How to Choose a New Front Door
It’s the first thing you and your visitors see, so make sure your front door is the right fit – literally
Professional advice from: Joe Halsall of Origin Doors and Windows; Victoria Viro of Cerberus Doors; Jarek Musial of Bespoke Front Door
When it comes to selecting a material for your front door, the obvious choice is wood, but this isn’t the only option. “There are many different types of doors on the market today, ranging from composite, aluminium, solid wood and even cladded steel,” Victoria Viro says. “The best option is to go for a material that’s low-maintenance, so there’s less hassle in the future.”
Joe Halsall adds: “Timber doors offer strength, but wood is more likely to warp, expand or contract when exposed to the elements, which can make a door draughty or difficult to open. Wooden doors may also need treating for rot or discolouration to the finish.”
If you decide on a timber door, Accoya can be a great option, Jarek Musial says. “It’s a [modified] high-performance, long-lasting and sustainable timber that’s perfect for front doors. It also exhibits excellent paint-retention properties, and its flat, smooth grain provides the perfect canvas for paint,” he adds.
Victoria adds: “Medite Tricoya is very popular at the moment, due to its durability and easy maintenance. It’s an extreme type of MDF and can be used in situations and applications where normal MDF panels couldn’t be used.”
After something modern? Aluminium doors are strong and can add a cool, industrial look – plus they won’t expand or contract every time the temperature rises or dips.
“We highly recommend aluminium for its unparalleled strength and durability,” Joe says. “The doors have no risk of warping, are not prone to wear, and require minimal cleaning.”
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Glazing is commonly incorporated into front doors, as it’s great for brightening up a dark hallway. Stained glass is a nice option in a period property, as it can add a decorative touch.
“We’ve seen a massive interest in stained glass this year. It’s a lovely feature if you have a traditional front door,” Victoria says.
The amount of glazing people opt for varies. “Some homeowners will incorporate a lot of glass to enhance natural light in the hallway, usually if it’s a more traditional home, while others go for an ultra-modern, seamless style with no glazing,” Joe says.
However, standard glass can obviously be broken, so it needs to be the right type in a front door. “To secure your entrance, double-glazed, laminated glass is the best option to ensure intruders don’t get in,” Victoria says.
Many homeowners like to choose a door that’s sympathetic to the era of their home. “Replacing a battered or warped front door with a beautiful new one that looks perfect for the house should make an appreciable difference to the value of your home and is a shrewd investment,” Jarek says. “Choose a door from the wrong era and the reverse could be true.”
“Do your research,” Victoria advises. “Identify what period your property’s from: if it’s a 1930s build, then search for this period online, which will provide you with loads of great front door ideas you might not have even thought of. Then you can work around that and choose your favourite colour, hardware and so on. Try to choose a door design that will complement the look of the house.”
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It goes without saying that security is extremely important when you’re choosing a new door. “The front door should provide the highest level of security in your property, as it’s the most exposed point,” Joe says.
“Front doors should incorporate multi-point locks. Also consider high-security hinges, as these are often a point of weakness that could be exploited by an intruder,” he continues. “The cylinder (aka locking barrel) is often seen as a major weakness on a front door. It’s usually how a burglar would gain entrance. If security is a major concern, we would recommend upgrading to a TS007 3-star cylinder.”
“As well as a good lock, it’s important to ensure the construction of the door is robust as well,” Victoria adds.
Don’t be tempted to buy too cheap a product. “Front doors are used for everyday access, so yours should be built to last and withstand frequent usage. I’d recommend choosing a front door that’s undergone extensive cycle testing [which tests endurance over repeated openings],” Joe says.
And don’t forget to factor in door furniture. “If you’re picking a funky pattern on your front door, you’ll need to consider whether it could block you from being able to add a letterbox, spy hole or knocker,” he says.
It’s vital to get accurate measurements when fitting a door. Not being able to get in or out of your house due to ‘stickiness’ every time it rains is no fun, and nor is having a gap letting in howling winds.
“You should take three measurements of the height – at either side and down the centre – and the same again for the width – at the top, middle and bottom,” Joe advises. “However, we would always recommend getting a professional in to ensure a perfect fit.”
Joe points out that door style is often about personal preference along with other elements, such as the home’s windows. “We’ve seen many cases where a modern front door has been fitted into a traditional property and it works very well because the windows have been updated at the same time. More people are matching their front door to their windows,” he says.
“Reeded glass and antique bronze furniture are popular,” Jarek says, “as are light-coloured doors.”
“On modern doors, we’re seeing a trend towards stainless-steel bar handles instead of a traditional lever handle,” Joe adds. “More people are moving away from white to grey when replacing windows, and we’ve seen more homeowners purchasing grey doors, too.”
What type of front door have you gone for and why? Share your thoughts in the Comments.