Door Buying Guide
You may already know what makes a door look good, but what is it that makes a door a reliable and solid performer?
Whether you are looking for entrance, patio, or bi-folding doors, your new doors will need to meet a wide range of requirements to keep you safe, warm and comfortable in your home.
Fairco is a 100% Irish-owned company with over 35 years of experience and over 18,000 customers.
We work with you to make your security and comfort look great.
What to look for in a new door
A good door stands out because of its fantastic looks, but a great door often goes unnoticed thanks to its reliability and consistent high performance.
Doors can play a pivotal role in creating a lasting first impression, as well as enhancing the security and energy efficiency levels of your home.
With so much to consider when choosing a new or replacement door set, and with so many advances in design, materials and technology in recent years, there’s now even more to learn.
We believe that in helping you understand the more technical aspects of door performance. We can help guide you to make the right decisions, leading you to a door set that will keep you safe, warm and happy for many years to come.
That’s why we’ve created this door guide full of information and advice about doors and more.
Signs of a quality door
Everybody’s requirements and tastes are different, but a quality door will always offer the following benefits:
Be easy to maintain and clean
Look good and be aesthetically in-keeping with your house
Be highly secure with superior locking mechanisms
Be supported by a secure frame
Keep out draughts and have a high energy efficiency rating to reduce energy bills
Be made-to-measure, fitting perfectly into the aperture of your house
Be industry tested for general performance and weather resistance
Reduce noise from the outside
Remain firm, not move or rattle when the wind blows
Have glass that can’t be removed from outside of the home
Long lasting guarantees that cover every aspect of the door
Add value to your home
Questions to ask before you buy new doors
It is important to consider your personal requirements before deciding what type of door is right for you and your home. To help narrow down your search, ask yourself the following questions:
Q: How do I know if I need a new door?
Depending on the quality of the materials and workmanship, a door can last for decades. However, if your door is experiencing problems, you may need to replace it.
Simple issues like draughts could be resolved by replacing the draught-excluding seals, but if you are experiencing more than one of the following warning signs, consider investing in a new door:
Misted glass unit within the door (failure of glazing seals)
Timber frames are warping, bowing or rotting
Plastic has perished, is peeling or discoloured
Doors rattle, or let in draughts and the cold
The door won’t open, close or lock properly
Broken door furniture and fittings
Another reason you might like to upgrade your doors is if you want to improve your home’s insulation, security or appearance.
If you have had your doors replaced recently and are experiencing any of the above problems, it is likely that the door is faulty or has not been installed correctly.
Q: What colour scheme will help set my home apart?
Until recently, white was the most popular front door colour. Now, doors and frames are available in a huge range of colours, as well as wood effect finishes.
You can even choose dual-colour doors with a different colour for the inside and outside of your home. Other popular colours include Chartwell Green, Cream Woodgrain and Anthracite Grey.
If you need more help choosing a colour scheme for your doors, ask your advisor for advice tailored to your property.
Q: How important is door security?
Up to 70% of burglars target a home by its front door, and 25% of break-ins occur due to forcing cylinder locks in weak PVCu handles.
You could reduce the chance of suffering a break-in just by upgrading to a secure door – and you could even save money on your house insurance.
A door is only as secure as its weakest part – ensuring the frames, hardware and glazing all working together to prevent entry is fundamental for your home’s security.
Good doors should feature multi-point locking, a key lockable handle and strong frames and hinges.
Toughened glass is also a must. Check the security credentials – your doors should be certified to PAS 24:2012. Another tip that is especially important for patio doors is to hide your valuables from view with curtains or blinds.
Around 15% of burglaries don’t involve any kind of forced entry, so it is also important to remember to keep doors locked.
Q: Do I have an obligation to retain the look of my property?
When buying a door for a listed building, conservation area or a house with a restrictive covenant, you’ll need to follow certain guidelines.
Houses in conservation areas are subject to planning laws, which restrict the work that you can do to the outside of your property without first getting planning permission.
If this is the case, it’s often simpler to find a company with previous experience of getting doors accepted in conservation areas.
Ask for details of previous projects that have been accepted by Planning Officers.
Other than these legal necessities, it’s up to you what style, colour and glass designs you want for your doors!
Q: Should I go for a traditional or contemporary design?
Unless your house has a legal obligation to retain its appearance, it’s your choice.
Many people choose a traditional design to fit with their home’s appearance, but in some circumstances contemporary designs can enhance the aesthetics of a property.
Get inspiration by browsing photo galleries and searching for similar properties to your own.
If you need some advice, our experts can help you choose the right door or doors for your home.
Q: Which door material is the easiest to maintain?
Modern, high performance doors should last for decades to come, needing only minimal maintenance.
Some door parts now come with lifetime guarantees, meaning that you will never need to worry about plastic discolouration or broken glass units.
PVCu and aluminium frames are practically maintenance-free, and only require cleaning occasionally by wiping down the frames with a damp cloth.
Timber doors can be cleaned in the same way, but will also need to be recoated using microporous paint or stain every couple of years, when necessary.
Q: What is the energy rating of my new doors?
Energy ratings for doors are measured by their U value.
The energy efficiency of a door is only as good as its installation – a poorly fitted door with gaps around the edge can leak heat and create draughts.
That’s why it is so important that makes your doors to measure, so that they fit the aperture perfectly, and properly seal the perimeter.
Q: What kind of guarantee do the doors come with?
It’s important to make sure your new doors are guaranteed for a number of years after installation, for your peace of mind in case something goes wrong.
Fairco doors are guaranteed for 10 years, and we will always work with you to ensure that your doors operate to the highest standard following installation.
Q: Is it possible to make custom shaped doors?
Fairco will survey your property and precisely measure up for new doors before giving you a quotation, meaning that every door or glazing product you buy will be made to measure your home.
We can tailor your new door to any size and shape, depending on building regulations. Simply ask your local representative during your design consultation.
Q: How do I recognise that Fairco operate at the highest standard
There are many industry renowned federations and bodies who take great efforts to ensure that the best door companies are easily identified.
The main ones to look out for are GGF & BFRC. Fairco has sought membership independently and is proud to be recognised by both of these organisations. Click here to read more about each accreditation. www.ggf.org.uk & www.bfrc.org
A long trading history and good reputation are good indicators of a stellar door company.
Our company reviews and satisfaction ratings speak for themselves.
Ask to see examples of our recent work, including customer testimonials and installation pictures.
Q: How do I get an opinion from an expert I can trust?
Friends and family are a great starting point when getting advice about buying doors, and TV, magazines and the internet are limitless sources of inspiration, but nothing beats speaking with the experts and seeing the options laid out in front of you with samples so you can get a feel for the doors themselves.
We offer a no-obligation consultation service, so there is nothing to lose by arranging an appointment which will give you some face-to-face time with an expert.
Door materials & new technologies
External doors are generally available in four types of material: timber, PVCu, aluminium and composite materials, also known as GRP doors.
Doors were historically made out of wood, traditionally pine or oak. Boarded doors (joined lengths of wood) were common until about 1700, when panelled doors were introduced. As fashion changed, so the door styles evolved, now incorporating glass into the door leaf.
Timber doors are still popular to this day, and period door styles can be replicated using traditional joinery methods. But other door materials have extra benefits, often at a lower price.
Aluminium and glass entrance doors began to be used in the post-war period, but these were famously cold to the touch. PVCu doors provided a solution to this problem, being marketed as the most energy efficient material for doors. Thanks to advances in manufacturing technology, today’s high-performance doors can offer better security, strength, energy efficiency and lifespan than your current doors.
Elegant looks and classic style, naturally warm and secure.
Timber is a natural insulator – it absorbs and retains heat. Solid wood doors still offer the highest levels of energy efficiency compared to other door types. Timber doors are seen to be the most beautiful, however these doors require more effort to keep them looking their best.
Timber doors have been around for centuries, but the manufacturing process has changed over time. Panels and frames are still made from solid wood, but timber used in construction is engineered to be stronger. Knots are removed from the wood, before layering different grain directions, and bonding. The result is a much stronger and more stable door, with no risk of warping or bowing.
Timber doors can be made from softwood or hardwood – both make great materials for doors. Hardwood grows slower than softwood so the rings are closer together, making it more dense and hardwearing. It does mean that it can be more expensive and less sustainable than softwood.
Another beauty of timber is it can have a stained or painted finish. Wood stains highlight the natural beauty of the grain, and with so many paint choices there’s no limit to the number of times you change the colour of your doors.
Long lasting and low maintenance, great value and performance.
PVCu is very popular in modern homes as it is a good all-round material that offers exceptional value. With a smooth and naturally weatherproof finish, there’s no danger of the doors ever degrading, and they are virtually maintenance free. PVCu is also a naturally insulating material, and the frames and panels are designed to offer high levels of energy efficiency.
No longer ‘flimsy’ or ‘brittle’, modern PVCu doors are built to be sturdy and secure, with steel reinforced frames and panels. The hinges and locks are welded securely to the steel reinforcement within the frame, meaning that would-be intruders cannot gain entry through this previous weak spot.
Modern PVCu doors create a great first impression, with clean, simple lines and unique designs. Door colours vary, but popular colours include classic white and wood grain effect. This is created by bonding scratchproof and UV stable wood grain effect foils to the frames and panel, which mimic the realistic texture of timber. With two colour doors, you can have a door that looks like timber from the outside, with white on the inside for a neutral colour palette.
Strong and slim frames, sleek designs and low maintenance.
Aluminium is a physically strong material that will never rust or corrode. As such, it’s used in structural glazing and other construction projects, such as glass walls and towers. Aluminium frames can support larger glass areas, so wider windows and doors are possible in the home.
Think of aluminium doors and you might be thinking of cold metal frames with black bristles surrounding the frames to keep out draughts. Thankfully, thermal technology and door design have moved on since the 1980s. The frames contain an insulating plastic section that stops the conduction of heat for doors that are just as warm as PVCu. Aluminium is also naturally weatherproof and will need very little maintenance.
Nowadays, aluminium doors are almost indistinguishable from PVCu, with similar designs, glazing and colour options. Aluminium doors don’t have to be metallic – they can be ‘powder coated’, or spray coated in any RAL colour.
All the benefits of aluminium, PVCu and timber in one smart-looking door.
Composite doors combine the benefits of different materials, creating a door that ticks all the boxes. Also known as GRP doors, composites are made from a solid core: either a timber panel or high density foam reinforced with a timber frame. This is then covered with a glass reinforced plastic (GRP) skin. Made using polyester resins and fibreglass, this durable ‘thermoplastic’ outer coating is also used for the underside of boats. That’s perfectly robust for a front or back door!
Composite doors are the only doors that can feature double rebates. A door rebate is where the door panel overlaps the frame along the edges, creating a barrier against water. Double rebates overlap twice, for increased energy efficiency and weather tightness. Dual rebated composite doors are often 50% thicker than regular front doors and feature triple glazing as standard.
As well as excellent weatherproofing, GRP doors offer the convenience factor of other materials. They don’t require the same level of maintenance as wood – you’ll never have to worry about sanding or painting. Composite doors are also available in a wide range of heritage and bold colours, as well as timber effect finishes. Match with different glass designs and furniture for a smart looking and unique entrance door.
Which material should I choose for my new windows?
When deciding on a door with today’s modern designs and high-performance materials, you can’t go too wrong. Whichever material you choose, your new doors are likely to outperform your existing ones.
That being said, your choice of material depends on your performance requirements, house style and door design. We offer a no-obligation appointment to discuss your requirements in detail.
You may have specific energy performance requirements for your new door. In this case, the most viable option would have to be a composite door. When you factor in all the insulating components, a composite door outperforms other door types. However, the same type of door can achieve different energy ratings depending on its components and how it’s manufactured, as well as installation quality. Ask your consultation expert about the energy ratings that your chosen door can achieve.
With advances in door technology, the lines between the different materials are blurring. Timber is still ideal for period and heritage houses, but good quality PVCu and composite doors can replicate the look and feel of wood. If you live in a modern style house, aluminium framed doors will give your home a contemporary look. Or whatever your house style, a set of patio doors with Georgian bars can create a country cottage look!
The type of material you choose also depends on the style of door you’re looking for. PVCu is the most popular choice for front doors, but composite or GRP doors can offer greater security and energy efficiency. PVCu is also a popular choice for patio and French doors, but for large glass patio doors, you can’t beat aluminium.
Door styles & designs
Residential door styles are often described by their function. All the doors in this guide are exterior doors, which connect the home to the outside. Front doors and back doors are grouped together as ‘entrance doors’, and the other door styles are often referred to as ‘patio doors’. Patio doors tend to have a wider aperture, and are so named as they lead the house onto the garden or patio.
There are three main types of door opening options: side-hung, sliding and folding. Entrance and French doors are usually side-hung, opening inwards or outwards on a set of hinges. These doors can also be paired to create double door sets. Sliding glass doors glide open by moving one panel behind the other, whereas bi-folding doors can be pushed to one side to completely open up a room.
Make the best first impression with a beautiful front or back door.
Entrance doors are composed of a door ‘slab’ hung within a frame. They can be made of timber, PVCu, aluminium or composite materials, depending on the look and performance you’re looking for. Energy efficiency is a key factor to think about, and as more than 70% of intruders target the front entrance during a burglary, you should ensure your front door is highly secure.
Today’s entrance doors are fully customisable, so you can pick the style, colour, glass designs and accessories that you want. We offer a wide range of classic and contemporary styles for you to choose from. Ask for an appointment to discuss your needs and design choices.
Charming entrance door that splits in two to let the outside in.
Entrance doors split horizontally in two opening sections to create a stable door. As the name suggests, stable doors originated in the farmyard, keeping animals safely locked in and allowing them to be seen and fed. Modern day stable doors look like a regular front or back door when closed, but the top half can be opened independently. Combined with a heritage colour scheme they can make your home look like a country cottage.
Stable doors are usually available in PVCu and composite door materials. They feature the same locking systems as any other door in their range. However, you need to check that they can achieve the same protection against the elements, too.
Double open-out door set, ideal for the back garden.
French doors feature two side-hung door panels that open in or out, operated by a pair of handles in the middle of the door set. Traditionally French doors were made out of timber, but PVCu and aluminium framed door sets are now available.
The French door style is often used to add a touch of character and elegance to a home. They are a picturesque addition to any room, and can also be designed into a conservatory. The classic style for French doors is Georgian, with white frames and astragal glazing bars dividing up the glass into squares. Black or grey frames are a popular modern twist, and can be customised with letterboxes, arched frames and period door furniture.
Sliding patio doors
Wide glass doors for impressive views to the outside.
Patio doors glide open and closed effortlessly, ideal for if you enjoy spending a lot of time in your garden. Perfect for larger apertures, sliding patio doors can be designed as a ‘wall of glass’, offering expansive views to the outside.
Patio doors are available in PVCu, or slimmer aluminium frames for an even better vista. The glass panels also slide into place behind one another, so they don’t take up any internal or external space.
When shut, patio doors can achieve a high level of energy efficiency. Patio doors must be double glazed as standard, but other options are triple glazing, with low e glass and other heat saving technologies. Modern patio doors are also cleverly designed to prevent break-ins through interlocking panels, multi-point bolts and anti-lift strips.
Slide and fold to fully open up a room to the outside.
If you want to create the feeling of freedom, bi-fold doors are a clever way to open up your space. Bi-fold doors fold up like a concertina, allowing you to push the panels open fully to one side. They can be created with up to 6 glass door panels up to a metre wide, and can installed in any room. In the kitchen, dining room, living room, extension, conservatory – the possibilities are endless!
Bi-folding doors are available with PVCu and timber frames, but aluminium is undoubtedly the best material for this door type. Due to its strength, aluminium can afford to have slimmer frames and carry larger glass units, whilst maintaining its structural integrity. Aluminium bi-folding doors also last longer and require little maintenance to keep them running consistently well.
Aluminium bi-fold doors fit flat against the frame for a stylish and modern architectural look. They can be designed in a range of colours, including classic monochrome white, black and grey.
How to choose a door that’s right for your home
Some people choose a like-for-like replacement door for their home, but there are so many exciting designs and colours out there! It’s a shame not to explore other options.
Think about your home’s overall aesthetic – are you looking for a more traditional or contemporary design? Every door can be configured for your home. With hundreds of door styles, colours, accessories, glass and material choices, there are thousands of possible combinations. That means you can design a door that’s unique to you.
Finally, remember that one size doesn’t fit all with doors. A door needs to fit the door into the frame precisely, with no tolerance for gaps that could create a draught. It’s for this reason that all of our fittings are made to measure by trained surveyors and fitters.
Door frames, panels & panes
In order to know what makes a good door, you need to know how a door is constructed. Door frames, panels and glass panes are all important components that together determine the door’s energy efficiency, security and appearance.
Doors can incorporate a solid ‘slab’ or be fully or partially glazed. Entrance doors tend to have a panel that can be ‘moulded’ with raised or indented sections, and optional glazing ‘cassettes’.
In traditional joinery, there are specific terms for the different sections that make up a door panel. The four outer parts are called the top and bottom rail, and the hinge and lock stiles. The optional mullion divides the door vertically to create four panels instead of two, with an optional mid rail.
Timber door panels are made using a solid slab of wood that has been engineered to be stronger and last longer. PVCu panels are made by bonding PVCu outer skins to high density, fire retardant material, and can also be reinforced with steel. Aluminium door panels are made in the same way, but using an aluminium outer casing. Composite door panels are either made using a solid wood slab or a high-density solid foam core, laid over with a GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) skin.
Patio doors are more likely to be fully glazed, and can feature up to 6 panels in a set. The glass units in the doors are double or triple glazed, and feature toughened and energy saving glass.
The door frame, or ‘casing’, is constructed by taking lengths of ‘profile’, cutting them down to size, and joining or welding them together to create a rectangle shape. Modern PVCu and aluminium frames can be joined using traditional ‘mechanical joints’, to replicate period styling. Specialist door shapes can also be created with an arched or angular head.
Timber frames are made from a solid piece of wood, but PVCu and aluminium frames use hollow profile that contain ‘chambers’ to trap warm air. Today’s door frames also contain thermal barriers to reduce heat loss further.
The door casing and hinges must be strong enough to support the weight of the door slab, without warping or bowing over time. Aluminium and timber are naturally sturdy materials, but PVCu is not as tough. Thankfully, modern PVCu frames are reinforced with galvanised steel to keep the doors operating as they should.
Door frames are usually rebated. This means that the panel sits slightly behind the frame for improved weather protection, draught proofing and reduced noise pollution. Door panels can also sit flush within the frame, which is currently a popular door style.
Seals, or gaskets as they’re otherwise known, are an important part of the door frame. They sit along the edge of the door panel to stop heat loss, draughts and water ingress, resulting in a fully airtight and weatherproof door set. High quality seals are important for keeping your home warm, dry and damp-free, so it’s worth ensuring your door company has it covered. With a new door, you shouldn’t have to apply any additional draught excluding seals.
High quality door seals are made using a material called Q-Lon. Older rubber seals tend to flatten under repeated pressure, altering their shape and losing effectiveness. Rubber seals can eventually collapse, and this is one of the reasons why older doors can become draughty. Q-Lon seals have a compression recovery of 99%, meaning they will spring back to shape every time, for continued high performance.
Double seals have one seal on the frame and another on the door, for additional weatherproofing. Another way to keep the water out is with a weather drip, which protects the entrance by letting water flow away from the threshold.
If you have a keen eye for detail, you’ll want to choose the right frame styling and detailing for your new doors. Bevelled profiles have clear, sharp lines, whilst ovolo frames give doors a softer, curvier outline. Timber is much more versatile as the profile can be cut and tooled into any style. However, PVCu, composite and aluminium doors can be designed to look very similar nowadays.
The door’s threshold runs along the floor directly in line with the casing, or frame. The door panel sits behind the threshold, which serves to protect the bottom of the door from draughts and water ingress.
Standard doors are fully rebated, meaning they have a higher threshold which is covered by the bottom of the door – leaving no gaps for draughts. You can choose a door with a low threshold to remove a possible trip hazard and provide easy access for wheelchair users.
Doors can also feature a twin rebated threshold, for double the protection against the elements.
Door glass & glazed panels
For a long time, glazing was just for windows. Door designs began to use glass as a decorative feature, starting with fanlights and top lights. The glass areas were kept to a minimum due to draughts, but as glazing technology improved, glass could be used more freely.
Nowadays, doors are double glazed as standard and, like windows, can be upgraded to triple glazing. Large glass panels are used in patio doors, whereas entrance doors tend to feature smaller glazed ‘cassettes’.
Sidelights and other shaped top lights are a popular feature of entranceways nowadays. Matched with decorative glass in the door leaf, they can add a touch of class to the front of your property.
Glass in doors
Door glazing works in exactly the same way as window glazing. Glass panes are sealed together by a ‘spacer bar’ around the outside, with a cavity or space between the panes. This gap is often filled with an inert gas to slow down heat loss.
The overall glass panel is called a ‘sealed unit’, and units with two and three panes of glass are available – typically referred to as double and triple glazing. The extra pane of glass and gas cavity slow down the escape of heat, leading to a much more energy efficient door.
Double vs. triple glazed doors
Double glazing in doors is now the norm – in fact it’s specified in the Building Regulations. But both entrance and patio doors are now available with triple glazed units. With improvements in seals and frame technology, it’s a shame for the glazing to let down the overall energy rating of the door!
Triple glazed doors provide next-level insulation – they’re up to 35% more effective than double glazing for energy efficiency. Triple glazing helps to retain heat generated within the home, whilst reducing overheating in summer.
Decorative or stained glass panes can be incorporated into your new entrance door and side windows, resulting in a totally unique design. Glass panels in doors are available in variety of shapes, sizes and patterns.
Coloured and bevelled glass pieces are joined together by metal ‘cames’ – the leading or metal bar you traditionally see in stained glass windows. To match your colour scheme, you can choose from a range of finishes, such as brass, zinc or black leading. Stained glass designs can be incorporated into double glazed doors, but to protect the glass design it’s better to contain within a triple glazed unit.
Other decorative glass options include etched designs, where patterns are cut into the glass by using a stencil and sandblasting. This creates a white, shade-like effect. In this way, you can personalise your property with house numbers and names in the glass.
Leaded glass is typically a ‘criss cross’ design, either with square or diamond patterns. Leading can be applied to the outside of the glass, or inside for ease of cleaning. Alternatively, you could choose Georgian bars to divide the glass into squares, giving your doors a traditional ‘cottage’ look.
Typical of Georgian and other period windows, leaded glass designs are ideal for top lights and sidelights – the glazing surrounding an entrance door. You should be able to incorporate leading into any type of glazed product, such as patio doors and even conservatories.
Obscure, or privacy, glass distorts the view through the glass, hiding the inside of your home from prying eyes. You’ll commonly see privacy glass used in back doors and bathroom windows, as they let in the same amount of light, without displaying the contents of your home to outsiders. That’s why obscure glass is ideal for entrance doors and even front porches.
You can choose from a range of obscure glass, such as floral, geometric and cloudy designs.
There are two ways that glass can be secured for use in residential doors. Toughened glass is heat-treated to be stronger, whilst laminated glass is coated with an invisibly thin layer of plastic that stops a cracked pane from breaking into pieces.
Door designs are continually being upgraded according to the latest security innovations. Modern doors engineered to the highest security standards have no weak points to exploit.
Common methods for breaking in through a door include cutting or kicking through the door slab, jemmying or levering the door open at the lock, or snapping off the handles. That’s why it’s important for all parts of the door to work together, leaving no weak spots.
Modern door slabs are thicker than ever, frames reinforced, and glazing tougher. At the same time, locking systems and hardware have also become more robust. For example, door glazing is now always internally beaded to stop glass from being lifted out, and multi-point locking secures the door to the frame at regular intersections.
Types of door lock
There are many options regarding house locks, with each offering varying levels of safety and security. You might have heard of ‘Yale’ or ‘Chubb’ locks – these are brand names for lock companies who will offer some of the following types of locks.
Entrance doors sometimes have two locks: a deadlock to secure the door to the frame and a second lock for convenience. Night latches enable you to leave without a key, as the door latch will lock behind you. You can also unlock the door and push, for a handle-less entry.
Also known as ‘Yale locks’, night latches can be secured from the inside by sliding across a snib button. Still, they are often paired with a second, mortice deadlock for additional security.
PVCu doors with locks in the handles feature a ‘euro cylinder’ lock, which allow or prevent the handle from turning, and the door opening. Poor quality cylinder locks are responsible for around 25% of burglaries, so it’s important to make sure that ‘anti-snap’ hardware is used.
Multi-point, bi-directional locking system
If you’re buying a new door, the likelihood is that it will contain multi-point locking – one key-operated lock that activates a series of bolts long the length of the door, securing it to the frame. Some bolts curve up whilst others face down, hooking into the frame so that the door cannot be lifted or jemmied from any angle.
You can tell if your door has multi-point locking, as the handle will have to be lifted before the door can be locked. On average, doors have about 3 locking points, but some doors feature 5 or more hooks. Some doors even feature shootbolt locking, with additional bolts that spring into place at the head and foot of the door.
Door chains are a simple yet effective way to prevent intruders from opening the door far enough to enter. Chains are permanently fixed onto the frame and slide into a track on the door to secure. We always advise our customers to consider a door chain or a spyhole, because this gives you the power to refuse entry to undesirable guests.
Some patio doors can be lifted off their track – this is known to the police as a way intruders gain entry into a house. Some patio doors feature anti-lift security strips which prevent doors from being lifted out of the frame from the outside.
Energy efficient doors
You’ve paid for your heating – your doors need to help you keep the heat in your home. Doors that offer excellent thermal insulation use a combination of elements to reduce heat loss. Glass units feature double or triple glazing with specially coated glass and a gas-filled cavity. Frames contain multiple chambers and additional thermal barriers to prevent heat transfer. Q-Lon seals are effective in preventing heat loss through the gaps.
Another important element is the door rebate. A rebated door is one which overlaps the frame ever so slightly, creating a barrier for air to escape or rain to enter. Some doors even have a double rebate, meaning there are two sets of weather seals and barriers, and twice the insulating capacity. Dual rebated doors are around 50% thicker than other doors, at around 68-70mm thick (compared to 44mm as standard).
Windows are rated using Windows Energy Ratings (WER), however doors are measured by their U values – one of the components of the WER system.
The U value is the technical way to measure a door’s thermal performance. U values are calculated by the equation W/m2k, which measures heat loss in watts (W) per square metre of material, when the temperature (k) outside is at least one degree lower. The lower the U value, the better the insulation provided by the material – a U value of 0 means that no heat is escaping.
A solid wooden door has a typical U value of around 3.0 W/m²K and a standard PVCu or aluminium door achieves between 1.5 and 2.0 W/m²K. A triple glazed composite door can reach a U value as low as 0.6 W/m²K – better than the energy performance of an external wall!
Sound insulating doors
By upgrading to modern double-glazed doors, you are likely to hear the difference in noise levels. triple glazing and you won’t hear anything at all! Triple glazed doors with ‘silent sealed units’ can reduce noise pollution by up to 35 decibels, giving you a quieter and more relaxing living space. We recommended triple glazing for properties next to busy roads, train lines and under flight paths.