John Whalley of Nationwide Windows & Doors discusses the advantages of composite doors for social housing
Specifiers and asset managers have lots of choice when it comes to the different types of materials on the market for doors. Naturally, product specifications and performance vary depending on where the doors are and what they are required to do. Traditionally, one of the most popular materials to make doors out of is PVCu, which is highly weather resistant, has great maintenance free properties and offers value for money. In contrast, while as a nation we may have an emotional affinity with the integrity of timber doors, they can require varnishing, painting and weather sealing many times over their life span. While both PVCu and timber doors come with their own pros and cons, in recent years, millions of social housing properties have been improved with what have been described as ‘no compromise’ composite doors. As the name suggests, composite doors are manufactured from a combination of materials. The beauty of composite doors is they can be designed to look like the timber doors the nation has a preference for, without the associated maintenance. For example, one such composite door available on the market has a skin made from impact-resistant fibreglass (thermoset GRP – glass reinforced polyester), and is compression moulded to offer detailed panel definition and an authentic woodgrain effect which will not expand, contract, bow, warp or twist. The stiles and rails are composed of water-resistant polymers which are bonded to the skin and filled with an insulating core of 100 per cent CFC-free polyurethane, providing thermal efficiency nine times that of a timber door. The end product is tough, tried and tested and offers the ultimate in security and durability. Reputable manufacturer’s doors should be independently tested – for example Nationwide doors are tested by a UKAS accredited test house to BS:PAS24 and Secure By Design licensed (Association of Chief Police Officers).
Key advantages of composite doors
Composite doors offer a range of advantages including the following:
- Provide a safe, sturdy and robust entrance to a home
- An energy efficient choice with insulating properties, helping to reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer
- Low maintenance, requiring very little upkeep – just a quick wipe down with a damp cloth
- They look good, with realistic woodgrain finishes, a wide variety of colours, and the option for glasswork inserts
- The are strong and resistant to wear and tear, easily standing the rigours of day to day use
- They will not warp, chip, scratch, rot or discolour
- Their long lifespan means they offer great overall lifecycle value
A preferred door partner
When it comes to looking for a supplier/manufacturer, there are a few things to consider. Look out for a manufacturer who is a member of The Association of Composite Door Manufacturers (ACDM). This is the representative body focused on ensuring that composite doors, and all those involved in manufacturing and supplying them, maintain a high level of quality and credibility. There is a minimum requirement to join the ACDM, based upon product performance. The host of accreditations a manufacturers holds – such as PAS 24 and Secured By Design – is testament to the commitment it has to stringent quality control across all areas of its business, as well as any independent testing it puts its products through. For example, Nationwide products are rigorously tested by a third party UKAS accredited test house to ensure they will perform in real-life situations. Also take into consideration a company’s manufacturing facilities. Last year, we invested in a technologically advanced, high volume, dedicated composite door manufacturing facility. It’s also worth checking suppliers’ websites as you’ll often find useful tips and advice such as downloadable guides. When you choose a partner for your door upgrades to housing stock, choose a company who is committed to ensuring this innovative door continues its foothold within the UK’s housing market.
John Whalley is managing director of Nationwide Windows & Doors