Questions to Ask Before Buying a New Door

Doors impact the security, heat-efficiency and visual appeal of a building, and homeowners interact with them repeatedly, on a daily basis.

This means that before buying new doors, you should be sure to ask a few key questions in order to gather the information you need to make the best possible decision, and save yourself trouble further down the line.

Here are some of the most important questions to ask before buying a new door.

What Type of Doors Do I Need?

Doors come in several different types and needless to say, you’ll want to pick the one that’s best matched to your needs.

Am I buying an external or internal door?

external french doors

Aspect Grey French External Doors

This distinction is self-explanatory: internal doors separate the rooms inside your home; external doors separate your home from the outside world. The two do very different jobs, and as a result are constructed quite differently.

What material should the door be made from?

The material a door is made from will have a significant impact on its appearance and how it functions. Most interior doors are made at least partially from timber, but there are several different varieties of timber door to choose from.

A solid wooden door is made from the same material all the way through, which makes it more vulnerable to warping. A composite door, on the other hand, is formed from many different lengths of wood with grains that run in different directions. This helps reduce warping.

Exterior doors are commonly made from uPVC, timber, a composite of materials, or aluminium. The former (uPVC) is cheap and lightweight, while the latter (aluminium) is considerably more expensive.

What style should the door come in?

The style of door you choose is a matter of personal taste. You’ll want to pick something that you’re happy to look at, and that’ll match the rest of your décor. If you’re considering redecorating, then you’ll have the luxury of choosing a door and working the rest of your interior around it.

What type of door should I choose?

There are several types of door:

  • Single doors constitute the vast majority of doors in the UK. As the name suggests, they are formed of just one panel.
  • Double doors are effectively two single doors set into the same frame. French doors are a variety of double door.
  • Bi-fold doors consist of several panels that join together in a concertina, and run along a guide track. This design allows for the creation of very large room-dividing doors, and small ones which are used for storage spaces where there’s no room for a traditional single door to swing outward.
  • Sliding doors are made from panels set into a long track. They slide behind one another to create an opening.

Do I Need a Door or a Door-set?

You’ll have the choice of buying your doors as separate panels, or as complete sets including a frame and an architrave, with ironmongery pre-installed.

Buying everything separately will allow you to tailor the door to your exact requirements. You don’t need to be limited by what manufacturers think looks good – if you want to pair a specific handle with a specific door, you’ll be able to do it.

On the other hand, a door set will guarantee everything matches, and they’re easier to install. They work best with new openings, where you won’t have the cost of removing the old frame to consider. If you’re carrying out major renovations and are already bringing a carpenter on-site, it might make economic sense to bring in single doors – especially if you don’t want to rip out old frames without knowing exactly what you’re going to find underneath!

Do I Want Unfinished or Prefinished Doors?

Timber doors are sold either unfinished or prefinished. An unfinished door will allow you to apply the finish of your choice. A prefinished door, on the other hand, has been finished at factory level. This should mean that the finish is longer lasting and more resilient than what you would apply at home.

If you’re applying an opaque finish, you might consider a happy medium: doors that have been treated just with a primer. Since most primers are either white or black, you get a compromise between flexibility and convenience.

How Much Can I Afford to Spend on New Doors?

Doors vary considerably in price. A set of high-quality folding doors could easily cost in excess of a thousand pounds, while an affordable single door might cost less than a hundred. That said, there are hidden costs to consider.

Installation Costs

You might think to cut costs by opting for a disassembled door and putting everything together yourself. If done properly, this can indeed be a good way to save money, but then, it depends how valuable your time is. An improper installation might need to be professionally corrected, and in the case of external folding doors, might leave your home vulnerable to break ins.

Maintenance Costs

Timber doors will need to be periodically sanded and refinished to guard against water damage (and ensure that the door looks the part). This means investing in a pot of finish, brushes, sponges and sandpaper – as well as setting aside a weekend or two each year.

Have I taken correct measurements?

Before you make a purchase, you’ll need to be sure that your new doors will fit into the aperture you have in mind. You’ll find a quick guide to the measuring process here.

Do I need Fire Doors?

In some instances, you’ll need an interior door that’s a little more robust. Fire doors are thicker and more resilient than standard doors, and feature an expanding strip around the edges, that together serve to slow the spread of fire through your home. If a building is more than two storeys tall, then fire doors are usually required. This means tower blocks as well as loft conversions.

Fire doors cost slightly more than standard doors, but you might think it worthwhile if you’re installing them into sensitive areas like kitchens and garages.

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