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Doors Buying Guide



When it comes to enhancing the look, security, and energy efficiency of your home, selecting the right external door is a big decision. Our guide to buying a new door will help you make an informed decision on choosing the best external doors for your home.


What Do You Need to Know When Buying a Front Door?


When it comes to choosing a new front door for your home, it's not just about picking a colour or style that catches your eye. It's about making a decision that affects your home's appearance, security, and energy efficiency. So, what do you really need to know when selecting this pivotal feature of your home?


Door Material


The material of your front door impacts its durability, security, and insulation. Whether you opt for the classic charm of wood, the energy efficiency of uPVC, or the durability and aesthetic flexibility of composite materials, understanding the benefits of each is crucial.


Energy Efficiency


An energy-efficient front door can significantly reduce heat loss, keeping your home warm and cosy while cutting down on energy bills. Look for doors with good insulation properties, and if they are glazed at all then the integrated glazing units should utlilise either double or triple-glazing designs. The door sash and frames should also utilise materials that offer superior thermal retention such as closed cell foam with reinforcement.


Security Features


Your front door is the first line of defence against potential intruders. Prioritise doors with high-quality locking mechanisms, such as multi-point locks, and consider additional features like or laminated glass to enhance your home's security.


Aesthetic and Design


Your front door is a reflection of your home's personality. From the style and colour to the door furniture and glazing options, every detail contributes to the first impression your home makes. Choose a design that complements the architectural style of your home and reflects your personal taste.


Professional Installation


The best door in the world can only perform as well as its installation. Ensuring that your front door is properly fitted by experienced professionals is key to maximising its performance in terms of security, insulation, and durability.

What Are The Different Types of External Door?


Firstly, let’s take a look at the main types of external doors that are currently available.


Composite Doors


Composite doors have gained popularity for their exceptional durability, security features, and aesthetic flexibility. Crafted from a blend of materials, including uPVC, wood, insulating foam, and GRP (glass reinforced plastic), these doors are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and resist wear over time. They offer superior thermal insulation and soundproofing capabilities, making them an energy-efficient choice for any home. With a wide range of colours and finishes, composite doors can be customised to match any home's exterior design, ensuring you don't have to compromise on style for functionality.


uPVC doors


uPVC doors are renowned for their exceptional durability and low maintenance requirements, making them a long-lasting investment that will withstand various weather conditions without fading, rotting, or warping. The inc orporation of double glazing not only enhances energy efficiency by minimising heat loss but, also provides effective sound insulation, contributing to a quieter and more comfortable living environment. 


In addition, uPVC doors offer a versatile range of designs and styles, including those featuring decorative panels, which means you can tailor them to suit your personal taste. 

uPVC doors are also cost-effective compared to their composite or timber counterparts, making them an attractive choice if you are on a budget but still seeking a high-quality, reliable door that requires minimal upkeep. 


Patio Doors


Patio doors are designed to enhance natural light and promote a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. Ideal for homeowners looking to bring a bit of the outdoors in, these doors slide to operate between open and shut positions. The only disadvantage is that when sliding doors are open, their operation requires that the opening door leaf stacks over the other half of the door, so only half of the overall width is open.


Sliding patio doors are great for spaces where saving room is a priority. By sliding inline, these doors avoid encroaching into rooms or gardens, preventing any clash with furniture or outdoor items that could occur with traditional swinging doors.


French Doors


French doors are synonymous with elegance and charm, providing a timeless addition to any home. They consist of one or more pairs of doors featuring glass panels that extend most of their length, allowing for an abundance of natural light to fill your space. French doors are versatile and can be used as an entry to your garden, patio, or balcony, offering excellent ventilation and easy access to outdoor areas. Their classic design complements a wide range of architectural styles, from traditional to contemporary, adding value and aesthetic appeal to your home.


Bi-fold / bi-folding doors


For those who love to entertain or simply enjoy a panoramic view of their garden, bi-fold / bi- folding doors can open up an entire wall, blending the boundaries between inside and out. Bi-fold doors offer many benefits that make them an attractive choice for homeowners. One of the key advantages is their ability to seamlessly merge indoor and outdoor spaces, creating a sense of openness and expansiveness. This not only enhances natural light intake but, also provides a stunning aesthetic appeal. Bi-fold doors are incredibly versatile, allowing for various configurations to suit different spatial needs and design preferences. They are also highly efficient in terms of space utilisation, as they fold neatly to the side when opened, maximising usable floor area. 


Furthermore, bi-fold doors are known for their durability and energy efficiency, contributing to reduced energy costs and environmental impact. With their modern functionality and timeless elegance, choosing bi-fold doors is a decision that promises both practical benefits and aesthetic charm.





Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Door


Security


One of the foremost considerations when selecting an external door is security. High-quality doors come equipped with robust locking mechanisms designed to protect your home against break-ins. Features such as multi-point locks, reinforced frames, and toughened glass are vital in enhancing the security of your door. It's important to look for doors that have been tested against common burglary methods, offering you peace of mind that your home is safe and secure.


Energy Efficiency


Energy efficiency is another critical factor to consider. A well-insulated door can significantly reduce heat loss, helping to lower your heating bills and increase your home's overall energy efficiency. Look for doors with good thermal performance ratings, including double or triple-glazed glass panels and energy-efficient frames. These features not only keep your home comfortable year-round but also contribute to a reduction in carbon footprint.


Appearance and Design


The appearance of your door has a profound impact on the overall look of your home. It's the first thing visitors see, so choosing a style that complements your home's style and your personal taste is essential. From traditional wood finishes to modern minimalist designs, there are plenty of choices. Consider the colour, material, and hardware, as these elements can significantly enhance your door's appearance and curb appeal.


What glass options are available for external doors?


Selecting the right type of door-glazing is a crucial step for enhancing your home's security, insulation, and appearance. External doors often have glazed panels that are double-glazed as standard but can also be upgraded. Here are some of the options available.


Double-Glazing


Fitted as standard, double-glazed door panels offer a perfectly good level of energy efficiency. They feature two panes of glass with an air or inert gas layer in between, offering improved insulation over single panes. This option is ideal for maintaining your home's temperature, reducing energy bills, and enhancing security.


Triple-Glazing


Triple-glazing is less common in doors because of the significant increase in overall weight due to the larger glass area in glazed doors. Therefore, triple-glazing is often chosen for specific applications where maximum insulation is required, such as in extremely cold climates or in buildings with strict energy efficiency standards. However, composite doors often incorporate triple-glazing in composite door models, where the glass area isn’t so large as to add too much weight overall to the door. 


Low-E Glass


Low-E (low-emissivity) glass is coated to reflect heat back into your home, maximising energy efficiency.


Toughened Glass


Toughened or tempered glass is designed for safety and durability. It's much stronger than standard glass and, if broken, crumbles into granular chunks instead of sharp shards, offering extra security and peace of mind and fulfilling the safety requirements needed to comply with building regulations for doors.


Laminated Glass


Comprising two or more glass layers with a protective interlayer, laminated glass holds together if shattered. It enhances security, can block UV rays, and protects your interior from sun damage. It also meets the safety requirements that are required in doors to comply with building regulations.


Decorative Glass


For those looking to add character, decorative options like stained, frosted, or etched glass provide style while offering privacy. These can be incorporated into double or triple-glazed doors to blend functionality with design. This is a great option for more traditional or period properties.


Warm edge spacer bars


Warm edge spacer bars are an essential component of double or triple-glazed doors. They are used to separate the individual panes of glass within the sealed unit and maintain the appropriate gap between them. Unlike traditional metal spacer bars, warm-edge spacer bars are made from materials with lower thermal conductivity, such as thermoplastic materials or composite materials. This design helps to reduce heat transfer through the edges of the glazing unit, improving overall energy efficiency by minimising heat loss and condensation on the glass surfaces. By using warm edge spacer bars, manufacturers can enhance the performance of insulated glass units.


What Are My External Door Security Options?


Modern external doors offer a variety of security features designed to protect your home. Here’s a breakdown of some key security options to consider for your new door.


Multi-Point Locking Systems


Multi-point locking systems secure the door at multiple points along its edge, typically with bolts shooting out from the door into the frame. This system offers enhanced security compared to single-point locks, as it makes the door more resistant to forced entry. When the key is turned, it activates several bolts/hooks which lock at different points of the door frame, providing a tight and secure closure.


Cylinder Locks


Cylinder locks are a common and versatile option for external doors, comprising a key-operated mechanism that drives a bolt from the door into the frame. The quality and security level of a cylinder lock depends on its design and features, such as anti-pick, anti-drill, and anti-bump capabilities. High-quality cylinder locks are an essential component of door security, deterring lock picking and drilling attempts.


Door Chains


Door chains allow the door to be partially opened to identify visitors before fully unlocking the door. While they provide a basic level of security and are more about adding peace of mind, door chains should be used in conjunction with more robust locking mechanisms to ensure the highest security level for your home.


Incorporating these security options into your external doors not only enhances the safety of your home but also provides you with peace of mind. It’s essential to consider a combination of these features to ensure your doors are as secure as possible, deterring potential intruders and protecting your home and loved ones.


How much should a new front door cost?


The cost of a new front door varies widely based on several factors, including the material, design, security features, and whether it includes advanced technology like smart locks or energy-efficient glazing. Here's a breakdown to give you a better understanding:


uPVC Door Costs


Known for their durability and low maintenance, uPVC doors are typically the most cost-effective option. Prices can range from £1000 to £1,500, making them a popular choice for those looking for quality on a budget.


Composite Door Costs


Offering a blend of strong materials, composite doors are prized for their security, insulation, and variety of finishes. Depending on the specifications, you can expect to pay between £1100.00 and £1,900.00.


Installation costs can vary depending on the type and size of the door, so it's important to consider this in your budgeting. 


Is a New Front Door a Good Investment?


Absolutely. Installing a quality front door is regarded as a good long-term investment. It offers numerous benefits such as enhanced security, improved energy efficiency, increased home value, and reduced maintenance needs. This makes it not only a smart investment for your home's security and appearance but also for its marketability in the future.


FAQs


What type of front door is most energy efficient?

Composite doors are generally the most energy-efficient due to their multi-material construction, which offers superior insulation.


What is the most common front door size in the UK?

An average front door size in the UK is 2100mm (height) x 900mm (width) but they will usual vary in size, give or take a couple inches in height or width so professional glazing companies will make the door you choose specifically to suit the door aperture you have in your home. This way your new door will be manufactured to suit, for a perfect fit.   


Are composite doors better than uPVC?

Composite doors tend to offer better insulation and security compared to uPVC doors, but they are usually more expensive. The choice depends on your priorities and budget.



Door Glossary


To help you navigate our guide and understand the terminology associated with purchasing a new front door, we've compiled a glossary of key terms.


Composite Doors: A type of door made from multiple materials (such as wood, PVC, insulating foam, and glass-reinforced plastic) to optimise durability, security, and thermal efficiency.


uPVC Doors: Doors made from unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, a durable and low-maintenance material that offers good thermal insulation.


Double-Glazing: A window or door glazing type consisting of two panes of glass with an air or inert gas layer in between, enhancing thermal insulation and soundproofing.


Triple-Glazing: Similar to double-glazing but includes three panes of glass for even greater energy efficiency and noise reduction.


Low-E Glass: Low-emissivity glass coated with a thin metallic layer that reflects heat back into the room, improving energy efficiency.


Toughened Glass: Glass that has been processed to be stronger and safer than standard glass, shattering into small, granular chunks instead of sharp shards upon impact.


Laminated Glass: A type of safety glass that holds together when shattered, made of two or more panes of glass with a plastic layer in between.


Cylinder Locks: A lock mechanism operated by a key that moves a cylinder to unlock the door, commonly used for its versatility in security features.


Multi-Point Locking System: A locking system that secures the door at multiple points along its length, typically towards the top, middle, and bottom, offering enhanced security.


Energy Efficiency: The measure of how well a door prevents heat from escaping, contributing to lower heating costs and a more comfortable indoor environment.


Door Frame: The fixed structure to which the door is attached via hinges. It provides support and houses the mechanisms for closing and securing the door.


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