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I'm comparing two security doors. The first option is aluminum:

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It uses Meshtec which from what I've read is pretty much impossible to get through. However, from what I've read, aluminum is a lot weaker than steel.

The second option is steel:

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It would most likely be stronger, however steel has issues with rusting as a lot of the reviews point out. The warranty does not protect against rust.

The absolutely top requirement is a black bear (which can be over 300lbs) cannot break through the door (serious requirement, based on previous situation). I'm kinda thinking either would be strong enough, but would like a second opinion. Thanks!

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    Steel can be protected against rust. Might need checking every two or three years for touch ups. Guessing neither door will warrant against bears either. Heavy duty aluminum can be stronger than light duty steel. Door frame and hinges also need to as strong. Does do much good having strong door if bear pushes door and frame in.
    – crip659
    Aug 11, 2021 at 23:44
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    Both, for bears would like at least a 6 inch grid of 1/2 inch steel with the screen.
    – crip659
    Aug 12, 2021 at 0:12
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    @ThreePhaseEel No, no heat or cool. Animals will be inside, but no humans.. Aug 12, 2021 at 0:12
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    Think I would want something with the bottom 2/3 solid with screen on top 1/3. These doors only make it more difficult for a person to break in, not bears. Bears might work the door for a few hours, if they think food is in there.
    – crip659
    Aug 12, 2021 at 0:33
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    Instead of looking consumer type doors, look at farm or industrial type of offerings or build your own.
    – crip659
    Aug 12, 2021 at 0:59

3 Answers 3

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There’s “good”, “better”, and “best” in everything. Using the “best” steel door (and frame) is going to be stronger than the “best” aluminum door.

The doors you are proposing are on the lower end of the scale, where everyone is more worried about the cost rather than the performance. If my granddaughter was standing at that door when a bear approached, I’d want the “best”. (I’ve seen videos where bears tear apart dumpsters to get a snack.)

So, the best aluminum door is made by Kawneer… a commercial door often used in high traffic areas. The trouble with that is: it’s for high traffic not vandalism… and is not available at the big box stores.

The best steel doors are made by commercial vendors (U.S. Steel) and often cost 2-3 times residential steel doors.

The best aluminum doors have frames made from aluminum sheets a little less than 1/8” thick and steel doors have doors and frames about 3/32” (18 ga.) thick. (Comparable, I guess.) However, the real difference is the anchorage system.

I’d talk to your local door and window company, not a box store. Let them know you want a “high security” door AND frame AND anchorage system. The anchorage system you want is the type that has at least 3 clips on each jamb, plus a clip at the very bottom of each jamb to be anchored to the floor, all clips welded directly to the frame and sized (thickness) to fit directly to your existing wall framing. You’ll also need to design a pattern in the door that restricts the bear from crawling through the door.

The hinge backing, door lock backing, etc. will need to be “security” level too. The weak link in your double door design is the meeting stiles. Make sure they add down bolts to the inside of the door at the bottom so it can be pushed down into the floor. (They also can add at the top of the door to push up into the frame.)

I’d also consider a door monitor, like Ring Door Bell that can alert you when someone (or something) is prowling your porch and give you a chance to lock up.

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    Just FYI - I have installed Rings for family. Notoriously horrible to monitor things at night. They have a night vision package - that is pretty cool. But point is you can't keep it on because of the constant false alarms. So Ring is good for submitting the bear attack to "Animals Gone Wild" but really poor to use as a defense strategy.
    – DMoore
    Aug 12, 2021 at 16:37
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    And why is someone asking about steel vs aluminum when they are getting double doors? I would probably take that option off the list really quick.
    – DMoore
    Aug 12, 2021 at 16:38
  • @DMoore I actually found some Z-Wave "shock sensors" online that will detect impact or shaking. They can then do whatever (IFTTT macro, push notification, turn on lights, set off airhorn, etc).. I'd rather that over the Ring, since I can be alerted if anything is actually trying to break in.. Not too expensive, and I already have a bunch of Z-Wave stuff.. Aug 12, 2021 at 19:00
  • Sounds good. Either that or a Doberman. Lol
    – Lee Sam
    Aug 12, 2021 at 20:10
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This isn't a door problem, it is a concept problem. Any decent metal (steel or aluminum) door will hold of a bear until he is barely standing.

The things I will point out as your weak points....

  1. I would not even think about double doors if I were worried about a bear. The connection at the door is your weak point and honestly it can't be fixed unless the doors have slots for steel planks to be slid in - aka castle gate. Those pictures you have, no matter the quality, well that is the opposite of what you want.

  2. A bear will get through a door because of the handle side connection. This includes the type of bolt, how long the bolt is, how the other side is framed, how many bolts and so on. Having the entry side of the door overframed is your first step. You could reinforce it by having a stop plate on the ground (the bear isn't going to jump 5 feet up to hit the door).

The no-duh thing is take guidance from our average drug dealers. In my younger days I had friends who lived in really bad places but had cash and cars. You walk into their apartment and you have a door lock and deadbolt, then another security deadbolt a foot up and then another about 2 feet off the ground. Police have to saw through these doors to get in. The type of door you are getting is important but not nearly as important as these two factors.

Note: Found something close to what OP wants only - BEARicade https://www.nanawall.com/products/bear-resistant-folding-doors. This is if you want to continuously tease the bears and show them the bait and hold your life to the door system. I would be tempted to buy something like this for a guest house, throw a ton of snacks and food in the house right next to the door and see how well this "system" works. I know bears are relentless and smart once they get a scent.

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  • Love this answer! That BEARricade product looks worth checking into as well. Ok, I'm sold on scrapping the double door idea. I thought it would be better to sweep out the coop and possibly provide more ventilation, but when we started this product we put "bear proof" as our #1 priority. I'll focus on only single door from this point on. Aug 12, 2021 at 17:17
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    The big issue with bears is that there was a memo sent out a couple hundred years ago. The animal kingdom sent something out saying that humans now have guns. So most animals unless pets generally run away from humans - even deadly ones unless they are really hungry or injured. The bears refused to read the memo and generally are indifferentiable to humans or chase them. The bears are like the anti-vaccers.
    – DMoore
    Aug 12, 2021 at 18:00
  • Luckily our bears stay away from humans (I've run into them a few times, they don't like me).. Now, provided I'm going for single door, and ventilation will be an issue, do you think the single security doors (with mesh and/or bars) would provide adequate security, or should I only be looking at a solid door? Aug 12, 2021 at 19:04
  • Getting a regular barred security door. Your typical hood door (I have had one)... that is your best option. Install it so you can swing it open and just leave it open unless you are in for the day/night. With that installed the bear issue goes away and the regular door is really not that important - obviously get something decent and bolt it. Security doors swing out and basically unbreakable.
    – DMoore
    Aug 12, 2021 at 21:03
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    Another note here is that most real security doors are made for human breaks. You don't need anything overly elaborate to keep a bear out as he/she won't be reaching inside to unlock... So just make sure the gauge is thick and get what you think looks nice. Any company that installs doors should have these readily available. Also if it is a main door and you would like the house to look nicer - these come in white and you can put a latch next to the house to keep it fully open during non-bear times...
    – DMoore
    Aug 12, 2021 at 21:20
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You need to read the specifications for each door, assuming that the manufacturer provides adequate info.

Aluminium is indeed softer than steel, but an inch of aluminium is going to be harder to get through by any method than a millimeter of steel.

The break-even point is going to be very roughly two to one - if the aluminium skin is more than twice as thick, then THAT is the better door, all things being equal.

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