As the sun begins to ease its way out of hibernation and we begin to spend more time in the garden, you may have noticed that your doors are looking a little worse for wear. Whether you have had your existing doors for a long period of time or they simply no longer fit your style, there are a whole host of reasons as to why you may consider a replacement. However, this is a decision that comes alongside a significant amount of research and planning, even more so nowadays as there are more options than ever to choose from. Nevertheless, one of the most important considerations is which material you believe is best-suited to your home. So, to aid your decision, we have put together a full guide comparing composite vs aluminium doors, two of the most popular choices amongst our customers.
Composite Vs Aluminium Doors: What’s Best For Your Home?
Whether you are hoping to replace your front, patio or even garage doors, you most definitely will not be short for options to consider. No longer is it a case of choosing between style and reliability as manufacturers now combine the two to provide customers with doors boasting high performance, while perfectly complementing the aesthetics of their property.
When shortlisting door replacement options, your first, and we think the most important decision, will be which material you will opt for. It is entirely your choice as to whether you stick with the material that your existing fixtures are or choose something a little different to reap better benefits. With this in mind, with many years of experience supplying both composite doors and aluminium doors, we’re going to compare the two side by side, answering the following questions:
Before delving into the advantages and disadvantages of each door material, it is vital to spend time running through the differences between each. While both will provide you with a host of sought-after features, they will slightly differ based on the qualities of the material. In light of this, we have listed the top characteristics that our customers look for, along with what you can expect of these depending on whether you choose aluminium or composite:
First is the manufacturing process, which is inevitably different based on which material you opt for. Aluminium doors do come alongside a more straightforward process as it is made using just one material, which is heated before being placed into a press to mould. The aluminium itself is often complete with an additional thermal barrier to ensure that it remains efficient. It can also be easily cut to size using specialist machinery to ensure that the door fits seamlessly onto your property.
Composite doors, on the other hand, have a more complex manufacturing process because they are from several materials. The outer frame, subframe and core are all made from a different material which together, maximise performance. They were initially designed to eliminate any flaws that were found in doors made using just one material, combining qualities for a more robust option. Most commonly, the core of the composite doors will be made from solid wood, complete with a reinforced galvanised steel outer frame and uPVC subframe.
With the nation continuously encouraged to begin building a more environmentally friendly home, its now more important than ever to choose materials which provide efficiency. While in the past, aluminium doors were not rated for their ability to retain heat, this is most definitely no longer the case. As mentioned previously, most aluminium doors are now equipped with an additional thermal barrier, which is designed to be non-conductive, which means that heat transfer between the indoors and outdoors will be prevented.
Much like aluminium doors, composite alternatives also promise maximum efficiency, but down to different reasons. Firstly, composite doors are designed to be slightly thicker than your average door, generally by at least 6mm. They also feature a hardwood core, which is a natural insulator down to its hundreds of small pockets of empty space in the grains. This allows the heat to be absorbed and then recirculated around the room.
Regardless of the door material that you opt for, double glazing will remain essential to guarantee efficiency. As double glazing is designed with two panes of glass separated by a layer of gas, it blocks any heat from being transferred. According to MoneySupermarket, fitting double glazing is within the top ten most effective ways to improve your energy efficiency at home. More information on the benefits of upgrading your glazing can be found on Crown Windows, who are specialists in double glazing in Milton Keynes.
Although composite doors do combine the best qualities of various materials, they still do not last as long as their aluminium alternatives. Composite doors are thought to last up to 30 years, whereas aluminium has an average life expectancy of 45 years, making them a better option if you are set on making the most out of your investment.
So why do aluminium doors last so long? It’s as simple as the durability and reliability of metal as opposed to materials such as wood and plastic. Aluminium is corrosion-resistant, which means that it will not rust or corrode when faced with damper weather conditions. Unlike its alternatives, aluminium also will not warp when exposed to moisture. This is a common problem amongst homeowners, caused by the expanding and contracting of materials. For more details on why doors warp and how to avoid it, take a look at The Balance Small Business.
Both aluminium and composite doors are relatively straightforward to maintain, meaning that keeping them in good condition should require no longer than cleaning every few months. Unlike other materials such as timber, there will be no need to apply regular treatments in order to prevent damage.
To clean either your aluminium or composite door frame, all you will need is a bucket of water and a mild detergent, along with a large soft sponge. Always avoid using anything abrasive such as a bristle brush as this may scratch the surface of the frame, causing damage. You can then gently start to wipe away any dirt and debris on the frame. If you spot any marks or scuffs which are tricky to remove just with water, then you can try using a non-abrasive liquid cream cleaner.
Aside from cleaning, the only other maintenance job that you may have to carry out for either option is tightening the hinges as it is common for them to become loose with constant use. A super easy guide on how to do this can be found on Dummies, and all you will need is a screwdriver.
Although it is vital to choose door materials based on their qualities and performance, style should also play a role in your final decision. Your door must complement the appearance of your property, helping to create a positive first impression.
When considering which material is best suited to your property, keep in mind the colour that you like the most. Generally, aluminium doors are available in more traditional colours such as black, brown and cream; whereas, you’re likely to find composite alternatives in more unique shades. As the exterior of composite doors is usually made using uPVC, there are few limitations in terms of colours, making them ideal for those hoping to add a modern touch to their property. You can also opt for having a specific finish on composite doors such as wood grain to replicate the appearance of a timber door.
Along with colour, if you are looking to replace your back door, you must also determine the door type that you will install. The doors at the rear of your property are available in various styles such as bi-fold, sliding and patio, based on your requirements and the amount of space available. In this instance, all door types are available in both aluminium and composite. For example, you can get both composite and aluminium bi-folding door, as well as both composite and aluminium sliding doors. This is a decision that comes later in the planning process, once you have determined the best material.
Once you are confident with the difference between aluminium and composite doors, you can then begin to make your decision. Much like any other home upgrade, both options come alongside their own benefits and drawbacks, which make them best suited to a specific type of homeowner. When considering the pros and cons of different materials, it is always important to keep in mind the problems that you have encountered in the past, your requirements and property location; together this will ensure that you make a worthwhile investment.
So, to close our guide and ensure that you are equipped with all of the information that you need, here is a summary of the pros and cons of each door material:
While composite doors are suited to all property types, they are most common amongst modern homes as they have a more contemporary appearance. More advantages and disadvantages of composite doors include:
|The added thickness of composite doors mean that they are almost impossible to force open.||Composite doors do come alongside a higher price tag, making them one of the most expensive door types.|
|The appearance of composite doors can easily be customised to fit with your style.||Some homeowners do notice that their composite doors creak during the warmer weather.|
|Composite doors couldn’t be easier to maintain aside from regular cleaning when they begin to look grubby.|
|Although it may not be as long as aluminium, composite doors last up to 30 years, which is means that they will most likely last you the entire time spent in your home.|
Aluminium is perfect for those whose main priority is that their doors last for decades without any risk that they will start to deteriorate. Nevertheless, here are some key benefits and drawbacks of installing aluminium doors:
|Aluminium doors are incredibly robust, meaning that they can withstand all weather conditions.||Some homeowners experience condensation on the glazing of aluminium doors because the material is a heat conductor.|
|As aluminium boasts guaranteed strength, it can be slimlined for a sleek appearance, while still able to hold the weight of large glazing.||In terms of aesthetics, there may not be as many options available if you were to opt for aluminium doors as opposed to its alternatives.|
|Once you have finished with your aluminium door frames, they can be recycled for a more environmentally friendly option.|
|Aluminium doors, by far, have one of the longest lifespans compared to other materials, without much need for maintenance.|
Choosing The Right Doors For Your Home
While determining the best-suited material for your doors may take a considerable amount of research and planning, it is most definitely worth the additional work. Doors are an investment, and particularly if you opt for a high-quality option that will stand the test of time, they will not be cheap. This means that taking several factors into consideration will guarantee that you make a worthwhile investment that provides you with value for money.
If you are planning to replace your doors and in need of guidance, then please do not hesitate to contact the team at Crown uPVC Supplies. They are always more than happy to answer any questions that you may have!