Today’s door market is very complex. The size of the manufacturers and the type and quality of their exterior doors vary widely.
Today's exterior doors are mostly pre-hung units, involving a package that includes the frame, the stop, the hinges and the threshold; they come ready to be installed, and many of these doors have foam cores and high-quality weatherstrips.
But there is no rules. There is a myriad of types of entry doors, very different in their quality, according to the materials they use, their weatherstripping and their thickness, or manufacturing details.
Top American exterior door manufacturers
Other manufacturers: Pacific Entries (wood), Main Door (wood), Andersen Corp (vinyl doors; patio doors; storm doors), Peach Tree, Pella Corp (steel and fiberglass entry doors; wood, vinyl and fiberglass patio doors; storm doors); Marvin (patio and other glass doors), Larson (storm doors), Emco (storm doors).
Many of the products of these manufacturers meet the Energy Star requirements, but their standards fall short of the requirements of very high efficient buildings – with very few exceptions in America (Hammer and Hand is the only one we know).
The European market of front doors varies a lot from country to country.
In the UK, the market is mostly focused on oak, uPVC and composite doors. Big retailers like Wickes, B&Q or Homebase offer a large set of entry doors in the low and mid-range.
The German door market is more interesting. In involves a significant number of manufacturers with very high-quality doors, following their crucial role in the Passive House and Zero Energy Buildings projects.
That’s a market projected do skyrocket in the next few years, following the European Near Zero Energy Buildings program.
Below we list some of these top European door manufacturers. They may be of interest to the North American buyers aiming to build very high efficient buildings.
Garage door manufacturers
Energy Star Quality door manufacturers
Pella manufacturers claim that their entrance doors meet or exceed Energy Star requirements in all 50 USA states. Masonite or the Weld-Wen door manufacturers also claim that 80% of their exterior doors meet Energy Star guidelines.
But what does this mean?
Energy Star doors can help you lower your heating and cooling costs. And they can enhance your home's comfort, while protecting the environment. You should look for the Energy Star logo on the door NFRC label.
Unfortunately, the Energy Star requirements for doors fall short of the best. If you want high-performance doors, to respond to the needs of very energy efficient buildings (Zero energy buildings, Passive Solar buildings) you have to look elsewhere (see here).
American home improvement retailers & front door brands
Home Depot: Masonite, Jeld-Wen, Stanley Doors, Steves & Sons, Milliken Millwork.
Lowe's: Therma-tru, Jeld-Wen, Prosteel, Reliabil (private label, Jeld-Wen)
Fiberglass front door manufacturers
Most of the American manufacturers listed above are selling fiberglass front doors. Fiberglass entry doors are particularly common in North America.
They include both premium and low-cost doors. They are the best alternative to German and European high-quality doors for Zero energy buildings and Passive house buildings.
See, for details: Types and prices of exterior doors
Entrance wood door manufacturers
Entrance wood doors – including solid wood walls - are another particularly common choice in America; all the top door manufacturers listed above include them in their offer.
The market includes also cheap products, namely fir wood doors with or without glass elements. These doors are designed to be stained or painted. Reliabil entry wood doors (a "private label" door built for Lowe's by Jeld-Wen) is a good exemple of these doors.
Steve & Sons, Pacific Entries, Main Door and Jeld-Wen have dozens of models of wood entry doors (they are sold by Home Depot at prices significantly higher than the inexpensive low-range fir front doors sold by Lowes).
uPVC exterior door manufacturers
uPVC exterior doors – with or without glass elements - are a fairly common type of front door in the European market. They are the “equivalent” to the fiberglass doors offered by American door manufacturers.
In countries such as the UK they are sold by big retailers without mention of manufacturers’ names (though there is American or German door companies like Jeld-Wen or Schuco selling uPVC doors).
Steel entrance door manufacturers
Jeld-Wen, ProSteel, Masonite, Stanley-Doors, Steves & Sons, Milliken Millwork and most of the top American door companies have steel entrance doors. They are probably the most sold entry door in North America, though not in Europe and other countries.
Patio and glass door manufacturers
Patio doors are available with a myriad of glass panel sizes, textures, shapes and decorative patterns. Many of the top entry door manufacturers mentioned above also produce patio doors.
Be aware anyway. These doors can be beautiful and excellent to bring light into our buildings, but most of them are extremely inefficient and a cause of thermal discomfort and large energy consumption. See: Patio and glass doors energy efficiency.
Aluminum and metal budget door manufacturers
Aluminum entry doors can be extremely energy-inefficient (aluminum is a highly conductive material). They are one of the worst thermal choices, resulting in termal discomfort and large energy bills. These aluminum (and other budget metal doors) are manufactured by little known brands.
Curiously there is also high-efficient aluminum entry doors, namely built by German manufacturers (Schuco…). These last type of doors involve special design options for outer frames and glazing beads, and have excellent thermal insulation and airtightness.
Apartment entrance door manufacturers
Steel fire rated entry doors finished with PVC films – designed for multi-family buildings - are a very common choice in apartment exterior doors. But wood, steel and composite wood-steel doors or fiberglass-steel doors, are also quite common, on both the premium and budget ends of the market.
Some of the top manufacturers mentioned in this page have these doors, which can be found in large retailers.
Top door manufacturers environmental commitment
Pella, Masonite, Therma-Tru, Jeld-Wen and many other top entry doors manufacturers are expressing environmental commitment on their websites – compliance with environmental laws and regulations, energy conservation goals, use of wood fiber from well managed forest, biomaterials and other renewable and recycled materials, manufacturing of long lasting doors, and so on.
That’s important as long as we do not forget that the most important thing associated to the doors they manufacture and sell are their type and energy-efficiency. Doors should provide comfort and contribute to reduce the energy consumption of our buildings.