In Canada, our exterior doors are meant to protect us from bad weather and the cold. Several door models are now available to us. So how do we ensure we get the most highly efficient insulated door? It begins by selecting, at purchase time, a door built with high quality insulating materials and comes to full fruition by having it professionally installed.

Insulating Door Components

When you buy an exterior door, several materials are now available, such as steel, fiberglass, and wood. Each material features a unique thermal performance (R-Value): the higher the value, the better is the product’s energy efficiency. Specialized door manufacturers are successful at providing excellent thermal insulation to their steel doors by injecting them with polyurethane foam. For example, Portatec’s wood-clad steel doors achieve superior thermal performance values varying between R-16 and R-20, in comparison to the weaker R-8 of some of the best massive wood doors on the market.

That being said, overall door insulation goes beyond the door material only. It is also important to evaluate the energy efficiency of other components, such as the glass units, weatherstripping, frames, and door sills. The glass used in door glass units must be energy-efficient (“Low-e”) and minimally double-glazed, while insulating spacers should be chosen over metal ones (which have a higher thermal conductivity). For maximal water and airtightness, opt for double or triple weatherstripping that is flexible and highly resistant. For door frames and sills, select materials that also offer the best thermal insulation.

To help you in your choice, look for the ENERGY STAR® certification, an international label guaranteeing high energy efficiency. This certification measure the overall energy efficiency of any given door systems (door and frame). Make sure your product’s certification corresponds to your own climate zone. For example, the vast majority of southern Canada is located in zone 2.

A Professional Installation for Maximum Insulation

To ensure your insulated door works at its best, do not hesitate to call on a team of qualified and experienced installers. Properly insulating the space between the frame and the door jambs, often done with insulating polyurethane foam, is crucial to prevent drafts and condensation and air seal efficiently without distorting the surrounding structures. The exterior caulking must also be applied meticulously. By now, you will have understood that a professional installation is the best solution to ensure a door’s top performance!

Recognized for its innovative assembling techniques and inspiring designs, Portatec has been specializing in the creation of premium custom-made entry doors for more than 35 years. Both their high quality products and their outstanding service have made Portatec the leader in the Canadian door and window industry.