New Front Door - how to?

10 Apr 2016
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United Kingdom
Hi forum,
I want to replace my old timber front door and not sure what's the best way to do it.
Been surfing a bit on trustpilot and go scared by bad reviews hence seeking some help.

I don't want timber. Should I go for composite? What brand? Composite doors are just plastic laid on top of timber, perhaps aluminum is a better choice?

The main question is however what type of company I should go with; big boys or local installer? For me warranty is important so if I go for a local guy should I ensure it's a mid sized long established firm likely to last long? With Covid and local firm getting into troubles I am bit worried. Even the top dogs went to administration and warranty gone with it (Everest).

I see no pint of buying the door online and find an installer, cause who takes responsibility if something goes wrong?

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I can only give you my experience when I was a first time homeowner, I thought to myself, fit the best, fit Everest.....My optimist guess at a budget was £1000 (15 years ago) for a pair of UPVC patio doors.

The chap came around, measured up, claiming the gap was wider than average and hit me with a price of £4800, he then proceeded to spend 2 hours trying to get us to sign the contract telling me no one else would be able to make doors to fit that wide opening, it would need a reinforced frame, dropping the price a bit at a time until he was at £2200. I still never signed as it was over our budget. I soon realised whilst i'm sure these national brands offer a good product, they have big overheads to pay for, all those sign written vehicles, wages, holiday pay, marketing, big offices, etc.

I had two other quotes from independant fitters at £1500, but in the end I found a local company who did them for Just under £1000. They have been absolutely spot on and have since done the other windows on the house. Front door still to do. The said they get their composite doors from this supplier (and you can mock up you new door on their website, with many options). Then the local company can order and fit it. You can upload a picture of your house, and it shows how your door could look once you have designed it. Our installer, also advised a couple of local houses where he had installed doors, and suggesed we drive past and take a look to get an idea. Ballpark price was about £1500 fitted.

Regarding warranty, if I understand correctly a system run by FENSA was (one scheme) bought in to provide peace of mind to the consumers when buying doors and windows, and as long as your supplier is registered, you are then covered under the 10 year guarantee, however I've no idea what is involved in claiming on this guarantee if your local supplier vanished?

Also my last 3 windows I had installed, included a certificate from the council building control, (and a site visit) to check the installation of the windows. This appears to be something new, linked to energy efficiency of houses now, and they were inspecting. (I was surprised they came out and completed this during Covid lockdown.

Couple of links below I've found with a quick serach, might we worth reading.

Good luck

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That's a common tale... 10 years ago we had two of the national franchises quote on a new back door... £2k for one and £3k for the other. Both salesmen hung about for ages trying to pressure us. Local firm came in, looked at the job, measured it, quoted £400 and left it with us to mull over. No more than 5 minutes. Obviously he got the job!

Having seen the work and door quality of the national firms I'd say they are no better. A mate who works in uPVC locks, fixtures and fittings reckons our locking system is as good as anything the nationals supply.

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