Composite door vs uPVC: which should you choose?
Getting the right door type for your home is essential, and when you choose a new front door, you have a few options, including timber, uPVC, and aluminium.
The look of a front door matters.
It creates a good first impression, reflects the homeowner’s style, boosts curb appeal, possibly increases property value, and ensures security and safety for the home.
Design, price and order a new door online:
uPVC doors or composite doors - quick summary:
- Composite doors are more robust than uPVC doors as they're around double the thickness and can feature a 44mm solid core, or 48mm solid timber core. uPVC doors are layers of uPVC plastic, usually with foam filled in between.
- Composite doors are more secure than uPVC doors.
- On average, uPVC doors are £250 cheaper than composite doors. (Supply only).
- The cost to fit both doors is around the same nationwide.
At Value Doors, we've invested in tech, so use our best-in-class door builders where you can design and purchase your door fully online in minutes. Click the button below to get started:
uPVC and composite doors: The differences
Recent strides in door manufacturing mean uPVC doors look more modern nowadays, but there remains an undeniable plasticky feel to them.
You should expect this from an unplasticised PolyVinyl Chloride door, though. Due to price, this door type has remained popular since the 1980s.
Composite doors first appeared in the late 1990s and have become increasingly popular ever since. The difference between the two is the material used in manufacturing.
A uPVC door is a plastic-sealed insulated frame, whereas several materials combined under high-pressure conditions account for the more up-to-date composite door.
uPVC and composite doors are really popular.
Let's look at the differences between the two and then consider the advantages and disadvantages of each to draw some comparisons for you.
Hopefully, this will help you, as the buyer, to make an informed decision about which front door you choose.
Composite doors vs uPVC: lock and security features
Composite doors are usually fitted with high-level security locks. Ultion and ABS Avocet are highly respected in the lock industry, with millions of manufacturers used worldwide.
Due to this, many composite doors have 3-star locks as standard, including ours at Value Doors.
Ultion and ABS Avocet products come with 'Secured by Design' accreditation, making them a security standard and a popular choice for front doors.
When the door is closed, the lock only engages on the latch, meaning you'll need a key to lock it from the outside.
Most uPVC doors also have multi-point locking systems, but their construction and materials are inferior to composite ones, making them easier for burglars to access.
You may need to change uPVC door locks depending on the level of security they have or if they've been damaged.
Composite and uPVC doors: The pros and cons of each
It's not as easy as simply buying a new door, there are several considerations to make, including cost, value, security, and insulation.
Let's look at both door types, beginning with uPVC front doors, and weigh up the pros and cons of each.
The pros and cons of uPVC doors
uPVC front doors possess several pros, especially their price tag. Homeowners looking to save money on their door purchase while maintaining a decent security standard will likely go down the uPVC route.
uPVC doors also provide proper insulation levels, especially with a uPVC threshold, and can reduce energy bill costs compared to a wooden front door.
Unlike wooden doors, uPVC is also low maintenance, while a range of available styles and colours means you'll probably be able to find something suitable for your home.
Honestly, door buyers can do better than uPVC in specific departments. uPVC is limited in terms of durability, as they degrade over time, and their singular material styrofoam core limits security and thermal efficiency.
Plus, available uPVC door styles are more suited to modern-looking properties than those from earlier or more traditional periods.
Because of their plastic use, uPVC doors don't have options which include glass panes and these style limitations compare negatively to composites.
The pros and cons of composite doors
Composite doors come in various styles and colours, are durable and largely maintenance-free. The composite door typically comes with optional decorative glass finishes.
Their resistance to different weather conditions makes them more viable alternatives to uPVC doors, which fade, and wooden or timber doors, which require repainting or varnishing occasionally.
The best composite front doors have enhanced security features compared to other types of doors, making them the most naturally secure doors on the market.
This is all thanks to the super-strong internal manufacturing compounds made with different materials and safety glass for windowed options. These doors also come with special weather-resistant gaskets and seals.
Specialised multi-point locking mechanisms are included with doors from Value Doors, offering even further enhanced security.
The only real disadvantage of a composite door is the cost.
Composite doors are usually a lot more expensive than uPVC options. Considering their versatility, security benefits and durability, the extra price you'll pay may be worth it.
To get a better understanding of the cost of new front doors, you can see our post comparing their price tags.
A Composite Door vs uPVC Side-by-Side Comparison
- Price: A composite door could cost twice as much as a uPVC door.
- Security: A composite door offers a very high level of security, while even the best uPVC door offers only moderate security benefits.
- Thermal efficiency: Composite doors are highly thermally efficient, with uPVC doors graded as moderate in thermal efficiency.
- Maintenance: Composite doors require very little maintenance, while uPVC doors need intermediate care the older they get.
- Door thickness: The average thickness of a composite door is 44mm and a uPVC door is around 28mm thick on average.
- Lifespan: A composite door, without neglect, should last for 30 years, while a uPVC door's average lifespan is about a decade.
Composite door standout features
Composite doors have several features that set them apart from other types of doors, these are:
- Low-level aluminium thresholds with optional wheelchair gangway
- Realistic timber-looking PVC weather bar
- GRP (glass reinforced plastic) compression moulded skins
- Polyurethane insulated core. The thermal performance of this product is far better than timber
- Timber frame
- Adjustable hinges
- Wool-pile weather seal
- Galvanised steel reinforcing
- Low-line gasket
- Sculptured or Chamfered outer-frame choice
- 2mm PVC-grained edge-banding
- Perimeter air circulation is reduced by the foam stopper, reducing perimeter air circulation from drainage holes
The outer skin of a quality composite door
The door's outer skin is compression moulded using glass-reinforced plastic polyester, forming a high-definition grain effect not reached with standard panel technologies.
The door's core
100% CFC-free insulating polyurethane makes up the door's core, with outstanding performance ratios that outperform timber by up to nine times.
A water-resistant polymer perimeter surrounds and protects the door's core. Instead of comprising timber, this product prevents water from penetrating the door's core. Being a polymer, none of the timber's drawbacks exists.
uPVC door best bits
Let's have a look at the many benefits that make uPVC doors a budget-friendly option for modern homes in the UK:
UPVC doors provide excellent insulation, creating a barrier against heat loss, especially when filled with suitable materials such as foam.
This means that it contributes significantly to energy efficiency, keeping your home warmer and leading to noticeable reductions in energy bills over time.
Homeowners can enjoy a comfortable living space while saving money and keeping warm.
One of the big advantages of uPVC doors is their robustness in varying weather conditions.
Unlike traditional timber doors that may warp when wet, uPVC doors withstand the elements, ensuring longevity and minimal maintenance requirements.
This durability makes them a cost-effective investment in the long run.
Busy lifestyles call for low-maintenance solutions and uPVC doors fit the bill perfectly. These doors are easy to clean and require minimal upkeep.
Additionally, their resistance to rot and corrosion ensures they maintain their aesthetic appeal without constant attention, making them an ideal choice for modern living.
Gone are the days when practicality compromised style. uPVC doors come in a range of styles and designs. If you're looking for a specific colour on a budget, then uPVC doors may be the answer you're looking for.
uPVC doors are well known as the cheaper option due to the ease of manufacturing as lower quality products can be mass-produced quickly and easily.
As you can imagine, though, most things that can be rapidly built can often be of poorer quality.
Every homeowner has unique preferences, and uPVC doors cater to this.
From colour to style, these doors can be customised to match individual tastes and complement different architectural styles. This level of personalisation ensures that your home reflects your personality and style.
Did you know you can paint uPVC doors to bring them back to life? Read our guide on how to paint uPVC windows and doors.
Best uPVC doors and profiles available in the UK
When considering uPVC door brands and profiles in the UK, factors such as product quality, design options, energy efficiency and global reputation can help you choose based on your home's specific requirements.
All the best uPVC doors can be made to measure to fit perfectly in your home.
Top 5 uPVC door profiles
REHAU is another reputable manufacturer of uPVC door profiles.
Their head offices are based in Muri, Switzerland, and they provide various designs for uPVC doors across the UK, focusing on energy efficiency and durability.
Liniar is the first UK company on our best uPVC door list. It specialises in uPVC profiles for doors, windows, and conservatories.
They're known for their innovative designs and commitment to sustainability. If you want a top uPVC door brand based in the UK, go with Liniar!
Eurocell is a leading UK manufacturer of uPVC doors and windows. Also based in Derbyshire since 1974, they offer a range of styles and designs for residential and commercial uPVC doors.
VEKA is a German-based and substantial global company that produces uPVC profiles for doors and windows. They're known for their high-quality and energy-efficient products.
Deceuninck is another global company based in Sendenhorst, Germany, with a presence in the UK.
They extrude uPVC themselves, offering a range of uPVC door profiles focusing on fantastic looks, security, and energy efficiency.
Summary: Composite doors vs uPVC
If you can ignore the composite door's price tag and consider all the other points we've made, there's no argument about which type of door provides more value.
Many UK homeowners opt for a composite front door and a uPVC back door if price is an issue.
But if price is no issue, composite doors front and back would be the best option.