Bethaney Larkman of composite door supplier, Distinction Doors gives practical advice for selecting the right entrance door for your self-build or renovation project.

An entrance door is a subtle yet effective way of enhancing your home.  It is the exterior statement piece; saying a lot about you and your style, and sets the tone for the rest of the property.

Choose wisely and your door will be far more than a functional entrance, it will complement the overall style of your house while helping to keep it cosy and secure.  A simple way to boost kerb appeal, the right door will provide a warm welcome.

Getting Started

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the variety of door materials, styles and colours available.  The best tip to get you started is to list your functional, physical and emotional requirements.  This can be as simple as wanting to keep the dogs and children in or out of the house while maintaining a flow of fresh air and light (with a stable door) to future-proofing your entrance with a wider opening, low threshold and ergonomic handle.  Also, consider practicalities such as which way you want the door to open.

Door Style

As a general rule, stick to the door style that best complements the architecture of your home.  The look and period of your property will help direct you towards a modern or traditional door style.  Do you like clean, contemporary lines or would you prefer something more ornate, for example?  Do your research – some door suppliers allow you to have fun and design your own entrance door, online.

Light and Bright

We are increasingly aware of the importance of natural light for our health and wellbeing, while this may have been factored in elsewhere in your project, it would be easy to overlook the entrance.  Would your hallway benefit from more light?  This will influence your choice of door style, glass type and design, and whether a fan or side lights should be considered.

You can choose from double or triple glazing, with some suppliers offering triple glazed, laminated glass as standard.  Many also offer glass options to help with thermal efficiency and security.  For added peace of mind, obscure or opaque glass may be preferable but also think of adding a blind within the glass unit.

Materials

Budget and design criteria will often dictate your choice of door material; with aluminium at the upper end of the scale and PVC-u suited to the more budget conscious.  The UK door industry has expanded so much recently that there’s now an option for everyone.

The PVC-u door market, for example, has been overtaken by the composite door.  They are available in a greater number of styles, colours and designs and will suit a wider variety of properties, while a dual colour option allows you to complement both the interior décor and exterior.

Maintaining a composite door is also incredibly easy, they require a regular wash with warm soapy water and a soft, lint-free cloth.

The material will also impact the performance of the door.  Some door types will have a void in the panel while others will have a solid timber or glass reinforced plastic core.  This can affect the thermal efficiency and security of the door.

Energy Efficiency

You may not think so, but the energy efficiency of your entrance door can impact the overall performance of your home.  Often opening onto a hallway, and giving access to other rooms and floors, it would be easy to lose heat through an inefficient entrance door.  Energy ratings are a good indicator and provide valuable guidance.

Security

If you are building a new home or converting a commercial building, warehouse or barn into a dwelling, then you will need to meet the requirement of Building Regulations (in England) Approved Document Q (security – dwellings).  In part, the security requirements relate to doors at the entrance to a building.  They must have been manufactured to a design that has been tested to an acceptable security standard.

You can exceed the requirements of Approved Document Q by choosing a Secured by Design entrance door which has been rigorously tested and certified by a third party.

Showroom Visit

We would always recommend visiting a showroom to get a feel for the door.  This will help you to determine the quality of the material, get a true representation of the colour and finish and ideally, appreciate the ergonomics of the hardware – handles, knockers etc.

Remember to take your plans or photographs of the build in progress or existing building, a reputable supplier can then guide you through the options and help you make the right choice.

Entrance doors no longer need to be simply functional; they are so much more than a means of access.  So, do your research, consider your options and make an entrance!