If we’re being really honest, all you want is a door that’s secure, efficient and handsome. These factors are the most important when it comes to choosing a new door. But just how do you go about choosing one? Here at Raven, we make the process simple by presenting various options for your budget and house style.

Front door in UPVC Choosing a new front or back door is as simple as choosing one that looks good and feels sturdy, right? Well, not quite. There are a few more things to consider than this because much of what makes a door a good one can’t be seen. You could end up with a door that’s easy to break into if you’re not careful, or a door that leaks heat. If you want to choose a good door, we’ve prepared some useful information below. And we’re here to help if you have any questions.

Door materials

There are three common materials that are used to construct doors today:

UPVC doors

UPVC is the most common material. It’s strong, durable and highly UV resistant. Most people think of a bright white front door with UPVC, but UPVC is available in grey or black or it can be spray painted. UPVC is the cheapest material for a front door while offering desirable security and energy efficiency.

Composite doors

Composite refers to GRP or fibreglass in this case (other composites include carbon fibre and Kevlar, although these aren’t used for doors). Composite doors can appear the same as UPVC doors at a glance, but they are a lot stronger without internal reinforcement. They’re available in a wider range of factory colours than UPVC.

Timber doors

Timber doors are made from hardwood with many manufacturers moving to Accoya wood because it’s more durable than oak and more sustainable. Timber doors are organic, so they have to be worked and made by skilled workers. A good timber door will last a lifetime, but it will need treating periodically to make this the case. uPVC door being made Imaged above: A UPVC door being made.

Door security

The security of a door comes down to three factors:

  1. Its locks
  2. Its reinforcement
  3. The door frame


The government’s Building Regulations Document Q specifies basic security standards for doors. Most insurers specify that locks must meet British Standard 3621, which is the British Standard for thief-resistant locks. This is the minimum standard and many locks exceed it. Here are some pointers:

  • A wooden door requires a different lock to a UPVC or composite door
  • For a wooden door, an insurance-approved mortice lock / deadlock and a good night latch should be the bare minimum.
  • For a UPVC or composite door, 3-star anti-snap locks from Euro Cylinder are very good. Anti-snap cylinders should be used irrespective of the lock type.
  • You might also like to install a secondary chain for the bottom of your door. If you do, choose a door chain with Secured by Design accreditation.


It’s really easy to hit or kick through a door with foam or hollow reinforcement. We recommend you choose a door with a solid core to prevent this problem. The most common way to reinforce a door internally is with a thick slab of ply or metal (this applies to UPVC and composite doors). Timber doors are not reinforced because they are solid hardwood, which is why it’s important to choose a high-quality timber. Softwoods are unsuitable for front doors for this reason. Choose an oak or Accoya wood.

The door frame

The most common way burglars access a property illegally is by kicking in the door — and the reason 99% of doors buckle is because of a wimpy frame.

The best way to reinforce a door frame is with a solid strip of metal. Door frames that are reinforced with metal are very difficult to kick in because the frame has no give where the locks enter the frame. They can’t move.

What you do is reinforce the timber frame with a strip of stainless steel and use heavy-duty 4” or longer screws to fasten it into place. The strip of metal will sit over the deadbolt catches.

Another way to reinforce the frame is with reinforcement bars. These are called London Bars when fitted on the locking side of the door frame, and Birmingham bars when fitted to the doorframe on the hinge side.

An anti-snap door lock Imaged above: An anti-snap door lock.

Door energy efficiency

Doors can leak a lot of heat so it’s important to choose one that’s energy-efficient. But what makes a door energy-efficient? This is actually quite easy to determine, because as part of the government’s commitment to improving energy efficiency on all doors, there’s a sticker rating system which rates doors on a scale of G to A or A+ for energy efficiency. There are three main bodies which provide ratings: the British Fenestration Rating Council (below left), the British Standards Institute (below centre) and CERTASS (below right). Ignore the fact the ratings say ‘windows’. They are the same for doors.

In our opinion, any door that is A-rated is a good door in terms of efficiency. The rating standards aren’t likely to change anytime soon either, so there’s little risk of your new A-rated door becoming B-rated in the next few years.

Door energy ratings Imaged above: Energy ratings for doors. 

New Door costs

You can spend anywhere from £250 to £10,000 for a front door. Ornate hardwood doors can cost several thousand pounds, while the most secure composite doors can cost a couple of grand. Most UPVC doors come in at under £1,000 and there are some good options below £500.

The average cost of a UPVC front door in the UK in 2019/20 is £550, while the average cost for a composite front door is £950. Timber doors sit in the middle at £750, but this depends on the type of wood (we recommend oak or Accoya).

You should add £200 to £300 for the cost of installation, making the total average cost of a UPVC front door £850, a composite front door £1,150 and a timber front door £950. It’s also important to consider your postcode with regards to installation price, because as discriminatory as it sounds, some areas command a premium. Front door Imaged above: A timber door installed for a customer. Approximate cost £900. 

Fancy some free advice?

If you need a new front or back door, we can advise you about security and energy efficiency and recommend the best products for your budget. We are door experts with over 30 years’ experience in the trade. We serve the whole of Surrey and much of the south, but we’re also happy to drive for larger projects. Our advice is free, and we can provide rough quotes on the phone and via email, so feel free to get in touch. We’re based in Carshalton and provide a fast, professional service. We’re also a 5-star reviewed contractor with Rated People and My Builder. Email us at or call us on 0800 009 6065 / 07984 293 894 for a friendly chat. Advice is free. Regards, The Team, Raven Bespoke Improvements.  

Raven Bespoke Improvements
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Martina Cunningham
Martina Cunningham
10:53 19 Jun 20
David replaced several large misted units for us. He was helpful, professional... and excellent value. Will use him in future and readily recommend more
Ana Reed
Ana Reed
20:27 15 Jun 20
Great customer service, very helpful advice and lots of support - thank you... very much!read more
Pamela Swann
Pamela Swann
12:59 08 Jan 20
David has just completed a project for us and was superb. Would highly... recommend, everything was easy, from initial contact to completion and a fantastic finished result. Absolute pleasure to deal with. Thank youread more
james craig
james craig
10:59 20 Dec 19
David fitted new windows and French doors for us. He is without doubt the best... tradesman we’ve ever used and we would highly recommend him to anyone. Punctual, professional, efficient and takes pride in his work. We were happy to leave David and his excellent team working in our house when we were out. Everything was left spotlessly clean and the work was done to a very highly standard very quickly. David fixed a broken gutter for no extra charge and readjusted a door, neither of which was part of the agreed job. Thanks a lot David for a flawless five-star service just before Christmas!read more
Mark Hammond-Edis
Mark Hammond-Edis
20:55 19 Dec 19
David and his team helped us take a window out to fit a large sofa in our front... room. He was very responsive, polite and punctual. The job they did was difficult and they did it to a high standard making sure everything was perfect before they more
Edward Hordley
Edward Hordley
21:30 11 Dec 19
Hired David and his team on a repair and finishing job after having been let... down by another contractor. His approach was superb, professional, polite and very responsive. His price is higher than some, but he is well worth the extra investment. The value for money you get from him and his experience is exceptional and I have no regrets about using him or the work provided. This was not a straight forward job but David made it feel that way. Highly more
Paula Charman
Paula Charman
15:27 02 Oct 19
Thank you for a great job on our windows and doors. David was very professional... and very clean while working. I would highly recommend his services to other people. Thanks David Paula and Richardread more
Raj Thakker
Raj Thakker
16:03 24 Sep 19
One word: Superb. Thank you David for a brilliant job on replacing my... conservatory roof. No task was too big or small. David even took it upon himself to fix a broken gutter at no extra charge. The whole job was done at a very good price. Very clear communication, tidy and very professional at all time. I already have recommended him to my brother-in law and will continue to do so to others. Thank you David!read more
15:37 20 Sep 19
David provided an excellent service recently on a job. The quality of his work... is outstanding and I would fully recommend him. I have asked David to come back to quote on another job. He has just done that for me and I look forward to the works being carried out as I know the result of his work will be more than more
Anneke Meiring
Anneke Meiring
08:15 20 Jul 19
David is the best and most reliable contractor I have ever met. He converted... our courtyard into a conservatory. This was done at a very high standard. It looks amazing and is completely waterproof. He came across a lot of unforeseen problems in the process, e.g. had to clear a drain, move an extractor fan, level the ground area etc- which he attended to effortlessly as part of the job.He also assisted us with many ancillary and unrelated matters, e.g. putting my clock up against the wall, remove old window frames, liaising with another contractor on damp issues elsewhere in the house- all without charging extra as other contractors would do.He is super professional in the execution of his work and regularly updated us as to where we are in the process. He also has wonderful bedside manners, a superb sense of humour, and a humane touch. We always felt that we are in such good and honest hands. I would highly recommend him- we will never be using anybody else at our home again.Well done David and thank you so much for your more
08:09 19 Jul 19
Very pleased with the work David did. Would recommend and would definitely use... more
Tahsima Habib
Tahsima Habib
14:02 18 Jul 19
David did a wonderful job on the conservatory and fencing at a property I... manage, I can only recommend him and the more
James Martin
James Martin
09:10 18 May 19
Great job installing the doors and windows. Had to be flexible, but didn’t... complain as our doors had not arrived on time. Thanks for the helpread more
N Sha
N Sha
21:12 11 May 19
David texted me the morning after I had advertised the work. He turned up the... same day. As I was describing the work that needs doing: he kept saying, Yes, I can fix that ( French sliding door), Yes, I can fix that too ( conservatory door), yes I can replace that as well ( conservatory roof). He came back to me with the quote within 1 hour. Reasonable cost. And, yes he did all the work with professionalism. I must admit I had few other window-doors and conservatory specialists...All I can say is that they should go to David for some training. David is miles ahead of anyone I had around, in every aspect. I strongly recommend David - do not waste time with anyone else if Dave is available...and boy, he is not only smart and experienced but hard working and kind,too. Well done Dave, God Bless and keep up the good work!read more
Nadeem & Syma Haque
Nadeem & Syma Haque
00:44 31 Mar 19
David provided me with a great all round experience for this job. His... communication and knowledge of the trade was brilliant. He provided me with a very competitive quote in quick time and was able to complete the job pronto. His take pride in his work which means his finishing is to a high standard. A very respectful and honest guy who provided is a great customer service. Overall a high quality piece of work and I would definitely recommend using David again in the future. Thanks!read more
Alan Martin
Alan Martin
20:21 28 Feb 19
Did a superb job fitting a cat flap in a glass panel, at a very reasonable... price. Punctual, polite and friendly, I would absolutely book again in a heartbeat!read more
jwalant patel
jwalant patel
19:35 06 Feb 19
Excellent and quick service. I posted a job on Rated people, and he provided a... quick response regarding my broken conservatory door. He offered a competitive quote and completed the work on time. I will definitely use his service in future and highly recommend others as more
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