The difference between uPVC or composite doors

Not all front doors are created equally. There are many differences, but arguably the most significant is the material or materials used to produce them.

In the main, external doors are built either from wood, uPVC, or a composite of various materials.

Let’s examine the respective merits and drawbacks of uPVC and composite doors.  After considering these, you’ll be a better position to choose a door that’s right for your home.

What is a uPVC door?

Polyvinyl chloride is a flexible, lightweight plastic that you might find in certain sorts of figure-hugging items of clothing.  When it lacks a plasticising agent, however, it’s a great deal more rigid, and so suitable for creating items of furniture and doors.

Unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, or uPVC, is the name given to this material.  Most uPVC doors aren’t entirely made from plastics, however.

While some “cowboy” companies will install doors with uPVC panels that are not reinforced and can be kicked straight through, any installation company worth their salt will use reinforced panels. Before signing on the dotted line ensure that the door you’re buying has a frame and panels that have been reinforced with a strong metal or carbon fibre.

uPVC front doors are, by-and-large, more affordable than composite doors..  They also demand very little upkeep – the material is capable of withstanding most weather conditions and once installed they require very little maintenance. Any troublesome stains can be simply wiped off.

That said, while uPVC doors are low-maintenance, neglecting one over a long period of time, or treating it using the wrong sorts of chemicals, can lead to unsightly discolouration – which you’ll be unable to reverse. Finally, when a uPVC door approaches the end of its life, you’ll be obliged to dispose of it responsibly – it will have to be broken down to its constituent parts and disposed of, since the entirety will not bio-degrade in the same way as a wooden door might.

What is a Composite door?

Composite doors are built from several different materials, including uPVC, steel, glass, and wood.  The exact make-up of the door varies between manufacturers, however one thing remains consistent:  composite doors command a higher price than their uPVC counterparts, since their construction requires more sophisticated and costly materials and techniques.

So what advantages do these higher price tags get you?  The first and most obvious is that composite doors look better than their uPVC counterparts.  They’re therefore the more popular choice for front doors.  There are many, many colours to choose from – and this colour will persist for years, in the face of all weather conditions.

While they might mimic the appearance of solid-wood doors, composite doors will not warp in the same way.  Warping occurs when a length of wood is exposed to changes in moisture and temperature over a long period of time – causing it to expand and contract according to the grain.  Since a composite door is made from a mix of materials, this warping is almost entirely negated – which means that gaps won’t form around the edge of the door, and that cold draughts won’t find their way in.

Composite doors are also especially effective at keeping warmth inside the home and are extremely difficult for an intruder to break through. Tough materials, a bespoke outer frame, and state-of-the-art locking systems combine to create an extraordinarily secure door.

While composite doors might command a higher price than their rivals, it’s worth bearing in mind that the energy savings they confer, and the reduced risk of burglary, might offset that price in the long-term.  It’s also worth considering the effect an attractive, composite door might have on the price of your property should you come to sell – if you’re leading would-be buyers through a door that looks fantastic and feels sturdy, you might find them far more willing to splash out!