Your front door is the first impression people have of your home and is usually an extension of the interior design. Whether you’re replacing your current front door, or looking for the perfect door to complete a new build, choosing this main door is an important decision that will impact the overall look of your exterior.
Although appearance is crucial, there are a number of different elements you will need to consider when choosing a front door.
The most popular materials for the main door are wood, aluminum, composite, and PVCu. The material you choose will likely be affected by the style of door you want to buy, along with security and insulation options the different materials all offer.
Solid wooden doors are always a popular choice, particularly for a classic look, but if you’re choosing a wooden front door you will need to think about the long-term costs as well as the initial expense. Wooden doors are prone to warping and will need to be inspected yearly for any signs of damage and to check if they need re-varnishing.
Low-maintenance materials like composite, PVCu, and aluminum tend to be more popular options than solid wood, meaning that there is usually a wider range of styles to choose from.
Depending on the overall finish of your home, the main door you choose should be in a style that will complement it. Modern builds will need modern doors, whilst older houses will look odd with these. For traditional looking homes, a classic look is more appropriate, and a solid wooden door with a dark varnish remains a popular choice.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all front entrances are the same size, and the style of doors available for you to choose from might be limited if you don’t have a standard size entrance.
Once you have decided on the material you would like your main door to be made of and chosen a style that suits the finish of your home, it’s time to decide what colour you would like your door to be. Muted colours like, black, white, navy, and grey are popular choices, but a bright colour like red will liven up the look of the property, and make a real statement.
Safety is one of the crucial elements you need to consider when choosing a front door. Modern doors like aluminum and steel are easily upgradable to an electric or fingerprint lock – ideal if you find yourself losing your keys a lot, or are looking to add an extra layer of security.
Aside from meeting your personal safety requirements, the front door you choose must conform to Building Regulations Part Q. This section states that all new front doors must be able to resist physical attack by a burglar. In line with Part Q, the door should also be fitted with a door viewer, a door limiter, and a letter plate that people can’t stick their hands through.
Another safety standard to look out for when choosing your front door is British Standards BS3621, relating to thief-resistant locks. When insuring your home, one of the requirements is usually to have at least one lock on your front door that conforms to this standard, so it’s a feature worth looking for when you are choosing your new front door.
Like windows, all external doors to your home need to be properly insulated, to prevent your home from leaking heat. Construction materials alone aren’t a good indicator of a door insulating capabilities, so you will need to understand insulating values to choose a front door that will be sufficiently insulated.
The thermal efficiency of a door – referred to as it’s U-value – is calculated based on the rate and amount of heat that can pass through the door. The lower the U-value, the more efficient the door is at insulating your home and currently building regulations state that all doors must achieve a U-value of less than 1.8 W/m².
Although you can buy a standard front door for around 300 or less, this is often a false economy and the money you save when purchasing it could end up costing you further down the line in heating bills, damage, or even a burglary if the door isn’t secure enough.
When you are shopping for a new door, you will also need to factor in additional costs like the price of delivery and installation, and the cost of the accompanying frame.