People look at a range of factors when buying doors, but the principal ones are: materials (uPVC, wood or aluminium); type (glazed, solid etc.) and; price. Style can come into play as well as this dictates the look of the house / building.
I think that these considerations could and should be widened to encompass a range of factors that are actually really important to the success or not of a door. The important issues that I think are overlooked by most consumers are:
1. Energy efficiency – with ever growing fuel bills the importance of a well insulating door will only get greater. Standard UK doors are 44mm deep. This limits the amount of insulation that can be gained. However, if you look at standard European doors they start at 60mm depth and go up to 78mm. This extra depth allows for more insulation and also has the welcome effect of making a door feel, sound and be a lot more solid. Some of you might know that feel of an European door and how it compares to an UK one.
2. High quality locking mechanisms and door furniture – many cheaper doors in the UK have low quality locks and this can lead to a number of problems. Always look for a good quality set of door furniture. Top manufacturers are companies like ASSA Abloy and ROTO.
3. The use of sustainably sourced timber – I think that all doors should really now be sourced from registered sources (look for FSC or PEFC marked wood), however some of the hard wood options might still be coming from unregulated sources.
4. The use of engineered timber – The use of engineered timber is really important in a door. This is a
system that cross laminates timber to give the door higher strength and
also reduces its likelihood of warping. I have seen some lovely solid
oak doors that have warped and hence don’t fit any more and were really
5. Specifying a door with an integrated frame – buying a door and frame separately, or just fitting a new old into an old frame, almost invariably means that there is a less than perfect fit. Old hinges, locks etc and just the movement of frames means that getting an airtightness finish is very difficult. So buying a door with frame together is a better option.
6. Ensuring that the frame is a hard wood – soft wood frames are not as strong as hard wood ones, so for long term stability it is better to specify a hard wood frame.
7. Getting it fitted correctly – it is great to have a new energy efficient door, but you need to have it fitted in the right way. On the continent there are standards, but the UK is devoid of them. RAL standards require any fitting to be a. weather tight, b. insulating and c. airtight. In the Uk we rely on a thin silicon seal and some expanding foam. Not ideal.
The style of doors and windows is key to the look of a building and so it is important to get it right, so spending some time exploring different options is important.
At Eco Home Centre we deal with ARU, who produce excellent doors (and windows), so check out what the options and specification are. So next time you are looking for a new door hopefully you will bear some of these factors in mind.