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.
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.
There are three common materials that are used to construct doors today:
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 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 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. Imaged above: A UPVC door being made.
The security of a door comes down to three factors:
- Its locks
- Its reinforcement
- 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.
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.
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0800 009 6065 / 07984 293 894 for a friendly chat. Advice is free. Regards, The Team, Raven Bespoke Improvements.