Doors Buying Guide

The right kind of door can make a big difference to your home, yet choosing one that not only looks attractive but is sturdy and secure can demand a lot of consideration. At Lifestyle, we are the experts and can provide you with exactly the right door-buying information you require.

Things to consider when buying a new door

An external door can transform the appearance of your home, helping to create that all-important first impression. Yet a door is much more than its looks; a good-quality door should be secure and built to last – features that many homeowners may take for granted.

Door technology, design and materials have come on in leaps and bounds over recent years, so at Lifestyle we can offer you the very latest doors of the highest quality.

What makes a quality door?

When you choose a door of high standards, you can expect the following benefits:

  • State-of-the-art locking mechanisms to ensure robust security
  • Attractive and fits the style of your home
  • Tailor-made to fit exactly into the opening aperture of the door
  • Industry-tested for weatherproofing and optimum performance
  • Insulates against external noise
  • A sturdy frame for maximum support
  • Low maintenance and easy cleaning
  • Draught-free
  • Stands up to strong winds without any rattling or movement
  • Peace of mind in the form of generous guarantees

Elements that make a great door

As a family-run Nottingham business with over 25 years of experience, we are experts in knowing exactly what makes a truly outstanding door. There are six elements to consider.


When you buy an external door, you can usually expect to find one made from a choice of four different types of materials:

Timber – classic, stylish and incredibly secure

The grandfather of all doors, timber makes for a classic stylish choice every time. It is not hard to see why timber often rules the roost when it comes to door options. Typically made from hardwood, timber is both sturdy and secure, and its natural composition means that it affords excellent heat-retaining capabilities. Timber is also incredibly elegant, whether you decide to keep its natural wood colour or you choose to jazz it up with a painted or stained finish. Its versatility means you can change the colour of a timber door to update your style preferences. When choosing timber, bear in mind that, as it is natural, it will need some care and attention to keep it looking good.

uPVC – durable, affordable, easy maintenance and won’t let you down

If you are looking for a contemporary choice of door that boasts great benefits, uPVC is a clear winner. Not only is it affordable, but uPVC looks the part with its smooth, clean white appearance. If security is your top priority, you can be confident that a uPVC door has the right attributes to safeguard your home. Low maintenance is also one of the star features of a uPVC door, and you will not have to worry about rusting, rotting, fading or flaking. Although possibly not as classic as some other types of doors, uPVC scores highly all round and therefore makes for a popular choice of contemporary door.

Aluminium – reliable and sturdy

There are lots of great reasons to choose an aluminium door. For a start, low maintenance is guaranteed, with no troublesome rusting, rotting or flaking. What’s more, as it’s metal, you can expect top marks for security and strength when you opt for an aluminium door. Aside from its physical attributes, aluminium is both elegant and stylish, and its natural composition makes it versatile for use in a range of styles. If you have a distinct colour choice in mind, aluminium doors are also available in various shades to suit your taste and preferences.

Glass Reinforced Plastic – mimics wood without the maintenance

If you like the idea of having a timber style of door but want to keep it low-maintenance, Glass Reinforced Plastic, or GRP, is the perfect solution. GRP is a manufactured material that resembles wood in looks and strength but does not require the same level of care and attention that wood demands. On top of this, GRP is long-lasting, sturdy and scores well for energy-efficiency.


External doors normally come under one of four types of designs:

Entrance doors – a focal point that creates a lasting impression

Your entrance door is the one door of the home that really takes centre stage. As well as influencing how visitors perceive your home, the style and colour can help to establish a particular design scheme or theme in keeping with the rest of the building. Entrance doors should not just be about appearances, however. Since more than seven out of ten breaks-in take place via the entrance door, it stands to reason that it should be exceptionally secure, and as one of the most used doors of the home, it should be able to withstand regular use.

French doors – chic appeal that oozes continental elegance

A door is more than just a functional item; it can add immense character to your home, and this is the exact appeal of French doors. As well as their chic and stylish appearance, French doors are incredibly versatile, making them a dream come true for design-conscious homeowners. Perfect for opening up a room, connecting the inside to the outside or as an access point to a terrace or small balcony, French doors are also available in many different colours, styles and materials. For the energy-conscious, the doors can also be double- or even tripled-glazed, helping to retain heat and slash your energy bills.

Sliding patio doors – a fuss-free favourite

It is not difficult to appreciate why sliding patio doors are an eternally popular choice for many people. With easy sliding to open and close, they make the perfect solution for those who make regular use of their outdoor space. Practicality is also a top feature, and sliding patio doors are especially convenient for openings with limited external or internal space. If you want to savour the delights of your garden, sliding patio doors also offer you unrivalled views, as they don’t need bulky frames that block your view. Despite only opening half way, you do get maximum amount of light in your home, and a choice of uPVC or aluminium lets you choose the material that best suits your home or style preferences.

Bi-fold doors – bring the outside indoors

If you like the idea of sliding patio doors but find them somewhat limiting, you will probably jump at the chance of incorporating stylish bi-fold doors into your home. The advantage of bi-fold doors over their sliding door counterparts is that the doors open fully, in a concertina style, so you can truly allow the inside and outside to merge. As well as creating a sense of space, bi-fold doors bring the maximum amount of light into your home and are available in a variety of contemporary shades on slender aluminium frames.


A door is made up of various components.


The panel on a door gives it a distinctive design, with various options to choose from. A door can have up to eight panels, which can be indented or raised on the door’s surface, depending on the particular style.


This is the part of the door that runs up the middle vertically. The muntin is also referred to as the ‘upright’.


A frame is an incredibly important part of a door; it encases it and supports the weight of the door so must be of a sturdy construction.


The threshold runs horizontally along the floor in line with the frame. You can choose different threshold heights to suit your specific requirements.

Top rail

The part of the door that runs across the top horizontally is known as the top rail.

Mid rail

The part of the door that runs across the middle horizontally is referred to as the mid rail. It sometimes includes the letterbox.

Bottom rail

The bottom rail is the part of the door that runs horizontally across the bottom.

Hinge stile

The section that runs vertically up the side where the door is attached to the frame (the hinge side) is known as the hinge stile.

Lock stile

The lock stile is the part of the door that encompasses the lock.


Just as there are lots of different styles of door to choose from, the variety of different locks available will also require your consideration. Locks vary on their security capabilities, so make sure you choose the right lock for your needs.


This type of lock inserts a bolt into the door’s frame when a key is turned. This simple type of lock has the advantage that the door can be opened or closed without worrying about locking yourself out.

Door chain

Convenient and effective, and often used in combination with other locks, a door chain lets you open the door slightly without anyone being able to enter. The chain is fixed on to the frame and secures the door when it is attached to the door. Door chains usually come in gold or silver.

Mortise deadlock latch

Once a popular choice for the older style of wooden doors, the mortise deadlock latch has since been superseded by multi-point locking systems used in more modern doors. You can still find this type of lock in most DIY stores, however.

Yale lock

A popular and straightforward type of lock, the Yale lock consists of a latch fitted to the door’s inside, with an extra rim bolt that goes into the frame for added resistance.

Multi-point bi-directional locking system

With this type of locking system, the handle tends to need to be lifted in order to secure the lock. This lock works by using several metal bolts or hooks on the door that lock into the keeps part of the doorframe.


The best kind of door is one that comes with technology to ensure it is energy-efficient. If you want to retain the heat and keep draughts at bay, look for a door with the following features.

Low emissivity

A door that has low-emissivity coatings included has the ability to reflect heat back into your home, keeping it warm and helping to reduce your energy bills. Low-emissivity coatings are not included on every type of door, so ask when you are looking to buy. Generally, you can get it with glazed uPVC, composite or hardwood doors.

Weatherproof seals

If you want to keep the outside from getting in, make sure your door is fitted with weatherproof seals. These seals are placed around the doorframe and consist of either rubber or Q-Lon. The disadvantage with rubber is that it will flatten over time and will lose its effectiveness in keeping chills out. On the other hand, Q-Lon contains materials that do not flatten and will spring back into shape, making it a good long-term choice that performs well. You can also get double seals, which are used for the interior and exterior of the door.

Double or triple glazing

If you choose a door with glass, consider getting one that is made with triple glazing rather than standard double glazing. This could make it more efficient by up to 35%. There is a lot to consider when choosing glass windows, so consult our buying guide for expert advice.


Door furniture and accessories are available in lots of different styles, so you can customise your door to your exact requirements.


A door handle can give your door character and style, so choose from options such as chrome, steel, brass or plastic. Favourite choices of colour include white, silver, black and gold.


Doorknobs can be everything from elegant and opulent to fun and quirky, so pick one that suits the door and your personal style. Popular options include round, smooth handles or octagonal designs.


You are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to the different styles and designs of door knockers available. Whether you stick to a classic ring style or opt for something a little more out of the ordinary, a door knocker can help to make a bold statement. Experiment with styles, but make sure the knocker is in keeping with the door.


A letterbox does not just have to be functional; it can help to improve the appearance of your door, too. Choose between black, gold, white or silver options to bring your door’s appearance to life.


A hinge attaches two things together to allow movement. A door hinge connects the door to the wall, allowing it to swing open and then close. It is imperative that it can carry the weight of the door. There are different types of door hinges.

Flag hinge

This is the most common type of hinge used on most entrance doors today. It offers great levels of security and performs well under heavy loads.

Butt hinge

Generally used on wooden doors, a butt hinge has two plots held together by a pin through the centre spine. One plot is connected to the door and the other to the frame.

Security butt hinge

Similar to a butt hinge, a security butt hinge is made with a hinge pin that cannot be removed very easily.

Rising butt hinge

This type of hinge enables the door to go up slightly when it is opened. It is ideal if there is a thick carpet inside the door.

Questions to answer before buying your new door

There are lots of things to think about before buying a new door, so ask yourself these questions to make sure you choose the right door to suit your requirements:

  • Which style blends in well with my home?
  • Which design works better for me – traditional or modern?
  • Will I need to maintain the existing look or style of my home?
  • What colours will let my home stand out?
  • Which type of material will suit my requirements?
  • What levels of security do I require?
  • Is it energy-efficient and can I save on my bills?
  • Is it easy to maintain?
  • Does the door come with any guarantees?