Doors are full of symbolism. They can represent both open opportunity and security.
Sophisticated and stylish entry doors on your home can be an invitation to a thrilling adventure inside, giving your home an added visual appeal and charm.
But how do you pick the right door, especially when both steel and iron solutions can be powerful and beautiful? What qualities and properties does each have? We're here to answer these and many other questions.
Getting to Know More About Iron and Steel
Many people mistakenly consider steel and iron the same material. This is somewhat understandable, given that steel is primarily made from iron. And yet, these are different materials.
The difference between iron and steel is so great that choosing one over the other for your door can make or break the investment. That's why we'll start by detailing each of the two metals, their main elements, physical properties, melting point, and more.
What Is Iron?
You can find tons of pure iron in the ground and all over the earth's crust. This pure iron element occurs naturally and falls into the "d block" element category in the periodic table. The basic fact of this chemical element is that it is a naturally occurring element that can create numerous stable compounds. In fact, it's the Earth's most abundant pure element.
Iron ore has been used in a wide variety of applications on the industrial scale, but its leading use is producing steel. Most of today's ore goes into making pig iron or crude iron. Pig iron, in turn, is used to make steel and iron products.
Types of Iron
Let's have a look at the six types of iron to demonstrate its versatility.
A combination of silicon, carbon, and metal alloys is used to create cast iron. Heated iron is poured into project-specific casts. The result is iron products like pots, kitchen utensils, and others. This type has a very high carbon content.
Blacksmiths in the iron age who experimented with iron long ago came up with the product known as wrought iron. The process starts with placing the iron in a stove or furnace and heating it. When it reaches a specific temperature, it's shaped using a hammer. Professionals can create iron products in different shapes and use them in multiple applications and industries.
This iron type is the most commonly used for entry doors. This element has minimal traces of carbon and other metals and is extremely durable. Its strong nature makes it a great choice for gates as well.
This element forms when you take graphite out of the cast iron. As a result, the iron turns white. Despite this change, you can still expect white iron to have good water-repellent features. On the downside, white iron is relatively soft and cracks easily.
Homeowners like to use cast iron as the base for their projects but top the items with white iron for aesthetic purposes.
In terms of physical properties, pure iron takes on a silver or white color and it's easy to break apart. It is also conductive to electricity and heat. As far as chemical properties are concerned, iron is prone to corrosion, making it susceptible to exposure to air.
Blacksmiths make gray iron by fracturing graphite from the iron structure. Gray iron is best known for its resistance to corrosion and wear and tear. Some home projects include gray iron for doors and fences instead of wrought iron.
This iron type is enriched with magnesium. As a result of adding this new element, graphite becomes a sphere. It doesn't fracture like gray iron. Blacksmiths create various types of ductile iron by adding more or less magnesium.
Finally, malleable iron comes as a result of the continuous cooling and heating of white iron. If you’ve ever come in contact with a malleable iron product, you could see how flexible it is. You can bend it all you want, and it won't crack.
What Is Steel?
Unlike iron, a naturally occurring element, steel is an alloy. But what does alloy mean?
In short, it means that steel is an iron alloy or a byproduct of mixing iron with other elements. The molten iron is enriched with carbon and similar elements to create steel. People began using techniques to craft steel more than 4,000 years ago. There's even a specific scientific field called metallurgy that studies and creates various alloy steels.
The steel used to cost a fortune to make before the industrial revolution. Since then, the cost has dropped, and today steel has become much more affordable.
So how exactly do we get steel?
Iron is mixed with no more than 2% of carbon. But that mere 2% of carbon gives more strength to the steel than pure iron. But the more the percentage of carbon is increased, the more the strength properties are lower.
Other alloying elements include manganese, nickel, and chromium. It's important to add these elements to make the steel rust-resistant. Since iron is prone to oxidation, adding chromium is necessary – chromium minimizes the oxidation process to protect the iron. Meanwhile, adding nickel makes the steel suitable for use in higher temperatures.
Types of Steel
Here are the four types of steel you should know about.
You likely have dozens of stainless-steel tools, kitchen utensils, and products in your home right now. Stainless steel is one of the most popular steel types. It contains up to 20% chromium, has excellent corrosion-resistant properties, and is easily shaped.
This is a hard type of steel you can submerge in water or heat, and it won't affect the hardness or durability. This resistance to the elements makes this type of steel suitable for hammers and other tools that take a pounding.
When you mix aluminum, nickel, copper, and a few other elements, you get alloy steel. It’s a more affordable version of steel that's often used on vehicles. Alloy steels are also used in road construction, railways, and even appliances.
Carbon steel is called that because carbon is the prevalent alloy element. This steel type is among the strongest ones, so you'll often find it on premium products that offer maximum durability.
Iron vs Steel Property Differences
Now that you understand what steel and iron are and their basic characteristics, let's examine the main difference in several key categories between iron and steel in terms of properties.
Whether you're using iron or steel for a new door, construction project, or thinking of purchasing a steel tool, you want it to be durable. We expect these products to serve us for a long time if not a lifetime.
As previously mentioned, iron's susceptibility to corrosion (rust) due to oxygen exposure makes this element less durable than steel and is a key difference between iron and steel.
So if you're looking for a highly durable product, you may want to go with steel. It will offer excellent protection if you live in areas prone to high winds, rain, or extreme weather.
Steel also wins in the battle of metal when it comes to strength. It's no wonder, given the lower carbon content. As we previously discussed, too much carbon in the manufacturing process can make the product weaker. Also, steel is of great use in applications such as infrastructure and home products because it doesn't change its shape like iron can after years of use.
As a chemical reaction, corrosion can change the structure of the metal as well as its physical appearance. Iron is known for its oxidative properties. However, you may also find that steel suffers from damage if it’s exposed to too much time in the water.
You can use protective paints to further keep your metals safe from water and corrosion. Steel metals usually have zinc protection or cover to help fight the issue.
When exploring iron and steel options, you're looking at two highly sustainable metals. But the advantage goes to steel due to its fully recyclable structure. Manufacturers can make new products out of recycled steel over and over again, and the physical properties will remain unchanged.
Yes, you can also recycle iron, but the task takes much more time and is energy intensive. In the end, companies that recycle iron leave a high carbon footprint.
When it comes to versatility, steel has the advantage there as well. You can get creative with steel in ways that are impossible with iron. Manufacturers can manipulate steel to create just about any form they want. But none of this affects the metal's functionality.
Iron is less versatile, even when you add carbon content. While iron makes an excellent ornament material, it falls short of steel in terms of versatility.
These days, it’s now much cheaper to use steel in production than it was before the industrial revolution. And if we consider the building cost benefits, steel is more affordable because it's lighter.
Iron and steel have similar and also contrasting applications. You can find steel in vehicle production, home appliances, construction, infrastructure, cargo boats, medical equipment, machines, etc.
Iron is often used to make different alloys, industrial metals, magnets, machinery, instruments, toys, and more.
While iron naturally exists in the earth's crust, steel is made by combining iron and other elements.
Steel and iron can differ in color depending on the form and percentage of different metals used in manufacturing. Still, iron leans towards silver and grey, while steel is primarily silver. But a coating on the top of the structure can change the color of the material to any that suits the purpose.
Iron vs Steel Differences as Door Material
As we previously mentioned, iron doors are most often made from wrought iron. They can have a protective coat on the surface, but this isn't always the case.
Iron doors have been around longer than steel doors, with the latter material only becoming a popular solution for residential areas recently. Although to some it’s less elegant than wood, steel doors are cost-efficient and durable.
Here is the difference between iron and steel doors, including their key distinctions.
When you're looking at purchasing a new door for a stylish home, the cost may dictate the course of action. And yet elegance and beauty come with a price.
You can expect wrought iron doors to cost more than any type of steel doors. You may even be surprised at how affordable steel doors are and why there is such a large price gap.
Here are some answers.
Many people are swayed by the durability of steel and think getting steel doors will be more cost-efficient in the long term. But they couldn't be more wrong.
Steel doors are extremely high maintenance. They're also prone to rust and demand additional protective layers.
Wrought iron doors don’t have these issues. You and your family can enjoy them for years to come. Best of all, they are low maintenance. Wrought iron doors develop a slight film that makes them resistant to damage and prevents rust from forming.
A major benefit of wrought iron doors is that they're almost impossible to break. However, this doesn't hold for other elements of the doors such as glass panels and other elements. But the structure itself can survive extensive wear and tear for decades.
When it comes to steel doors, you can expect less damage resistance. Because accidents happen, the surface of a steel door can be scratched by an object hitting it – furniture or even a large appliance.
Both iron and steel doors both have issues when it comes to water resistance. You'll want to add a protective coat on top if you live in areas prone to rainstorms.
A secure door is a must. After all, you don't want to invest thousands of dollars on a premium-looking door only to learn brute force is enough to break in. When it comes to wrought iron doors, they gain a lot of their security with an iron or steel door frame. If security is your primary concern, pass on doors with wood frames that are easily broken.
Steel doors, on the other hand, can get damaged from even mild bumps. These types of doors and their hinges bend easily which makes them a favorite target of burglars.
So again, if you value security, consider wrought iron doors.
Some people can't tell the difference between iron and steel doors, or any other steel or iron product for that matter. If you have a discerning eye, however, you might see that iron doors are more elegant. The manufacturing process of steel doors, to some, makes them less attractive.
All metal doors go through a molding process, but iron wins in terms of quality because it's more flexible and, thus, easy to mold. Steel, however, not so much. So don't be surprised to find limited options in designer steel doors.
Finally, take into account the visual aspect of the doors, especially if you want them to match the existing exterior of your home perfectly.
Neither steel nor iron doors are simple to install. Refrain from a DIY install of these doors and instead contact a professional door service in your area. Despite the light structure of steel, these doors still need specialized skill and effort to install.
If you're willing to spend more on high-quality doors, you certainly won't mind shedding a few extra bucks for a quality installation.
Pros of Iron Door
When you're looking for a new front door, you naturally want only the most sophisticated and stylish solutions. That's what wrought iron doors can help you achieve. The wrought iron door solutions are artisanal and often handmade.
Its strength, longevity, and suitability for outdoor use are its main advantages. If you need a robust door that can bear long and cold winters with heavy winds, wrought iron has got you covered.
On top of all these advantages, wrought iron also has a corrosion-resistant surface. The project can pay for itself over the years.
Pros of Steel Door
If you're considering steel doors, you'll love their strong outer shell. Burglars and clumsy visitors won't be able to damage the door easily. These doors also need very little maintenance, so you won't have to worry about making minor repairs regularly.
Steel doors are also energy efficient. These doors have a special foam core with temperature-regulating properties and will keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. In the end, you save on energy bills if this is one of your concerns.
Cons of Iron Door
Although iron is highly beneficial for use as a door material, it's certainly not ideal. Iron doors are more expensive due to their sophisticated structure and the need for special tools in the manufacturing process. But if you're looking for breathtaking, high-end, and ethereal details, you won't mind paying extra.
The structural limitations of iron make this element less suitable for creating certain large shapes and frames. Fortunately, expert service providers like PINKYS can address most needs.
Cons of Steel Door
There aren't many downsides to installing steel doors. They can be tough to install yourself, so you'll want a special provider to complete this job. Another potential disadvantage is that you can't fill the outer shell with materials like wood putty to protect the doors from damage.
You may think it doesn't get any better than a steel door when it comes to protecting your home from burglars. But a steel door with a wooden frame is lower in protective qualities compared to those of iron or even wood doors. For the highest security combination, get a steel door with a steel frame.
How to Choose Between Iron vs Steel for Your Door
Buying new doors is an important investment, and you naturally want to make the best choice. If you're looking to primarily add style to your home, you'll want to explore decorative iron door offers. On the other hand, if you require strength and security, go with steel.
But there are other factors to consider when making a new door purchase decision. There are other things to consider before making a final choice.
We've outlined those factors below to help make your decision easier.
Doors need to be customizable to meet your needs and preferences. Do you think you’ll need a window in the door or want to add another feature later? With solid doors, it's worth adding a cut-out before installation, so that adding upgrades later is a breeze.
For solid doors, it's worth adding a cut-out right away, so installing upgrades later is a breeze.
These doors also have various types of coating, from factory primers to PVC vinyl layers, and more. Get in touch with your home improvement specialist to discuss the best coating for your specific door model.
Finally, be careful when choosing steel doors if you have a pet. Furry friends love scratching on surfaces, and doors are often no exception. Steel doors can withstand surface scratches well but will lose durability if it receives a scratch that penetrates the metal.
Steel and iron doors come in a range of styles and looks. They come in multiple colors and finishes, from stylish to rustic to modern. Do you want your new door to mimic the wooden surroundings or accentuate the nature of steel?
A local provider can advise you on the best style for your current setting and needs.
If you're set on purchasing fabulous doors, make sure to do it right. Don't just purchase the first solution you find. Get in touch with reputable installers, manufacturers, or designers to help you choose the best doors for your home.
Iron and steel obviously are quality doors, with iron scoring just a bit higher. But an installation professional can help you refine your decision.
Iron doors allow ample light. So if this is what you value, consider iron. While both steel and iron can be fit with panes of glass, you'll notice better overall light access with iron.
Another factor in the selection of steel doors is that they absorb heat when under direct sunlight for long periods.
PINKYS Has Got You Covered in Your Next Door Upgrade
Entry doors should suggest a positive and inviting vibe. You want the entryway to your charming home to be just as elegant and classy as the rest of the property. When choosing the final product for your door, consider the advantages and disadvantages of both iron and steel as an entryway to your home.
PINKYS has the expertise and information you need when it comes to choosing and customizing your new front door. We have one of the largest door inventories in the U.S. and have assisted thousands of customers to beautify and protect their homes. Now that you know the difference between iron and steel, you can make a smart decision.
Learn more about our selection and how we can assist you with your new door purchase by visiting the official website.