What to Know Before You Buy

Your front entrance speaks volumes—it’s the first hello when you greet guests, family, and friends. That’s why it’s important to consider your door’s quality, material, security, and style. Today, most homes feature either wood or fiberglass doors. Less commonly, but certainly more attractive, other homeowners choose an iron door for an elevated, customizable entrance that can withstand the test of time while adding some serious value. In fact, realtors and remodeling magazines show that upgrading your front entryway with a custom iron door has one of the highest cost recoup percentages when compared to other home improvements.

Follow along as we discuss the difference between iron doors vs. wood doors, and touch on the details to consider for each. Whichever door you choose, it’s important that you understand the features and benefits so that you can make an informed decision that enhances your home’s curb appeal.

About the Materials

According to The Spruce, solid wood doors are typically made with a frame-and-panel construction that uses natural woods like a soft pine or a sturdier oak or maple. Wood doors are rarely made from a solid wood slab. On the other hand, iron doors and steel doors are more solid and secure, and they’re sealed and insulated to provide energy efficiency.

The Difference Between Iron Doors vs. Wood Doors

After establishing a basic understanding of the materials, it’s important to dig into the details. This will be a helpful list to consider as you weigh your entryway options.

  • Maintenance
    • Iron Doors — Unlike most wood doors, iron doors require minimal maintenance to preserve their attractiveness or functionality. Simply wipe all surfaces with a mild soap, water, and non-abrasive cloth to refresh your entry.
    • Wood Doors — Keeping up with a wood door requires a high level of maintenance. For example, if you have to refinish the door due to sun damage or rot, you must remove all of the hardware, sand and strip the door, and then reapply the finish.
  • Warp 
    • Iron Doors — There is no risk of iron warping or bending.
    • Wood Doors — Warping is a common problem with wood doors, stemming from a rise in humidity, heat, or moisture in the air. This can affect how difficult it is to open or close the door.
  • Rust & Decay
    • Iron Doors — Our iron doors go through a detailed 7-step automotive finishing process, minimizing the risk of rust or decay. 
    • Wood Doors — Anything made of wood is easily susceptible to decay if it’s left untreated or unfinished. When wood doors come into contact with damp air or moisture, it can lead to mold or mildew damage.
  • Rot Repair 
    • Iron Doors — There is little to no risk of rot.
    • Wood Doors — It’s extremely difficult and expensive to repair wood rot in doors. The Family Handyman provides a DIY process to repair rot with polyester filler, but it’s tedious and labor intensive.
  • Finishes
    • Iron Doors — Our iron doors come with your choice of finish, selected from our catalog of five exclusive colors. The finishing and detailing process is thorough and seamless, and provides an unmistakable look that will last for years to come.
    • Wood Doors — Finishing or refinishing a wood door is costly and requires multiple sandings to prep or strip the surface.
  • Customization
    • Iron Doors — Specify every element of your custom iron door, including its shape and height, panels, window placement, and more. Also, while iron doors are an investment, they’re typically the least expensive to customize.
    • Wood Doors — You can customize wood doors to include transoms, sidelights, and decorative details, but it’s expensive to do so.
  • Warranty
    • Iron Doors — With the longest warranty in the industry, we protect you against manufacturing defects for 10 years on the iron door structure and mechanics. We also provide a 5-year warranty on the Elite finish and glass, and a 1-year warranty on the weather stripping and sweeps on the doors sold in the contiguous United States.
    • Wood Doors — Traditionally, wood doors come with a 1-year warranty if there is no overhang above the door. However, if the wood door is facing a certain direction, it may not carry a warranty at all.

An example of a double iron door that features the traditional aesthetic of classic wood doors.

3 Reasons to Consider an Iron Door

After assessing the differences between iron doors vs. wood doors, a clear winner quickly emerges. To summarize a few of the key points, here are the reasons why we recommend buying an iron door for your home:

  1. Fully Customizable 

Every Clark Hall iron door is made specifically for you, giving you the freedom to choose your style, silhouette, finish, hardware, and more. You can even choose to design a contemporary pivot door that rotates on a vertical axis, or spindle — a unique, functional design that’s more challenging to achieve with wood doors.

2. Secure & Durable 

Iron doors take security to the next level. Our doors are certified to meet some of the strictest hurricane wind ratings and Florida building codes. From our 14-gauge steel door panels to the steel barrel hinges, each one is built with integrity.

3. Nearly Maintenance-Free

Our iron doors require minimal maintenance to preserve their attractiveness and functionality. We recommend cleaning the surface occasionally with a mild soap, water, and non-abrasive cloth. You can also touch up minor scratches with the touch-up paint that we provide with your door purchase.

If you’re interested in learning more about iron doors, please contact us to schedule a consultation. Our experts are available to share more about the features and benefits, and walk you through our custom design process.

Frequently Asked Questions About Iron Doors vs. Wood Doors

Is an iron door better than a wood door?

Yes, if you’re looking for a door option that’s more secure, energy efficient, and customizable, an iron door is better than a wood door. Plus, iron doors require minimal maintenance compared to wood doors.

Are iron doors more expensive than wood doors?

The price of iron doors and wood doors really depends on the size of the door and how much customizing is involved. On average, our projects start at around $10,000. According to Cost Helper, custom-built wood doors start at around $3,000. However, it’s important to consider your budget for ongoing repairs throughout a wooden door’s lifetime, and the value a custom iron door could add to your home if you were to sell.

Are iron doors more secure than wood doors?

Yes, iron is a more durable material compared to wood. Plus, our doors are certified to meet some of the strictest hurricane wind ratings and Florida building codes.

Smooth, Sleek & Statement-Worthy

There are few door styles that are as unique or striking as a custom pivot door. Perhaps the most compelling feature that attracts clients to this option is how much larger they can make your entryway look. In fact, a pivot door allows you to build a much larger door than a standard swinging single door — not to mention, the eye-catching pivot point creates a conversation piece among guests, family, and friends. Interested in designing your own? Follow along to learn more about their history, anatomy, and benefits.

What is a Pivot Door?

To provide a basic definition, a pivot door is a swinging door that rotates on a vertical axis, or a spindle. Meanwhile, regular hinged doors are attached to the side of a door adjacent to the wall. Check out the visual comparison below to see how a traditional hinged door differs from a pivot door.

The History of Pivot Doors

Although modern pivot doors seem to be a contemporary trend, the technology dates back centuries. According to FritsJurgens®, an example of an early pivot door can be found in the ancient city of Persepolis in modern-day Iran. Additionally, there are several indications of this door style found in the Gate of All Nations, a grand hall that was built between 486 and 465 B.C.

The Anatomy of a Pivot Door

Essentially, a pivot door is a pivoting panel that can take on any type of custom design or measurement. Its basic elements include:

  • The door panel
  • A pivot system
  • A top pivot
  • A floor plate
  • A ceiling plate

Unlike ancient examples, modern pivot doors don’t rotate on an extension of the vertical axis. Instead, they leverage a pivot hinge system and a top pivot that are both invisible on the finished door. Where the pivot is located depends on personal preference and the width of the door. Typically, it’s about 15” from the end, but that may change if the designer or homeowner needs a bigger or smaller opening to walk through.

4 Benefits of Modern Pivot Doors

Whether you’re looking for an elevated style or a smoother entryway system—our pivot doors have both. Check out a few of their top advantages.

1. They expand your entryway.

The beauty of the pivot is that you can build a much larger door than a standard swinging single door. To give you an idea, we often see modern pivot doors measure at about 10 ft. and over 50” wide.

2. They make a statement.

Most clients who want a pivot door installed in their home are looking to make a statement. These doors are visually different from the average hinged doors, and they feature a very elegant door movement that captivates those who enter.

3. They’re extremely smooth.

Our pivot doors boast a very smooth operating system, and help create a seamless transition from one area to another. We often hear clients who visit our design studios say that they are “wowed” by their beauty and effortless functionality.

4. They can be completely customized.

Whether you prefer modern, ornate, or traditional styles, our experts and artisans can work closely with you to design a custom pivot door that suits your taste. Plus, choose from a range of glass styles and finishes that complement your exterior.

Feeling inspired and want to design your own custom pivot door? Check out our blog article, “How to Design a Custom Door” to learn more about the process. Then, be sure to schedule a consultation at one of our design studios — we have a few pivot doors showcased on-site, so it’s a great opportunity to get a taste for their look and feel. Finally, if you’re on the fence about which type of door to install in your home, check out these six reasons to choose an iron door.

Contemporary Designs for Every Taste

When you think of modern iron door designs, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? You might say dark finishes, sleek lines, sharp edges, and large glass windows.

While these are all hallmarks of our modern iron doors, no two entryways are ever the same. Each modern door can be completely customized to suit your home’s style—in fact, 

you can select from five different finishes, various hardware styles, textured glasses, and silhouettes like square top, eyebrow, and round top. We give you the tools to create your own definition of “modern.”

Check out a few of our favorite modern iron door designs featuring five unique visions.

There’s More to Modern Than Meets the Eye

However you define your style, design your own modern door from scratch.

Simple & Sleek

Creating a captivating entrance, these slim profile double iron doors feature minimalist hardware, a contemporary Charcoal finish, and large Arctic insulated glass windows—great for providing a bit of privacy while still allowing natural light to flow into the foyer. These clients dreamed of a simple modern iron door design that complemented their home’s sleek windows, unique architectural elements, and white exterior siding.

Effortless & Expansive

This modern iron door design is truly something to behold. With a larger than life vision, we helped our clients turn their sketch into a custom 50/50 split pivot door that gives way to two distinct entries and a breathtaking view of the waterfront in the back of the home—it’s a really intriguing way to reveal this scenery from the front of the home. And, if the one large glass window isn’t enough, we also added two complementary sidelights to increase the amount of natural light being brought into the foyer.

Eclectic & Eye-Catching

When a foyer is this carefully curated, you want all eyes on the vibrant wallpaper and avant-garde chandelier. This artistic homeowner opted to complement their colorful entryway with an understated, yet striking modern iron door design. Flaunting an extraordinary silhouette that comes to a subtle point at the top, this single panel iron door does a fantastic job of drawing attention to all of the right places—its clear glass windows even give guests a peek into the home’s whimsical design.

Arched & Elevated

Charming and welcoming, this modern iron door is a single panel entry that boasts large expanses of clear double insulated glass windows, hand forged hardware, and a unique eyebrow shaped archway. Enhancing the luxe, modern look, it’s complete with our exclusive Charcoal finish—this color is stunning when used on homes with gray and white tones. We love how this client put their own spin on modern design, blending it with old-style elegance that’s rare to find in updated homes.

Sophisticated & Smooth

A patio is the perfect place to consider a modern iron door design. The clean lines and simple, sleek frames help create a seamless transition from the indoors to the outdoors, and they tie a contemporary motif throughout the entire home. This project features large sidelight panels to enhance the light, too—and the subtle hardware makes it feel as though there’s almost no distinction between nature and the next room. We also love how the dark Charcoal finish balances out the white sofas and flooring.

What does your take on a modern iron door design look like? If you’re feeling inspired to start your own entryway makeover, get in touch with our team to set up a consultation by phone or at one of our design studios. And before we chat, be sure to learn why choosing an iron door is a good option, and read our expert tips on how to design the custom door of your dreams.

Your Guide to Starting a New Project

Do you have a vision for your home’s entryway, but aren’t sure how to achieve it? Or, are you searching for the perfect door from a big box retailer only to find that nothing is quite right? Every homeowner who has been there can rest assured—there are completely custom door options available with no limits on your creativity. These bespoke entryways are the perfect focal point for a new build, or a home that needs a simple refresh.

For over 50 years, Clark Hall’s team of artisans and experts have been collaborating with homeowners, designers, and builders to bring their visions to life. Our fully custom iron doors are beautiful, high quality, and built to last. From the first sketch to final installation, we are your guide throughout the entire process, helping you make a grand entrance—whatever that may look like.

Benefits of Buying a Custom Iron Door

When you consider ways to make your home truly one-of-a-kind, your entryway is typically the first thing that comes to mind. It’s the first hello as you welcome family and friends, and it’s the window into your world—the backdrop that frames your most cherished memories. So, why not invest in something that’s completely you?

  1. Fully Custom & Functional

When we say fully custom, we mean it. At the start of every project, we collaborate closely to create a sketch and detailed CAD drawing that specifies your desired pivot points, silhouette, size, glass type, window placement, hardware, finish, and more. No details goes untouched. Have a custom size exterior door in mind? Give us your desired dimensions, and we’ll work diligently to produce a custom solution—each door is made to order, and goes through an extensive fabrication process that we manage from end to end.  

2. Highly Durable & Secure

Although our doors are beautiful, there is no sacrifice in quality or functionality. In fact, those are key benefits of our custom doors. Each piece is individually made and designed specifically to fit your vision, going through an intensive detailing process before it’s presented for installation. Plus, if you live in an area with extreme weather, enjoy peace of mind that our doors are certified to meet some of the strictest hurricane wind ratings and Florida building codes. 

3. Nearly Maintenance-Free

Compared to traditional wood doors, our custom iron doors require no regular maintenance to preserve their appearance or functionality. You may clean the surfaces with a mild soap, water, and non-abrasive cloth to remove dust and other small scuff marks. Additionally, while most wood doors come with a 1-year warranty, ours come with a 10-year structural warranty and a 5-year warranty on the finish.

Get Inspired with Custom Door Styles

If you’re overwhelmed by the endless possibilities, we recommend starting with the basics. After you find a general style that suits your taste, feel free to flex your creativity and tweak specific elements. For example, if you want a custom size exterior door, we will want to scale all dimensions accordingly.

Modern

Defined by their clean lines, slim profiles, and minimalist hardware, our modern iron doors can be tailored to suit any home. We love a contemporary door with large windowscapes to brighten the interior, and a bold yet simple Charcoal finish.

Ornate

Intricate, detailed, and eye-catching, our ornate iron doors are handcrafted to include wrought iron scrollwork and spirals, framed by elegant silhouettes to make a statement. This door style also looks stunning in a wine cellar for added charm.

Traditional

Paying homage to traditional door styles is still important—no matter how you choose to customize it. Opt for a classic, timeless frame that creates an inviting ambiance, and then elevate it with transoms and sidelights for an extra layer of light.

Patio 

From timeless French designs to sliding glass doors and scenic windowscapes, our custom iron patio doors help you create a seamless transition from the interior to the exterior. Personalize the layout and panel display, and enjoy operable glass that opens independently from the door for easy cleaning.

Wine Cellar

If you’re looking for a conversation-starter, consider creating a fully functional and completely custom wine cellar door. Our iron doors are a beautiful way to help you display and preserve your wine collection, and they can be designed in any style—from modern to ornate.

How to Start Your Custom Door Project

Now that you’ve narrowed your focus and finalized your vision, it’s time to officially kick off a project with our team—and getting started is simple. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Schedule a consultation to share more about your project over the phone, or at one of our design studios.
  2. Share a picture of your inspiration, including desired dimensions and silhouettes.
  3. Receive a quote and review a detailed CAD drawing of your custom door or window.
  4. Approve the CAD drawing and send the piece through the custom fabrication process.
  5. Enjoy seamless installation 16-20 weeks after the design is finalized.

Frequently Asked Questions About Custom Doors 

How much does a custom door cost?

The cost of a custom door will vary greatly depending on the size of the project. For example, an entire patio door transformation complete with a custom window wall will cost more than a traditional style, single panel door remodel. We encourage you to schedule a consultation with our team to learn more about pricing details. However, on average, projects start around $10,000.

Can you special order door sizes?

Yes, you can work with our team to create a custom size exterior door that suits your home and style preferences. Each of our doors are custom fabricated, so no size requirements or creative ideas are off the table.

How do I make a custom sized door?

To make a custom size exterior door, we recommend gathering your desired dimensions and inspiration photos to share with our team during a consultation. We can also visit your home to confirm measurements. From there, our experts will be able to make specific recommendations and a detailed CAD drawing to approve before the door is designed and installed.