You may be aware of some of the virtues of fiberglass as a material for commercial doors. Exterior doors made of fiberglass beat other materials like wood, steel and aluminum doors because it’s virtually unaffected by weather. Doors made of fiberglass are secure and long-lasting.

The properties that make fiberglass such a good option for commercial doors stem from its being one of a group of compound materials that are manufactured to be light but strong. Exterior fiberglass doors are becoming a popular choice among business owners and homeowners alike who want a customized look that is secure, durable and low-maintenance.

If you’ve been considering fiberglass doors for your next commercial door installation, you’ve probably run across the term “FRP,” or fiber-reinforced polymer or plastic. This composite material is made up of a polymer matrix reinforced by fibers, and is designed for durability, longevity, and to stand up against a variety of environmental challenges. FRP is a lightweight but tough material, which is used in the aerospace and construction industries, and even in bulletproof military and police armor.

Is a Fiberglass Door an FRP Door?

In some places, you may find the terms FRP and fiberglass simply being used interchangeably, suggesting that FRP is no more than the latest version of fiberglass. This isn’t quite correct. Fiberglass is just one kind of FRP. Both interior and exterior fiberglass doors are comprised of a high-strength resin that uses bunched glass fibers as its reinforcing material. But not all FRPs are a resin-glass mixture; some use other materials for the strength, such as carbon or cellulose.

Advantages of FRP over Other Exterior Door Materials:

  • Moisture is always an issue with exterior wood doors, but FRP is not affected by moisture, even in an excessively damp environment. As we Californians know all too well, humidity wreaks absolute havoc on exterior wooden doors, and wood doors also require a lot of maintenance. Compared to wood, storefront doors made of FRPs are virtually no-maintenance.
  • Doors made of FRP won’t rust like hollow steel or aluminum doors when exposed to fresh or salt water. The initial cost of the door may be more than metal, but it requires little maintenance, and its life cycle will be longer than metal.
  • Chemicals can discolor stainless steel and aluminum, but usually don’t affect FRP. This makes FRP doors like fiberglass a good option for specialty doors in commercial settings like hospitals and laboratories.
  • FRP doors generally cost less than aluminum doors, which are probably the most common material for commercial doors.
  • FRP doors are seamless in construction, so they have no crevices where bacteria and germs may flourish. They are also resistant to mold. The great thing about FRP and fiberglass business doors is that they’re non-porous, so they aren’t susceptible to nearly anything, because nothing can penetrate the surface. The door has to actually crack to become compromised.
  • FRP is lighter than aluminum or steel, but notably stronger. Beefed up security doors, anyone?

FRP Doors are Hard to Damage:

  • FRP doors can be designed to be easy to clean, and they’re graffiti and scratch-resistant. Especially on exterior doors more at-risk for defacing, such as back entrance doors in industrial parks, commercial fiberglass doors make graffiti cleanup a breeze.
  • Fiberglass doesn’t deform or break under impact. When an FRP door receives a blow, the Impact is spread through an interior glass mat, preventing damage to the surface. When a fiberglass door experiences enough force to break, it just cracks, making it a more secure option than even exterior steel doors in some cases.
  • Doors made of FRP can resist frequent wash-downs and harsh chemicals. This makes it a great option for doors in industrial settings like chemical plants or food processing facilities.
  • Exterior fiberglass and FRP doors are impervious to insect attacks.

Other Benefits of Exterior Fiberglass Doors:

  • FRP doors are good insulators, with low thermal conductivity. Fiberglass doors maintain a constant temperature and are cool to the touch, making them a safe option for storefront entry doors in hot places or that are South-facing.
  • There is no need to paint FRP doors, although sometimes owners do when they want to update a look. Both inner and outer fiberglass doors are easy to customize.
  • Fire-rated FRP doors are available.
  • FRP doors are available in a wide variety of colors and finishes, including wood grain.
  • FRP doors have some environmental appeal, in that they last for many years, so don’t face frequent replacement leading to more doors in landfills. The fact that there is no need to paint them is also environmentally appealing, as are their insulating properties.

So, while fiberglass is an FRP, but an FRP isn’t necessarily fiberglass, FRP doors are useful in a wide array of commercial and industrial settings. Whether you’re considering a new commercial door install for your entry doors, security doors, specialty doors, or any other port of entry in your facility, don’t overlook the benefits of fiberglass as your door material.