This Flint composite front door, perfect for a traditional property, costs between £1,200 and £1,500, Solidor
uPVC front door
When uPVC front doors were first introduced, they were a welcome alternative to the traditional timber front door – lower in cost and with greater thermal performance. However, not everybody appreciates the aesthetics of uPVC and the variety of styles and colours can be limited.
Usually 28mm thick, many people feel they are easy to break into, and, although there have been innovations in the uPVC sector, the popularity of the uPVC front door is diminishing.
Approximate starting price: £600
Glass reinforced plastic (GRP) composite
Composite front doors were introduced to the market around 10 years ago, aimed at homeowners wanting to retain the appearance of a timber door whilst benefitting from modern materials, which require less maintenance and work harder to keep out the draughts. Now they’re a fast-growing option, with sales of composite doors almost doubling year on year.
Usually 44mm thick, GRP doors are the most thermally efficient, but they’re not the most secure. And because colour is normally applied on a white fibreglass skin, GPR doors are prone to scratches. In particular, beware of asking door manufacturers to match any RAL colour, as colour applied in this way is especially at risk of scratching.
Approximate starting price: £900
Timber core composite
Nearly three quarters of all new-build homes this year will have composite doors and they are now more than twice as popular as timber doors amongst home improvers. More environmentally friendly than GRP composite doors, are timber core composite doors; the timber for which is sourced from sustainable forests and can be recycled at the end of the door’s lifetime.
Solid timber core doors with high-performance security features are the most secure front door available, and with a robust thermo-plastic door skin, they’re also the most durable. If you look for a brand with colour applied as a vacuum-formed thermo-plastic ‘skin’, you’ll minimise scratches and eliminate the need for re-painting or touching up.
There are some fantastic traditional and contemporary front door designs out there in some beautiful colours. So whether you’re looking for a standard size, or a door which is bespoke in both size and design, there are timber core composite door manufacturers who can help.
There’s also the option to bring your vision to life using a ‘design a door’ function online or via a phone app – many of these even have the facility to upload a picture of your home to see the impact a new door would make.
Approximate starting price: £1,200
The Milano composite door in grey, with bespoke glass panels, suits a contemporary home. A starting price for the door, excluding side panels, is £1,200, from Solidor
Veneered timber front door
Available off-the-shelf from the large DIY retailers, you can pick up a nice-looking veneered timber door from around £250. You’d need to paint or varnish it before getting started and, once it’s ready, you could either fit it yourself or ask a local builder to do it for you.
A popular option amongst DIYers, the down-sides are that you’ll need to maintain this type of door with annual sanding and re-painting or varnishing; you’ll need some high-quality locks to ensure it’s as secure as possible; and, to keep the chill at bay in winter, you might want to invest in a draught excluder as timber doors are not known for their thermal performance.
Timber doors are also susceptible to the changing weather conditions, so you might find a timber door sticking in the frame at certain times of the year.
Approximate starting price: £250
Solid hardwood front door
A bespoke, solid hardwood front door will add a touch of luxury to any home. Ideal for period properties, a solid hardwood front door will be made-to-measure and can be designed to a large extent by the homeowner. The end result is likely to be a high-quality front door that will last for many years – but you’ll need to be willing to look after it in order to protect your investment.
Any paint or varnish will inevitably need to be re-applied as the colour fades or peels away.
And without care and attention, a solid hardwood door may crack, absorb water and eventually rot.
Approximate starting price: £2,000