The word Composite means made up of several parts or elements. Composite Doors are made up from a variety of materials, including PVC, wood, insulating foam and GRP (glass reinforced plastic). These materials have been selected specifically for their properties, and are specifically put together to counteract flaws commonly found in single-material doors. By using the combination of different materials has resulted in the production of a door that is very strong and secure.
A good quality composite door will be made from the highest quality materials combining strength, durability, weather resistance and security.
Unlike uPVC doors which are purely plastic, composite doors are made from a number of different materials which are pressed and glued together under high pressure conditions. They are much thicker than uPVC doors which are 28mm compared to the most common composite door being 44mm and recently launched to the market the new 70mm rebated door.
It is a minefield for today’s homeowner when looking for a new door as the door market is saturated with endless suppliers and installers. Whilst we cannot deny it is nice to have choice, making the right choice is something else.
You only have take a look on the internet to see the endless suppliers for composite doors and at a glance you could be forgiven to assume all composite doors are the same. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth as not all are built to the same standards of quality and security.
There are numerous reasons for the differences in door quality, from the materials that are used to the overall design and choosing a door made from poor materials with a cheap design could potentially leave your home exposed to threats.
For a long time when replacing old wooden doors, one of the most popular materials to make doors out of was UPVC, (unplasticized polyvinyl chloride) the material that is most closely associated with all home improvement products. This material is highly weather resistant and as such, a door made from this material was likely to stay weather tight and last for many years with little need for maintenance. The door panels are 28mm thick and are held in by glazing beads around the perimeter of the door. They have a limited range of colours and the glass area is restricted due to the moulding process.
Composite Doors are considered to be High Security, Low Maintenance Doors. Aesthetically more pleasing than UPVC they come with a woodgrain effect give the appeal of natural wood but without the inherited problems the real thing presents. The door slab is much thicker, commonly 44mm and more recently 70mm and the slab sits on its own hinges therefore much more secure compared to the upvc beaded panel. The colour range is vast, in fact most suppliers will offer the door in a selection of standard colours and upon request any other Colour available from the RAL Colour chart. Security is usually available as an upgrade and can conform to Secured by Design Specification where the UPVC door cannot.
Composite Doors are the market leading door choice for homeowners in the UK today and therefore you should expect it to come with the latest security features as standard although this often not the case. To make advertised prices appeal to the consumer, most suppliers fit standard components (toughened glass, euro cylinder locks, standard quality door furniture similarly found on Upvc Doors. It is only at “point of sale” the consumer is encouraged to upgrade these elements at an additional cost. For peace of mind, ensure to ask for a Composite Door that carries the Secured by Design (SBD) approved specification.
Secured by Design (SBD) is the official UK Police flagship initiative supporting the principles of ‘designing out crime’. It focuses on crime prevention of homes and commercial premises and promotes the use of security standards for a wide range of applications and products. A Secured by Design Approved Door will have been tested independently to ensure it meets certain requirements –
PAS24 Enhanced Security Performance accreditation
Secured by Design locks as standard, which means that they must comply with BS3261
Glass – the option to upgrade to laminated glass, which as it will not shatter prevents access
Anti Drill/Snap/Bump & Pick Barrels to prevent a burglar gaining entry through tampering with the lock
Spy-holes, to allow occupants to detect and identify callers without having to reveal their own identity
DON’T ALL COMPOSITE DOORS HAVE SBD APPROVAL?
No, in most cases you will find in small print suppliers offering SBD upgrades available and the price can increase considerably from supplier to supplier.
When it comes to thermal efficiency, not all composite doors are equal. Check that the composite door has a foam filled core and better still, a uPVC edge band. Foam is an excellent insulator and a uPVC edge band will increase performance even further.
Upgrading your front door to something more thermally efficient is an easy way to make your home warmer and help cut down on your energy consumption. Our doors are better at insulating than timber – six times better than timber, in fact – so you can relax in a warmer, more comfortable environment.
An old draughty front door leaks heat and lets cold enter your home. Having the heating on only for it to escape through your door is wasting energy and costing you money. Not to mention paving the way for damp to creep into your home.
Use less energy and still enjoy a warm home by replacing your front door with a Composite Door. A combination of a high insulating foam core and PVCu edge banding makes the door incredibly thermally efficient, keeping your home warmer when it’s colder.
If you choose the right Composite Door it will stop draughts, keeping the heat in saving you money on your energy bills.
As a home owner you want a composite door that is going to offer protection from the elements. Ideally look for a door with a triple sealed outer frame to stop draughts getting through and PVC-u thermal inserts for additional energy saving. Choose a Composite Door with a G.R.P. (Glass Reinforced Polyester) outer skin which are quite simply the best doors that you can buy. G.R.P. has a better strength to weight ratio than steel, is a natural insulating material, it won’t warp, shrink or rust and is virtually maintenance free. The GRP outer layer features a lifelike grain effect and high definition panels providing an authentic timber like door with all the advantages but limited maintenance. GRP cannot expand or contract laterally such that the door cannot increase or decrease in size, an advantage over other commonly used materials.
It is not unusual to see threads on forums where people have asked about prices of Composite Doors and the prices mentioned have varied greatly from £350 to £3,000, to say its confusing is an understatement!.
You can find doors online anywhere from around £400 plus Vat upwards. These prices increase depending on door style, colour, glazing and hardware.
At first glance these prices seem attractive but when looked into further they are usually supply only prices. The homeowner will be required to provide accurate measurements although an option to have someone come and survey for a fixed fee may be offered. In addition, an installation service by a network of contractors may be available in your area that will remove and dispose of the original door and install the new door at additional cost. Trims, silicone sealants and sometimes fixings can also be subject to additional costs, the price soon adds up. If you go down this route, be cautious to ask about the Guarantee, what it covers and more importantly by who?.
Locally based Home Improvement Companies that provide the full installation service including survey you can expect prices to begin around £900 plus VAT. depending on design, and colour with hardware upgrades and Secured by Design specification at extra costs.
You will find most companies providing the supply and installation of the composite door provide a 10 Year Guarantee. If looking to purchase as a supply only door it may be less and the guarantee may be shared between the company providing the door and whoever installs it. If the door has been supplied and installed be sure to ask what is covered. Ask about discolouration, the performance of the sealed units, and hardware.