Making an Entrance – Doors of Distinction

    They say an English man’s home is his castle, but unfortunately not too many of us can afford one of these, unless you are Royalty! However, the front door can still be imposing and make a statement even if you do not have a portcullis and drawbridge.

    The door to your house is often the first link between a visitor and your home- it needs to safe, secure and welcoming. A PVCu door in a traditional property looks out of place and is not right for the overall feel. In listed properties, you can’t put any old doors and windows in and may have to remove them if the planning officer gets involved. Save time and money- do the project right from the off.

    Many modern timber doors are cheap and nasty- but not that cheap. Typically made from some unknown softwood, 44mm thick and poorly finished. They are prone to movement and swell and shrink with the seasons. Often constructed from inferior timbers, stuck together to form much larger pieces these doors are best avoided. It is true- you get what you pay for.

    The main choices are:-The look that you want, the timber/colour, glazing, ironmongery and budget.

    The look.

    Broadly speaking there are two main categories- traditional styles for older properties and contemporary for modern properties.

    Traditional can be anything from a six panel door to an arched frame and sidelights. More modern doors tend to be plain and simple with straight lines and uncomplicated designs.


    Doors to withstand the British weather are best made from hardwood. Engineered timbers are both stable and durable, will take a paint/stain finish and require only a little TLC. Sapele is an excellent choice- a member of the Mahogany family, it will stand up well to the test of time. Other popular timbers include European Oak, which is often chosen for traditional properties or Iroko, an oily timber well suited to contemporary applications.

    Softwood in TEC wood form is also available and although not as durable as hardwood, it will outlast a basic softwood door. Douglas fir is often chosen for higher end softwood doors.


    Whichever type of glazing you choose for your door- it must be either toughened or laminated glass to comply with building regulations.

    Double glazed units with “K” glass and gas filling such as Argon, are the choice of many who want thermal efficiency. There is also the option of warm edge spacers and even triple glazed units if the “U” value needs to be below 1.0. Glass choices can include the following – clear, bevel edged, opaque or acid etched, sand blasted, coloured, leaded or stained.


    The door furniture you choose can also add to the overall style of the door.

    The hinges, handle, locks and letter box must be in keeping with the style of door chosen. Traditional finishes include black wrought iron or polished brass. For a modern and stylish look the choice of ironmongery is often quite minimal and may incorporate satin chrome or brushed steel. The use of top quality hinges will make a real difference to the operation of the door. For example – a solid Oak or Sapele door will generally require 3 or 4 heavy duty hinges to support the weight. If only 2 hinges are used or they are of poor quality the door will soon “drop” and then damage will occur or the door will not open.

    Locks are also very important. A multi point locking system is the sign of a good door and so is a 5 lever mortice lock-both of which are acceptable to insurance companies. These locks will deter thieves and keep your house safe and sound. In a time of rising insurance costs, we need to do anything we can to keep premiums down.


    We would all like to be able to have an open cheque book when paying for goods and services but value for money is important to us all. When spending a considerable amount of money it is always worth seeking out 3 quotes and then studying them to ascertain if they are all providing like for like!

    What to look for.

    A good door manufacturer will be able to offer advice on all of the above and may even have a fitting service. Having the door pre-hung in the frame with good quality hinges and locks will mean less fitting time on site. Look at the finish and see if the door has been properly sanded. As we all know- preparation is the key. Visit the manufacturer if you can and see for yourself how the door is put together. Are the joints mortice and tennoned or simply dowel jointed? What thickness is the door – a good door should be at least 50mm. Is the door draught proofed and is the glazing bead hardwood or cheaper softwood?

    Ask questions before you buy.

    Burwood Joinery Ltd is a manufacturing joinery business based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

    They provide a bespoke service creating beautiful and practical timber products ranging from Sash Windows to Hardwood External doors, Hand made conservatories and Orangeries, Ornate staircases, Individual pieces of Furniture, Designer Mouldings and personally commissioned items.

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