Your front door is the main thoroughfare into your home. The front door has to be many things; it has to look good, be high quality and be in keeping with the rest of the building. You probably want your front door to be inviting to visitors and to make you feel at home when you walk up to it at the end of a long day. But perhaps, most importantly, you need your front door to be safe, strong, secure and durable. UPVC doors are the most popular door design in the UK for a good reason. They look good, they are low maintenance, excellent value for money, and perform very well in all aspects of durability and security.
UPVC is the material most commonly used in modern external doors. Generally, this refers to the front, side and back doors of a domestic home. However, these doors have been used for commercial builds, sheds, cabins, garages and greenhouses. UPVC doors are now so popular due to their competitive price point, their durability and the relatively low labour costs associated with their manufacture and installation.
UPVC (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride) is a chemically resistant and rigid material derived from the plastic known as PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). PVC is a flexible plastic that is not particularly durable, so is obviously no good for the construction of doors or windows. UPVC uses the formula of PVC as a foundation. Stabilizers and additives are applied to the material in order to form a rigid and resistant material perfect for doors and window frames. So, as not to confuse things, here is a look at the main differences between PVC and UPVC.
|USES||Toys, clothes, pipes and cable insulation.||Window frames, doors, plumbing and drainage.|
|PROPERTIES||Durable, flexible and cheap.||Fireproof, recyclable, durable and rigid.|
|DOES IT CONTAIN BPA?||Yes||No|
|DOES IT CONTAIN PHTHALATES?||Yes||No|
|NAME||PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)||UPVC (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride)|
When you get a quote for your UPVC door, the projected cost will most probably include installation. Whilst it is possible to fit your own door, it is actually quite affordable to get a professional to do it for you. We recommend that you do this, as the potential cost of rectifying the problems caused by a badly fitted door could far outstrip the cost of just getting it done professionally in the first place. Also, any professional fitter worth their salt will also take your old front door away, so that’s a bonus! Here is a breakdown of the average cost of the installation of a UPVC door valued at £350.00
|Labour (1x Carpenter and 1x Labourer)||£250.00 per day|
Many front doors require a matching side panel. For a door of the above value, you can expect to pay around an extra £200.00 for the side panel.
Before you get anything bought or fitted, you should have a qualified carpenter come around to survey your property. They will be able to advise you about what to buy and will point out any special requirements that the installation of your UPVC door may include. Make sure your carpenter has a good reputation and is FENSA registered.
Fitting a UPVC door does take skills and knowledge. Although it is a good idea to leave it to the pro’s, anyone who has good construction or DIY skills and knowledge can do the job if they take care of it. The first hurdle is that you really do need two people to fit a door, so you’ll need to find another able-bodied person to help you out! Do you have the skills to give it a go? Take a look at what the basic process of fitting a UPVC door entails and decide:
||Take three vertical and three horizontal measurements. Deduct 1cm from the smallest measurement of the three: that is the measurement you should go with.|
||Order your door based on your measurements. When you receive your new door, be sure to inspect its condition straight away and to ensure that it is the right size.|
||Remove your old door with care, making sure that none of the brickwork is damaged. This can best be achieved by prying it away from the wall with a chisel and hammer.|
||Add any accessories to the door whilst it is still on the floor. It is much harder to do this once the door is fitted on to the wall.|
||Position your new door into its opening. Checking regularly that it is level, drill through the frame to the brickwork and secure with appropriate bolts. Make sue that you bolt the hinged side first and check that the door swings and closes without scraping the floor or ceiling.|
||There should be one horizontally and one vertically from the bottom on the hinge side. There should be one horizontally and one vertically from the top on the lock side.|
||Make sure the door closes and locks. Then fill in the beads and tap down.|
||Grab a screwdriver and adjust the latch and hinges until they operate smoothly.|
||Seal the door to the brickwork using silicone sealant. Both the door and the wall must be spotlessly clean before this to ensure that the sealant adheres to both surfaces properly.|
There are many UPVC doors on the market, manufactured by many different companies. The best way to get an idea of which doors are worth buying is by looking at customer reviews. It is good to get as many reviews and opinions as you can about any product you are about to purchase in order to get a balanced picture of how it has performed. Feefo is the place to visit to discover consumer opinion of the UPVC doors offered by the biggest and most successful companies. People have reviewed UPVC products from businesses such as Safestyle, Anglian and the UPVC Company.
UPVC doors have long been the go-to product for modern new builds, extensions and renovations. However, even though UPVC doors are hard wearing, cost-effective and reasonably secure, the advances in technology as far as doors are concerned to have seen the creation of composite doors. Composite doors are fast becoming mainstream, which is no surprise considering the benefits they offer.
The main difference between UPVC doors and composite doors is that the material known as UPVC is made purely from plastic. Composite doors, however, are ‘composed’ from a combination of materials. These materials will have been selected to take advantage of their specific properties, coming together to make a composite material that is waterproof, durable, strong and secure. Composite doors are formed by pressing and glueing several different materials together under conditions of extremely high pressure.
Another big difference between UPVC doors and composite doors is the weight! The average UPVC door is about 3cm thick. The average composite door, on the other hand, is around 4.5cm thick. This does add to the security that they offer, but they are also much heavier, so do need a little more foundation and support than their UPVC counterparts require.
Let’s delve a little deeper into the differences between UPVC doors and composite doors.
|SECURITY PERFORMANCE||UPVC doors perform extremely well as far as security is concerned; easily outperforming its wooden counterparts. The strengthened plastic does not break easily, but the glass within may shatter when impaled.||Composite doors do, however, outperform UPVC doors here. The majority of their composite materials comprise of plastics reinforced with glass. This material is virtually impenetrable! The double-glazed window panes are also made from laminated glass, which will not fall out of the frame if shattered.|
|VARIETY||UPVC doors do have some variety to them. Most producers stock a similar range of designs with three to five finishes, including door finishes such as white, oak, birch and rosewood.||As composite doors are becoming more popular, the ranges offered by most vendors is much wider. This is true both in the actual finish of the composite material and the design of the glass within the panes.|
|AESTHETIC||Again, most UPVC designs are fairly standard. This can be tricky if the aesthetic of your home or project is very specific; this is often a problem found in listed buildings and conservation sites. Most standard UPVC doors don’t compliment ornate Victorian bay windows particularly well!||The materials used in composite doors are often tailor-made to the project. So, there is much more scope for flexible design. Because of this, it is easier to find a composite door that will fit the design and feel of your house.|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||UPVC has a lifespan of around 20 years. This demonstrated great value for money as UPVC I extremely affordable. However, this 20-year lifespan only holds up if your door is not put under any extreme strain.||Although composite doors are more expensive than doors made from UPVC, they do last longer. Their 35-year expected lifespan is no subject to the abuse it gets due to their fantastic durability. They may be more expensive on the face of it but are better value for money in the long run.|
As always, the range of UPVC doors available is large, as there are hundreds of different designs available, to make sure that there is an external door to fit every preference and purpose. People tend to require less design elements to their back and side doors, so the average price of these is less than that of the average UPVC front door. Back and side doors typically cost within the range of £250.00 and £350.00. The average front door price, on the other hand, is much more difficult to pin down, as many people have their UPVC front doors made specifically for their requirements. But to give you an idea of what different elements might add to the price of your door, take a look at the following table:
|UPVC DOOR ELEMENT||EXPLANATION||MAXIMUM POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL COST|
|GLASS||The majority UPVC front doors incorporate windows into their design. The price will be higher if you opt to use double-glazing instead of single-glazing. The price will also differ based on the design of the glass; these design choices might include tinted windows, safety glass or highly decorate windows such as stained glass.||£50.00|
|COLOUR||The standard colour for a UPVC door is white. If, however, you want to veer away from the norm and venture into other colours and textures such as black, green, red, oak, rosewood or birch, an extra cost will be incurred.||£150.00|
|INSULATION||Cheap front doors can often leak cold air. If you are aiming to make your home warmer and a bit more energy efficient you might wish to add extra insulation to your new door.||£30.00|
|DOOR GRIDS||Period houses often have grids and bars laced throughout their windows. Georgian houses are a particularly good example of this. If you are looking to match your period glazing within your front door, then bars and grids will push the price up.||£80.00|
|ACCESSORIES||There are many extra bits that can be added to a standard front door. All these little things cost a little extra!
||Prices are for each item.|
A standard UPVC door fitted with double glazing normally sits within the range of £300.00 to £400.00. It is possible to upgrade that to triple glazing. This is likely to increase the cost of your door bay around 5%.
You can save a huge amount of money if you get your doors replaced at the same time as your windows. If both need doing you’d be foolish not to take advantage of the potential saving! Unit price does tend to go down when you buy in bulk; this truth applies to almost anything. This ‘bulk buy’ also cuts down on labour and consultation costs. Most of the leading door, window and UPVC companies now offer competitive door and window packages. So, if this is something that you think might benefit the renovation plans you have for your home, make sure you shop around for a good deal!