Understanding the Different Types of External Doors
The entrance or exit to your home should always serve two primary purposes. It should make an impression and it should protect you from the elements and potential threats. As such, choosing the right exterior doors for your home is a far more important task than choosing interior doors, which might make an aesthetic difference, but won't really have much of an impact on how your home works for you. With external doors, however, pleasing aesthetics, a solid build quality and durability are absolutely vital attributes. Here, we'll be taking you through the three main types of external door available (Composite, Wood and uPVC), and in the process, hopefully help you decide which will work for you and your home.
A composite door is, in essence, a 'best of' collection of door materials, which effectively erases many of the flaws associated with other doors by using a combination of materials, all chosen for their specific, beneficial properties. A typical composite external door will be made up of materials including various woods, PVC, insulating foam and glass reinforced plastic. The result is a door with higher thermal resistance (due to the insulating foam), a greater resistance to weathering and a look that won't discolour or fade over time like a wooden door and is generally more secure and durable than a uPVC door. The price, however, might reflect this, as composite doors are comfortably the most expensive option of the three.
Benefits of Composite Doors
There are certain purists who will tell you that a composite door is almost a 'fake' door that lacks the purity of a decent wooden door, but we'd wager even they wouldn't be able to tell the different if push came to shove. When comparing them to uPVC doors, however, they are generally significantly thicker and their reinforced nature and tougher frames mean they are incredibly secure against potential intruders. In terms of design you will also find a far greater level of flexibility, with a variety of styles and finishes that simply wouldn't be possible with uPVC and would fade over time with conventional wood. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they require very little door maintenance, which will be a real bonus if you run a busy household.
Simply because you're getting a 'best of all world' solution, you might also find a composite exterior door that's surprisingly affordable too if you check out our range of external composite doors! The fact that they won't warp over time and don’t require repainting is also an added bonus, as is the fact that multi-point locks can easily be added to them, further bolstering your home security.
We won't pretend to know you don't know what a wooden door is, but what is important to understand, when making your choice, is the differences between conventional wooden doors and composite doors. A standard hardwood door will generally be built from a single wood or multiple woods, and will be just that. There will be none of the extra layering and treatment associated with composite doors, which many buyers do prefer as they feel it's more solid and ‘genuine'.
One of the main benefits of a wooden door is the ability to paint it, which is simply not possible with a uPVC door due to the makeup of the material.
External hardwood doors have also quite literally stood the test of time, having graced entrances and exits of homes across the world for hundreds of years, whereas composite doors and uPVC doors are a much more modern invention. Wooden doors are also a lot more flexible than other options when it comes to resizing; if the door is too big it can be planed down and if it's too small you can use packers to fill out your frame.
When it comes down to it, however, the main reason people still choose wood is because of its look and feel, though with the best composite doors, you could find it exceptionally hard to tell the difference.
Why Buy A Wooden External Door?
Wooden doors are probably the most conventional option and therefore you'll have the most options available to you when it comes to price, style and frames. They can also look incredible, depending on the wood and the finish. They could also cost a fraction of the price of composite doors, though will not offer as much protection and are far more vulnerable to the elements.
Commonly known by industry bods as rigid PVC, uPVC stands for unplasticised polyvinyl chloride and is a stable and safe plastic material that has become very common as a building material for exterior doors in the last 50 years due to its water resistant and recyclable nature.
The primary reason to opt for a uPVC exterior door is the cost, as they are much cheaper to produce than wooden or composite doors, and these savings will always be passed on to the consumer. They can also be more secure than conventional wooden doors as they can’t split.
A big drawback for many people with uPVC doors is their finish and image. Wooden doors can be painted and offer a timeless styling, whereas with a uPVC door, what you get is what you’ll always have. Many people think uPVC can look ‘cheap’ due to their plastic nature, almost always coming in a standard white finish.
If you can get over their looks then a uPVC exterior door could be a decent alternative to a composite or wooden door, and it's incredibly lightweight so is much easier to install yourself without having to hire a joiner.
Whether you're looking for entrance doors, back doors or both, there are, of course, plenty of other options to consider besides the ones listed above. However, for conventional home purposes, either a wood, composite or uPVC door might very well be an attractive and cost-effective solution. The suitability, meanwhile, is very much down to you!
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