How To Decide On A New Front Door

Another jam-packed-full-of-tips article for Real Homes 🙂

Fitting a new front door is a bit like buying a rather fabulous lipstick. For a relatively small investment, in terms of the value of a property at least, you could have a wonderful new look in the blink of an eye.

In terms of cost, a newly fitted front door can be anything from £500 to £5000, with a host of variables altering the price point:

  • The condition of the existing opening
  • Material for new door – timber, composite, uPVC, metal
  • The need to paint (or not)
  • Hinges and ironmongery
  • Labour/fitting costs

Material wise, timber is still the go-to choice. A good hardwood door is an affordable option for most homeowners, and remember never to buy softwood for an external door as it simply won’t last. There will be on-going painting or vanishing maintenance, but on the upside these doors can easily be personalised with colour.

Go on, go brave with your door painting!

UPVC does feel a tad old hat, but is often specified to match the windows for a cohesive look as they are price competitive. Higher up the scale sit composite doors, many of which are quite superb in term of style and hard to tell from timber when painted. Composite doors tend to come as a whole framed unit (with fitting usually in the price), so they are highly effective in terms of insulation and heat retention, moreso than ‘real’ timber.

Composite front doors.jpg
Composite door styles

On a contemporary properties or self builds, you can really go to town with sizes in excess of the 2.1m norm and use incredibly contemporary materials. Stone panels, metallic finishes, even laser carved intricate patterns are all on the (obviously more costly) table. The floor to ceiling look adds impact and grandeur, materials which complement your architecture tell the story of a thought through design process and even detail like an oversized handle can make a huge difference.

Oversized and metal front doors.jpg
Fabulously oversized and unusual front doors

Are there any rules to be aware of? Well, unless you live in a listed property or Conservation Area where size and specification are closely monitored, then the design is up to you. It’s wise to choose an appropriate door for the age and style of your home. You might adore cutting edge interiors, however fitting a modern door to a period property may not be the best choice. When painting a timber door, sensible classic colours will always be the most popular, though there’s nothing to stop you telling the world you love pastel pink or are embracing the trend for grey.

Traditional style front doors.jpg
Some traditional styles: cottages and period properties

Practically speaking there are two other important considerations : security and heat loss. Composite and UPVC doors generally have fully integrated lock systems, or consider doors which have Secure By Design Accreditation. Building Regs Part Q covers security, for a more in depth read. With timber even the sturdiest doors can be vulnerable, maybe choose a lock which is anti-pick, anti-drill or anti-bump. Lighting at the front door area is an excellent idea, and modern innovations include motion detector LED or wi-fi connected security cameras sending images to your phone.

For heat loss reduction, composite doors are generally better than timber in terms of U values due to their superior insulation properties. Building Regs Part L covers this. Most uPVC our composite prices include fitting, but for regular timber doors, get a good joiner to fit well to avoid gaps and the whistling winter air.

Top Tips

  • Don’t follow trends in terms of design as fads date quickly, but don’t be afraid to paint the colour you love!
  • Fit well and fit once, don’t scrimp or you’ll regret it
  • A less costly door, painted well and with superb hardware looks more expensive
  • Try a classic door with contemporary furniture for a cool new look
  • Look at the house as a whole when choosing the door, and ensure the style compliments the windows and vice versa

Featured header image : Period Homes cottage

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