Doors Buying Guide

How to choose a front door

The Everest guide to everything you need to know about buying new external doors for your home. From choosing the right style of door and material to security features and adding furniture for the finishing touch.

Doors buying guide

Buying a new front door – where do I start?

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 play a pivotal role in creating a lasting first impression, as well as enhancing the security and energy efficiency levels of your home.

At Everest, our front doors come as a complete unit doorset of the door and frame. Everything is custom made to measure for a perfect fit and all doors can be customised with colour, style, glazing and furniture to make your perfect front door.

To help guide you through the process of buying a quality external door with confidence, we have listed everything you need to consider, so you can make an informed choice on what is best for your needs. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact us or book a free appointment.

Door materials

Advances in manufacturing technology now produce doors that are high-performance and offer better security, strength, energy efficiency and lifespan than before.

At Everest, our external door range is available in four types of material: timber, uPVC, aluminium and composite (GRP).

Types of door material

Types of door material

Wooden doors

Timber is a natural insulator – it absorbs and retains heat and solid wood doors offer the highest levels of energy efficiency compared to other door types.

Wooden 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.

Timber doors are seen to be the most beautiful and can have a stained or painted finish with no limit to the number of times you change the colour. However, timber doors require more effort to keep them looking their best.

uPVC doors

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, 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 in a variety of colours including classic white and wood grain effect. 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

The selling point of aluminium is how durable the material is and how little maintenance it needs. The material will not rust, peel or flake and is resistant to small knocks and scratches.

Once considered cold, aluminium doors have advanced their energy efficiency considerably and Everest uses a polyamide thermal insert to reduce thermal conductivity and reduce condensation. Glazed aluminium doors can have a slim profile that allows for a maximum area of glass and solid aluminium doors are incredibly strong and secure.

Aluminium doors are the most expensive choice for a front door, but they do have an expected lifetime of 45 years with little maintenance.

Aluminium is best suited to contemporary properties that want a sleek and stylish finish in combination with exceptional robust qualities.

Composite doors

Composite doors (also known as GRP) combine the benefits of different materials. Composites are made from a solid core: either a timber panel or a timber frame filled with high density foam. The inner frame and core is covered with a glass reinforced plastic (GRP) skin made using polyester resins and fibreglass. The same durable 'thermoplastic' outer coating is used on the underside of boats.

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.

Composite doors feature a moulded wood grain effect and the durable colour finish that is bonded with the surface offers a door that looks as good as timber but doesn’t need any maintenance.

Composite doors suit any type of property and are the most popular type of door we recommend.

Which material should I choose for my new door?

When you factor in all components, a composite door outperforms other door types and uPVC is the most popular choice for a door that looks good at a reasonable cost.

Timber is the best choice for period and heritage houses and If you live in a modern style house, aluminium framed doors will give your home a contemporary look.

The type of material you choose also depends on the style of door you're looking for. The period or age of your house is one of the most important considerations when choosing a new front door.

Read more: Different types of house style...

Door styles & designs

Door styles and designs

Door styles and designs

Flush door

A flush door is the most simple design of door with a plain surface on both sides. Flush doors are contemporary in their styling and can look stunning if finished in a quality wooden veneer such as Oak.

Best suited to modern homes that want sleek styling. Flush doors are most often installed as interior doors but are sometimes used as exterior front doors.

Glazed doors

The benefit of a glazed door is that it can allow natural light into a dark hallway or entrance area. Obscure frosted glass maintains privacy and toughened or laminated glass offers secure protection against accidental or intentional breaks.

A fully glazed door offers an ultra-modern feel and is usually only seen in a contemporary style property.

It’s more common to see part or half-glazed front doors and these styles are most suitable for traditional properties. Edwardian and Victorian houses featured glazing in their front doors, usually a two-panel configuration with elaborate patterned stained glass.

A front door with a glazed portal is very common and allows visibility of who is at the door before opening. The portal allows some light into the entrance hall whilst maintaining some privacy.

A half-glazed door is more popular as a back door to allow a view of the outside garden space.

Panel door

Panel doors are like the casement windows of doors. Versatile and the most popular and common type of door style in the UK for exterior and interior doors.

Panel doors offer a traditional styling, but can be contemporary in the right finish and colour and will suit all house types. A panel door features moulded panels in different variations and configurations.

Most front doors have a moulded design and can also feature glazed panels to make a half or part-glazed door.

Fire door

A fire door is a specialist door of a certain thickness that takes longer for it to burn through in the event of a fire.

Fire doors are required to be a minimum of 44mm (compared to the 35mm standard) and a minimum of FD30 rated. This means the door would take 30 minutes for a fire to burn through the door. The standard ratings are 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes.

The front door of a house does not usually require a fire door. However, an entrance door from a garage into a house or a basement door is required to be fire rated. For houses of three storeys, internal doors from the stairwell must be fireproof.

Stable door (Dutch door)

A stable door, also known as a Dutch door in the US, or a half door is a door split into two parts. The full door can be opened, or the top or bottom half can be opened independently.

The stable door is a centuries-old style that is found in rural properties and especially cottages. The door could be opened at the top to allow ventilation of the house whilst keeping animals out or children in. It would also stop dirt from blowing into the kitchen from a farmyard.

A popular style for country properties, especially as a kitchen door to allow a connection with the outside.

Composite Doors →

Our premium composite doors boast a robust 70mm thickness for security.

uPVC Doors →

With a uPVC door, you get high quality, at a reasonable price.

Timber Doors →

The classic beauty of timber makes a natural and elegant statement.

Aluminium Doors →

With aluminium you get high-end styling and a practical, low-maintenance door.

Door glazing

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, door glazing became more popular.

A front door can have a variety of glazed panels from two panels in a four panel door, half door or full door glazing. Side windows are also a popular addition to doorsets.

Doors are double glazed as standard and can be upgraded to triple glazing.

Decorative glass

Decorative or stained glass panes can be incorporated into your new entrance door and side windows, resulting in a totally unique design.

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 it within a triple glazed unit.

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.

Obscure glass

Obscure, or privacy, glass distorts the view through the glass, hiding the inside of your home. 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.

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 for 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.

Door security

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. All these common methods have been addressed in modern door technology and modern doors engineered to the highest security standards have no weak points to exploit.

Modern door slabs are thicker than ever, frames reinforced and glazing tougher. Locking systems and hardware are robust with multi-point locking securing the door to the frame at regular intersections.

What makes a door secure?

What makes a door secure?

Types of door lock

There are many options regarding house locks, with each offering varying levels of safety and security.

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 are 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, it for a handle-less entry.

Also known as 'Yale locks', night latches can be secured from the inside and 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 from 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 along 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 shoot bolt 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.

Door Furniture & Fixtures

There is a wide range of door furniture available to help you customise the doors for your home. Handles, matching knockers, spyholes, letterplates and more are available for front doors.

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.

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. High quality 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.


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.

Door handles

Primary door handles tend to contain locking cylinders. Handle designs include classic 'lever' handles, pads and elegant swan neck designs, all of which can be ordered in the right colour to match your door frames.

Door knobs & Knockers

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.

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.

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.

Types of door

Different types of door explained

Each door type has its own specific qualities and is best suited to different types of property.


Secured by design

What makes a door secure?

Secured by Design doors are designed and manufactured to meet rigorous standards.


Do I need planning permission for a new door

Do I need planning permission?

Everything you need to know about planning permission for a new door.


Energy efficient doors

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!

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 storey 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.

What type of door is best for my home?

If you are considering replacing your front door, all these choices might seem overwhelming, but a few simple questions will help you find the perfect front door for you.

Do you want a door that will have a considerable lifespan, or are you more interested in the style and look of the door?

  • uPVC – the least robust material with a lifespan of around 30 years
  • Composite - a GRP door should have a lifetime of 35 years
  • Timber - can last for a lifetime but needs constant maintenance every few years
  • Aluminium - the most robust material with a lifespan of at least 45 years

The most important factor when choosing an entrance door is the style of your house:

  • Period property - avoid uPVC as it might devalue your home. Opt for timber or composite panel doors
  • Contemporary - a sleek aluminium door would best suit a modern home
  • Victorian or Edwardian - a four-panel timber door with two glazed panels of obscure patterned glass
  • Country cottage - a stable door for the kitchen and possibly as an entrance door. Opt for timber or composite
  • Townhouse - a period townhouse looks best with a traditional timber panel door. A modern townhouse suits a composite panel door

Read more: Different styles of houses...

What to look for in a new front door

Everybody's requirements and tastes are different, but a quality door should 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
  • 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

Questions to ask before you buy new doors

  • +
    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.

  • +
    What colour should I choose?

    To pick the best front door colours for your home, you first need to consider the architectural style and the location of your house. The colour of the brick or building materials should also be considered to offset your front door.

    Read more: How to pick the best front door colour for your home...

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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.

    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.

    Before you replace windows or start any building work, always check to see is you have any restrictions on your property.

  • +
    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.

  • +
    What kind of guarantee do the doors come with?

    Everest 10 & 20 is our new range of extensive guarantees which are market leading and aim to give you peace of mind when buying an Everest product which covers you for product defects and faulty workmanship or installation.

    Read more: Everest guarantees...

  • +
    Are timber doors sustainably sourced?

    You can tell if the timber in your new doors is sustainably sourced by selecting doors that receive FSC accreditation – approved by the Forestry Stewardship Council. Door frames are made using wood from a responsible source, i.e. trees that grow quickly and in managed forests to slow the impact of deforestation and reduce the impact on the environment.

  • +
    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.

  • +
    How long will the installation take?

    Typically, you can expect to have your new doors installed about 4-6 weeks after ordering, depending on availability.

    A single door can take anywhere from 3 hours to a full day for a complex install.

Everest Door Reviews

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