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uPVC vs. Composite Doors – Which is Best?

Customers often ask us about the various pros and cons of composite doors vs. uPVC doors; not least because when you’re choosing a front door it can be difficult to fully appreciate the differences between the two.
While both uPVC and composite doors remain a popular front door choice, composite doors have now rapidly overtaken their uPVC counterparts in popularity. We’ll assess the reasons for that in this article.

Visitors to your home can get a first impression of your personality just from your front door. It’s a focal point for all other exterior décor, whether you live in a modern dwelling or a period property. That means that choosing the right front door is key to preserving or enhancing your home’s individual style and character.

What Is A uPVC Door?

uPVC doors became increasingly common in UK households throughout the 1990s as a timber replacement. Put simply, a uPVC front door is constructed with a fully insulated panel and steel frame at its core. This is then encased in Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride to create a strong, durable product. uPVC doors are more hardwearing than the timber alternatives and shrug off the worst that the British weather throws at them. However, their plastic appearance and feel tend to give an outdated look.
In recent years, composite doors have overtaken uPVC models in the popularity stakes. That said, the latter remains a popular option for products such as patio, French and sliding doors.

What Are Composite Doors?

As mentioned, these models have grown considerably in popularity in recent years and are now overtaking uPVC as the most popular type of front door. They’re a more realistic, alternative to timber versions when compared to those made from uPVC.

Composite designs combine a classic look with the best of modern technology. They typically feature a solid timber core, surrounded by other materials such as uPVC, laminate or fibreglass, depending on the specific range of composite doors. These are available in an array of different colours so you can add a little of your own personality.

How do composite and uPVC doors compare?

To help you decide on the best front door for your home, we’ll take a look at the various features of both composite and uPVC models.

#1 Security

Both uPVC and Composite front doors are highly secure and carry the “Secured by Design” status. With hook bolts (a claw-like locking system), at the top, centre and bottom of the doors, these doors can deter entry by force and stop attempts to lever the door apart!

However, the structure and enhanced features of composite doors mean they provide an enhanced level of security and are a more solid choice compared with uPVC options.

#2 Thermal efficiency

Similarly, both composite and uPVC perform well when it comes to thermal efficiency, especially when you compare them with their timber counterparts. However, once again composite front doors typically have the edge. This is due to their extra density and thickness, so they are the obvious choice if you’re keen to reduce both your carbon footprint and heating bills, while also keeping chilly draughts at bay.

#3 Maintenance

Both uPVC and composite doors are very low maintenance, with neither type requiring more ongoing upkeep than the occasional wipe-down to stay looking as good as new. So if you’re considering upgrading a traditional wooden model which typically needs a lot more time and care, you will find both uPVC and composite options hassle-free in terms of maintenance.

#4 Design and Style Options

When it comes to style and design, composite doors definitely have the advantage. uPVC front doors come in a range of varied styles, so they can still enhance the appearance of your home. However, for the most part, they are white, with a coating that’s typically a standard plastic or uPVC untextured surface.

Composite models feature a high-quality, laminated, woodgrain effect finish that is almost indistinguishable from genuine timber, giving your home a far more elegant look.

Additionally, if you choose a composite front door, you’ll find a greater variety of available styles and colours to match everything from the latest new build to a traditional property. If you’re lucky enough to own a period property, composite doors are the superior choice when it comes to retaining or enhancing period character, or if you are replacing a timber front door.

#5 Affordability

You’ll find composite and uPVC doors do have different price tags, with the former typically costing more. However, choose a composite front door and you can look forward to many more benefits, from higher thermal efficiency to a longer-lasting, better-looking door. Plus superior security.

So if you have the budget to do so, fitting composite doors is always worthwhile. However, if you are improving your home on a more limited budget and need to replace your front door, you should find uPVC a perfectly suitable choice.

#5 House Value

There’s never any cast-iron guarantee that any home improvement will actually raise the value of your property. However, if you’re thinking about selling up, and your budget allows, then composite doors will certainly help enhance that all-important first impression and make your home appear more desirable. So consider joining the numerous homeowners who are now replacing their uPVC doors with composite versions.

Looking For a New Composite or uPVC Front Door?

At R&M Windows, we’ve been installing front doors for more than three decades, and we make sure we keep across all the latest industry innovations. We offer both composite and uPVC front doors to customers in our home town of Bracknell as well as the surrounding areas in Berkshire, from Windsor to Ascot, Maidenhead and Wokingham. If you’re looking for a complete renovation of your home, we also fit a great line-up of windows, patio doors and conservatories.

Get in touch today for an informal chat and a no-obligation quote. We don’t give anyone the hard sell, so you’ll never feel pressurised into anything.

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Was Your Home Thermally Efficient This Winter?

March is here, the weather is still miserable but spring is very much on the horizon.

Over the winter months, with the heating turned up, energy bills rising and cold in the air, you may have felt less inclined to open windows and let fresh air circulate your home. You’re not alone.

It’s perhaps not surprising that, that over the winter, we tend to see an increase in the number of calls and emails concerning condensation. This usually starts in October when we can advise how to deal with the issue of condensation. However, now we’re in March, we have the repercussions of not dealing with this condensation earlier.

What is it?

Condensation refers to the drops of moisture which collect on cold surfaces. This occurs when the warm air in your home, collides with these cooler surfaces. Where this collects, this can then cause issues with rot or mould which presents potential health risks.

We’re all told we need to make our homes more thermally efficient by adding insulation and double glazing. What we’re not told is the impact this has with regards to condensation. Homes that are less thermally efficient allow air to flow in and out of the property with ease. Therefore the condensation can escape. With thermally efficient homes, this moisture in the air cannot escape, and therefore collects in the coldest parts of the room.

So what can you do about it?

  • Poor ventilation is a key cause of condensation so it’s important to open windows where you can. It may also be of benefit and to add window vents to the top of frames which can really help. However, you do need to balance that against the loss of heat from your home.
  • Bathroom and kitchen extractor fans will also reduce moisture, as will a dehumidifier, especially if you dry clothes indoors. Ideally your tumble dryer should have an external vent.
  • In the winter months, it’s important to keep your home sufficiently heated. Changes in temperature can worsen condensation issues.
  • Consistent insulation, such as that provided by cavity wall and loft insulation, or having specialist materials fitted outside your house (cladding), can help, too.
  • Single glazing will mean your home will be colder inside, which doesn’t help issues with condensation. It may be time to consider double glazing instead.

Prevention is better than cure

Preventing condensation is preferable to trying to cure it. One of the best ways of doing this is with replacement windows.

The average UK home loses 25%-30% of its heat through its windows, so installing energy-efficient windows really helps bring your energy bills down, while also making your home a more comfortable place to live in.

Give the idea some serious thought, especially if the issue is with condensation between the two panes of glass on double-glazed windows.

At R&M Windows, we have a wide variety of replacement windows to suit all styles of property, and with double and triple-glazing options. Get in touch today for an initial, hassle-free and no-obligation consultation.

 

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Moving not improving? Join the club …

It’s now two years on from the first Covid-19 lockdown and our lives have changed in numerous ways; among them is our choice of living arrangements.

It’s true that the long months of lockdown sparked huge interest in moving house, especially initially. However, now that the stamp duty ‘holiday’ is long gone, the amount of houses hitting the market has reduced dramatically, forcing prices even higher due to low availability vs. high demand.

If you’re becoming increasingly aware of the need to revaluate and enhance where you live, and enjoy more room without the upheaval and expense of moving home, you’re not alone. The ‘improving not moving’ trend was initially sparked by historically low mortgage rates and an increase in household savings while the pandemic halted spending on socialising and holidays. Now, due to the uncertainty in costs of living and the possible rise in interest rates, we’re seeing further continuation of the ‘improving not moving’ trend.

One consulting firm reported this summer that there was no significant rise in numbers returning to offices since lockdown eased with ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19. So it seems that many are still looking to base themselves from home, and want to do so comfortably, with enough dedicated working space.

Industry websites are also reporting a home improvement boom, with one portal claiming over 50% more jobs had already been posted this year compared with 2019. At the same time, mortgage brokers are seeing increased applications for re-mortgages to fund projects.

Mark Page, who runs the sales side of R&M Windows, says: “We’ve seen a massive change in people’s requirements over the last year or so. We know that many customers want to improve the space and lighting in their homes by adding bi-folding doors, extensions with lantern roofs and replacement conservatories to create home offices or better living spaces.”

Talk to us

One consumer advisor told a national newspaper: “Because builders are in such high demand, they’re now in a far stronger position to make what might previously have seemed like unreasonable demands on price or the terms and conditions of the contract. There is some protection against unreasonable terms, but upping prices isn’t one.”

Meanwhile the Federation of Master Builders has said that some small, local builders are struggling to find skilled tradespeople.

­But at R& M Windows, we’re different. We’re a locally based, family-focused firm with access to all the skills and materials we need to do an impeccable job, every time. And we’re not increasing our prices just because our services are in high demand at the moment – we offer consistently great value for money.

Whether you want top-of-the-range doors or windows, or a replacement or new conservatory, make us your first port of call. And if now isn’t the right time for you to move, you’ll be adding value to your property for if and when you do want to sell.

What’s more, we don’t pressurise people into agreeing to a sale. (Frankly, we never need to, since numerous personal recommendations keep us busy). We’re simply here to help as and when people need us. So get in touch and book your initial consultation today – with no charge and no obligation to proceed.