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Summary of 2013

The end of 2013 is fast approaching and 2014 is just around the corner. At Modern Doors we are now looking at the last 12 months, realising how very productive this year has been for us.

Most importantly we have upgraded our online shopping platform to Magento, which provides an improved, faster and more secure shopping experience for our clients. As well as this, we have partnered with the Trusted Shops scheme, adding a free external money back guarantee service for all online orders. We have also implemented an automatic shop review system for our customer to rate our overall service and help new clients make an informed decision. This new platform allows us for further expansion and the implementation of additional features in the future. An individual product review module is in the pipeline for early spring 2014.

We have also significantly improved our door showroom in London, extending our range of doors on display to show the latest models of both internal doors and front doors available in the UK. A number of bespoke internal and external doors have also been added to our display, taking the total number of doors on display to over 50 unique styles available to view in our showroom.

Answering a growing demand for a faster door delivery service, we have restructured our logistic department to be able to deliver readymade timber doors anywhere in mainland UK within 4-6 working days from orders placed.

Our bespoke door service is running on full steam and we don’t shy away from undertaking even the most complex projects, both residential and commercial. Most importantly even in the busiest periods, our delivery times for bespoke doors never exceed 4 weeks. We are extremely pleased with the reliability and overall quality of our service and our clients have been too.

We are now looking into 2014 with many new contemporary door models in the pipeline and plans to add more quality features to our shopping platform. We are hoping for an even more productive 2014 with many more fully satisfied customers.

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November Special Offers and new range of Oak Inlay Doors

November Special Offers

Only this November we are massively reducing prices on 20 different oak and walnut internal doors, including glazed and fire rated versions. This means you can purchase a fully finished Oak Moulded 5 Panel Internal Door for as little as £86 inc VAT, but also the premium quality, contemporary Cava Internal Doors (all models and sizes) are discounted by up £140 per door! Similar reductions are made on the stylish traditional walnut doors – Bern and Zurich.

New Range of Oak Inlay Doors

Modern Doors are delighted to introduce a brand new range of oak veneered flush internal doors with inlay design features in amazingly low prices from LPD Doors.
This range boasts a rich grained white oak veneer (crown cut) and walnut inlay, imitating traditional panelled designs, fully factory finished in clear satin lacquer.

There are three models in this range, with two of them also available as FD30 fire rated:

Image of Oak 1 Panel Inlay Internal Door

Inlay 1 Panel Oak Internal Door (also available as fire rated)

 Fully finished, solid style internal oak door with large rectangular walnut inlay at £115 inc. VAT, and fire rated door at £130 inc. VAT


Image of Oak 2 Panel Inlay Internal Door

Inlay 2 Panel Oak Internal Door (now discontinued)

Fully finished, solid style internal oak door with two rectangular walnut inlays at £125 inc. VAT, and fire rated door at £140 inc. VAT (discontinued)


Image of Inlay 3 Light Oak Internal Door

Inlay 3 Light Oak Internal Door

Fully finished, glazed internal oak door with large rectangular inlay and three panels of clear glass at £185 inc. VAT

Wide range of sizes (including metric sizes), elegant look and exceptionally low prices, make this range of doors great value for money and ideal for most scenarios – whether a new build, renovation of a period property or simply looking for the best valued internal doors for a project with a limited budget.
Delivery in 4-6 working days from orders placed (subject to stock availability), standard delivery charges apply.

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U Values For Replacement External Doors Explained

Modern Doors clarifies the subject of U-Values for external doors.

The subject of U-Values – particularly in relation to replacement doors, home extensions or new build projects – is a source of significant confusion and one that we, at Modern Doors, have almost daily experience of dealing with.  Here we will take a look in a little more depth at this term and, hopefully, provide some clarity regarding the latest Building Regulation documentation.

The simple definition of a U-Value is the measure of the rate of heat loss through a material.  It is clear that this is of central importance in home improvement and construction – particularly in the modern building industry – as one seeks to achieve the lowest U-Value possible as this will mean that less heat is escaping and therefore the home is more energy efficient.  Naturally, external doors represent a significant area of potential heat loss (and internal doors also represent important heat buffers) and, as such, the design and quality of your replacement doors are vital.

However, whilst defining it is relatively simple, the U-Value calculation itself is rather more complex.  It is measured by the amount of heat lost through one square metre of the material for every degree difference in temperature either side of the material – a measurement that requires time, experience and appropriate equipment to capture.   Fortunately, door manufacturers and suppliers should be able to confirm the approximate U-Value on all products in their range as these will have been established through formal testing earlier in their development.

The latest information has been made available from Building Regulations Documents L1A (New Dwellings) 2010 & L1B (Existing Dwellings) 2010:

Fitting Standard for new fittings in new dwellings Standard for replacement fittings in an existing dwelling Standard for new fittings to an extension in an existing dwelling
Doors with greater than 50% of their internal face area glazed 2.0W/m2K 1.8W/m2K (or exempt if fitted into existing door frame) 1.8W/m2K (or exempt if fitted into existing door frame)
Other doors 1.8W/m2K 1.8W/m2K (or exempt if fitted into existing door frame) 1.8W/m2K (or exempt if fitted into existing door frame)

To summarise the information for you, when are fitting internal doors in an existing dwelling, you should be seeking a U-Value of no more than 1.8W/m2K (assuming you are installing the new door into a new door-frame).  However, where a new build is concerned, the customer must establish their own U-Value and it cannot exceed 2.0W/m2K.

At Modern Doors, the complexities of modern building regulations are a regular backdrop to our work and, as such, we understand better than most how confusing the whole area can become – that’s why, when it comes to the design, fitting and maintenance of both external and internal doors, we are always pleased to provide advice and support – please feel free to contact us today with your queries.

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The argument between using veneer or solid wood for internal doors

Modern Doors take a look at the most common veneer patterns they achieve in their bespoke doors.

The majority of people when considering good quality internal doors for their home immediately assume that the door should be made from solid hardwood rather than a veneer which is often considered as a cheap alternative. However, even ignoring the heavy environmental impact of the rapid depletion of common hardwood species that would occur if we were all to manufacture our doors from solid timber, there are many advantages of using a veneer.

A veneer is a piece of wood which is sliced thinly and applied to an engineered material such as chipboard or MDF to gain the appearance of a solid piece of timber. Its thickness often depends on the type of timber, however can vary from 0.3mm to 9.5mm with the most common being approximately 0.8mm thick. Many of the most popular and decorative timbers for structural reasons are not suitable for use in solid form. Even well seasoned timbers are subject to shrinkage, splitting and twisting. This, along with their irregular microstructure which can shorten the grain and reduce its longevity and strength, can bring certain disadvantages in its use. On the other hand using a veneer can have many advantages, especially in the manufacture of bespoke doors.  As well as reducing the cost of materials, using veneers can greatly enhance the design capability as small sections of rare hardwoods or burrs can be cut and knitted together to cover larger areas. Furthermore, veneers can be cut and placed in distinctive patterns that otherwise would not be achievable using solid timber.

The most common methods of slicing timber are crown and quarter which produce different veneer patterns throughout the door:

The Crown

The half log is mounted with the heart side against the guide plate of the slicer and then sliced parallel to a line through the centre of the log. As the crown cut moves through the log towards the centre the leaves become wider with the crown narrower and strongly defined with wider straight grain sections to each side.

Crown cut veneer for internal doors

Crown cut method of slicing veneer

The Quarter

The quarter log is mounted on the guide plate in such a way that the growth rings from the log are sliced by the knife at right angles producing a series of strips. Veneer cut from this section produce parallel growth rings hence a straighter grain pattern depending on the timber in question.

Quarter cut veneer for internal doors

Quarter Cut method of slicing veneer

Different timber species produce different grain patterns, structures and colourings and the method of working with veneers requires skill and experience. By choosing the veneer and the way in which it is laid you can create bespoke doors that are unique in design and can help create a striking and sophisticated home interior.

At Modern Doors, we have decades on experience in producing exactly the desired finish on our external and internal doors.  Please get in contact today to discuss how we can turn your plans into reality with one of our sensational bespoke doors.

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Essential information on Fire Doors (part 4)

In our final article on Fire Doors, Modern Doors are investigating the components of a Fire Door set.


The BWF (British Woodworking Federation) Certifire Fire Door and Doorset Scheme have put great efforts into raising the awareness and understanding of the importance of compatibility of components within Fire Doors. Fitting an incorrect size component or material that has not been specifically designed to be used on a fire door could significantly affect the performance of a fire door set.

The quality of the door hardware/ironmongery is essential in keeping the fire door in place in the event of a fire. Door closers, hinges, locks and latches are all considered essential ironmongery and must therefore carry fire test evidence to show their suitability. Cutting an aperture in a fire door creates a weak point that is most likely to fail if not filled with certified products. Along with glazing, the use of letter plates, air vents and spy holes are also common and these products will generally be required to be installed in conjunction with intumescent seals, pads or paste in order to maintain the certification.

Modern Glazed Internal Fire Door

Contemporary Walnut Glazed Fire Door

Glazed apertures are often required in both internal doors and external doors to fulfil the requirements of Part M (the minimum standard by which buildings should be made accessible to, and usable by everyone, including people with disabilities) of the Building Regulations but are regularly used to improve the vision around a building, as well as for maximum light transmission and safety. Ordinary glass cracks when exposed to heat while fire resistant glass can withstand exposure to the heat condition in a fire test of at least 60 minutes before it reaches a high enough temperature to soften it. Two main types of fire resistant glass are Pilkington Pyrodur and Georgian wired glass. Even the size of the glass and the method of its retention are important factors that influence its integrity. As the temperature approaches the softening point, a large sheet will tend to collapse earlier than a smaller one. On the unexposed face, beading retaining the glass is subjected to radiant and conducted heat through the glass and to convection currents at the top of the pane. For this reason when putting glazing into a fire door using the correct bead is as vital as using the approved intumescent glazing system and glass. Even when pinning or screwing the beads it is important to do so at the correct angle to ensure that if the bead burns away, the pins/screws will still hold the glass and seal in place. These operations therefore can only be carried out by the door manufacturer or Certified Licensed Converter or the door certification will be invalid. Fitting glazing should therefore never be done on site.

Fire Door Construction

It is important to note that no longer are fire doors only available in solid timber construction. Manufacturers of fire doors now produce the doors using safer, more cost effective materials from sustainable sources. While solid timber fire doors are still available, flaxboard and wood composite door cores form the basis of the majority of constructed fire doors manufactured by scheme members. With the advantage of reducing the weight and cost of a fire door while still allowing the door to burn at a slow consistent rate. The door core is then covered by a moulded skin, veneer or laminate to suit the choice of the buyer and building’s interior.

Can existing doors be upgraded to fire resistant standard?

The most cost effective option for a fire door is always advisable to fit from new, however an upgrade to FD30 status is sometimes possible depending on the construction of the existing door. The door should have a solid timber or chipboard core, be at least 44mm thick and come with a sound frame that is capable of bearing the additional weight of the upgraded door. An unpainted door can be painted with intumescent varnish or paint to manufacture specifications and a painted door can be covered with an intumescent membrane with fireproof wood veneer facing. If glazed the glass panel (s) must be replaced with fire rated glass. The upgraded door must be re-hung with at least three fire protected hinges in order to prevent warping which would severely compromise the integrity of a fire door. Finally other modification such as the addition of intumescent seals will also be necessary.

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Essential information on Fire Doors (part 3)

In our third article of four, Modern Doors are going to discuss fire door certification in more depth.



Just like fire doors, all passive fire protection products are potentially life-saving, and with this in mind third party certification involving independent testing and auditing should be the minimum standard demanded for every building. The performance of timber doors is assessed by subjecting them to a standard test procedure specified in BS 476: part 22:1987 or BS EN 1634-1: 2000. Tests are made on complete door assemblies including door and door frame and all the requisite hardware (e.g. locks, latches, hinges etc.) We will refer to this as a ‘door set’, which is fixed in a wall to represent its use in practice with the door face then exposed to heat conditions that would be anticipated in a fire while observing the door for both stability and integrity. To conform to British Standards tests are required to be carried out with the upper part of the door under a small positive pressure which simulates closely the conditions likely to occur in a fire. It also provides an objective method of establishing the loss of integrity of a fire door by the use of a combustible fibrous pad on the unexposed side of the door to see when it ignites. Of course fire doors are tested from each side to establish their level of performance with either face exposed to fire conditions.

A weak point surrounding fire doors is on its edges and for this reason a technique has been developed for minimising the susceptibility of door edges to early penetration by fire. It consists of applying intumescent seals to the edges so that a rise in temperature will cause the material to swell and close the gaps. Intumescent seals are about 4mm thick by 10mm wide, cut into a groove in the door or the frame edge. As soon as the temperature in the vicinity of the strips exceeds 200 deg C, usually about 10-15 minutes from the start of a fire, the seal swells and seals the gap around the door.

Manufacturers can certify fire door sets, both for identification purposes and to guarantee their performance in a fire situation. This door set will then be tested by an approved fire testing centre and once approved each similarly constructed door set will be identified by a label or colour coded plug usually affixed to the top edge of the door.

Timber Fire Door Plugs

Timber Fire Door Plugs

The woodworking association, BM Trada, uses a system known as Q-Mark, in which a series of coloured plugs is inserted into the door to indicate the fire door type, the member details, the scope of certification during specification and installation and service history. As well as BM Trada the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) is another major organisation that provides fir door ratings. Their fire ratings for fire door assemblies are stated in minutes and prefixed by the letters FD e.g. FD30 refers to 30 minute fire doors or fire door sets. The most commonly specified integrity levels are:

FD30 – 30 minutes

FD60 – 60 minutes

FD90 – 90 minutes

FD120 – 120 minutes

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Essential information on Fire Doors (part 2)

In this, our second article in this series, Modern Doors will be providing information surrounding fire safety with an accurate description of fire doors.


Fire Safety & Protection

It is the aim of all products used in fire safety to restrict the spread of fire by containing it to one area or compartment. For this reason there are both passive and active fire protection products, however it is important to note that in order to have an effective fire protection system both these systems need to be designed and installed in combination working effectively together to restrict the spread of fire.

Active fire protection products such as alarm systems, fire extinguishers and sprinklers are an important aspect to a fire safety plan with an important role of warning occupants and assisting in controlling a fire until the fire services arrive. This can often lead to the assumption that an active system on its own is the most effective means of increasing fire safety in a building. In the majority of cases however active systems are designed and incorporated into a building with the assumption that passive fire protection products will also be in place and will achieve their performance rating.

Fire Escape Internal Door Sign

Fire Escape Internal Door Sign


Fire Escape Door Sign

As we stated previously passive and active systems need to be designed and installed in combination to form an effective fire protection system, as only installing active systems would allow a fire to run unchecked through a building leading to potentially disastrous consequences. For this reason a fire door has a critical role to play in any passive fire protection plan. Buildings are compartmentalised to delay the spread of fire from one area to another and these compartments are usually linked by fire doors to allow the flow of traffic around the building. Fire doors have two important functions in case of a fire; when closed they form a barrier to stop the spread of fire and when opened they provide a means of escape. Thus by using an early warning system, containing a fire within a small compartment and providing methods of controlling or extinguishing a fire, you then have the most effective method of protecting property but more importantly lives.

What is a Fire Door?

A fire door as defined by the ASDMA (Architectural and Specialist Door Manufacturers Association) is “A complete installed door assembly comprising doorframe, door leaves, other panels, hardware, seals and any glazing that when closed is intended to resist the passage of a fire and smoke in accordance with specified performance criteria. A fire door = a complete installed assembly.”

Brown Fire and Smoke Internal Door Seal

Brown Fire and Smoke Internal Door Seal


Brown Fire and Smoke Door Seal

A well designed timber fire door will delay the spread of fire and smoke without causing too much hindrance to the movement of people or goods. Every fire door is therefore required to act as a barrier to the passage of smoke and/or fire to varying degrees depending upon its location in a building. In order for this to happen it must be fitted with intumescent seals which remain dormant under normal conditions but expand greatly in the heat of a fire to close the gap between door and frame. As smoke spread is an even greater threat to life and property than flames, fire doors should also be fitted with a ‘cold smoke’ seal to prevent the ingress of smoke around the door edges. It is important to mention that some fire doors only require intumescent seals whereas other fire doors may have to resist the passage of smoke as well as the spread of fire.

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Essential information on Fire Doors (Part 1)

With Fire Doors, there are many technical factors. In the first of a series of articles, Modern Doors looks more deeply at these internal door considerations.

The subject of fire doors can be confusing and somewhat daunting for non-professionals in the field of fire safety. Over the next month Modern Doors will publish a series of articles surrounding this complicated and somewhat confusing subject – later in the series, we will be looking at fire safety, door certification and how Fire Door Sets are made.  In this first article, however, we are going to discuss where they are required by regulation.

When considering purchasing internal doors for either a domestic or non domestic building, of which the latter includes flats and apartments, you may be required to purchase fire doors. With regard to a domestic building fire doors are required if there is three or more floors or on a second floor if higher than 4.5 metres above ground. With regard to flats there is a specific recommendation that external doors to a flat that opens onto a common area should be a fire door, classified as meeting a half hour (30 minute) fire resistance, fitted with smoke seals and self closing devices. Flats located on the ground floor do not need fire doors if the habitable rooms have a means of escape which is defined as a direct mean of escape from each room to the outside and can be either though a door or window. The same is also true for flats located on an upper floor that is below 4.5 metres if there is a means of escape through a door or window meeting the Emergency Egress recommendation. Flats located on upper floors above 4.5 metres will require fire doors between the habitable rooms and the hall leading to the entrance. Alternative design layout options are available that would reduce this need at these levels – for example, open plan arrangements.

It is important to mention that one special condition covers blocks of flats of maximum four storeys with a top floor not higher than 11 metres above ground with a single staircase. In this situation fire doors can be omitted from the internal layouts of each flat provided that the external lobby is separated from the stair well by another fire door.

Overhead door closers for internal fire doors

Overhead door closers for internal fire doors


Please note that none of these doors within the flats will require door closers. All internal doors are classified as FD20s, however, as no members of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) scheme supply FD20 doors, FD30s must be used including all the specified hardware and intumescent seals. The majority of blocks of flats are of three or four storeys therefore they will require fire doors within the second and third floors and it is a usual condition that builders use the same doors throughout the lower and upper areas also to avoid the incorrect fitting of non fire doors throughout the upper floors.

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The importance of certification in fire doors

Technology in fire doors has improved over recent years but it remains vital to make sure your purchase is certified; read on to find out why.

Fire doors are no longer restricted to the heavyweight and industrial styles found in commercial premises, made of materials such as steel and asbestos. For health reasons that have become apparent over the years, asbestos is no longer a suitable material. Fire doors can now be made of anything from oak wood to vermiculite and glazed internal doors can now be produced in fire resistant forms.

However, because of the advances in fire retardant technology, it’s even more important to check that a fire door has been certified by a third party before buying. Certification means that a fire door will be tested before going on the market. It must meet the high standards required by third-party assessment, so that customers can be assured that the product has been independently checked.

The door is tested in simulated conditions so that its safety can be accurately gauged. The door set and frame must be exactly fitted in the test environment as they would be in the home, with no gaps beneath or around the frame. The test door is then exposed to a heat source on one side and its reaction in terms of stability and performance is observed.

Fire doors sold today must come labelled with a fire rating, so that consumers can see how effective the door would be in the event of a fire. Ratings are measured in minutes and are designed to allow people sufficient time to find alternative routes out of a building. The minimum requirement is usually a 20-minute rating, or ‘FD20′ but ‘FD30′ is increasingly becoming the industry standard for domestic doors.

Modern Internal Oak Fire Door

Contemporary Oak Glazed FD30 Fire Door

With fire door design becoming ever more suitable and visually appealing for the home, consumers are now buying fire resistant products even where this is not a key requirement, choosing them for their durability, sound-proofing and insulating qualities. Contemporary oak doors as well as other timbers have all been adapted to fire resistant standards, ensuring that the dual purposes of safety and style are both satisfied and customers have more options than ever before.

Ensuring that a fire door has been properly tested provides peace of mind at the very least and could potentially save lives in the home. To discuss any queries or concerns regarding fire doors, please contact the Modern Doors team for further advice.

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Tips and trends for internal doors

With the choice of internal doors now available, what are the key points to consider before you head off to make a purchase?

Although you should always factor in the overall look of your home when selecting internal doors, there are a few key trends which are worth of note. Whilst traditional 4 or 6 panelled doors retain their classic appeal, contemporary style large oak doors and other timbers such as walnut and pine in smooth finishes have become popular of late.

Internal Oak Glazed Tivoli Door

Internal Oak Glazed Tivoli Door

Solid and smooth-fronted wood doors in oak, walnut and pine combine both a timeless material with an up-to-date look. Contemporary horizontal panelling is also a stylish new option for timber, as is the use of chrome inlays and fittings. Internal doors with a glazed panel are proving to be increasingly popular, to allow for the maximum amount of light in a home. Today’s designs are cleaner and simpler, in contrast with the fussier patterns of the recent past.

French doors are still a hit with consumers, used internally as a dividing wall between rooms, again to create a light and airy atmosphere. For added flexibility, many people make use of folding doors in a combined living / dining area. These can be solid or glazed depending on preference. If there are budgetary limitations, you may want to choose wood veneer as a low-cost alternative to solid wood.

Internal Oak Worcester Door Pair

Internal Oak Worcester Double Door

Functionality is as important as attractiveness and you may want to think about options such as certified fire doors for the kitchen or a wipe-clean paint finish for the bathroom. Fixtures need to be considered not only to match the appearance of your doors, but for utility.

Choose large handles for doors which are frequently used and think about hinging doors to push inwards into a dining room, to make it easier to carry loaded plates or trays from the kitchen. Metal ironmongery such as wrought-iron and polished steel is on-trend, even for wooden doors, which makes for a pleasing contrast between materials.

Although you can buy ancillary items such as frames and skirting boards and fit them yourself, it is usually recommended that you hire a specialist to fit your internal doors. The money spent on the doors themselves is an investment you won’t want to compromise. One hinge or lock cut-out in the wrong place and the door is ruined!

For help and advice on choosing the best internal doors for your home, contact the sales team here at Modern Doors.