    We also provide double pin hinges to be knocked out, a full plastic frame with reinforcement, sills with anodized sill, anti-scratch coating, and hidden drain holes.

    Moreover, we give a warranty for our hardware the same as for the door itself – up to 25 years.

    Why Don’t We Sell Cheap Doors?

    Ecoline specializes in high-quality residential door replacement. We provide our customers with a wide range of door styles and options. But we do not offer cheap exterior doors for sale for two reasons:

    • Cheap doors are not a long-term value for our clients.

    You can find out about all the issues of cheap exterior doors above, but in a nutshell: they are not energy-efficient, durable, and safe, and their maintenance takes more effort and money.

    • We can’t afford to sell doors that carry a lot of complaints.

    We’ve built on our reputation as one of Canada’s leading door replacement companies by installing doors designed to last a lifetime. Installing doors that have caused people to constantly run into operational and maintenance problems is not the way to stay in business.

    What is the cheapest exterior door?

    The cheapest exterior doors come as slabs that have no frame, hinges, and no kind of hardware. The most basic and most affordable models are typically available in white, rough and unfinished.

    Can you buy just an exterior door?

    You can buy just the door itself (a slab) without a frame, hinges, and hardware. Keep in mind that its installation will require extensive carpentry work and extra time for preparation. Therefore, in many cases, it is preferable to go with prehung doors.

    How much does it cost to install an entry door?

    At Ecoline, the cost of each project is calculated individually since our doors are completely custom. You can use our calculator to find out the average prices of our units or send us a request for a free quote.