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Composite Doors – Everything You Need to Know

Having a secure, stylish, and low-maintenance front door is a must-have for your property. But what type of door do you choose? There are many different styles including uPVC and timber. In this article, we look at one of the most popular choices – the composite door. A traditional composite door offers many benefits in comparison to uPVC and timber doors. We explore the benefits, and what these doors are made of below!

Multiple Composite Doors

What is a Composite Door?

First, let’s look at what a traditional composite door is made of, how much it costs, and the features you can expect.

Composite doors – a basic explanation

A composite is a combination of materials. Whilst a single material i.e. uPVC has a range of benefits, a composite material can have a multitude of benefits and features. Each material used in the composite can contribute something to make the whole item better.

This is exactly the case with a composite front door. These doors are made from an amalgamation of different materials. The result is a door that is much stronger, and more durable than traditional uPVC and timber doors.

Common materials used in traditional composite doors

The exact materials used in a composite front door depend on the door supplier.

One of the most common materials, however, is GRP. GRP = Glass Reinforced Plastic (Or more commonly known as fibreglass). This is used for the external part of the door. GRP is incredibly tough and weatherproof – it’s actually used in the construction of many fishing boats!

This GRP is then typically fused onto the internal frame. The internal frame is usually made from a combination of layered uPVC and hardwood. This combination of hardwood and uPVC makes for a frame that has great rigidity.

Inside the frame, a type of polyurethane foam is often injected too. This helps greatly boost the thermal efficiency of composite doors.

Lastly, the doorframe is usually constructed from a type of steel reinforcement which helps improve security.

Composite front door features

One of the great things about composite doors is that they come in many styles and door colours. For example, you can get doors that emulate traditional panelled cottage doors. Alternatively, some composite doors have an exterior that emulates a wooden finish, complete with an authentic graining effect.

You can also get a range of panel configurations, window inserts, a side panel, handle styles, and lock styles. Many manufacturers also allow you to customize door designs to suit your specific style and needs.

The typical cost of a composite door

A new composite door is generally more expensive than a uPVC door. For example, you can get basic uPVC doors for £300 or less. In contrast, composite doors are typically £500 or more.

The cost depends heavily on the door designs. For example, if you choose a factory standard composite door, without any modifications, you can expect to spend between £500-600.

However, a manufacturer will often allow you to heavily customize a standard composite door. This means the price can vary radically. For example, you may want a different colour option. Alternatively, you may want a different finish letterbox or door handle.

Glass inserts also drastically increase the cost of a composite door range. If you choose a door with several large glass panes in, for example, you can expect the cost to increase by a few hundred or more.

What are the Benefits of Composite Doors?

So why should you choose a composite front door? Surely a simple uPVC door is the better option? This may not be the case! In the section below, we have outlined the features and benefits of composite doors and how they are superior to traditional uPVC and timber doors.

Greater longevity

Did you know that a GRP composite front door has a life expectancy of 35 years or more? This is far superior to uPVC and wooden doors.

A composite front door will not crack or peel. Also, it should not fade or warp. Even after 10 years, you should still notice little difference from the day it was installed. Although they may cost more, this life expectancy and durability make a contemporary composite door a superior long-term investment.

Composite door and patio

Durable and hard-wearing

A common issue with uPVC and timbers doors is that they are more susceptible to wear and tear. For example, maybe you have children who may accidentally knock or bump the door. Over time, uPVC or wooden doors would get chipped and scratched.

In contrast, composite doors are highly durable. The materials they are made from mean they are much more resistant to damage from bumps, kicks, knocks, and denting. This is also aided by the strong GRP material.

Great heat efficiency

uPVC and wooden doors often have poor thermal efficiency. This is due to the warping and shifting within the doorframe. In contrast, a composite front door has great thermal efficiency.

This is for several reasons. Firstly, composite doors have an insulated core that utilizes foam. This means that less heat can escape, and the doors usually have an energy efficiency rating of A.

Secondly, composite doors are less prone to warping. As a result, if the installers do a great job, there should never be any gaps between the doorframe where heat can escape.

Versatile and stylish designs

There is no denying that composite doors are also incredibly stylish. You can find a wide range of composite doors that mimic different styles.

For example, some composite door styles emulate traditional timber doors. These door styles look as good as real wooden doors, and are more durable!

Also, a composite door range usually includes a wide variety of door colours. You can easily find composite door styles to suit the style and colour of your house, from traditional stable door styles to more modern and contemporary. Lastly, many manufacturers offer a range of composite doors with glass window inserts, different paneling patterns, and handle styles.

Greater security

This type of door is also more secure. Firstly, the combination of materials and steel frame make the door itself more durable and resistant to damage. Secondly, due to the premium construction and fitting, there are usually fewer gaps that burglars could exploit.

You can of course opt for improved security features such as an advanced locking system. However, these are not usually fitted as standard, and you may have to discuss extras like this with the sales team.

Minimum maintenance

Lastly, hardwood doors like these are easier to maintain. To be more precise, they require little to no maintenance at all.

A common issue with timber and uPVC doors is that the exterior often needs re-finishing. This is because paint can peel and crack, and wood can even rot. As a result, over time, you may need to repaint your timber of uPVC door. This obviously adds additional expense and effort.

In contrast, composite doors should never need painting or repairing. The glazing options and exterior surface make the door more durable. At worst, you may have to simply wipe your composite front door with a cloth to remove any dust and debris – easy!

What are the Potential Issues With Composite Doors?

Although these exterior doors are great, it is important to understand their drawbacks too. Luckily, composite front doors have few issues. Also, the issues are common problems associated with most types of doors and are generally unavoidable.

Swelling during hot weather

As with most entrance doors, a composite front door may be prone to swelling during hot weather. This is a natural occurrence that is difficult to prevent. As temperatures increase, the material of the door expands. This can result in the door sticking and being difficult to open.

There are several things you can do to prevent your contemporary composite door from sticking during hot weather. Firstly, during installation, make sure an allowance is given for swelling. Secondly, make sure you have taken correct measurements when sizing up a new door.

Dropping

Another common issue with any type of door is that it may drop over time. Whilst composite doors are durable, they may still drop too. Dropping is mainly a result of loose door hinges.

There are two ways to identify a dropped door. Firstly, you will notice that it is difficult to open – it may scrape along the carpet, for example. Secondly, in extreme cases, you can see that the door isn’t sitting flush in the door frame.

Composite vs uPVC – What is the Difference and Which is Better?

GRP composite doors are generally more expensive than uPVC doors. As a result, it is important to understand the difference. You should also understand why composite doors are the better choice, despite the higher price tag.

Differences

Originally, wooden doors were the main choice for the average household. As technologies improved and new materials were created, uPVC became the popular choice.

uPVC is a type of plastic (Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride) that is the third-most produced in the world. Now, we are seeing a shift towards the composite door.

The main difference between uPVC and composite is the material used during manufacturing. uPVC doors are made from one material – uPVC, and nothing else. In contrast, as seen above, a composite door is made from a combination of materials. These typically include GRP, uPVC, hardwood, steel, and polyurethane foam.

Composite front door in older building

Which is better?

uPVC doors are easier to maintain, and more economical compared to traditional timber doors. However, composite doors go one step further. Although more expensive, GRP composite doors are the better choice.

The combination of materials used in construction means a greater variety of benefits. For example, composite front doors are more durable, look better, and are just as easy to maintain. In addition, they are stronger than uPVC and therefore offer better security. Lastly, this type of door will not warp, fade, or peel like many uPVC door types.

If you want a long-lasting door that is easy to maintain and will keep its colour and lustre, composite front doors are the better choice.

Composite Door FAQs

Q – Can you paint composite doors?

A – Most composite door manufacturers recommend that you do not repaint their doors. It is possible, but the manufacturing process means that repainting a composite door can have varied results. Also, these doors are long-lasting and retain their original colours much longer than uPVC. As a result, repairing to improve the finish should not be necessary.

Q – How long should a new composite door last?

A – A great aspect of GRP composite doors is their longevity. They last much longer than uPVC or traditional wooden doors. Unless seriously damaged, a composite door can last for up to 35 years. This makes them a great long-term investment.

Q – Will a contemporary composite door fade?

A – Wooden doors can crack and peel. uPVC doors can fade, especially in strong sunlight. Composite doors are usually finished in resistant material that reduces fading greatly. As a result, they should continue to look vibrant indefinitely.

Q – Are composite doors safe?

A – Yes! Composite doors are more durable and rigid than traditional uPVC doors. They also often include reinforced steel outer frames which improve security. The locking system is usually similar to uPVC doors.

Q – Can you get internal composite doors?

A – Yes, some manufacturers produce a range of interior doors together with front and back doors. Some manufacturers also produce special composite fire doors.

Conclusion

We hope you have found this guide on composite doors beneficial. Remember that this type of door is made from a composition of materials that give it a variety of benefits compared to uPVC and wooden doors. If you are looking to upgrade or replace your front door, composite products are certainly a great choice.

They offer a host of benefits compared to uPVC doors including improved durability, security, thermal efficiency, and style. You can also rest assured that your new door will have fantastic longevity and you should not have to think about changing it for decades!

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