If you’re thinking about replacing your front door, you’re likely deciding whether to go uPVC or composite; two of the most common choices. And why not? They both have decent insulation properties and are relatively cost-effective.
However, there is a third option you may not have thought of and that is to have a door manufactured from steel.
It may sound “uninviting”; a “steel door” invokes mental images of military bases and bank vaults which aren’t exactly known for their aesthetics, but a steel front door has many benefits you may not have thought of. We’ll go through some of those key features and compare Steel Doors vs uPVC Doors
Steel doors have generally been tarred with the perception that they are “industrial”, “cold” and “uninviting” – not the sort of door you’d like on the front of your house. However, demand from a market increasingly concerned with security and advances in manufacturing techniques means you can pick up an aesthetically pleasing steel front door that looks identical to their uPVC counterparts.
uPVC doors are generally favoured because of their cost; you can generally pick an entry-level uPVC door up from between £200-£300. On the other hand, until fairly recently, steel doors were custom made and fabricated to order making them a lot more expensive. However, many steel door suppliers now stock steel front doors which can be picked up from as little as £180 and are more customisable than you may think. For additional costs, you’ll usually be able to change their colour, hardware and add windows where you need to as well.
This is where steel really does trump uPVC for your money. Steel doors typically weigh between 50-150kg compared to uPVC which typically comes in around 20-40kg. Due to their structure, they are consequently much harder to break through, as demonstrated in this video.
Bare steel doors do not insulate as well as uPVC since they’re constructed from metal which conducts temperature. However, many stock steel doors come with thick insulation of mineral wool wedged between the two steel leaves. If you are thinking of replacing your new door with a steel front door, ensure the door you are purchasing does contain insulation otherwise uPVC wins in this category.
Winner: Draw (if you ensure the steel door is insulated)
uPVC, obviously being made from plastic, is obviously incredibly easy to maintain and clean. They won’t degrade or rust over time. Steel doors, on the other hand, may rust and the paint may chip off applied poorly. Again, if you’re purchasing a steel door from a stockist, ensure they use galvanised metal and the doors are powder coated to a high quality. Inevitably a steel front door will get scratched and you may wish to repaint it.
Although the actual finish of a steel door may require a little more maintenance, it’s worth bearing in mind that they won’t warp or twist over time, unlike composite and timber doors.
Other Benefits of Steel Doors
Although steel doors are not all fire-rated, the fact they are made from steel ensures they are far superior in sealing and controlling the spread of fire in contrast to uPVC which will melt in minutes. If you do require a fire rating, you will need to pay a premium to get a fire-rated door, but when compared with wood and plastic, you can see why steel doors are preferred by building control.
It also makes uPVC doors much more prone to a concept called “blow torch burglary” where the door is melted to get access to the locking mechanism
Steel doors can offer a cost-effective alternative to the traditionally popular uPVC doors, matching them in terms of appearance and insulation and excelling in areas regarding security and fire resistance. If you’re replacing your front door and deciding which would be the best material, you may wish to consider steel.