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What is a Composite Door?
The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Composite Door
What is a composite door? Composite doors are a revolutionary innovation in the world of residential doors.
They are constructed using a combination of materials, including wood, uPVC, insulating foam, and glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). This unique blend of materials gives composite doors their exceptional strength, durability, and thermal efficiency.
When it comes to enhancing the security and curb appeal of your home, few options can compare to the incredible benefits of composite doors. At Phair Windows & Glass, we are dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about your home’s improvements.
In this guide to composite doors, we explore the world of composite doors, highlighting their unique features, and advantages, and why they are the ultimate choice for both security and aesthetics.
What is a Composite Door?
A composite door is a type of exterior door constructed using a combination of different materials to enhance its durability, security, and insulation properties.
These doors are designed to offer several advantages over traditional wooden or single-material doors.
The typical construction of a composite door includes a solid timber or engineered wood core, which provides strength and stability, surrounded by a layer of materials such as uPVC (unplasticised polyvinyl chloride), fibreglass, or aluminium.
What is a Composite Door Made of?
A composite door is made of various materials combined to create a strong and durable door structure. A typical composite door consists of several layers, each serving a specific purpose.
The specific composition can vary depending on the manufacturer and the desired characteristics of the door, but here are the common materials typically used in the construction of a composite door:
1. Outer Layer (GRP)
The outer layer of a composite door is made of GRP, also known as fibreglass. This is a material known for its toughness and resistance to various weather conditions.
This layer not only provides an attractive finish but also acts as a shield against the elements, ensuring your door maintains its pristine appearance over the years.
2. Insulating Core
Beneath the GRP layer lies the insulating core, usually made of high-density foam. This core is responsible for the exceptional thermal performance of composite doors, keeping your home warm and energy-efficient.
3. Timber Frame
A sturdy timber frame gives the door its structure and rigidity. It also provides a solid base for hinges and locks, ensuring security and longevity.
4. Inner Layer (uPVC)
The inner layer, often made of uPVC, adds an extra layer of insulation and reinforcement to the door. It also contributes to the door’s overall stability.
The combination of these materials creates a composite door that is strong, secure, energy-efficient, and resistant to common issues like warping or rotting, which can affect traditional wooden doors.
If the door includes glass panels or windows, these are typically made from double or triple glazing to improve energy efficiency and security.
Composite doors come with various hardware components, such as hinges, locks, handles, and letterboxes, which are often made from metals like stainless steel or brass for durability and security.
Related: How to adjust composite door hinges
Features & Benefits of a Composite Door
Now that we understand how composite doors are constructed let’s explore the numerous advantages they offer.
Composite doors are designed to withstand various weather conditions and require minimal maintenance.
1. Exceptional Durability
Composite doors are renowned for their durability. The combination of materials ensures they can withstand harsh weather conditions, including rain, snow, and extreme temperatures, without warping or deteriorating.
2. High Security
Home security is a top priority for any homeowner. Composite doors provide an excellent level of security due to their robust construction. They are resistant to forced entry, making your home a safer place.
Multi-Point Locking System
One of the standout features of composite doors is their advanced security systems. Unlike conventional doors, composite doors are equipped with a multi-point locking system that ensures maximum protection. This system secures the door at multiple points, making it significantly harder for potential intruders to force their way in.
Tough Exterior Finish
Composite doors are built to withstand the toughest of weather conditions. Their robust exterior finish ensures that they remain impervious to elements such as rain, wind, and extreme temperatures.
This durability not only adds to the security of your home but also means your door will retain its stunning appearance for years to come.
Composite doors are engineered to be impact-resistant, providing an added layer of security. Whether it’s an accidental bump or a deliberate attempt to break in, these doors are designed to withstand it all, keeping your home and loved ones safe.
3. Energy Efficiency & Insulation
In addition to their security features, composite doors offer exceptional energy efficiency and insulation benefits.
These doors are designed with a high-density foam core that acts as a superb insulator. They prevent heat from escaping your home, reducing your carbon footprint.
This means that your home stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, resulting in reduced energy bills.
4. Low Maintenance
Unlike traditional wooden doors that require regular painting and upkeep, composite doors are virtually maintenance-free. A simple wipe-down with soapy water is all that’s needed to keep them looking pristine.
5. Aesthetic Appeal
Composite doors come in a wide range of designs, colours, and finishes, allowing you to choose a style that complements your home’s aesthetics. Whether you prefer a classic or contemporary look, there’s a composite door to suit your taste.
6. Customisation Options
At Phair Windows & Glass, we understand that every homeowner has unique preferences and requirements. That’s why we offer a wide range of customisation options for composite doors.
You can choose from various styles, colours, and finishes to match your home’s aesthetics perfectly. With our expert guidance, you can create a door that is not only secure but also a stunning focal point of your home.
7. Environmental Sustainability
Composite doors are not only a smart choice for your home but also for the environment. Many of the materials used in these doors are recyclable, and their long lifespan reduces the need for frequent replacements, further reducing your carbon footprint.
Disadvantages of Composite Doors
A common drawback associated with composite doors is their higher cost compared to uPVC doors.
While the initial expense may appear substantial, it becomes evident that you’re investing in quality and value when you consider the extensive benefits that composite doors offer.
In essence, the cost is a reflection of the significant advantages you’ll enjoy, making it entirely worth the money.
How Long Do Composite Doors Last?
A composite door is a long-term investment, with a lifespan of at least 35 years or more.
The need to replace a composite door may arise if the following happens:
- Damage occurs to the door.
- You decide to change your door for a different style or design.
One notable advantage of composite doors is their replaceable glazing. Unlike uPVC doors, where the glazing is moulded into the door, composite doors feature a design that allows for easy replacement of the glazing.
In the case of a composite door, the glazing can be effortlessly inserted into a pre-cut space.
However, it’s important to note that altering the shape of a glass window in an existing composite door is not recommended, as it could compromise the door’s structural integrity.
Any changes to the glass portals should be specified before the door is manufactured.
Do Composite Doors Fade?
Maintaining the vibrant appearance of a door can prove to be quite a challenge, particularly when your front door is exposed to harsh weather conditions like wind and rain.
While uPVC doors may come in attractive, bright colours initially, they tend to fade over time, especially when subjected to intense UV light. On the other hand, timber doors are prone to cracking and peeling when exposed to heavy rainfall followed by hot, dry weather.
Composite doors, however, are a different story. They boast a resilient finishing material known as GRP (fiberglass), which is commonly used in the construction of boats.
One remarkable aspect of composite doors is their resistance to fading. The colours are specially designed to remain vibrant and retain their appeal over the long term, far outlasting the durability of timber and uPVC doors.
Can you Paint Composite Doors?
The outer GRP skin of a composite door undergoes a meticulous process during manufacturing. It is spray-lacquered with specialised acrylic paint and then subjected to infrared baking.
This unique method ensures that the colour becomes an integral part of the GRP, rather than merely sitting atop the surface like traditional paint. Consequently, it becomes impervious to chipping, peeling, and fading.
Attempting to paint a composite door is ill-advised, as the paint will not adhere effectively to the door’s surface, resulting in a compromised appearance.
Some sources may recommend using a primer, oil-based paint, and a varnish finish. However, this advice is flawed. Glass-reinforced plastic, the material used in the door’s skin, is not an ideal base for paint. The door’s design is meticulously crafted to infuse colour, ensuring vibrancy and durability while eliminating the need for painting.
If, against this advice, gloss paint is applied to the door, it might temporarily adhere but will ultimately succumb to peeling, chipping, and weather-related wear and tear. Moreover, painting a composite door will never yield the same high-quality finish, effectively diminishing its value.
It’s crucial to note that attempting to paint a composite door may void any existing warranties or guarantees you have for the door.
Should you wish to change the door’s colour, you can explore the possibility of colour bonding with the manufacturer. In some cases, the manufacturer may be able to facilitate this process.
So, can composite doors be painted? Yes, but only if the manufacturer can take the door away for colour bonding.
What is the Difference Between a uPVC Door and a Composite Door?
Let’s briefly compare composite doors to some other common door materials:
Composite vs. uPVC Doors
- Composite doors are sturdier and provide higher security.
- They have a more luxurious appearance compared to uPVC doors.
- uPVC doors are budget-friendly, but composite doors offer better long-term value.
Composite vs. Wooden Doors
- Composite doors are more durable and require less maintenance than wooden doors.
- They offer better insulation, making them more energy-efficient.
- Wooden doors may warp or rot over time, while composite doors remain steadfast.
Which Composite Door is Best?
Determining the “best” composite door depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Composite doors come in various styles, designs, and brands, each with its own set of features and advantages.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best composite door for your situation:
- Brand Reputation: Look for well-established and reputable composite door manufacturers. Brands with a history of quality and reliability are often a good choice.
- Design and Style: Choose a door design that complements the aesthetics of your home. Composite doors come in various styles, from traditional to contemporary, and offer different colours and finishes.
- Security: Consider the door’s security features. Look for doors with multi-point locking systems and enhanced security options to ensure your home’s safety.
- Energy Efficiency: Check the door’s thermal performance. A well-insulated composite door can help reduce energy bills and keep your home comfortable.
- Durability: Composite doors are known for their durability, but some may offer additional features like reinforced frames or scratch-resistant surfaces.
- Price: Set a budget and explore options within that range. Keep in mind that higher-priced doors may come with advanced features and customisation options.
- Warranty: Review the manufacturer’s warranty to understand the coverage and duration. A longer warranty period can provide peace of mind.
- Maintenance: Consider the level of maintenance required. Composite doors are generally low-maintenance, but some finishes may require occasional cleaning or upkeep.
- Customisation: If you have specific design preferences or size requirements, look for manufacturers that offer customisation options.
- Installation: Ensure that the door is installed by professionals to guarantee proper fit and functionality.
To determine the best composite door for your needs, it’s advisable to consult with local door suppliers or installers who can provide recommendations based on your specific circumstances and requirements.
At Phair Windows & Glass, we can guide you in selecting a composite door that suits your home’s style, enhances security, and meets your budget.
How Much Does a Composite Door Cost?
The total cost for supplying and installing composite front doors can range from £850 to £3,000.
While the supply and installation cost of a composite front door may exceed that of uPVC, it generally falls below the price range of timber and aluminium doors.
Related: How much does a composite door cost?
Summary of What is a Composite Door
Composite doors are a great choice for homeowners seeking the perfect blend of security, energy efficiency, and aesthetics.
Their innovative design, advanced security features, and customisation options make them the ultimate choice for keeping your home safe and secure while adding to its visual appeal.
At Phair Windows & Glass, we install high-quality composite doors for customers across Leicestershire that not only meet but exceed your expectations.
Contact us now to explore our wide range of options, or for a free no-obligation quote.
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