While choosing a new exterior door, most homeowners tend to put all their attention into the door itself. This, of course, makes sense, as it’s the main component protecting your home’s interior from the outside world and the first thing guests see as they come up your driveway. However, there’s another part to the exterior door system that many homeowners often overlook: the frame. 

The truth is, a quality exterior door is nothing without a quality frame to accompany it. Let’s learn a bit more about why exterior door frames are important, and which materials offer them the best quality and durability.

What’s the Purpose of an Exterior Door Frame?

A door frame has a number of roles in maintaining the overall functionality of your door. From leveling and support, to hinging and closing, to locking and protection, these roles work together to ensure your door properly fits in its space and effectively opens and closes. 

In specific regard to exterior door frames, they have an additional purpose — to provide complete protection from any outdoor elements that could seep into your home’s interior. They’re the ultimate weather-sealers, ensuring nothing slips through any cracks or gaps. They also add an extra layer of security to your door, ensuring your home is completely closed off and safe from harm.

Most Durable Exterior Door Frame Materials: Ranked

All that being said, choosing an exterior door frame is just as important as choosing a door itself. Therefore, it’s critical that you know which exterior door frame materials are available, and which ones are most durable and likely to withstand the elements. 

Here’s an overview of what our experts believe to be the most durable exterior door frame materials, ranked from most to least durable: 

1. Vinyl

Vinyl door frames are extremely durable, which is why they rank at the top of our list. They’re able to withstand the regular wear and tear from everyday door usage, along with so much more. As a waterproof material, vinyl is rot and rust-resistant. It’s also able to withstand varying temperatures and humidity levels without warping. 

As a bonus, vinyl door frames have thermal blocks inside of them that trap heat. They help keep your home’s temperature regulated, allowing no additional heat to come in during summer, and none to escape during winter. 

2. Metal

Metal, usually in the form of aluminum or steel, can make a fairly durable door frame. In most cases, these door frames are a combination of interior wood elements and exterior metal elements, called metal-clad wood frames. The metal helps to make them temperature-resistant and rot-resistant, but you may run into some issues with rust if they’re not properly taken care of. 

One thing we really like about metal door frames is that they’re lightweight. This makes them extremely easy to shape, transport, install, and repair, if necessary. 

3. Wood

Wood is a classic door frame material — but it’s not the most durable when exposed to external elements. The biggest factor in this is that they’re not naturally waterproof, so they require regular maintenance and sealants to ensure they don’t rot. For this reason, we usually recommend wood for use in interior door frames. 

However, we can’t help but love the traditional, beautiful appeal that wood adds to a home’s exterior, so we can’t discount it as an option. And as a natural material, it’s a good choice for the environment as well. Just make sure that if you’d like to choose wood for your exterior door frame, you’re willing to maintain it and keep an eye on it for any issues. 

The exterior door frame you choose can impact your door’s long-lasting performance. If you’re unsure which door frame material is best for your home, contact our experts at Zeeland Lumber & Supply today.

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