Doors Buying Guide

Doors buying guide

The Everest guide to everything you need to know about buying new external doors for your home.

Doors buying guide

You may already know what makes a door look good, but what is it that makes a door a reliable and solid performer? Whether you're looking for entrance, patio or bi-folding doors, your new doors will need to meet a wide range of requirements to keep you safe, warm and comfortable in your home. At Everest, we have used our knowledge and experience to help guide you through the process of buying a quality external door with confidence.

What to look for in a new door

A good door stands out because of its fantastic looks, but a great door often goes unnoticed thanks to its reliability and consistent high performance.

Doors can play a pivotal role in creating a lasting first impression, as well as enhancing the security and energy efficiency levels of your home. But there's so much to consider when choosing a new or replacement door set! And with so many advances in design, materials and technology in recent years, there's now even more to learn.

We believe that in helping you understand the more technical aspects of door performance, we can help you make the right decisions, leading you to a door set that will keep you safe, warm and happy for many years to come. That's why we've created this door guide full of information and advice about doors and more.

Signs of a quality door

Everybody's requirements and tastes are different, but a quality door will always offer the following benefits:

  • Be easy to maintain and clean
  • Look good and be aesthetically in-keeping with your house
  • Be highly secure with superior locking mechanisms
  • Be supported by a secure frame
  • Keep out draughts and have a high energy efficiency rating to reduce energy bills
  • Be made-to-measure, fitting perfectly into the aperture of your house
  • Be industry tested for general performance and weather resistance
  • Reduce noise from the outside
  • Remain firm, not move or rattle when the wind blows
  • Have glass that can't be removed from outside of the home
  • Long lasting guarantees that cover every aspect of the door
  • Add value to your home

Everything you need to know about doors

Doors are more robust, long-lasting and energy efficient than ever, but their designs are more complex.

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    Door materials & new technologies

    External doors are generally available in four types of material: timber, uPVC, aluminium and composite materials, also known as GRP doors.

    Doors were historically made out of wood, traditionally pine or oak. Boarded doors (joined lengths of wood) were common until about 1700, when panelled doors were introduced. As fashion changed, so the door styles evolved, now incorporating glass into the door leaf.

    Timber doors are still popular to this day, and period door styles can be replicated using traditional joinery methods. But other door materials have extra benefits, often at a lower price.

    Aluminium and glass entrance doors began to be used in the post-war period, but these were famously cold to the touch. uPVC doors provided a solution to this problem, being marketed as the most energy efficient material for doors. Thanks to advances in manufacturing technology, today's high performance doors can offer better security, strength, energy efficiency and lifespan than even your current doors!

    Timber doors

    Elegant looks and classic style, naturally warm and secure.

    Timber is a natural insulator – it absorbs and retains heat. Solid wood doors still offer the highest levels of energy efficiency compared to other door types. Timber doors are seen to be the most beautiful, however these doors require more effort to keep them looking their best.

    Timber doors have been around for centuries, but the manufacturing process has changed over time. Panels and frames are still made from solid wood, but timber used in construction is engineered to be stronger. Knots are removed from the wood, before layering different grain directions, and bonding. The result is a much stronger and more stable door, with no risk of warping or bowing.

    Timber doors can be made from softwood or hardwood – both make great materials for doors. Hardwood grows slower than softwood so the rings are closer together, making it more dense and hardwearing. It does mean that it can be more expensive and less sustainable than softwood. Treated to resist rot and fungus, timber doors will last for years to come. Make sure to ask your door company for information about their guarantees.

    Another beauty of timber is it can have a stained or painted finish. Wood stains highlight the natural beauty of the grain, and with so many paint choices there's no limit to the number of times you change the colour of your doors! Many companies can offer timber doors in a range of spray-applied finishes and paint colours that should last years before needing repainting.

    uPVC doors

    Long lasting and low maintenance, great value and performance.

    uPVC is very popular in modern homes as it is a good all-round material that offers exceptional value. With a smooth and naturally weatherproof finish, there's no danger of the doors ever degrading, and they are virtually maintenance free. uPVC is also a naturally insulating material, and the frames and panels are designed to offer high levels of energy efficiency.

    No longer 'flimsy' or 'brittle', modern uPVC doors are built to be sturdy and secure, with steel reinforced frames and panels. The hinges and locks are welded securely to the steel reinforcement within the frame, meaning that would-be intruders cannot gain entry through this previous weak spot.

    Modern uPVC doors create a great first impression, with clean, simple lines and unique designs. Door colours vary from company to company, but popular colours include classic white and wood grain effect. This is created by bonding scratchproof and UV stable wood grain effect foils to the frames and panel, which mimic the realistic texture of timber. With two colour doors, you can have a door that looks like timber from the outside, with white on the inside for a neutral colour palette.

    Aluminium doors

    Strong and slim frames, sleek designs and low maintenance.

    Aluminium is a physically strong material that will never rust or corrode. As such, it's used in structural glazing and other construction projects, such as glass walls and towers. Aluminium frames can support larger glass areas, so wider windows and doors are possible in the home.

    Think of aluminium doors and you might be thinking of cold metal frames with black bristles surrounding the frames to keep out draughts. Thankfully, thermal technology and door design have moved on since the 1980s! The frames contain an insulating plastic section that stops the conduction of heat, for doors that are just as warm as uPVC. Aluminium is also naturally weatherproof, and will need very little maintenance.

    Nowadays, aluminium doors are almost indistinguishable from uPVC, with similar designs, glazing and colour options. Aluminium doors don't have to be metallic – they can be 'powder coated', or spray coated in any RAL colour.

    Composite doors

    All the benefits of aluminium, uPVC and timber in one smart-looking door.

    Composite doors combine the benefits of different materials, creating a door that ticks all the boxes. Also known as GRP doors, composites are made from a solid core: either a timber panel or high density foam reinforced with a timber frame. This is then covered with a glass reinforced plastic (GRP) skin. Made using polyester resins and fibreglass, this durable 'thermoplastic' outer coating is also used for the underside of boats. That's perfectly robust for a front or back door!

    Composite doors are the only doors that can feature double rebates. A door rebate is where the door panel overlaps the frame along the edges, creating a barrier against water. Double rebates overlap twice, for increased energy efficiency and weather tightness. Dual rebated composite doors are often 50% thicker than regular front doors, and feature triple glazing as standard.

    As well as excellent weatherproofing, GRP doors offer the convenience factor of other materials. They don't require the same level of maintenance as wood – you'll never have to worry about sanding or painting. Composite doors are also available in a wide range of heritage and bold colours, as well as timber effect finishes. Match with different glass designs and furniture, for a smart looking and unique entrance door.

    Which material should I choose for my new windows?

    Deciding on a door, but with today's modern designs and high performance materials, you can't go too wrong. Whichever material you choose, your new doors are likely to outperform your existing ones.

    That being said, your choice of material depends on your performance requirements, house style and door design. Your door installation company should be able to discuss your requirements in detail at a no-obligation appointment.


    You may have specific energy performance requirements for your new door. In this case, the most viable option would have to be a composite door. When you factor in all the insulating components, a composite door outperforms other door types. However, the same type of door can achieve different energy ratings depending on its components and how it's manufactured, as well as installation quality. Ask your door company about the energy ratings that your chosen door can achieve.

    House style

    With advances in door technology, the lines between the different materials are blurring. Timber is still ideal for period and heritage houses, but good quality uPVC and composite doors can replicate the look and feel of wood. If you live in a modern style house, aluminium framed doors will give your home a contemporary look. Or whatever your house style, a set of patio doors with Georgian bars can create a country cottage look!

    Door design

    The type of material you choose also depends on the style of door you're looking for. uPVC is the most popular choice for front doors, but composite or GRP doors can offer greater security and energy efficiency. uPVC is also a popular choice for patio and French doors, but for large glass patio doors, you can't beat aluminium. Read about the right materials for each door type under the 'Design' tab.

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    Door glass & glazed panels

    For a long time, glazing was just for windows. Door designs began to use glass as a decorative feature, starting with fanlights and top lights. The glass areas were kept to a minimum due to draughts, but as glazing technology improved, glass could be used more freely.

    Nowadays, doors are double glazed as standard and, like windows, can be upgraded to triple glazing. Large glass panels are used in patio doors, whereas entrance doors tend to feature smaller glazed 'cassettes'.

    Sidelights and other shaped top lights are a popular feature of entrance ways nowadays. Matched with decorative glass in the door leaf, they can add a touch of class to the front of your property.

    Glass in doors

    Door glazing works in exactly the same way as window glazing. Glass panes are sealed together by a 'spacer bar' around the outside, with a cavity or space between the panes. This gap is often filled with an inert gas to slow down heat loss.

    The overall glass panel is called a 'sealed unit', and units with two and three panes of glass are available – typically referred to as double and triple glazing. The extra pane of glass and gas cavity slow down the escape of heat, leading to a much more energy efficient door.

    Double vs. triple glazed doors

    Double glazing in doors is now the norm – in fact it's specified in the Building Regulations. But both entrance and patio doors are now available with triple glazed units. With improvements in seals and frame technology, it's a shame for the glazing to let down the overall energy rating of the door!

    Triple glazed doors provide next-level insulation - they're up to 35% more effective than double glazing for energy efficiency. Triple glazing helps to retain heat generated within the home, whilst reducing overheating in summer. Recognising the benefits of triple glazing, some door companies now offer triple glazed entrance doors as standard.

    Decorative glass

    Decorative or stained glass panes can be incorporated into your new entrance door and side windows, resulting in a totally unique design. Glass panels in doors are available in variety of shapes, sizes and patterns.

    Coloured and bevelled glass pieces are joined together by metal 'cames' – the leading or metal bar you traditionally see in stained glass windows. To match your colour scheme, you can choose from a range of finishes, such as brass, zinc or black leading. Stained glass designs can be incorporated into double glazed doors, but to protect the glass design it's better to contain within a triple glazed unit.

    Other decorative glass options include etched designs, where patterns are cut into the glass by using a stencil and sandblasting. This creates a white, shade-like effect. In this way, you can personalise your property with house numbers and names in the glass.

    Leaded glass

    Leaded glass is typically a 'criss cross' design, either with square or diamond patterns. Leading can be applied to the outside of the glass, or inside for ease of cleaning. Alternatively, you could choose Georgian bars to divide the glass into squares, giving your doors a traditional 'cottage' look.

    Typical of Georgian and other period windows, leaded glass designs are ideal for top lights and sidelights – the glazing surrounding an entrance door. You should be able to incorporate leading into any type of glazed product, such as patio doors and even conservatories.

    Obscure glass

    Obscure, or privacy, glass distorts the view through the glass, hiding the inside of your home from prying eyes. You'll commonly see privacy glass used in back doors and bathroom windows, as they let in the same amount of light, without displaying the contents of your home to outsiders. That's why obscure glass is ideal for entrance doors and even front porches.

    You can choose from a range of obscure glass, such as floral, geometric and cloudy designs.

    Security glass

    There are two ways that glass can be secured for use in residential doors. Toughened glass is heat-treated to be stronger, whilst laminated glass is coated with an invisibly thin layer of plastic that stops a cracked pane from breaking into pieces.

    Safety glass must be used in doors up to a height of 1500mm, in accordance with the building regulations. That means fully glazed doors must use thermally toughened glass, and even entrance doors with glass units below 1.5 metres must comply.

    Solar glass

    Glass doors are now designed to reduce heat loss and gain natural heat from the sun. This is because they feature 'low E' or low emissivity glass, which has an invisible, thin coating applied to the inner pane of glass to retain heat. This helps to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. Solar glass is especially useful for patio doors, bi-folding doors and conservatories, where large glass areas would previously lose heat quickly.

    One of the problems associated with solar glass is that it can lead to overheating on very hot days. There are ways of combatting this – a good glazing company will be able to help you position windows and doors to avoid this problem. Triple glazing is also useful – research also shows that contrary to popular opinion, it can actually protect against excessive heat gain, rather than contributing to the problem.

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    Door styles & designs

    Residential door styles are often described by their function. All the doors in this guide are exterior doors, which connect the home to the outside. Front doors and back doors are grouped together as 'entrance doors', and the other door styles are often referred to as 'patio doors'. Patio doors tend to have a wider aperture, and are so named as they lead the house onto the garden or patio.

    Different companies will name their doors differently, however there are three main types of door opening options: side-hung, sliding and folding. Entrance and French doors are usually side-hung, opening inwards or outwards on a set of hinges. These doors can also be paired to create double door sets. Sliding glass doors glide open by moving one panel behind the other, whereas bi-folding doors can be pushed to one side to completely open up a room.

    Entrance doors

    Make the best first impression with a beautiful front or back door.

    Entrance doors are composed of a door 'slab' hung within a frame. They can be made of timber, uPVC, aluminium or composite materials, depending on the look and performance you're looking for. Energy efficiency is a key factor to think about, and as more than 70% of intruders target the front entrance during a burglary, you should ensure your front door is highly secure.

    Today's entrance doors are fully customisable, so you can pick the style, colour, glass designs and accessories that you want. Most companies will be able to offer a wide range of classic and contemporary styles for you to choose from. Ask for an appointment to discuss your needs and design choices.

    Stable doors

    Charming entrance door that splits in two to let the outside in.

    Entrance doors split horizontally in two opening sections to create a stable door. As the name suggests, stable doors originated in the farmyard, keeping animals safely locked in and allowing them to be seen, fed and petted at the same time! Modern day stable doors look like a regular front or back door when closed, but the top half can be opened independently. Combined with a heritage colour scheme they can make your home look like a country cottage.

    Stable doors are usually available in uPVC and composite door materials. They feature the same locking systems as any other door in their range. However, you need to check that they can achieve the same protection against the elements, too.

    French doors

    Double open out door set, ideal for the back garden.

    French doors feature two side-hung door panels that open in or out, operated by a pair of handles in the middle of the door set. Traditionally French doors were made out of timber, but uPVC and aluminium framed door sets are now available.

    The French door style is often used to add a touch of character and elegance to a home. They are a picturesque addition to any room, and can also be designed into a conservatory. The classic style for French doors is Georgian, with white frames and astragal glazing bars dividing up the glass into squares. Black or grey frames are a popular modern twist, and can be customised with letterboxes, arched frames and period door furniture.

    Sliding patio doors

    Wide glass doors for impressive views to the outside.

    Patio doors glide open and closed effortlessly, ideal for if you enjoy spending a lot of time in your garden. Perfect for larger apertures, sliding patio doors can be designed as a 'wall of glass', offering expansive views to the outside.

    Patio doors are available in uPVC, or slimmer aluminium frames for an even better vista. The glass panels also slide into place behind one another, so they don't take up any internal or external space.

    When shut, patio doors can achieve a high level of energy efficiency. Patio doors must be double glazed as standard, but some companies offer triple glazing, with low e glass and other heat saving technologies. Modern patio doors are also cleverly designed to prevent break-ins through interlocking panels, multi-point bolts and anti-lift strips.

    Bi-fold doors

    Slide and fold to fully open up a room to the outside.

    If you want to create the feeling of freedom, bi-fold doors are a clever way to open up your space. Bi-fold doors fold up like a concertina, allowing you to push the panels open fully to one side. They can be created with up to 6 glass door panels up to a metre wide, and installed in any room. In the kitchen, dining room, living room, extension, conservatory – the possibilities are endless!

    Bi-folding doors are available with uPVC and timber frames, but aluminium is undoubtedly the best material for this door type. Due to its strength, aluminium can afford to have slimmer frames and carry larger glass units, whilst maintaining its structural integrity. Aluminium bi-folding doors also last longer and require little maintenance to keep them running consistently well.

    Aluminium bi-fold doors fit flat against the frame for a stylish and modern architectural look. They can be designed in a range of colours, including classic monochrome white, black and grey.

    Garage doors

    Present your home in the best way with a smart new garage door.

    Garage doors need to be strong, secure and weatherproof to protect your vehicles and other possessions. Being apart from the main house, garages are often seen as an easy target by burglars. Poor side door security is the worst culprit, but weak garage doors are also at risk.

    Secure garage doors are made from solid timber or reinforced steel and designed to prevent forcible entry. Garages featuring multi-point locking and alarm systems are also a great deterrent to burglars.

    Garage doors come in a variety of styles. Traditional side-hinged doors are a classic style, but 'one-piece' or 'up and over' doors are also popular. Sectional garage doors offer a nifty, space-saving design, as do roller doors, which can also be motorised to open automatically.

    How to choose a door that's right for your home

    Some people choose a like-for-like replacement door for their home, but there are so many exciting designs and colours out there! It's a shame not to explore other options.

    Think about your home's overall aesthetic – are you looking for a more traditional or contemporary design? Every door can be configured for your home. With hundreds of door styles, colours, accessories, glass and material choices, there are thousands of possible combinations. That means you can design a door that's unique to you.

    Finally, remember that one size doesn't fit all with doors. A door needs to fit the door into the frame precisely, with no tolerance for gaps that could create a draught. It's for this reason that you should never buy a second hand door – and make sure your installer fits a door made to measure your home exactly.

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    Door frames, panels & panes

    In order to know what makes a good door, you need to know how a door is constructed. Door frames, panels and glass panes are all important components that together determine the door's energy efficiency, security and appearance. But there are other parts that can also affect the overall performance of the door.


    Doors can incorporate a solid 'slab', or be fully or partially glazed. Entrance doors tend to have a panel that can be 'moulded' with raised or indented sections, and optional glazing 'cassettes'.

    In traditional joinery, there are specific terms for the different sections that make up a door panel. The four outer parts are called the top and bottom rail, and the hinge and lock stiles. The optional mullion divides the door vertically to create four panels instead of two, with an optional mid rail.

    Timber door panels are made using a solid slab of wood that has been engineered to be stronger and last longer. uPVC panels are made by bonding uPVC outer skins to high density, fire retardant material, and can also be reinforced with steel. Aluminium door panels are made in the same way, but using an aluminium outer casing. Composite door panels are either made using a solid wood slab or a high-density solid foam core, laid over with a GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) skin.

    Patio doors are more likely to be fully glazed, and can feature up to 6 panels in a set. The glass units in the doors are double or triple glazed, and feature toughened and energy saving glass.


    The door frame, or 'casing', is constructed by taking lengths of 'profile', cutting them down to size, and joining or welding them together to create a rectangle shape. Modern uPVC and aluminium frames can be joined using traditional 'mechanical joints', to replicate period styling. Specialist door shapes can also be created with an arched or angular head.

    Timber frames are made from a solid piece of wood, but uPVC and aluminium frames use hollow profile that contain 'chambers' to trap warm air. Today's door frames also contain thermal barriers to reduce heat loss further.

    The door casing and hinges must be strong enough to support the weight of the door slab, without warping or bowing over time. Aluminium and timber are naturally sturdy materials, but uPVC is not as tough. Thankfully, modern uPVC frames are reinforced with galvanised steel to keep the doors operating as they should.

    Door frames are usually rebated. This means that the panel sits slightly behind the frame for improved weather protection, draught proofing and reduced noise pollution. Door panels can also sit flush within the frame, which is currently a popular door style.

    Door seals

    Seals, or gaskets as they're otherwise known, are an important part of the door frame. They sit along the edge of the door panel to stop heat loss, draughts and water ingress, resulting in a fully airtight and weatherproof door set. High quality seals are important for keeping your home warm, dry and damp-free, so it's worth ensuring your door company has it covered. With a new door, you shouldn't have to apply any additional draught excluding seals.

    High quality door seals are made using a material called Q-Lon. Older rubber seals tend to flatten under repeated pressure, altering their shape and losing effectiveness. Rubber seals can eventually collapse, and this is one of the reasons why older doors can become draughty. Q-Lon seals have a compression recovery of 99%, meaning they will spring back to shape every time, for continued high performance.

    Double seals have one seal on the frame and another on the door, for additional weatherproofing. Another way to keep the water out is with a weather drip, which protects the entrance by letting water flow away from the threshold.

    Frame styles

    If you have a keen eye for detail, you'll want to choose the right frame styling and detailing for your new doors. Bevelled profiles have clear, sharp lines, whilst ovolo frames give doors a softer, curvier outline. Timber is much more versatile as the profile can be cut and tooled into any style. However, uPVC, composite and aluminium doors can be designed to look very similar nowadays.


    The door's threshold runs along the floor directly in line with the casing, or frame. The door panel sits behind the threshold, which serves to protect the bottom of the door from draughts and water ingress.

    Standard doors are fully rebated, meaning they have a higher threshold which is covered by the bottom of the door – leaving no gaps for draughts. You can choose a door with a low threshold to remove a possible trip hazard and provide easy access for wheelchair users.

    Doors can also feature a twin rebated threshold, for double the protection against the elements.

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    Furniture and fittings

    Door furniture & fittings

    There is an incredibly wide range of door accessories available to help you customise the doors for your home. Handles and other furniture can be designed for all door types, available in a range of metallic and monochrome colours. Matching knockers, spyholes, letterplates and more are available for front doors.

    Door handles

    Primary door handles tend to contain locking cylinders, whereas large span patio doors might have more than one handle for ease of opening. Handle designs include classic 'lever' handles, pad and elegant swan neck designs, all of which can be ordered in the right colour to match your door frames. Gold, silver, black and white handles are each hugely popular – see what goes best with your favourite door.

    Door knobs

    Door knobs are usually a feature of internal doors, but they could be a possibility with keyless locking. Smooth round handles and octagonal designs offer two subtle differences that can help personalise the look and feel of your door.

    Letterboxes & letter plates

    Black, white, chrome, gold and silver letterboxes are available to give your front door a polished finish. It is worth noting that many companies install letterboxes too small to fit small parcels through, so be sure to make sure your letterbox comes in a practical size.

    Letterboxes can also be installed into the frames of patio doors – ideal for properties with a side or front porch needing a letterbox.

    Door knockers

    Traditional doors look smarter with a door knocker. Popular designs include urn, ring, doctor and lion head knockers, and can be requested with or without a spyhole. Door knockers vary in size and performance so make sure yours is a good fit with your chosen style.

    Traditional ironmongery

    Door furniture often reflects the period and character of a building. Luckily, you can now design your doors with traditional furniture, from handles and latches, to hinges and other accessories. Black cast or wrought iron features can give your front door a positively antique appearance.


    There are two types of door hinge: butt hinge and flag hinge. Butt hinges are the most common type for doors. They are barely visible when the door is closed, showing only a metal cylinder that sits on the inside, along the point where the door meets the frame. Flag hinges are commonly seen on uPVC doors, where they offer more security and support for this door type.

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    Door security

    Door designs are continually being upgraded according to the latest security innovations. Modern doors engineered to the highest security standards have no weak points to exploit, and some companies are so sure of their doors' impenetrability, they are even offering compensation in the event of a break in!

    Common methods for breaking in through a door include cutting or kicking through the door slab, jemmying or levering the door open at the lock, or snapping off the handles. That’s why it's important for all parts of the door to work together, leaving no weak spots.

    Modern door slabs are thicker than ever, frames reinforced, and glazing tougher. At the same time, locking systems and hardware have also become more robust. For example, door glazing is now always internally beaded to stop glass from being lifted out, and multi-point locking secures the door to the frame at regular intersections.

    Types of door lock

    There are many options regarding house locks, with each offering varying levels of safety and security. You might have heard of 'Yale' or 'Chubb' locks – these are brand names for lock companies who will offer some of the following types of locks.

    Mortice deadlock

    A deadlock is a straightforward lock that inserts a bolt into the frame when operated with a key. Frequently referred to as a 'Chubb lock', this is the most common lock placed within a doorframe. It is recommended by the police for home security and is often a necessity with many insurance companies.

    Mortice deadlocks are usually used with timber doors, and is often paired with a night latch and a chain for extra security. The most secure deadlock is a 5 lever lock, which meets the British Standard BS 3621 for security, but 3 lever locks are also available for doors.

    Night latch

    Entrance doors sometimes have two locks: a deadlock to secure the door to the frame and a second lock for convenience. Night latches enable you to leave without a key, as the door latch will lock behind you. You can also unlock the door and push, for a handle-less entry.

    Also known as 'Yale locks', night latches can be secured from the inside by sliding across a snib button. Still, they are often paired with a second, mortice deadlock for additional security.

    Cylinder lock

    uPVC doors with locks in the handles feature a 'euro cylinder' lock, which allow or prevent the handle from turning, and the door opening. Poor quality cylinder locks are responsible for around 25% of burglaries, so it's important to make sure that 'anti-snap' hardware is used. A good quality cylinder lock will receive a British Kitemark star rating.

    Multi-point, bi-directional locking system

    If you're buying a new door, the likelihood is that it will contain multi-point locking – one key-operated lock that activates a series of bolts long the length of the door, securing it to the frame. Some bolts curve up whilst others face down, hooking into the frame so that the door cannot be lifted or jemmied from any angle.

    You can tell if your door has multi-point locking, as the handle will have to be lifted before the door can be locked. On average, doors have about 3 locking points, but some doors feature 5 or more hooks. Some doors even feature shootbolt locking, with additional bolts that spring into place at the head and foot of the door.

    Door chain

    Door chains are a simple yet effective way to prevent intruders from opening the door far enough to enter. Chains are permanently fixed onto the frame and slide into a track on the door to secure. We always advise our customers to consider a door chain or a spyhole, because this gives you the power to refuse entry to undesirable guests.

    Anti-lift technology

    Some patio doors can be lifted off their track – this is known to the police as a way intruders gain entry into a house. Some patio doors feature anti-lift security strips which prevent doors from being lifted out of the frame from the outside.

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    Energy efficient doors

    You've paid for your heating – your doors need to help you keep the heat in your home. Doors that offer excellent thermal insulation use a combination of elements to reduce heat loss. Glass units feature double or triple glazing with specially coated glass and a gas-filled cavity. Frames contain multiple chambers and additional thermal barriers to prevent heat transfer. Q-Lon seals are effective in preventing heat loss through the gaps.

    Another important element is the door rebate. A rebated door is one which overlaps the frame ever so slightly, creating a barrier for air to escape or rain to enter. Some doors even have a double rebate, meaning there are two sets of weather seals and barriers, and twice the insulating capacity. Dual rebated doors are around 50% thicker than other doors, at around 68-70mm thick (compared to 44mm as standard).

    U values

    Windows are rated using Windows Energy Ratings (WER), however doors are measured by their U values – one of the components of the WER system.

    The U value is the technical way to measure a door's thermal performance. U values are calculated by the equation W/m2k, which measures heat loss in watts (W) per square metre of material, when the temperature (k) outside is at least one degree lower. The lower the U value, the better the insulation provided by the material – a U value of 0 means that no heat is escaping.

    A solid wooden door has a typical U value of around 3.0 W/m²K and a standard uPVC or aluminium door achieves between 1.5 and 2.0 W/m²K. A triple glazed composite door can reach a U value as low as 0.6 W/m²K – better than the energy performance of an external wall!

    Sound insulating doors

    By upgrading to modern double glazed doors, you're likely to hear the difference in noise levels. Opt for triple glazing and you won't hear anything at all! Triple glazed doors with 'silent sealed units' can reduce noise pollution by up to 35 decibels, giving you a quieter and more relaxing living space. We recommended triple glazing for properties next to busy roads, train lines and under flight paths.

    Fire safety

    No matter what material your new doors are made from, you can order them to be fire-resistant for up to 60 minutes. In some cases, fire certified doors are necessary under the Building Regulations. In residential properties, FD30 rated fire doors must be installed to provide a safe exit for upper storeys and loft conversions, as well as internal garage doors.

    We recommend that you consider eventually replacing every door with a fire rated door, for your safety and peace of mind.

Questions to ask before you buy new doors

It is important to consider your personal requirements before deciding what type of door is right for you and your home. To help narrow down your search, ask yourself the following questions:

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    How do I know if I need a new door?

    Depending on the quality of the materials and workmanship, a door can last for decades. However, if your door is experiencing problems, you may need to replace it. Simple issues like draughts could be sorted by replacing the draught excluding seals, but if you're experiencing more than one of the following warning signs, consider investing in a new door:

    • Misted glass unit within the door (failure of glazing seals)
    • Timber frames are warping, bowing or rotting
    • Plastic has perished, is peeling or discoloured
    • Doors rattle, or let in draughts and the cold
    • The door won’t open, close or lock properly
    • Broken door furniture and fittings

    Another reason you might like to upgrade your doors is if you want to improve your home's insulation, security or appearance.

    If you've had your doors replaced recently and you're experiencing any of the above problems, it's likely that the door is faulty or has not been installed correctly. Check to see if you have an active warranty (most companies offer a 10 year guarantee) or get in touch with your double glazing installer to see if they are able to rectify the problem or replace the defective parts.

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    What colour scheme will help set my home apart?

    Until recently, white was the most popular front door colour. Now doors and frames are available in a huge range of colours, as well as wood effect finishes. You can even choose 'dual colour' doors, with a different colour for the inside and outside of your home. Other popular colours include Chartwell Green, Cream Woodgrain and Anthracite Grey.

    If you need more help choosing a colour scheme for your doors, ask your advisor for advice tailored to your property.

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    How important is door security?

    Up to 70% of burglars target a home by its front door, and 25% of break-ins occur due to forcing cylinder locks in weak uPVC handles. You could reduce the chance of suffering a break-in just by upgrading to a secure door – and you could even save money on your house insurance.

    A door is only as secure as its weakest part – ensuring the frames, hardware and glazing all work together to prevent entry is fundamental for your home's security.

    Good doors should feature multi-point locking, a key lockable handle and strong frames and hinges. Toughened glass is also a must. Check the security credentials – your doors should be certified to PAS 24:2012. Another tip that is especially important for patio doors is to hide your valuables from view with curtains or blinds!

    Around 15% of burglaries don't involve any kind of forced entry, so it's important to remember to keep doors locked.

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    Do I have an obligation to retain the look of my property?

    When buying a door for a listed building, conservation area or a house with a restrictive covenant, you'll need to follow certain guidelines. Houses in conservation areas are subject to 'Article 4 Directions', which restrict the work that you can do to the outside of your property, without first getting planning permission. If this is the case, it's often simpler to find a company with previous experience of getting doors accepted in conservation areas. Ask your door company for details of previous projects that have been accepted by Planning Officers.

    Other than these legal necessities, it's up to you what style, colour and glass designs you want for your doors!

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    How do I find out if I live in a conservation area?

    Conservation areas are in place to protect architectural and historical buildings or places of interest, and are more common for properties built before the turn of the 20th century. However, it's always worth checking before going ahead with a home improvement – homeowners who go ahead without planning permission may be required to pay again for a more sympathetic upgrade.

    You can find out if you live in a conservation area by contacting your local planning authority (LPA), and you can find out if you have a restrictive covenant by checking the title deeds for your home.

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    Should I go for a traditional or contemporary design?

    Unless your house has a legal obligation to retain its appearance, it's your choice. Many people choose a traditional design to fit with their home's appearance, but in some circumstances contemporary designs can actually enhance the aesthetics of a property.

    If you're totally stuck or need some advice, get in touch with a home improvement expert who can help you choose the right door or doors for your home.

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    Which door material is the easiest to maintain?

    Modern, high performance doors should last for decades to come, needing only minimal maintenance. Some door parts now come with lifetime guarantees, meaning that you will never need to worry about plastic discolouration or broken glass units.

    uPVC and aluminium frames are practically maintenance-free, and only require cleaning occasionally by wiping down the frames with a damp cloth. Timber doors can be cleaned in the same way, but will also need to be recoated using microporous paint or stain every couple of years, when necessary.

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    Can installing new doors save money on energy bills?

    One way to make your house more energy efficient is to upgrade to better glazing. Upgrading from single to double glazed windows could save up to £450 on bills every year, and a new energy efficient door is also effective.

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    What is the energy rating of my new doors?

    Energy ratings for doors are measured by their U value. You can ask your door company for these specifications when deciding on a new door – they should be able to show you an 'energy licence' for the product.

    The energy efficiency of a door is only as good as its installation – a poorly fitted door with gaps around the edge can leak heat and create draughts. That's why it's important to choose a company that makes your doors to measure, so that they fit the aperture perfectly, and properly seal the perimeter.

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    What kind of guarantee do the doors come with?

    It's important to make sure your new doors are guaranteed for a number of years after installation, for your peace of mind in case something goes wrong. FENSA Registered Businesses, such as Everest, must give a guarantee or warranty that 'covers the cost of completing rectification work in respect of defects for a period of 10 years'.

    Better doors often come with better guarantees – look for a double glazing company that offers more comprehensive cover, including guarantees against foggy glazing, discoloured frames and faulty parts. Some companies even offer lifetime guarantees, with the option to transfer the warranty across to future home owners.

    Make sure that you're provided with the relevant documentation and information for how to claim in the rare event that you may need to.

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    Are your products CE marked?

    CE marking for doors essentially means that all doors from the same manufacturer are of a consistent quality, and is a necessary accreditation for all products made and sold in the EU. Make sure that you choose a double glazing company that installs CE marked products – they should display the logo in their literature and double check the product by looking for the logo on the inside of the door frame and on the glazing itself.

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    Is it possible to make custom shaped doors?

    Any good double glazing installer will survey your property and precisely measure up for new doors before giving you a quotation, meaning that every door or glazing product you buy should be made to measure your home. Most installers can make or order doors in any size and shape, depending on building regulations. Simply ask your local representative during your design consultation.

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    How do I know if a door company is any good?
    • Accreditations - There are many industry renowned federations and bodies who take great efforts to ensure that the best door companies are easily identified. The main ones to look out for are GGF, BFRC, FENSA, Conservatory Association, TGO and BBA.
    • Experience - A long trading history and good reputation are good indicators of a stellar door company. Focus on the company's reviews and satisfaction ratings. Ask to see examples of recent work, including customer testimonials and installation pictures, to make sure they are confident with undertaking similar projects to yours. It's also worth asking about the professional experience of the team – does the company have dedicated and experienced advisors, surveyors, installers and project managers?
    • Recommendations - If you're stumped about where to start, talk to people you know and trust about any personal experiences they may have had. That will give you a good idea of the level of service that different businesses offer.
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    How do I get an opinion from an expert I can trust?

    Friends and family are a great starting point when getting advice about buying doors, and TV, magazines and the internet are limitless sources of inspiration. But nothing beats seeing the options laid out in front of you, with samples so you can get a feel for the doors themselves.

    Before you buy, see if any of the companies you like offer a no-obligation consultation service. If they do, there is nothing to lose by arranging an appointment, which will give you some face-to-face time with an expert.

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    Do you install where I live?

    Narrow down your list to companies who actively install in your area. Not only will this save you time in your search, but you can be confident that they have experience with similar house styles.

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    How long will the installation take?

    Typically, you can expect to have your new doors installed about 4-6 weeks after ordering, but the wait time is different with every company. This can be due to a variety of factors, including manufacturing complexity and arranging any planning permission, as well as popularity of the company and seasonality. As long as the company is responsive and communicates at every step of the process, it is the sign of a good service.

    The time it takes to install a door depends on how many other home improvements you're having installed at the same time. A single door can take anywhere from 3 hours to install, but your door company will be able to give you an estimated installation time when booking the installation date.

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    Does the door company offer aftercare, such as call outs and repairs?

    Even if you're confident you've chosen the best glazing company and best quality door, it's good to know that you can call on your installation company again at any time. Whether you want advice about looking after your doors or to troubleshoot any problems, it's a relief to know the full service is available to you.

    Ask about their aftercare service, and whether they offer callouts and free repairs if anything goes wrong. It's unlikely you'll need to use such services, but it's a shrewd idea to check beforehand.

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