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What Is An Exterior Steel Door?

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What Is An Exterior Steel Door?

An exterior steel door is a commercial metal door that is installed on a perimeter wall of a building. It is a commercial steel door that allows access to the interior of a building from the outside. Exterior steel doors are unique in that they act as a barrier separating the inside of building from the outside environment. As an exterior steel door it must have thermal properties in order to properly insulate the commercial building.

Benefits Of An Exterior Steel Door

Exterior commercial steel doors have many traits that make it an ideal door system for a commercial building.

Heavy Duty Security

Exterior steel doors are by far the strongest door type in comparison to storefront glass doors or wood doors. Exterior steel doors are typically constructed from18 gauge steel, but can be ordered in 16 gauge steel for maximum duty applications. Unlike it's other exterior door material counterparts, steel is virtually indestructible. Exterior wood doors are notorious for cracking or warping. Not to mention, anyone with an axe can easily break into a wood door. Likewise, commercial glass doors are made from aluminum, however they are easily broken into by simply breaking the glass.

Extreme Weather

A steel exterior door provides safety to your building in more than one way. It protects the inside of your building from the outside elements. This includes when you have extreme weather. Hurricanes and strong winds can cause objects to fly in the air and hit the door. With an exterior steel door it will easily absorb any impact from an object or projectile that hits the door. Exterior steel doors are also outfitted with commercial grade weather stripping such as door jamb bulb seal and bottom sweeps. If your exterior steel door is installed in area that experiences a lot of rain or snow, it will act as a great barrier from allowing the rain or snow from entering your building. Similarly, exterior steel doors are manufactured from galvannealed steel, preventing it from rusting. The exterior steel door has a polystyrene insulated core, which will also help your building retain it's temperature in extreme weather. In comparison to commercial glass doors which are not insulated at all, or commercial wood doors that will eventually warp, crack or rot due to rain and snow exposure.

Low Cost Energy Buildings

Believe it or not, by installing an exterior commercial steel door in your building, you will automatically be saving money. How you may ask? Through your building's energy bills. Many building owners are unaware that exterior steel doors provide the best thermal insulation properties in comparison to other exterior doors like commercial glass doors or wood doors. With wood doors, the thicker the door the better insulated it is. However, the maximum door thickness is 1-3/4 inches, it's just not feasible to have a door any thicker than that. This makes wood door extremely limited in their thermal properties. Similarly, commercial glass doors are constructed from hollow aluminum tubing and glass. Although the glass can be purchased with thermal properties, the door really is not insulated since the aluminum frame is hollow and not insulated. The internal core of the exterior steel door is completely filled with polystyrene using a complex computer driven process. The polystyrene adheres to the steel and provides energy efficiency to the opening.

Life Span

Exterior steel doors last. In fact, an exterior steel door will outlast a wood door up to 30 years. Exterior steel doors are lifetime doors. With an exterior steel door it can be installed and forgotten, because there is little to no maintenance required with these doors compared to commercial glass doors or wood doors. Another great characteristic about exterior steel doors is that they retain their original look throughout their entire life span. Each exterior steel door is carefully baked with a gray prime coat that will look good from the first day the door is installed to the last. Dark bronze commercial glass doors can fade over time, and the glass of the door can become dull after years. Similarly, wood doors come from a living species. As a result, over the years the wood grain and vibrant color or finish can fade.

Exterior Steel Door Applications

Commercial exterior steel doors can be used in all commercial and industrial building applications.
  • Social Service Buildings
  • Sporting Good Stores
  • Gas Stations
  • Park Restrooms
  • Warehouse Distribution
  • Manufacturing Buildings
  • Health Service Buildings
  • And More!

Exterior Commercial Steel Door Features

  • 18 Gauge Galvannealed Steel
  • Polystyrene Full Body Insulated Core
  • Available Fire Label Up To 3 Hours
  • 4.5 Inch Hinge Prep With 7 Gauge Hinge Reinforcement
  • Reinforced 161 Lock Prep or Panic Bar Prep
  • Heavy Duty Steel Cap
  • Door Closer Reinforcement
  • ANSI Compliance

Available Exterior Steel Door Types

Single Exterior Commercial Steel Doors

Single swinging steel door. This exterior steel door package includes an 18 gauge flush steel door, 16 gauge steel frame, ball bearing door hinges, and a cylindrical lock or panic device. Door frame weather stripping, bottom door sweep, and bottom threshold available.

Double Exterior Commercial Steel Doors

Double swinging steel door pair. This exterior steel door package includes two 18 gauge flush steel doors, 16 gauge steel frame, ball bearing door hinges, and a cylindrical lock or panic devices. Door frame weather stripping, bottom door sweep, and bottom threshold available.

Available Exterior Steel Door Sizes

Commercial exterior steel doors are available in all standard architectural and construction sizes. All exterior steel doors are 1-3/4 inch thick. Actual door width is the nominal door width less 1/4 inch. Actual door height is the nominal height less 7/8 inch.

Popular ADA Compliant Exterior Steel Door Sizes

  • Architect Call Size: 3068, Nominal Width: 3'-0" (36 Inch) x Nominal Height: 6'-8" (80 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 3070, Nominal Width: 3'-0" (36 Inch) x Nominal Height: 7'-0" (84 Inch)

6'-8" (80 Inch) Exterior Commercial Steel Door Sizes

  • Architect Call Size: 2068, Nominal Width: 2'-0" (24 Inch) x Nominal Height: 6'-8" (80 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 2468, Nominal Width: 2'-4" (28 Inch) x Nominal Height: 6'-8" (80 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 2668, Nominal Width: 2'-6" (30 Inch) x Nominal Height: 6'-8" (80 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 21068, Nominal Width: 2'-10" (34 Inch) x Nominal Height: 6'-8" (80 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 3468, Nominal Width: 3'-4" (40 Inch) x Nominal Height: 6'-8" (80 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 3668, Nominal Width: 3'-6" (42 Inch) x Nominal Height: 6'-8" (80 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 3868, Nominal Width: 3'-8" (44 Inch) x Nominal Height: 6'-8" (80 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 4068, Nominal Width: 4'-0" (48 Inch) x Nominal Height: 6'-8" (80 Inch)

7'-0" (84 Inch) Exterior Commercial Steel Door Sizes

  • Architect Call Size: 2070, Nominal Width: 2'-0" (24 Inch) x Nominal Height: 7'-0" (84 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 2470, Nominal Width: 2'-4" (28 Inch) x Nominal Height: 7'-0" (84 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 2670, Nominal Width: 2'-6" (30 Inch) x Nominal Height: 7'-0" (84 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 21070, Nominal Width: 2'-10" (34 Inch) x Nominal Height: 7'-0" (84 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 3470, Nominal Width: 3'-4" (40 Inch) x Nominal Height: 7'-0" (84 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 3670, Nominal Width: 3'-6" (42 Inch) x Nominal Height: 7'-0" (84 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 3870, Nominal Width: 3'-8" (44 Inch) x Nominal Height: 7'-0" (84 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 4070, Nominal Width: 4'-0" (48 Inch) x Nominal Height: 7'-0" (84 Inch)

8'-0" (96 Inch) Exterior Commercial Steel Door Sizes

  • Architect Call Size: 2080, Nominal Width: 2'-0" (24 Inch) x Nominal Height: 8'-0" (96 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 2480, Nominal Width: 2'-4" (28 Inch) x Nominal Height: 8'-0" (96 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 2680, Nominal Width: 2'-6" (30 Inch) x Nominal Height: 8'-0" (96 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 21080, Nominal Width: 2'-10" (34 Inch) x Nominal Height: 8'-0" (96 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 3480, Nominal Width: 3'-4" (40 Inch) x Nominal Height: 8'-0" (96 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 3680, Nominal Width: 3'-6" (42 Inch) x Nominal Height: 8'-0" (96 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 3880, Nominal Width: 3'-8" (44 Inch) x Nominal Height: 8'-0" (96 Inch)
  • Architect Call Size: 4080, Nominal Width: 4'-0" (48 Inch) x Nominal Height: 8'-0" (96 Inch)

Commercial Exterior Steel Door Rough Opening

The rough opening required for an exterior steel door can be calculated using the formulas below.

Exterior Door Application With Frame Wrapped Around Wall:
  • Rough Opening Width = Nominal Width + 2 Inches
  • Rough Opening Height = Nominal Height +1 Inch
Exterior Door Application With Frame Butted Against Wall:
  • Rough Opening Width = Nominal Width + 4.5 Inches
  • Rough Opening Height = Nominal Height + 2.25 Inch

Exterior Steel Door Specifications

  • Fire Rating: Optional - No Label, 20 Minute, 45 Minute, 60 Minute, 90 Minute, or 3 Hour Available. Fire Rated Doors Compliant With Negative Pressure Testing (ASTM E 152 and UL10B) and Positive Pressure Standards (UBC 7-2 and UL10C)
  • Level/Usage Frequency: Heavy Duty, SDI Level 2, 18 Gauge Steel Sheets (Level 3 and 4 Available)
  • Door Thickness: 1-3/4 Inch
  • Steel Type: Galvannealed
  • Door Finish: Baked On Prime Coat Finish. Prime Coat Can Act As Finish Coat or Painted Finish Can Be Applied In Field
  • Sizes: Standard Width Up To 4'-0" (48 Inches), Standard Height Up To 9'-0" (108 Inches), Custom Sizes Available
  • Reinforcements: 12 Gauge Door Closer Reinforcement, 7 Gauge Hinge Reinforcement
  • Channels: Heavy Duty Top and Bottom Channels
  • Core: Full Body Insulated Polystyrene
  • Edges: Square Hinges, Square Lock Edges, Full Height Epoxy Filled Mechanical Interlock Edges
  • Approvals: Certified by UL, Meets ANSI/BHMA Compliance
  • R Value: 7.14
  • U Value: 0.14
  • STC Rating: 33
  • Hinge Prep: Patented Universal Hinge Prep Allows For Standard Or Heavy Weight Hinges
  • Hinge/Lock Location: Gladiator
  • Buy American Act Compliance: Meets Buy American Act - Manufactured In USA
  • Handing: Door Slab Not Handed. Door System (Door + Hinge) Is Handed.
  • Available Preps: 161 Lock Prep (Lever Handles & Knobs), 86 Mortise Lock Prep, Deadbolt Lock Prep, Panic Device Prep
  • ANSI Standards: Door Construction Meets or Exceeds Requirements Of ANSI A250.8. Hardware Preparations Meet or Exceed Requirements Of ANSI A250.6.
  • UL Certification: Yes

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Exterior Steel Doors Cost?

A true commercial exterior steel door will cost around $2000 all the way up to $5000 or more depending on factors like the hardware, steel door type, and add-on features you select. One of the biggest cost factors of steel doors is the gauge or thickness of the steel. A commercial steel door needs to be constructed from atleast 18 gauge steel. Thinner gauge steel doors such as 20, 22, 24 or 26 gauge steel will dent, deform, and bend, making them unacceptable for commercial buildings. Another cost factor is galvannealed steel. As an exterior steel door, it must galvannealed to prevent it from rusting. Non-galvannealed steel doors should not be used for commercial exterior building applications. Lastly, the commercial door hardware such as the door closer, hinges, and lock can greatly effect the cost of the exterior steel door. All exterior steel door hardware should be high quality and durable. Lower cost door hardware such as an undersized, small door closer, non-ball bearing hinges, and a light duty grade 3 lever lockset will just break on a steel door over time. This can result in costly repairs have to replace the deficient door hardware. Commercial exterior doors require grade 1 or 2 door hardware.

What Is The Cheapest Exterior Steel Door?

The cheapest exterior steel doors are residential steel doors. Residential steel doors are typically 20, 22, 24, or 26 gauge steel and are not designed to be installed on a commercial building. Automatic Door and Hardware sells commercial exterior steel doors manufactured from heavy duty 18 gauge or 16 gauge steel.

What Is Cheaper Steel, Fiberglass, Glass, or Wood Doors?

The best value for security and the lowest cost of ownership over the life time of the door is a commercial steel door. Commercial steel doors require the least amount of maintenance and upkeep and rarely break down in comparison to the other doors. Fiber glass doors are notorious for cracking, commercial glass doors are notorious for broken glass, and wood doors are notorious for cracking, rotting, or warping.

Are Exterior Steel Doors Weatherproof?

Yes, commercial exterior steel doors are constructed from galvannealed steel allowing them to be installed on exterior building walls that experience all types of weather: rain, snow, hail, wind, etc. A large selection of weather stripping and bottom thresholds are available with exterior steel doors allowing them to meet any weather need.

How Long Will An Exterior Steel Door Last?

An exterior steel door that is not abused will easily last a life time.

Where To Buy Exterior Steel Doors

Automatic Door and Hardware manufactures and sells exterior steel doors for commercial buildings. Select from a variety of exterior steel door sizes and hardware types to create the right door package for your building. We offer the lowest prices on commercial exterior steel doors. Order today and receive FREE freight on all exterior steel doors.

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