One of the first impressions people get of a house is the front door. It can speak to the security, care and maintenance of a house, and can also reflect a homeowners’ style and aesthetic. As such, choosing the right door can tell guests a lot about you before you even open it.
Of course, as one of the principle barriers between your home and the outside, your exterior doors are continually being punished by differing temperatures, humidity and years of constant use and abuse.
You may need to replace your door if:
If this is the case at your property, and you need to replace your exterior door, then it can pay dividends in the long run to gather as much information as possible before making a decision about which doors to buy and install.
The following buyers guide should help you to make an informed choice about which is the best door for your home in terms of style, material and budget.
What materials are exterior doors made from?
The first thing you need to consider for your exterior door is the materials you want to use. Typically, you would be looking at either composite, wood, uPVC or aluminium.
In terms of safety and home security, it doesn’t get much better than a composite front or back door. Designed to withstand forced intrusions, composite doors have either a hard foam insulating interior layered with steel reinforcing or a solid timber core to make them extra strong.
They are also excellent insulators against cold or heat thanks to their insulated core, storm-proof weather seals & weather-stripping.
Composite doors are also usually more expensive than softwood or uPVC alternatives, but the superb finished appearance, strength and long life span more than compensate for the price difference.
The outer surface of a composite door is made from GRP (glass reinforced polymers) which is what modern speed boats and yachts use for their hulls. It is very scratch and impact resistant so it keeps its looks for years & years.
The colour of a composite door is not painted or sprayed on, the GRP itself is coloured, meaning it does not fade, crack or peel off.
If you opt for the wood-effect surface finish, it is so good that it replicates a timber door to the point where it is very difficult to tell the difference. Apart from the inherent strength of the door itself, the door has reinforced frames and multiple point locks that engage all around the frame for added home security.
How much do composite exterior doors cost?
Depending on the design, colour and size you can expect to see composite door prices in the region of £800 to £1,100 for a fully fitted front door. A black wood-grain, 4 panel solid composite front door with brass furniture, fully fitted, can cost just over £900 – for supply only, the same door would cost around £650.
For most people, a timber exterior door remains a popular choice due to customisation and design options, as well as the opportunity for treatments and accenting. While there is no doubt they look good and are easier to repair than their counterparts, wooden doors require more maintenance than composite or uPVC and, depending on weather conditions, may require replacing more frequently.
Wood, especially softwood, is also prone to rot, insect damage, warping, shrinkage, expansion and contraction issues. Hardwood is a much better option than softwood. It is stronger, more stable and less prone to the issues that plague softwood exterior doors.
Still, for traditional and period buildings, wood may provide the best look and feel (Cedar doors look fabulous). With modern manufacturing designs utilizing engineered wood laminates and insulation, timber exterior doors can still provide all the protection from the elements and intrusion that may be required.
How much do Timber exterior doors cost?
Some high-end timber door designs are really good looking, but pricey. Prices for a standard sized mahogany front door with a few glazed panels will be around £300 to £400 including VAT but supply only. With fitting included you could can add £100 to £150 depending on the work needed.
Hugely popular as a material to use for exterior doors, uPVC offers a lot of benefits when used for door manufacture.
Known for its’ long life-span and durability uPVC is perfect for an exterior door. Although they are not as expensive as composite or aluminium uPVC exterior doors have a lot of feature in common with them.
Multi-point locks, reinforced cores, wood-effect finishes and different colours are all available for uPVC exterior doors, making them strong, secure, long lasting and visually appealing. Maintenance is very simple, just keep them clean & lubricated to enjoy decades of trouble free operation.
How much do uPVC Exterior doors cost?
There are a lot of suppliers for uPVC front & back doors and the average size will be around 6ft 6ins x 2ft 6ins to 2ft 9ins.
Prices for a basic white uPVC front door, supply only, range from £350 to £400 and fully fitted uPVC front doors cost from around £550 to £700.
This is where we get into some very “serious” doors. The design styles in the market are amazing, designers have really got into top gear and have come up with some door styles that are awesome.
You can get some of the most energy efficient products in the market, with aluminium exterior doors that feature fully insulating, super strong cores that even use carbon fibre to increase the structural strength.
For glazing, there are examples in the market using 8mm laminated glass in the sealed units. All modern aluminium doors will have multi-point locks that protect both the handle and the hinge side of the door form forced entry.
How much do exterior aluminium doors cost?
Aluminium exterior doors are great, but they do come at a price, more expensive than timber or uPVC. An average aluminium front door price is quite difficult to find online, but you could expect to see prices equivalent to, or just above, those for composite doors which would be in the region of £1,000 +
You are going to need a really healthy budget for “high-end” aluminium doors, as ex-display (supply only) models can cost £1,500 to £2,500 depending on the door style.
The Traditional door is so common that they are produced in all materials and can even be bought “pre-hung” so you can install them on your existing doorframe the minute you get home (if you prefer to DIY),
Although you can order custom designs as necessary, traditional doors typically a solid front face, some feature raised panels and may be fitted with or without glass inserts.
The Modern style of doors tends to be minimalist both in terms of design and features. These doors tend to be straight and smooth without the raised panels found in Traditional or Craftsmen doors, though some designs may opt to have raised panelling or frosted glass inserts. Modern doors tend to be fairly large despite their lack of extensive detailing.
Patio doors are more often seen at the rear of a property and are usually in the form of French doors or doors. Materials for these styles can also include uPVC, aluminium as well as wood.
You would think that rustic doors are usually found on wood, stone, or brick exterior houses and be made from wood, but these days that is not so.
Many homeowners are finding that the cottage or stable style more desirable and are fitting them to their properties.
As both of these products have a good choice of colour options, including that of a wood-grain effect surface, it allows for folks to have a long lasting secure door that adds character to their home without “breaking the bank” in doing so.
As part of the rustic aesthetic, these doors are often thicker than other styles to convey a sense of ruggedness, and often have heavier and larger hardware sets as well. Various accents can be found in rustic doors, and they can be rectangular or arched, depending on preference.
For some people, the rectangular door is too cliché, so the arched door may be preferred if one is going for a distinctive look to their entryway. However, arched doors will usually be more expensive as they are likely a custom job made-to-order; still, this gives you an opportunity to design based on the style you want for your home.
Along with the shape and style of the door, various accents are available, specifically for custom orders.
These include glass accents or inserts within the door, transoms above the door and side panels alongside the door (stained, frosted, clear, insulated, silk-screened, tinted, reflective, etc.).
The cost of replacement doors in the UK will range depending on door materials, styles and accents, so much so that it is difficult to provide an accurate list of costs here. Door prices can start as low as £200, and installation fees usually begin around £100 as well; depending on materials, design, and accenting, custom doors can run upwards of £1500.
You are best advised to compare prices from at least 3 or 4 suppliers, particularly if you are looking for custom doors. You can also save money if you simply need to replace the door and not the framing by purchasing a “supply-only” door and installing it yourself.