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Composite Doors

composite doors

Exterior Composite Doors?

The features, designs & prices.



composite door white

Composite Door White

Since their first introduction during the 1990’s as an alternative to uPVC models, composite doors have now established themselves at the top of the range for external doors, both in terms of appearance and performance.

You can fit a composite door to the front or back of your home, for your patio door or even your garage.

Whilst composite doors share a lot of features in common with other contemporary house doors, there are quite a few significant differences in both form and function.

Part of getting the best door for the job, is getting it fitted properly. Whilst doing the job yourself can seem an attractive cost saving measure, you really need to have the skills to do the job.

Hanging a modern, quite complex, composite door in the frame (which itself needs to be well fitted) is not just a simple matter of screwing it onto a set of hinges, it needs to be adjusted and trimmed to function properly. Badly adjusted doors within “out of square” frames will have problems opening & closing and the locks may not engage properly.

The initial upfront savings could easily be offset by the longer term issues. We recommend that you use the services of a FENSA or CERTASS registered professional.

Page Contents

1 What are Composite Doors?

  • What are the main features & what are they made from? Go to section

2 Composite Door Designs.

  • What are the different types of composite doors & how much do they cost. Go to section

Having a broader knowledge about the main features of composite doors can help you decide if they the right choice for your home.

What is a Composite Door?

Composite door features & construction material.



Composite doors

Blue composite front door

The name comes from the manufacturing process of the door – they are a composite of different materials such as uPVC, timber, GRP (Glass Reinforced Polymers) and rigid insulating foam.

The outer skin of the doors is made from 2.5mm thick GRP, which provides composite doors with their primary appearance. GRP is very tough (used in car panels & boat hulls). It is formed into shape by using a mould and easily takes on the texture of any surface used in the moulding process.

This ability to take on a detailed texture makes them a favourite to use with a “wood-grain” effect surface, but they can also be produced with a very high gloss surface.

The average composite door will be fitted within a 70mm steel reinforced door frame. The door leaf itself will be around 44mm thick (basic uPVC & timber 28mm).

The door sub-frame and inner framing can be made from uPVC, hardwood or engineered timber with a high density polyurethane core. The edges of the doors are usually “banded” with uPVC Strips.

This combination of materials makes a composite door visually appealing, very strong, impact damage resistant, secure and energy efficient – everything you possibly could want from a front or back door.

Components of Composite Doors

  1. UPVC edge banding strips.
  2. Steel reinforced outer frame.
  3. GRP outer door skin.
  4. Timber Sub-frame (hardwood or engineered wood).
  5. High density polyurethane core.

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Composite Front Door Cutaway Image

What are the main features of composite doors?

colour separator

Appearance

The outer skin of Glass Reinforced Polymer is the key to the superior visual appeal of composite doors. We already mentioned the ability of GRP to accept detailed texturing or high glass surface finishes and this feature allows manufacturers to produce wood-grain effects that are stunning.

However, if you want a brand new front door that is super shiny and smooth, then a composite door is also the perfect solution.

Colour

Unlike timber, aluminium or uPVC, the door colour is not a surface paint, stain, varnish or foil, the door skin itself is coloured all the way through – i.e. a red composite door is made from red GRP, not painted red. This means you can’t scratch the colour off the surface.

Composite colours

Up to 20 colour options

Some colour options include
  • Black-Brown / Cream / White
  • Red / Cherry Red
  • Chartwell Green/ Dark Green
  • Grey / Anthracite Grey / Slate grey
  • Dark Blue / Duck-egg blue
  • Light wood / Dark Wood

Durability

A rated composite doors

Door Energy Rating Label From BFRC

The Glass Reinforced Polymer skin of the door can take a lot of punishment without degrading. GRP is highly impact and damage resistant and due to the colour going all the way through the skin (if you do manage to scratch them), the scratch will be less visible. The colour is also resistant to fading from exposure to UV light (direct sunlight).

 A composite door that is looked after can be expected to last up to 35 years.

Standards that you may see for composite doors are:

  • BS 6375: Strength | Weather-proofing | Reliability
  • PAS 24:2012: A “PAS 24 compliant” door is related to high security standards.
  • CE Mark: Mandatory since 2013 | Water tight | Wind Load | Thermal | Impact resistance | Draught proof | Fit for Purpose

Energy saving

Using a high density insulating foam core adds to the energy efficiency properties of the door and in combination with other features such as thicker doors (44mm), weather seals and double glazing where glass is required, makes composite doors exceptionally energy efficient.

Doors, in the same way as windows, have energy ratings. The ratings are typically supplied by BFRC or BSI and are alphabetical & colour coded for simplicity. Door energy rating labels will show the rating from A (maybe A+ or A++) to G. The A rating is the most efficient.

Basically there are 2 aspects to look at, heat gain (G-value) and heat loss (U-value) and as a general guide, you can aim for a low U-value. The energy rating is also more important if you are fitting a door that is more than 50% glass, as it will need to comply with building regulations – C is the lowest value accepted to meet current building regulations.

Security & Accessability

Multi-point and 3 or 5 lever cylinder locks offer high levels of security. With the door closed and the multi-point locks engaged, the forced entry resistance is so high that it’s as good as impenetrable to all “wanna-be” intruders.

locking-examples

Hooks, Claws & Mushrooms

At the top end of the range for security there are products independently tested for their performance. Once such accreditation is “Secured by Design”. This accreditation is from the Association of Chief Police Officers, and once awarded, is proof that the product has met stringent levels of design security.

For front, back and patio doors, there are low threshold options which can easily accommodate the use of wheelchair access and make it suitable for elderly, infirm or disabled persons.

What are the different composite door designs available?


Of course, as you would expect, you can find composite doors in different designs so that you can use them all around your property in places such as:

Composite Front Doors

Designed to be visually stunning, with energy saving properties that exceed average standards. Available in many colours, finishes and sizes.

Composite Back Doors

As secure and energy efficient as their front door counterparts, composite back doors offer unparalleled performance in looks, lifespan and security.

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Composite Patio Doors

Patio doors are a very popular feature in British homes and composite patio doors are an excellent choice. Available in Sliding, Bifold or French patio door designs.

Composite Garage Doors

You need a garage door that can take knocks, bumps and a hard life. Composite garage doors can take treatment that would be intolerable to timber or steel products and still look great and function properly for many years.

How much do composite doors cost?

price guides


Approximate size (mm) Basic Specification Price Range
 1980 x 762 White Solid Front Door From £800 to £1,100
 1980 x 762 Part Glazed Back Door From £700 to £1,000
2000 x 2100 French Patio Door From £1,100 to £1,500
Standard up & over  (1 car size) garage door From £750 supply only

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Simon Emerson
Simon Emerson
Simon has a long and successful background in the construction industry, going straight into building from college. A regular and valued contributor of many home improvement articles on the web.