uPVC is one of the most popular types of materials used in modern doors. In comparison to other materials like timber and aluminium, uPVC is generally lower in cost and offers some great benefits including easy maintenance, durability and versatility.
Here we look at the main features, benefits and costs of uPVC doors, but first…
What is uPVC?
uPVC stands for Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride. It’s a form of plastic which is also known as rigid PVC as it’s hard and inflexible. Unplasticised simply means that no additives have been inserted during the manufacturing process.
After it has been manufactured, many production companies reinforce the uPVC by inserting a core of galvanised steel to increase strength and give you peace of mind when it comes to security and longevity of your windows and doors.
Types of uPVC Doors
uPVC doors can be fitted as internal or external doors including both front and back entrances and conservatories. In addition to traditional doors you also have a wide range of styles to choose from:
Patio / Sliding doors are made with 2 separate panels of glass which sit within uPVC frames. One of the panes slides in front of the other to open and close the door.
French doors, like sliding doors, are 2 panels of glass within a uPVC frame but these open inwards or outwards rather than sliding behind one another.
Bifold doors are a series of panels of glass in uPVC frames which fold back into a concertina.
Benefits of uPVC Doors
One of the biggest attractions for homeowners to uPVC is the price. It’s often the preferred option for people on a budget as not only is it cheaper to buy upfront but it doesn’t require costly maintenance.
Strong & Secure
Modern uPVC doors have galvanized steel cores which are very difficult to break – meaning your home will be more secure against intruders. You can further increase the level of security with a multi-chamber lock mechanism.
Easy to Maintain
uPVC doesn’t face the same problems of warping or rotting that a timber door does so it’s very well suited to the UK’s slightly drizzly and damp climate. It’s also really easy to maintain as all that’s needed is a wipe down with a household cleaner when it starts to look dirty.
Great for Insulation
Insulation and a reduction in condensation is another big benefit of replacement uPVC doors. Not only will they help to keep your home warmer (or cooler in the summer months), they will also insulate against noise – making them ideal if you live near a busy road. They are also a great deal more resistant to fire than their timber counterpart.
As a result of their excellent insulation properties uPVC doors can also help to lower your heat losses which means you’ll need to spend less money heating your home and will burn less fuel. That’s good news for both your wallet and the environment.
Colours & Finishes
When most people think of uPVC they think of white, but you can now choose from a range of colours and textural finishes to make your doors as coordinated with the rest of your home as possible. This includes a woodgrain effect so your doors can have the look of rustic timber but without the high cost or maintenance needed to keep them in good condition. Adding a colour or finish to uPVC may increase the cost of your doors by around 10 – 20%.
As well as the colour you can also customise the glass panes in your uPVC doors. Clear glass is the cheapest option but you can also choose from bevelled or etched which have ornate designs cut / carved into the glass. You could also choose obscured glass which blurs the view from the outside while still letting light in if privacy is a concern or glazed bars to give the door a more traditional look.
Like any doors you need to be sure that they will insulate your home and prevent heat loss. uPVC doors are given an efficiency rating from A++ to E (least efficient). Choosing a more efficient door may cost you slightly more upfront but an inefficient door may well end up costing you more in the ongoing heating bills.
You will also need to consider additional costs such as the door handles, spyholes, knockers, letterboxes and thresholds. These accessories will usually be available in range of colours and finishes such as silver, gold, chrome, stainless steel or brass (or even customisable colours) so you can choose what will work best with the rest of your home’s architecture and design.
Beware Cheap uPVC!
uPVC is usually a low cost choice compared to some other materials, but don’t be seduced by prices which seem too good to be true. There are some examples of very poor quality uPVC doors which can warp over time and may not provide much security for your home.
Getting the Best Quotes for uPVC Doors
While very low prices on uPVC doors should be considered with caution as it could indicate poor quality, from time to time reputable companies will run limited time offers or seasonal discounts so it’s worth keeping your eyes open.
If you need several doors in your home replacing, then do them all at the same time to keep installation costs as low as possible. Installers will often offer a better value deal if they are completing a larger job as it is more cost efficient for them.
It’s crucial to use trustworthy and reputable installers with the relevant experience and qualifications and we recommend that you always compare at least 2 or 3 different quotes. By comparing quotes you can make sure you’re getting a competitive price, and you can also get multiple professional opinions to help you make the right choices in terms of style and security.