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Door hinges – The right hardware for external door Part 1.

Door hardware otherwise known as ironmongery, is more than just handles and knobs, especially when looking at external doors. Apart from the aesthetics, the most important factors are security and durability, other desired factors are functionality and weather resistance. Let’s look closer at the types of ironmongery being used and examples of available products, starting with door hinges.

Door Hinges

Unless it’s a pivot door, every external door must have hinges installed to swing open and close. There are literally hundreds of types of hinges available in the market. How to find the right one?

Types of door hinges - Ball bearing cabinet hinge for light loads in polished chrome
small cabinet hinge for light loads – not suitable for normal/heavy doors

First of all, external doors require minimum 3 hinges per door leaf – there is a requirement for all escape route doors to have a minimum of 3 hinges. Also, external doors are usually heavy and actually require 3 hinges to take the weight, but on larger, heavier, thicker doors it may even require 4 hinges per leaf, it all depends on the quality of hinge and its maximum load against the weight of the door. On top of that, we should always allow for extra weight for unforeseen circumstances like external forces, uneven wear, additional ironmongery such as door closers (use of  door closers can add even up to 75% to the calculated door mass) etc. and it all becomes rather confusing and difficult to calculate, so let’s simplify –

Rule 1: use 3 good quality hinges per door leaf unless it’s an oversized door

(54mm thick or more, 1100mm wide or more, 2400mm high or more), in which case it’s best to get a door or hardware specialist to calculate if 3 hinges are enough or 4 are needed.

One of the most important factors is the material the hinges are made of. Cheaper hinges are usually made of brass with a polished chrome or satin chrome coating – these should not be used on external doors as they are prone to corrosion and could snap under a heavy load. On exterior doors, only solid stainless steel hinges should be used and stainless steel as a material comes in a variety of grades based on a number of physical properties like density, corrosion resistance, thermal expansion etc. The most common grades of stainless steel used for hinges in the UK are grade 304 and grade 316.

Hinges however are also graded based on several different factors according to BS EN 1935:2002, such as security, durability, category of use etc. The most commonly used within the industry is simply Hinge Grade varying between 1-14, see table below:

Hinge Grade

Hinge GradeUsageTest CyclesDoor Mass

To confuse the matter even further, hinges come in different sizes and thicknesses (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm) which means a smaller, thinner hinge made of higher grade of steel could be just as strong as a bigger, thicker hinge in a lower grade of steel. This is where the hinge grading helps comparing the actual strength of hinges. In the UK the most popular grade of hinges for external doors is grade 13, which we recommend as a default hinge grade. To conclude –

Rule 2: for external doors use hinges minimum of grade 9 and grade 13 is recommended.

Hinge Mechanism

Apart from unusual circumstances the only 2 types of hinges to consider are butt hinges and concealed hinges. Butt hinges have 2 identical halves connected by a round knuckle making a rotary movement. It looks and works a little bit a like a butterfly. Butt hinges have a variety of sub types each having some subtle differences, the most common are:

Types of door hinges - Washered hinge in polished chrome
washered hinge – not recommended for external/heavy doors
  • washered hinges – Thinner knuckle with movement made on metal washers. Not recommended for external applications.
  • ball bearing hinges – thicker knuckle with ball bearing mechanism. Recommended inexpensive, high durability and low maintenance hinge.
  • thrust bearing hinges – thicker knuckle with thrust bearing mechanism. High end butt hinge suitable for very heavy loads, highest durability, no maintenance but significantly higher cost.

Apart from butt hinges there are also concealed hinges, which are becoming very popular nowadays. They are completely invisible from either side of the door, as they are recessed into the frame and the door. This is of course desired from an aesthetics point of view but there are certain disadvantages to bear in mind:

Types of door hinges - Concealed 3D hinge
Concealed hinge
  • Concealed hinges require specific custom-made frames (non-rebated). The most common in the UK rebated external door frames will not work.
  • Concealed hinges require recessing deep into the frame and the door.
  • Most are not suitable for high traffic areas and their maximum load is lower than in butt hinges.
  • They are the most expensive hinges for external doors.

Rule 3 – use ball bearing butt hinges as default for most domestic and commercial scenarios, alternatively concealed hinges or thrust bearing hinges for more specific requirements.

Door hinges & Security

The majority of external doors in the UK are opening inwards. This requires hinges (or the knuckle) to be positioned inside the building behind a rebated frame, which means the hinges are protected from tampering from outside. The only way to break through the hinges is by forced entry. Outward opening doors have hinges accessible from the outside which makes them an easy target for tampering. Concealed hinges are not accessible from either side which makes them the most secure, however their high cost and the need for a special frame may be an obstacle and for the majority it will not be necessary. There are also ball bearing butt hinges with special, hidden security studs preventing forced entry. It’s a combination of a hinge and a door bolt, where both leaves of a hinge, lock together – see picture below. This prevents doors from being lifted out and even doors opening outwards cannot be attacked from outside. With a minimum of 3 hinges required per door, they provide 3 extra locking points on the hinged edge. These hinges are inexpensive with cost around 15-20% higher compared to a regular ball bearing butt hinge and we highly recommended them.

Types of door hinges - Grade 13 ball bearing security hinge
Grade 13 ball bearing security hinge with stud in satin stainless steel


Taking everything into account, we can conclude that, for the overwhelming majority of external door scenarios in the UK, using 3no grade 13 ball bearing security butt hinges will be more than sufficient and inexpensive at the same time. The total cost of these, at the time of writing, is approx. £17 per door leaf (please note, hinges are sold as pairs, so 4 hinges must be purchased with the cost being approx. £22). As an added bonus, these hinges come with 25 years mechanical guarantee and are CE tested for quality.

For abnormal sizes, weight, any non-standard situation or if you need concealed hinges, you should ask your door supplier for a specific advice. At Modern Doors we supply custom-made door solutions including external door sets with every detail carefully tailored to specific requirements.

Next, we will look at getting the right locks for external door…

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Guide to finishing external wooden doors

If you have purchased or planning to purchase an external wooden door, it is most likely to be supplied in unfinished timber and will require finishing prior to installation. Incorrect finishing could completely ruin the door and void the guarantee so it’s important to fully understand the process and what products are not allowed for finishing external wooden doors.

Of course you could avoid the hassle completely by getting a factory finished door set or getting your door sprayed by professionals before delivery, however majority of people will buy their front doors unfinished to be able to adjust the size of the door to fit the current frame or opening. Traditional on-site finishing with a brush or roller, be it a DIY job or done by a hired decorator, is a lot cheaper (40-70%) than professional spraying, although the results are quite different.

Professional spraying or traditional on-site application?

It’s important to realise that spraying is done in a sealed environment, using machinery that evenly applies coats of finish, and the effect is a smooth surface without any brush marks, dust particles or imperfections. The level of sheen (gloss) can be adjusted to suit individual requirements making the door surface more or less shiny. The effect is simply stunning but its cost is relatively high (in some instances can exceed the cost of the door itself) and the process usually takes between 7-10 days as the door needs to dry up to 24h between coating.

Professional spray painting service

Professional spray painting. Image by goguida.com

Traditional painting/staining with a brush or roller will never provide that smooth and even finish, however it is considerably cheaper and if you have a bit of time and some utility space to work in (garage, shed etc.), it could be a nice DIY project for a long Bank Holiday weekend. You will need a can of your preferred finish (stain or paint – see What finishing product should I get?) and the usual decorator’s accessories – brushes, sponges, sanding paper, protective tapes or sheets etc. also something to lay the door on in a flat position, like an old table, two workbenches or you could just lay it flat on a protective sheet on the floor. You will probably need someone to help you turn the door over every now and then (they are heavy!).

Alternatively you can hire a local decorator to do it all for you. Make sure, he is a professional decorator with his own tools and solid decorating experience (ideally recommended by someone you know). This will be still much cheaper than spraying but it’s important to supply your decorator with correct product and that the finish is applied according to manufacturer’s instructions (see: Application)

Now it’s time to buy the finishing product you are going to use…

What finishing product should I get?

Majority of readymade external wooden doors in the UK have engineered timber construction with over veneer and products such as varnishes, oils, waxes and polishes are not suitable to use as they simply don’t offer enough protection on this type of doors. This means that the door is likely to be ruined in a year or two if you use these products.

But why? They are suitable for exterior use, it says so on the tin! Yes they are probably suitable for most solid timber products like decking, fences etc. but not for engineered timber exterior doors. These doors are made in controlled moisture environment using a number of smaller pieces of solid timber engineered to form a large door panel. They contain a specific level of moisture and if that level was to change, the smaller pieces would start moving slightly causing cracks, bubbles and similar effects appearing on the surface. This is why, there is a manufacturer’s requirement to only use a high performance exterior stain or paint on these doors to keep the guarantee valid. There are number of popular brands offering high performance wood stains and paints such as: Sadolin, Ronseal, Sikkens or Dulux and they are largely available to purchase online or at major DIY retailers. Some of them even offer extensive weather protection guarantees and of course a number of colours to choose from including the most popular oak and mahogany colours in a variety of shades.

Examples of finished external doors

Modena style door sets – black painted and light oak stained

Dulux has a range of high performance exterior paints and stains called Weathershield with 6 and 10 years of weather protection guarantee. Because Dulux is a rather decent and reputable brand (the price seems reasonable too), it might be worth to start from checking these products:

Dulux Weathershield Exterior Gloss Paint

Dulux Weathershield Exterior Satin Paint

Dulux Weathershield Ultimate Woodstain

Dulux Weathershield Ultimate Opaque

You will also need a base coating product also known as preservative primer or undercoat. You should buy the base coating product recommended for use with your finishing product to avoid any unexpected chemical reactions between the two.

As an example if you are planning to use Dulux Weathershield Paint, Dulux recommends this product for base coats

Note: We don’t endorse Dulux or any of the shops linked to in this article, we simply use Dulux products as an example of high performance external wood treatments and we strongly encourage searching for similar or alternative products on the market.

Application – instructions for finishing external wooden doors

Finishing external wooden doors is easy as long as you have made all necessery preparations, so start with preparing all your components and materials. If the door or frame needs to be trimmed, do it before applying any treatment. Protect glass with masking tape and foil sheets. Cut the holes for all door hardware (hinges, locks etc.) and clean them from saw dust and splinters. Sand all door surfaces (faces and all edges) and clean them from dust. Use wood filler in a matching colour to the door to fill any minor imperfections, dents or scratches.

Warning! High performance wood treatments are usually highly flammable and toxic, so make sure to work in well ventilated areas, away from fire sources and out of children’s reach. Wear rubber gloves as the marks from high performance stain/paint can be very difficult to clean.

Finsihing external wooden doors in secure, flat position

Always paint or stain doors in secure, flat position to prevent bowing. Image by ana-white.com

Tip: Decorator’s sponges and clothes are great for applying wood stain. If you are planning to stain the door, check this useful How to Stain Guide from WikiHow

Wiping off excess stain when finishing external wooden doors

When staining, always wipe off excess stain after approx 1min with a cloth

Apply the base coats and finishing coats according to the instructions on the tin but with a minimum of 2 base coats and 3 finishing coats at the right time intervals specified on the tin (usually 12-24h is required between coats for the treatment to dry and become absorbed by the timber). Make sure to coat evenly all areas of the door including top and bottom edges, and in any cut outs made for hinges, locks and other door hardware. Always sand the door lightly between the coats and clean the surfaces from dust.

Once the door had the required number of coats and all cut outs and edges had been finished so there is no untreated timber exposed anywhere, the door is ready to be hanged. Install all door hardware now and hung the door in the frame.

Don’t throw away the left over stain or paint, you will need it later (base coating products however won’t be needed anymore and could be used elsewhere or disposed safely).

Maintenance and After Care

Even if you have used a finishing product with long life expectancy, make sure to inspect your front door at regular intervals, minimum once a year to check for any signs of the finish wearing off and re-coat when required. Excessive amount of rain or sunlight can wear off even the best wood treatment faster than expected so make sure to keep an eye on it.

I got bored with the colour of my door, can I change it? Yes, you can always apply 1-2 coats of different colour treatment as long as it’s the same product! Applying different products on top of each other may cause unknown chemical reactions so it’s not recommended. Make sure to give it good sand and clean before applying the new colour. If for any reason you need to change the product completely, you will probably need to sand the door to bare timber and start again from applying base coats.

So what’s the life expectancy of my door and finish? The doors are usually guaranteed for 10 years, subject to appropriate finishing but they should last a lot longer. The finish needs to be maintained as with any other timber products and in normal circumstances it should be reapplied every 2-3 years or as soon as you see any signs of weathering.

Did you find our guide useful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Pre-Hung External Door Sets Announced

Following a high demand, we are re-introducing pre-finished and pre-hung external door sets in eight of the most popular exterior door designs – Modena, Modena Glazed, Turin, Siena, Pattern 10, Suffolk, Westminster and Chancery.

Pre-finished and pre-hung external door sets

Pattern 10, Turin and Modena models as pre-hung external door sets

Technical Specification

All sets will be made of engineered oak and factory finished in a medium oak stain to closely resemble the natural oak colour while at the same time protecting the timber from weathering and UV sunlight. We are also planning to include a stain touch up kit with every door set to cover any fixing holes or marks that could occur during the installation, or later during every day use.

The door cores have been substantially upgraded and now include thermal insulation for improved energy efficiency. A complete threshold system with thermal cover is also included as part of the set and in general, all our pre-hung external door sets score highly on energy efficiency and comply with rigorous requirements of the Part L document of Building Regulations. The tests performed on our door sets show overall u-values between 1.6-1.7 W/m2K.

The sets include all the necessary door hardware with security features – 5 way multipoint locking system with a lever handle on both sides and security hinges with studs. Polished chrome will be the standard finish and polished brass will be available on request. An optional factory fitted letter plate will be available to order at a later date.

All components are pre-installed in the factory before dispatch with a choice of outward/inward opening and left/right hand side hinge position. The factory pre-hanging to the requested configuration will only take 48 hours and we aim to deliver readymade door sets in 6-8 working days from placing of order. The door sets will be delivered as a whole made up unit (some ironmongery might be removed for transportation), ready to be installed. This will dramatically reduce the installation time and in fact allow DIYers to install it themselves without the need to hire an external carpenter.

These pre-hung external door sets have been examined by an independent conformity assessment body and CE marked for quality. They are also FSC certified, which means the timber used for their production has been sourced only from responsibly managed forests, and therefore are environmentally friendly. As well as this they are supplied with a 10 year guarantee against manufacturing defects.

Pros and Cons of Pre-Hung External Door Sets

Although these new pre-hung external door sets are really a great product and fantastic value for money, they have their limitations also and might not be suitable for everyone. For this reason we have created a list of pros and cons to help you make the right choice:


  1. No finishing required – no hassle and no additional cost
  2. Installation time and cost greatly reduced
  3. No extra ironmongery required
  4. Cheaper overall than buying standalone products
  5. Several configuration options including outwards opening
  6. High energy efficiency
  7. Environmentally friendly
  8. Fast delivery from order (only 6-8 working days)
  9. 10 years guarantee


  1. Limited size flexibility (only standard sizes available – no made to measure service available)
  2. No trimming allowed
  3. Only 1 type of glass and 1 set of door hardware available

Ordering and Availability

The door sets will be fully released for sale after 17th July 2014, but because we are expecting a large demand as soon as they go on sale, we are already accepting pre-orders to avoid running out of stock or similar delays in July. All pre-orders will receive a stain touch up kit with the door set free of charge (expected RRP around £30+). Orders can be placed online or by calling our Sales Team on 020 8438 6329.

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New ranges of Internal Doors – April 2014

As previously announced, we are increasing our range of readymade internal doors by adding over 50 new models and variations of existing ones. All new doors are now available from stock, on 4-6 days delivery to mainland UK.

New readymade Internal Doors

The long awaited full height glazed doors – Toronto and Zaragoza are available in prefinished oak and walnut, and in two imperial sizes 30”x78” and 33”x78”. Prices range from £353 to £420 including VAT.

Toronto and Zaragoza Internal Doors with full height glass

Toronto and Zaragoza Internal Doors in Oak and Walnut

Alumina Range – following the popularity of Forli Oak door featuring aluminium strips, we have added a whole range of ultra modern internal doors with aluminium strips, including glazed and fire rated versions – in prefinished oak, walnut and wenge veneers. See all available internal doors with aluminium strips: Forli, Portici, Caserta, Barletta.

Contemporary Portici Internal Doors with aluminium strips

Portici Internal Doors in Oak and Walnut

Modern Caserta Internal Doors with Aluminium strips

Caserta Internal Doors in Wenge and Oak

Contemporary Forli Wenge and Barletta Oak Internal Doors

Forli Wenge and Barletta Oak Internal Doors

New prefinished versions of existing internal oak doors – certain contemporary models such as Pesaro, Treviso, Ravenna and Salerno are now also available as factory prefinished. There are also additional sizes available on Verona, Palermo, Messina, and Suffolk prefinished oak doors.

Other new door models now available – Sierra Blanco door so far available as white painted has now prefinished oak and walnut (solid, glazed and fire rated) versions. A brand new door design – Sassari (solid and glazed) is available in unfinished oak (edit. this model has been now discontinued). Number of extra sizes has been added to popular models across the whole range of internal doors in unfinished oak.

Contemporary Sassari Oak Internal Door

Sassari Oak Internal Doors in Room Setting

White primed doors – due to its increasing popularity, this range has also been significantly increased with Salerno, Treviso and Ravenna models (solid and glazed) added to the range. Also the first fire rated glazed white door has been released – Pattern 10 White Clear Glazed Fire Door. 3 new white bi-fold doors are available – Palermo, Suffolk and Shaker, as well as additional sizes on popular doors across the whole range of white internal doors.

New rebated French doors (double doors) – existing Worcester Oak Rebated Pair has now 2 extra sizes available and we have 2 brand new rebated pairs, white primed – Pattern 10 and Shaker featuring Clear Glass panels.

Whats next?

We are now working on adding new doors to the range of readymade external doors and it will include a whole range of factory finished, pre-hung door sets with insulated cores to meet the requirements of the current Part L document of Building Regulations. There will be some new models too and we are hoping to make them all available online in the next 2 weeks.


Designing Internal Doors

Designing Internal Doors – practical advice for homeowners and interior designers

So you don’t like designs of any readily available internal doors or perhaps you would rather have your own unique design of doors. That’s great! We believe that doors can significantly transform your living environment and should reflect the personality of the homeowners as much as compliment the interior design of the property. If the budget allows for it, you can create your own bespoke door design inch by inch, choosing the colour, finish and design features that suit you.


This is where everything starts and the possibilities are literally endless here. You will have to decide whether to choose a colour matching to other parts of your interiors – floors, walls, furniture etc. or whether to contrast the doors. Also, when you think of doors, you have to consider the surround features such as frames, architraves and skirting boards – should they match the doors or create a contrast? Whichever idea suits your property more, there are many available options:

–          Solid colours – have the doors painted in any of the RAL or BS colours (nearly 2000 shades of colours) or to match paint samples from Dulux, Farrell & Ball etc. This is particularly useful for very modern interiors, blending in or contrasting with walls, furniture or artificial flooring (tiles, vinyl and carpet).

–          Wood – choosing a natural timber for your doors will give you a natural colour and wood grain variation, making each door unique and adding extra character to the property. Thankfully, due to the door industry using thin wood veneers rather than solid wood – the choice of available wood colours is quite extensive. Even the hardest and most difficult to work with exotic timbers such wenge or ebony in the form of a thin veneer can be used on an internal door face with less cost implication as well as the popular American/European Oak or American Black Walnut. As well as this you can adjust the natural timber colour further with the use of wood stains, so you could have an oak door stained dark to a wenge colour or white washed to match some of the modern wood floorings.

–          Artificial – there is a huge range of laminates and artificial wood veneers to choose from. Laminates are available in solid colours, metallic or with printed patterns. They are great for mixing different colours and patterns into funky, contemporary door designs. The artificial (man-made) veneers are generally made to resemble natural wood veneers offering a cheaper alternative to some expensive, exotic veneers. Also, because they are artificial, there is no natural colour or grain variation, so they are also used to produce completely identical doors for the whole property without losing the wood effect. Recently, artificial wood veneers in unusual colours, such as shades of grey or black have become increasingly popular. The look and feel of timber is preserved, however the colour can be completely unusual to match other features of the interiors.

custom made internal door with flush ebony veneer

Dublin door with artificial ebony veneer (exotic wood)

Design Features

Once you have decided on the colour composition, it’s time to think about the actual design of the door. There are quite a few features available but there are also some technical limitations and it’s probably best to speak to a specialist at this stage to make sure your ideas are physically possible to achieve. The most common design features are:

–          Glass (vision) panels – you can choose one or many vision panels in different shapes and sizes and use glass of your choice in them – clear, frosted or with unique decorative pattern.  Glass panels apart from being a great design feature also offer very important functionality – they help create the optimal light flow in the property, lighting up darker rooms. Aside from glass, the vision panels usually include glazing beads surrounding the glass, and these can be produced in a number of styles such as decorative mouldings, flat protruding beads, quirk type flush shadow gap beads or no beads at all (glass inserted directly into a door core).

–          Veneer patterns – there are two most common ways of slicing veneer – crown cut and quarter cut. They produce completely different wood grain patterns and that alone is often used as a design feature. The composition of cross directional wood veneers on a door is very popular and can create a simple but elegant door design.

–          Grooves – the composition of grooves adds style and character to the door. This feature offers great design flexibility – you can choose straight or curved lines, different width and depth as well as creating a variety of shapes. Please note that grooves on wood veneered surfaces often require additional timber inserts into the door core and therefore there is a limitation on the size and number of grooves that can be used on fire resistant doors.

bespoke painted door with grooves

Rome door, painted finish with groove design

–          Inlays – strips of wood veneers or metallic laminates, usually contrasting in colour to the rest of the door. Similarly to grooves they can be laid into compositions of straight lines and shapes, but the entire door surface will remain flat and easy to keep clean.

bespoke internal door with cross directional ebony veneer and inlay feature

Lisbon door, cross directional ebony veneer and maple inlay feature


Wood needs protection and so do wooden doors. There is a number of products such as paints, stains, oils and varnishes (lacquers) that can be used as a top layer on wooden doors for protection from moisture and discolouration. In fact clear UV lacquers are often used on top of already painted or stained doors for extra protection.

Lacquers and paints can be made with different levels of sheen, determining how shiny the door surface appears, ranging from 10% (matt) to 90% (ultra high gloss). 20-30% satin finishes are the most popular, followed by semi-gloss (30-40%) and gloss (40-60%). Higher sheen levels are not readily available and require special procedures involving multiple applications, sanding and polishing in a controlled environment – this takes longer to accomplish and adds significantly higher cost, however, as a result you could achieve up to a 90% gloss level, similar to a “piano finish”.

So once you have designed your unique custom internal door it’s time to decorate it with the right choice of ironmongery – handles or knobs, hinges, locks etc. Simplistic designs should have simplistic door furniture, however completely plain doors will look better with a choice of original designer style ironmongery.

At Modern Doors we don’t only design and produce bespoke doors to your exact requirements. We also provide an extensive design consultation and we will even provide a sample made with the chosen colour, finish and design feature if this is required prior to manufacture. That way you are in full control of every detail of your very own designer doors.

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Weatherproofing wooden front doors

Comprehensive guide to increasing energy efficiency and weatherproofing wooden front doors – by Modern Doors Ltd

Wooden external doors are usually fitted without any modifications into a rebated frame (frame that overlaps the edge of the door). The frame is normally equipped with a rubber seal in the rebate to stop the draught and water getting through around the edges. This is different to upvc or aluminium front doors. Those alternatives normally have both door and frame rebated, however require stepping over a chunky frame, which is not ideal. Timber door sets are usually not equipped with any seal between the frame sill and bottom edge of the door, naturally letting wind and occasionally water to get in to your hallway. Most importantly though, this gap at the bottom of the door lets precious energy escape from the house (or actually the cold from outside cooling the temperature inside), adding extra strain to the cost of maintaining a warm house during cold wintery days.

Most people prefer a wooden front door simply because of the warmer feel it gives – it is natural, sturdy and heavy, the available designs are far more attractive and it makes the house look more presentable. So how can you have a wooden exterior door that is fully sealed from the weather?

Sealing outside frame

First things first… make sure there are no gaps around the outside edge of the frame. If there are any, it’s relatively easy to fill them up with building foam (be careful not to overdo it, the foam expands and can apply pressure on the frame causing problems with door closing), silicone or sand and cement. Some paint and making good afterwards and one problem has been solved.

Sealing between door and frame (top and sides)

Majority of exterior door frames in the UK are equipped with a thick rubber seal (weather seal) of a decent quality so it’s just making sure the seal sits in its place, does not twist and the rubber has not depreciated (this is rarely the case as they tend to last at least 10-20 years). If the rubber seal needs replacing, it’s cheap (£5-£15) and easy to install. If your house is located on a busy street and the noise coming from outside through the front door is excessive, you could use additional acoustic seals to dampen that noise. Depending on the exact profile of your frame you could use either a corner perimeter seal or flat perimeter seal.

External oak door frame with weather seal

Typical rubber weather seal in external door frame

Sealing bottom edge of the door

This is the most critical part and there are several methods to make sure this part of the door set is sealed appropriately.

–          Brush draught excluders – cheapest (£5-£10), readily available in any DIY store brush seals mounted on the bottom of door face. They do stop the draughts but do not offer the best weather protection or energy efficiency – water will still get through and so will the cold air. As well as this, they are mounted in the same place as weather bars (more about weather bars below), so you will be forced to compromise. Generally a good product for its price but falls short compared to other products in this sector.

Cheap brush draught excluder for front doors

Typical brush draught excluder for front doors

–          Complete threshold systems – variety of systems mounted on top of existing door sills, or replacing the door sills altogether. Some include weather bars and most are suitable for disabled access. Prices range between £20-£60, and the installation, depending on the specific system, varies from easy to challenging and some can be only installed when the door frame is completely removed and re-morticed. These threshold systems provide great weather protection and are very good overall, the only minor disadvantage is the fact that all parts are visible and they need “stepping over”. Stormguard is probably the most popular, but not the only brand and has an extensive range of these systems. Products marked as compliant with BS6375 Part 1 offer the best weather tightness.

Stormguard MS20 complete threshold system - sill and weather bar

Stormguard MS20 complete threshold system for external doors

–          Drop down seals – extremely practical all-in-one automatic devices installed into the bottom edge of the door (underneath). Completely invisible from outside or inside the house, the device is equipped with a button released spring mechanism, which releases a rubber seal when the door is shut and retracts the seal when the door opens by just a few millimetres. These drop down seals will stop the air, water, noise, smoke and fire from coming through under the door and their cost ranges from £20-£50. Installation requires routing into the bottom edge of the door, but otherwise it’s fairly easy – a piece of cake for any skilled carpenter or experienced DIYer equipped with a router. There are a few different brands offering a range of products of different qualities and sometimes with different installation methods. They are primarily used on internal doors for acoustic and fire protection, therefore for your front door we recommend the better quality ones with thick rubber seals. It’s best coupled with a weather bar for a complete and practical solution to sealing bottom of the door.

EuroSpec ES1218 51dB Concealed, Automatic Drop Down Door Bottom Seal

EuroSpec ES1218 51dB Concealed, Automatic Drop Down Seal

–          Weather bars – large variety of triangular shaped bars made of timber, plastic or metal and installed at the bottom of door face. Their sole purpose is to deflect the rain running down the door face, away from the bottom edge of the door (see the diagram below). The weather bars will not stop any draught or cold coming through! However, they are quite effective at draining the water away, letting it drop onto usually sloped door sill or threshold, which drives it further away. Weather bars are most effective when installed right at the bottom edge of the door and installing them higher (for instance because of brush draught excluder already installed there) will make them less effective. They can be installed lower to reduce the gap as much as possible, but will never fully close that gap in inwards opening doors (otherwise the door simply won’t close). Very easy installation and low cost (£10-£20).

Weather Bar deflecting water away from the door

Illustration of weather bar functionality

Sealing other parts of your front door

–          Check for any gaps around the door hardware – especially bolted through ironmongery such as door viewers, knobs, handles, door bells and cable holes. If there are any gaps, use silicone to seal them (you can get different colour silicone to match the colour of your door).

–          Letterboxes – If you have a letterbox fitted in the door set make sure it has been fitted with weather proofing. Letterbox is effectively a large hole in your door surface and could let in a lot of draught and cold. This can be mitigated by using a sleeved letterbox with integrated weather proofing system – rubber and brush seals or by adding brush draught excluders or special energy saving covers to existing letterboxes.

–          Keyholes – If your door has been fitted with one of the traditional mortice locks, then the key hole is yet another part that will let cold air inside. For obvious reasons it cannot be sealed but there are escutcheons with covers that can be used, if your lock hasn’t been supplied with one of these already. Using a cylinder type lock eliminates this problem completely.

Images of key holes and escutcheons

From the left: 1. Mortice type key hole and key 2. Mortice escutcheon with cover (Era) 3. Cylinder type lock with security escutcheon (Era)

Cost calculations and efficiency

So how much it will all cost me and how much will I save on energy bills? Is it worth it?

Well it all depends on the individual scenario – on the condition of the existing front door set, how much heating is being used and how much of it is wasted because of cold air getting in from outside.

It’s always best (and cheapest) to get the right products with the new door, rather than installing them afterwards. In most cases a combination of automatic drop down seal, weather bar and weather proof letterbox (£100 combined cost) will make a significant difference and could pay back for itself in just a year or two. As well as this you will get increased acoustic insulation, no letterbox flapping in the wind and no water leaks into your hallway, so it’s definitely a worthy investment.

If you are undertaking any of the weather proofing methods described above, whether on a brand new door or an existing door, please use the comments below to share with us how it went and what reduction in energy bills you have achieved. Based on this information, we might be able to provide more accurate cost and efficiency information in the future.

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Remodel your property using bespoke wooden doors

Doors are widely considered as one of the “high impact” design features, a feature that makes your home unique and more valuable. So how can you add value by restyling your property with new bespoke wooden doors?

The cost of an internal door ranges from £50 for the cheapest readymade door, to several hundred pounds for quality bespoke doors. It is however, safe to say that you get what you pay for, and money would be well spent on better quality doors. When internal doors are made to measure, they are also made to specific design requirements. This allows for an individual choice of colour, finish and design features personalised to a specific property. You can create doors that blend in with the walls, match the flooring or perhaps furniture and even have them completely different on either side, to fit in with different room styles. The best impression however, is created by “oversized” doors – floor to ceiling high, or simply considerably larger than average. The effect can be of a truly grand design style and it is a relatively inexpensive and easy to implement investment in your property. Outside of your own customised size and design, you are also getting the highest quality product, including the latest technical innovations. Custom made internal doors are usually made of high performance, insulated and fire resistant door cores and provide excellent energy efficiency and sound insulation. High quality wood veneers and finishes can provide superb durability and also help make the doors virtually maintenance free.

Internal Bespoke Door, White Painted with Horizontal Grooves

Bespoke White Internal Door blending in with surrounds

Nothing makes a bigger impression to the outside of your home than a large and elegant front door. Grand entrance front doors, with side panels and/or top lights, decorated with stylish door furniture and door numbers etched into the glass will make a stunning first impression for visitors, passersby and potential buyers, when the time comes to sell your property. Most importantly however, the energy efficient and SBD (Secured By Design) front doors can help make your property more practical, giving the homeowner extra piece of mind, as well as trouble free every day use.

Bespoke Front Door with Side Panel

Black Painted Front Door with Side Panel – customised with door number etched in glass

Modern Doors Ltd supply all types of domestic wooden doors as well as high quality door furniture and hardware. Our main area of expertise is in the design and supply of the highest quality designer interior and exterior doors. If you would like to see more bespoke door designs and ideas for remodelling your propery please check our Gallery.

(this article has been originally printed in Homes & Improvements newspaper distributed with The Mail on Sunday on 16th February 2014)

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Making the most of your living space – practical door solutions and design ideas

Two most common practical issues that homeowners are often trying to tackle, when renovating their properties, are:

  • How to gain more space?
  • How to let more of natural light to flood in?

There are a number of practical door solutions, which can help to resolve these issues.

Getting more space

  1. Sliding pocket doors – great solution for single door openings up to 900mm wide, where there is no space for a door to swing to. Sliding pocket doors are sliding into a wall cavity, almost completely disappearing when fully opened. This inexpensive solution is often used for en-suite bathrooms but can work effectively as bedroom doors also.Virtually any non-fire rated internal door can be used with a pocket system.

    Sliding pocket door - Zanzibar Ash Grey Internal Door

    Zanzibar Ash Grey Internal Door in a pocket system and bespoke white frame

  2. Folding Doors – the most practical solution for large openings (up to 5 metres in width). This type of door set will include between 2 to 8 door leafs, sliding to and stacking on, one or both sides. Ideal for separating kitchens, dining rooms and living spaces or creating 2 rooms out of a large space. Also using an external folding door set between the living room and a garden will almost extend the interior of the house into the garden – a great idea for warm, sunny days.

    4 door Pattern 10 Oak Internal Folding Set

    4 section internal folding set – Oak Pattern 10 style with obscured glass

  3. Door Pairs and Room Dividers – Alternative solution to folding door sets, best suited for smaller openings (between 1000-2000mm of width) and budgets. Many of Room Divider sets offer numerous opening configurations with various size side panels and great choice of door designs to choose from.

    W6 Oak Shaker Internal Room Divider

    W6 type internal room divider – Oak Shaker style with clear glass

  4. Bi-folding doors – a single door splitting centrally in half and folding to the side. This is another practical and inexpensive way to save interior space. Most commonly used on built-in wardrobes, cupboards, storage areas or even as kitchen or room doors. Modern Doors offer a range of bi-fold doors in oak, with or without glass, complete with pivot hardware and tracks.

    Space saving Oak Internal Pattern 10 Bi-Fold Glazed Door

    Internal Oak bifolding door – Pattern 10 style with clear glass

Getting natural light in

The obvious choice is to use door design with large glazed surface such as Pattern 10, Worcester or Shaker throughout the house (the more glass, the more light flooding in), but some will prefer more contemporary door styles with solid surfaces or small glass panels, so how can you make your house brighter?  Well, natural light comes to your rooms from outside mostly through windows, but using a solid, secure front door with glazed side panels will let some extra light to your hallway. Using room dividers or folding door sets between hallway and your living space will let more light into the hallway. You could also extend the height of your door openings to allow for top lights above the doors. Depending on the plan of the house and the budget there will be numerous options for every scenario, so give our sales team a call to discuss the options tailored for your requirements.

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Glance of upcoming changes to the door ranges in 2014

The UK’s door industry is constantly evolving to meet market demands and new Building Regulations. In 2014 we are expecting a lot of exciting changes and this is what to look out for in the upcoming months:

Internal Doors

Internal Doors range will again be significantly increased, with more factory prefinished and fire rated versions of existing door models added to the range and also an increase in the variety of sizes available. Brand new door models will also be introduced around March featuring new door designs with metal strips and crossing wood grains. As well as this, very elegant designer glass doors featuring full height glass panels are expected to be available for sale in the next few weeks!

Full height glazed, oak and walnut internal doors

New ranges of internal glazed doors expected in 2014

External Doors

More contemporary front doors! Yes, there will be a few contemporary front door designs added to our range but most importantly, many existing models such as the popular Modena Oak will be available in high performance versions, meeting the latest Building Regulations requirements for more energy efficient front doors (lower u-values). Made with high performance, insulated door cores this new range of thermally efficient front doors will be readily available in the UK around May 2014.

Bespoke Doors

Generally changes to the range of materials or finishes, and new inventions are implemented as soon as they appear in the UK, so our bespoke doors are always fully up to date with leading industry trends. However, we are currently working on reducing lead times of the extra efficient (u-value of 1.1) bespoke front doors and also the keyless entry systems.

We will release further, detailed information about each of these changes prior to introducing them, so check our blog regularly or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date.

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2013 interior door design trends

It’s January 2014 and we are now looking at the past year, recognising how significant it was to door design trends in the UK. Our domestic door market has been responding to the growing demand for a bigger variety of contemporary styles and colours on offer, and that demand has been often fuelled by an influence of foreign interior designers. With the use of social media, images of stunning interiors and door designs are spreading fast over the internet, easily reaching homeowners looking for inspiration. Let’s look at how the door design trends have shaped in the UK in 2013*:

Design features

  1. Metal strips – we have seen several new door models released last year, incorporating metal strips as design features – Sierra Blanco White, Forli Oak or Zanzibar Chocolate Grey to name but a few. They certainly add unique, contemporary character to the doors. The internal doors with metal strips are relatively inexpensive and easy to keep clean, which made them a very popular choice in 2013 and this trend is likely to continue in 2014.

    Sierra Blanco White Internal Door

    Internal Sierra Blanco Door


  2. Grooves and shapes – groove design features have been used on internal doors for many years now to create original and elegant designs and more doors with grooves are introduced every year. However, in 2013 we have seen a new trend – curved groove designs. A new range of doors with elliptic shapes emerged to answer similar trends in furniture and kitchen design. Door models such as Rovigo Oak or Ragusa Oak bring a refreshing new trend in door design and have naturally attracted a healthy interest from homeowners.

    Oak Ragusa Internal Glazed Door

    Internal Ragusa Oak Glazed Door


  3. Mixed grain directions – or in other words, the incorporation of different direction wood grains (vertical, horizontal or diagonal) on the face of the door. This design feature has been utilised by Modern Doors  in our range of internal bespoke doors for several years, however it seems to be a more popular trend recently and doors such as Ravenna Oak or Vancouver Walnut have been an instant hit in the UK, proving that often a simple solution provides the best results.

    Ravenna Oak Internal Door

    Internal Ravenna Oak Door


Oak still remains the unquestionable leader, when it comes to the choice of colours for doors and interiors generally. However the usual runner up – American Black Walnut seems to have fallen out of favour amongst homeowners in 2013 and was replaced in 2nd spot by painted white doors. Although white doors are often purchased as white primed only to be painted in a solid paint colour such as grey or black, to blend in with walls or to match other interior features. Also several unusual door colours have been introduced with artificial (man-made) veneers such as Zanzibar Ash Grey or Vancouver Light Grey and these have also been rather popular.

Light Grey Vancouver Internal Door

Internal Vancouver Light Grey Door


*based on our experiences when dealing with enquiries and sales from general public, architects and interior designers in 2013. This view may not necessarily and is not intended to reflect the actual state of the UK’s door industry as a whole.