Before starting your search for a new front door, it’s important to narrow down all the options and know what you want in terms of design, thermal performance, security, practicality and budget. These parameters will in turn help to determine the material choice.
As with any element of your home, budget and material type go hand-in-hand. PVCu is at the more affordable end of the scale, while hardwoods and aluminium are high end options. The material choice will also impact on thermal properties, so it’s important to consider the U-value (insulating value) and the airtightness ratings when making this choice, too.
Security is another important factor and doors for new homes need to have been tested to comply with Document Q of the Building Regs. This doesn’t apply to a new door on an existing property, but the testing is obviously still very relevant to ensure you’re getting a good product. For enhanced security, look for doors that have passed the strict testing and auditing for Secured By Design certification.
A great choice for both contemporary and period properties, wood is also an extremely strong and durable material with excellent insulating properties. The natural character of a timber door is arguably the most aesthetically pleasing of all material types and, thanks to modern manufacturing methods, the maintenance on timber is minimal. Doors can be stained/painted in any colour and there are a number of timber types to choose from.
Wood is also sustainable, with a low carbon footprint in its production when compared with other front door materials. If sustainability is a key factor for you then be sure to choose a company that use FSC-approved timber, as this gives the assurance that the material comes from an FSC certified forest that meets the highest environmental and social standards.
This metal is strong, low maintenance and precision engineered, plus it can be powder coated in any RAL colour to ensure a striking statement for modern homes. Aluminium front doors score high in terms of thermal performance and have great insulating properties, as the core of the door panel will be filled with insulation. These products generally sit at the higher end in terms of cost, starting at around £2,500.
Aluminium is one of the most environmentally friendly metals and often referred to as the green metal due to the fact it is 100% recyclable.
A plastic door tends to be for the more budget conscious end of the market. Like with any material, there are pros and cons. Availability and price are the main benefits, with the downsides being the movement that occurs with climatic change, clunky looking hinges and sometimes a cheap aesthetic. Expect to pay less than £1,000.
These units are made up of several layers and different materials – most composite front doors on the market have insulation or softwood cores with a plastic panel on the internal and external sides.
These doors can be cost effective and perform well for security, insulation and weather tightness. If you’re paying more than £1,200-£1,500 for a composite front door you should expect extremely good insulating values, high security with PAS24 testing or Secured by Design with a very good warranty.
|Matt Higgs is co-owner and director of Kloeber UK. Having been involved in manufacture and construction for over 22 years, he brings a wealth of varied expertise to his role from carpentry to design, engineering, project managing and contracts managing.|