The entrance door, also known as the front door, performs several important functions at the same time. It needs to look good: after all, it is one of the first things anyone will see when they approach your house. It needs to provide good thermal insulation as well as protection against the elements: rain, snow and wind. A front door’s job description also includes limiting the noise coming from the outside, and last but not least, protecting the safety of the people and possessions inside.
Appearance is very important, as the door is typically the focal point of the front façade of the house. It attracts attention and affects the appearance of the entire building. Therefore, it must fit well with the architectural style of the house, as well as work with the windows and other doors.
Thermal insulation is another important function of the entrance door. The task is to limit the penetration of cold inside the house, as well as the escape of heat from the interior to the outside. Well insulated, well sealed door helps to keep the heating bills down.
High-quality doors should also provide high-quality protection against the elements. Weather conditions vary throughout the year, so it is important that the door effectively protects against rain and wind.
The entrance doors also create a barrier between the outside and the inside worlds and should provide adequate sound insulation. Protecting the household from excessive noise is therefore another important function that the front door should fulfil, more so when the house faces a busy road.
The last, but one of the most important functions of the front door is to ensure safety of the inhabitants and protect the contents of the house from theft and damage. The entrance door is a barrier that must be crossed to get inside from the outside. That is why it is so important that it is not easy for unauthorised persons to get past this barrier. Ideally, it should be impossible.
Knowing what the job the front door needs to do, we can now look at how to choose the right type and model. There are several features and parameters that need to be taken into account in particular.
Entrance doors can be made of PVC, aluminium or other metals and wood. More recently, composite doors have been quickly growing in popularity. Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages.
PVC doors are the most affordable option. They offer very good thermal insulation parameters, water resistance and wind resistance. The wide range of available panels also means it’s possible to find a uPVC door suitable for even the most unusual architectural designs.
Aluminium doors boast the highest strength and durability. They cope very well with even severe weather conditions which means they will serve homeowners for many years with their functional features and streamlined aesthetics. As with uPVC doors, the impressive range of available panels makes it possible to find a metal door suitable for any facade.
Wooden doors are an epitome of traditional style. Wood is material that can be shaped and formed in various ways, creating real works of inspired craftsmanship. Thus, such doors should be chosen by those who especially care about the design of the entrance and the preservation of traditional aesthetics, for example, owners of heritage properties, traditional farm houses or cottages or manor houses.
The most demanding customers can also choose a composite door, which combines metal frame with a solid wood core, and sometimes uPVC sub-frame. Composite doors provide durability and insulation parameters of metal doors with the aesthetics and design of wooden doors. The quality comes at a higher price, but many homeowners find it is worth it.
The appearance of the entrance door plays an extremely important role, as they often create the focal point of the front facade of the building, attract the eye of the passers-by and make for the first point of contact with your home for any visitor. The front door is thus the key to your home’s first impression and the so-called kerb appeal.
The design of the entrance door must correspond to the window joinery. It is thus important to maintain a coherent colour scheme and design style, as well as matching or similar-style fixtures and fittings such as handles. The door panels should work visually in the context of the facade. A contrasting design, well thought out rather than clashing with the facade, can work well.
Glazing is a separate issue. Entrance doors do not need to be solid, they may have larger or smaller glass panels built in. The choice of glazing solutions depends on whether we want to stay more private and stay entirely invisible from the outside, or on the contrary – to signal to visitors at the door that we are approaching, for example by switching on the light visible thanks to glazing. Sidelights around the door can also provide an interesting glazed feature. However, everything depends on the design vision.
Performance parameters of front doors are very important. Aim for the lowest heat transfer coefficient possible. It is necessary to remember that the thermal insulation of the door is affected not only by the frame material and filling properties, but also by the properties of the threshold. As of 2022, doors fitted in new homes must achieve door U-values of 1.6 W/(m2.K). In existing houses they must achieve 1.4 W/(m2.K).
The entrance door should also be highly water-tight. This will avoid water ingress in case of bad weather, heavy storm or long-lasting downpour.
Wind resistance is also a very important parameter. It tells us how much our doors are able to withstand. This affects the safety of the entire structure, so the more wind-resistant the door, the better.
Finally, it is worth considering what security features the door manufacturer offers. Do they have adequate fittings including hinges that prevent break-ins? Special locks and other anti-burglary protections? How resistant are the doors to attempts to break them down or break in? These are certainly issues that need to be considered before buying a door.
Besides selecting the doors, there is also the question of choosing the appropriate fixtures. Handles are the most crucial here, with a choice between a fixed handle, a traditional handle with a latch, or a knob.
Fixtures and fittings primarily affect the comfort of using front doors. Fixed handles are a modern option for a door handle that complements various contemporary architectural styles such as minimalist, industrial, and Scandinavian. They are mostly suitable for public buildings such as offices, libraries, schools, or museums, as well as offices, restaurants, and shops. However, they are becoming increasingly popular in residential constructions due to the many modern solutions they offer, such as fingerprint readers. The handles are suitable for doors that are in metallic colours or filled with aluminium panels.
Traditional handles and knobs with a latch are better suited to doors with more traditional designs. They go well with doors that have wood-like veneers or traditional wooden solutions. Houses maintained in classical, rustic, country styles, as well as historic villas, manor houses, or tenement houses, even require the use of a handle or knob.
Therefore, the selection of appropriate accessories is mainly determined by the overall aesthetics of the investment and additional functions offered.