Doors are like eyes. We can sometimes even believe them to be that part the outward looking face of a property, and very often form opinions (rightly or wrongly) about the character of the home or maybe even the owner.
A solid slab of a door may lend an atmosphere of stability to the property, while full glass doors can give a light and easy going character to a home, and can apply just as much to the back door of your home as the front door.
Unlike the main front entrance door, a back door can often be overlooked or neglected until the time arrives when it desperately needs to be replaced. A back door may be “out of sight”, but it’s not “out of mind” for natural adversaries such as the weather, or physical adversaries such as burglars. A weak back door that is tucked away from prying eyes is a magnet for both opportunist and “career” burglars.
So to give you some idea of what the different options you have, here is a round-up of popular back door designs, options and features.
In general, you would be looking at either a solid back door or one that has some element of glazing within it. For the purposes of this article, we will also be considering solid versions of uPVC and composite as double glazed doors (because, effectively they are one and the same, but without any glazed sections) and stick with the 2 most popular door construction materials, uPVC and composite.
For some of us, choosing a back door may present challenges. But, actually, we can find the right doors if we understand some of basic styles of our houses and then the type of back can more easily be chosen to follow the house style.
Therefore, we will take a look at back doors with “normal” and “rustic” styles.
Modern double glazed back doors can be quite minimalist designs. The outward appearance can appear simple without many frills. They are very good as doors of super-modern minimalist houses. The trend for architect designed doors has created a bespoke market for ultra-modern, super-sleek products that are built to order and have a hefty price tag.
The “normal” double glazed door is probably the most commonly seen in this country. They typically feature up to 6 or 8 “panels”, some or all of which may be glazed.
The glass section could take up the full length of the door or, as in a great many homes, have the top half glazed and the bottom half solid. The reason for having the bottom half solid, is probably due to the fact that low level glass is more vulnerable to breakage than that which starts from half way up the door.
For those who have a wider entrance opening at the rear of their property, the option of using side panels arises, but if you have an opening that is about 1200 mm or over you could take advantage of a set of French Doors for the back entrance.
Once you get over this size threshold you can also start to explore using sliding patio doors instead of a regular door and side panels. The minimum size opening for a back door of this type would be around 1600 mm.
Rustic double glazed back doors are getting increasingly popular nowadays. The reasons may be that it lends a comfortable feeling of a countryside home. The designs are simple and often left with unfinished paints, yet they are always able to generate a “good feeling” to everyone who pass through them.
Cottage doors are usually primarily solid with or have a small glazed section at head height in the shape of a diamond, circle or square. The typical appearance is that of vertical full length slim narrow “planks” of timber surrounded by an outer frame.
Stable doors are a type of variation on the cottage door, as they overall appearance is very often the same but they are made in two sections – 1 top and 1 bottom. The top and bottom halves are separately hinged and can move independent of each other.
The two sections can be locked together to move as a normal door, or the top section can open independently to leave the bottom section closed (it always opens inwards). The top section, when unlocked will always open first. A door design with great charm and appeal.
Though there are several types of back doors, their main features usually have the same characteristics. For instance, they may use similar materials, functions, security features, energy performance, and colour finishes.
Composite back doors are made of a mix of materials. The surface of the door is GRP (Glass Reinforced Polymer) which is very tough and extremely durable.
Whilst inside the core of the door you can find either a solid insulating foam or timber. The timber inside the door could be made from engineered wood, which itself is a composite of laminated strands of timber.
As far as the visual appearance of composite back doors goes, the colour is provided by the GRP itself, not a foil or a spray paint surface – the colour goes all the way through the material. GRP lends itself very well to molding and can produce some stunning realistic wood effect finishes.
They have very high strength and energy efficiency ratings but come with a higher price tag than uPVC back doors.
As hinted to above, uPVC back doors are commonly less expensive than a composite one of the same design. This does not make them a “cheap back door”, but simply less expensive because they use different materials and construction techniques.
UPVC back doors also come in a range of different colours and also wood-grain effect finishes. Back to top
Here is a short list of features that you can find on both types of new or replacement back doors:
The cost of installing double glazed back doors basically can be break down into two parts: the labour costs and the cost of the doors.
The installing process is usually a day job. If we, for example, buy a door supply only and hire an independent team to do the work (hire two persons for the job), we may need £150 per day for a carpenter and £100 for a labourer. So if you see a supply only price, just add £250 and you should have a rough cost guide.
|Door Type||Material||Supply Only|
|2 panel top glazed||white upvc||From £390|
|2 panel top glazed||black upvc||From £590|
|solid cottage + mid-rail||white upvc||From £430|
|solid cottage + mid-rail||grey upvc||From £650|
|2 panel top glazed||white upvc||From £700|
|2 panel top glazed||black upvc||From £900|
|solid cottage + mid-rail||white upvc||From £730|
|solid cottage + mid-rail||grey upvc||From £980|
|Door Type||Material||Supply Only|
|2 panel top glazed||white composite||From £700|
|2 panel top glazed||black composite||From £750|
|solid cottage||white composite||From £590|
|solid cottage||light Oak composite||From £680|
|2 panel top glazed||white composite||From £990|
|2 panel top glazed||red composite||From £1000|
|solid cottage||white composite||From £850|
|solid cottage||black composite||From £870|
It can be expensive to neglect your back door until it fails, so if you don’t want to be put in this position, look after the one you have. But if it’s time to get a change, then you could fit either composite or uPVC back doors and you would be making a good choice.
The price difference is a few hundred pounds, with composite being the costlier, so if you are budget minded then uPVC could be the choice for you.
Both are excellent products that can deliver on appearance, energy efficiency, security and long life span. Which, in our humble opinion, is all you could ask from a new or replacement double glazed back door.