New or Replacement Front Doors
What are the most popular front doors designs, styles & prices?
At some point, you may find yourself faced with the need to replace your front door because it’s become worse for wear or maybe you want to change from one material to another for performance of appearance reasons.
Whichever it is, having a good understanding of what options are available to you before you set out to find your door will be very useful – if you also have a good idea of the kind of market prices to expect, that will also prove helpful in guiding you towards a good deal (or away from a bad one).
The things we are going to cover on this page are:
Unfortunately, like it or not, passers-by, friends, family and visitors alike sometimes (even unknowingly) form an opinion about you from your front door. More worrying though, is the fact that criminals will also be looking at your front door and forming an altogether different opinion.
Two good reasons for taking the time to find the strongest, longest lasting and most attractive front door for your budget.
What are the typical front door designs?
What do they look like & what are the different materials used?
You could group the visual designs of front doors into three categories based on glazed, part glazed or non-glazed options and then further identify them by the primary construction material used to manufacture the door.
In terms of how much glass to use in a front door, there are no rules that determine how much or how little glazing can be used, it is a matter of personal preference. But any glass sections, where fitted, should be toughened double glazed glass at least.
There is not a great deal of variation in the dimensions of the average front door in the UK, but as you may expect, over-sized or bespoke front doors can be made to order. In most cases, where the front door aperture is greater (wider or higher) than would comfortably fit the average sized door, homeowners fit side or top panels to take up the extra space.
|Typical UK Front Door Sizes, not including frame. – (35 to 45 mm thick)|
|6 feet 6 inches (or 1981mm)||2 feet 6 inches (or 762mm)|
|6 feet 6 inches (or 1981mm)||2 feet 9 inches (or 838mm)|
|6 feet 8 inches (or 2032mm)||2 feet 8 inches (or 813mm)|
Popular front door design types
What are the different materials used to make a front door?
1 Timber Front Doors
A real wooden front door still holds a lot of appeal to many homeowners. The proof is out there in that manufacturers of uPVC & aluminium doors have gone to the trouble of producing “wood-grain effect” models.
Soft wood front doors need a lot of maintenance which, for some, offsets the low purchase price range. Hardwood front doors fare much better, but will still need to be painted or stained regularly to keep up their appearance. A beneficial side effect of this is that you can easily change the colour of a timber door whenever you feel like.
Any kind of timber is a good insulator, so the door itself will do its’ part to keep out the cold, but as with any front door these days, glass sections should be double glazed.
Our Timber Front Door Rating
• Visual appeal: 90% – but needs to be looked after.
• Endurance: 60% to 70% – Hardwood has the higher rating.
• Forced entry & fire resistance: 60% – unless you have a fire rated door
• Reaction to long term adverse weather: 60% – wood shrinks and expands in dry or wet conditions.
• Energy savings potential: 60% – timber is a natural insulator but does not have specific features like the other types.
• Up-front cost: Lowest to high. Softwood front doors can be cheap, hardwood doors costlier.
2 uPVC Front Doors
Manufactured from a hard, very durable vinyl polymer, uPVC front doors are massively popular in the UK. With a reputation of lasting a very long time without having an excessive need to be looked after, they are also widely available and comparatively well priced.
The uPVC front door colour range is quite wide at about 20 shades to choose from and, as we said earlier, there are also “wood-grain effect” surface finishes. You are not going to have to paint them and keeping them clean is just a matter of washing down as required.
In our opinion, front doors made from uPVC offer higher damage resistance than timber because they come with reinforced frames and panels, together with multi-point locks as standard, unlike a regular timber version.
One drawback of some lower quality uPVC front doors is that they can look “cheap” and plastic.
Our uPVC Front Door Rating
• Visual appeal: 70% -75% – if you buy a low quality one it can look plastic.
• Endurance: 85% to 90% – a good one will last decades.
• Forced entry & fire resistance: 90% – uPVC is not really flammable like timber and is very impact resistant.
• Reaction to long term adverse weather: 90% – no shrinkage or expansion issues.
• Energy savings potential: 90% – double glazed uPVC doors are specifically designed to be energy efficient.
• Up-front cost: Mid range, not the cheapest, but not the most expensive.
3 Composite Front Door
Rapidly gaining popularity because of its’ great visual appeal in both glossy and wood-grain effect finished surfaces, composite front doors occupy the higher end of the design range. A big part of the popularity of this product is the visual appeal.
Sometimes confused with a uPVC door, a composite front door shares many similar features and characteristics, with the exception that is the primary outer surface is made from GRP (Glass Reinforced Polymer). GRP is extremely tough, very hard wearing and has the ability to produce very glossy or textured surfaces which are perfect for a front door.
The core contains insulating material and reinforcing elements making composite doors very strong and highly energy efficient, equal to or even bettering the properties of a uPVC front door.
Once again, they are very easy to look after, just keep the door clean and lubricate the moving parts occasionally. Colour selection is extensive with single or twin-colour designs (outside & inside different colours) with outstanding wood-grain versions.
Our Composite Front Door Rating
• Visual appeal: 95% – outstanding.
• Endurance: 90% to 95% – They can take almost anything you can throw at them.
• Forced entry & fire resistance: 90% – not flammable under normal circumstances, impossible to easily force entry.
• Reaction to long term adverse weather: 95% – they don’t react in any significant manner to adverse weather
• Energy savings potential: 95% – purpose built to be energy efficient.
• Up-front cost: High. They are very good, but the price reflects this.
4 Aluminium Front Door
Many suppliers of the “average” aluminium front doors offer aluminium or aluminium clad products. Aluminium clad doors can use wood or UPVC as the other material.
In many ways this design is similar to composite in that there are insulating cores and several different materials used in the overall construction.
As yet, Aluminium, or aluminium clad, front doors don’t have a very big foothold in the majority of the domestic / residential market, but they are an outstanding performer in terms of looks, security and energy efficiency..
Our Aluminium Front Door Rating
• Visual appeal: 95% – some bespoke designs are amazing.
• Endurance: 90% to 95% – Very long lasting entrance doors.
• Forced entry & fire resistance: 95% – High fire resistance and very difficult to force entry.
• Reaction to long term adverse weather: 90% – some lower quality examples may react to air pollutants or salty coastal air.
• Energy savings potential: 95% – purpose built to be energy efficient.
• Up-front cost: Very high. “High-end designer” aluminium doors can cost well over £2,000.
SAFETY & SECURITY.
Modern front doors have many features when it comes to safety & security.
Fitted with 3 & 5 lever mortice locks & with hooks that engage at multiple points around the frames, contemporary double glazed front doors keep unwanted guests out.
SECURED BY DESIGN.
Many contemporary designs are approved by APCO (Association of Chief Police Officers), Secured By Design Doors are independently tested to meet high standards.
Of reported burglaries are from entering through a vulnerable front door - left open or badly secured.
What are the standard & optional front door features?
Adding the personal touch
There are some features that are more or less standard for a double glazed front door and some that are classed as optional extras – so what features can you expect to see as standard?
Standard double glazed door specification should include:
- Door / Frame / Threshold
- Left or right handed opening
- Letter box / Handles / triple hinges
- Multipoint locks / cylinder lock & 3 keys
- Double glazed glass sections (if glazed)
- Part L Building Regulations compliant
- At least a 10-year warranty
Optional extras would most often include the following:
- Coloured finishes for uPVC or composite
- Wood-grain finishes for uPVC or composite
- Spy holes / Numbers / Door knockers
- Low threshold special access options
- Side or top panels
- Door furniture upgrades
- Laminated glass / solar glass
Glass & Glazing Options
For part of the front door where you want to have glass, there are several different things you can consider, terms of appearance, energy saving and safety.
For safety and energy saving you should fit double glazing as standard wherever you are going to put glass – if the glass goes to floor level then it has to be toughened to meet with UK building regulations.
(there are a few rules covering glazing for doors and windows here).
Double glazing is not only more secure it is also energy efficient.
For appearance, you can fit glass that is clear, coloured, patterned, or obscure. Alongside this you could choose to have the glass further modified with diamond. square or other designs of”lead work”.
Aluminium, UPVC & Composite front door colour options.
Clearly, you can choose to paint or stain a timber door any colour at any time, but there is also a decent level of freedom to choose the colour of your aluminium, composite or uPVC front door.
The choice of surface is between smooth or textured, textured being the wood-grain replicating surface. You can expect to have access to 15 to 20 colour combinations for uPVC & composite, but up to over 100 shades for aluminium powder coat paints.
Popular colours for front doors (composite or uPVC) are such as:
- Plain lighter shades: White / Cream / Ice Cream / Vanilla / Barley Water
- Solid Colours: Chartwell Green / Green / Grey / Red / Slate Grey / Black, Brown / Dark Blue
- Timber finishes: Antique Oak / Light Oak / Irish Oak / Mahogany / Rosewood / Walnut
How much do front doors cost?
What are the average front door prices to expect in the current market?
As we covered partly above, there can be quite a difference in prices depending on the materials used to manufacture the door. Also, any optional extras that you choose will also be reflected in the final cost of the front door that you choose.
Don’t forget that the cost of extracting the existing door and fitting the new one will be influenced by the actual amount of work involved, so bear that in mind where, below, you can see some guideline prices for different types of front doors.
|Approximate Door size (without frame)||Primary Construction Material||Average Price Range|
|1980 x 760 mm||White uPVC||£600 to £800|
|1980 x 760 mm||Solid Oak||Circa £900|
|1980 x 760 mm||Aluminum (clad)||Circa £1,100|
|1980 x 760 mm||Composite||Circa £1,000|