27 Nov 2019

Choosing the right door style and material for your home

Doors are a key aesthetic feature for any new build, extension or renovation and one of the decisions you will have to make is what type of door style best suits, says Amy Blount at Reynaers at Home.

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At their core, doors serve one vital function, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish. Here are some of the key features to consider when choosing a door style that is right for you.

Side-hung doors

Highly versatile, the side-hung door is an extremely popular choice for residential properties. The product can be used as a front door which opens inwards and usually locks when closed, a back door that tends to open outwards and as double/French doors, opening up the living room to the back garden. Typically, the maximum width of a side-hung door is about 1.3m, they are usually attached on one side, with a frame wrapped around a pane of glass.

Bi-fold doors

Another popular choice in the UK is bi-fold doors, which are typically mounted on sets of rollers, taking the weight of the door and run in a track set into the floor.

The doors open and close concertina style, and when opened, the door leaves can be moved all on the same side or split to stack themselves evenly on each side. Most people choose to have their doors open out to ensure that when it rains (highly likely for those living in the UK), they won’t experience rainwater dripping into their property. Those who choose bi-fold doors that open in have to consider the space required to open them without having to move furniture.

Bi-fold doors have an obvious advantage as they can open up about 90% of the aperture, letting in lots of fresh air and light, and blurring the threshold from outdoors/indoors.

Sliding doors

Traditionally, a sliding door will comprise a number of panels, of which some will slide, and some will be normally fixed. One of the main benefits is the uninterrupted floor-to-ceiling views because sliding doors can use larger panes of glass. There are several variations when it comes to this type of door operation; the most popular is lift and slide, where turning the handle through 180º lifts the door by a few millimetres to reduce friction and make it slide more easily.

Sliding doors can offer users industry-leading maximum dimensions (up to 3.5m in height), and even the biggest doors can be triple glazed, ensuring high levels of insulation. For something truly spectacular, these doors can also be fully automated meaning at the touch of a button, they can effortlessly glide open and/or close in a safe and secure way.

Pivot doors

The pivot door is an unusual yet stylish option found in many lavish properties. The door, which functions via a pivot underneath, has leaves which are much wider than those found in more traditional properties and the threshold is typically flush with the floor, meaning this style is less weather-resistant than others.

This type of door is much better suited for interior use, adding aesthetic and substance to a room. For those wanting a heavy door, the pivot door is the answer to keeping it stable.

Materials

Doors can be constructed from many different materials, so getting the choice right can be an important decision, especially for longevity and ensuring the style fits.

Aluminium is a strong, durable, energy-efficient and lightweight material which is 100% recyclable with no loss of quality. Thanks to the inherent strength of aluminium, frames can be relatively narrow, maximising the glass area and resulting in more natural light being let into the property.

The door typically comprises aluminium profiles sandwiched around what is known as a polyamide thermal break (a strip of rigid insulation material) which provides high insulating value for relatively little thickness.

Aluminium suits most styles because it can be specified in almost any colour inside and out. The material is usually covered in a tough powder coat resulting in either a matt or gloss finish. Other finishes are available including metallic, textured and anodised, although the latter is prone to scratching compared to the powder coatings.

There are a growing number of windows and doors that are made using two or more different materials. We call this composite. Typically, the most common combination is to have timber clad with aluminium. Aesthetically, they are not to everyone’s taste, but this type of door style can achieve high levels of weather resistance and thermal performance.

uPVC is widely used in the replacement windows and doors market, due to its low cost, insulation and low-maintenance qualities. Contracting by as much as 3mm per metre, it is not suitable for larger openings and can become difficult to open or close as temperatures change. Those who choose uPVC as their material of choice will be limited by style and colour options.

Whether choosing hardwood or softwood, timber is the choice for exterior doors with a more traditional appearance. One of the advantages of using wood is that it can be cut to fit the entrance, so an unusual size or shape is achievable. However, timber can warp and sag, which is why this type of material is best suited for covered areas. As the frames are usually given a painted or stained finish, the colour options are almost limitless.

Doors are a key feature of your home or build project, so it’s important to choose the right materials and style. For more hints and tips about doors or to speak to your local dealer, visit Reynaers at Home.

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