12th Dec 2022 -

The external doors of a house cover all front, side, and back doors, with a range of four common material options, and a wider selection of designs available. From multi-panel sliding back doors to solid wood front doors, we’ll explore your choices and look at some popular designs.

What Are External Doors Made From?

There are four main material options for outside doors, offering their own strengths and weaknesses.

  • Wood: Timber doors are the traditional choice, and remain a popular material option, offering a sturdy feel and a surface that can easily be painted and refreshed. The prices of wood doors will vary depending on the type of wood, but they will typically be amongst the most expensive options. Softwood or hardwood doors will also require more regular upkeep than other material choices, with wood treatment and repainting. External oak doors are a popular wood choice, as they can be installed without painting for a great natural look.
  • UPVC: These doors are made from plastic, coming in a standard colour that cannot be changed through paint. This plastic look is considered the major downside of uPVC doors, which can otherwise boast reasonable levels of strength, and come at the cheapest price of all options. If looking for a cheap external door, uPVC is a clear choice. These are commonly white doors, but other colour options are available.
  • Metal: Aluminium doors offer a great level of strength with a unique look. Lots of designs such as sliding doors can be built with metal frames, with traditional metal external doors more commonly used in industrial or commercial buildings. Metal doors will be amongst the most expensive.
  • Composite: Composite exterior doors are made from a combination of wood, plastic, and insulation. These elements will be layered to offer strength and reduce heat loss. Composite doors will have a set exterior look that will resist cracking and wear over time. They are a great all-around door, with little maintenance over time. The primary drawback is the price, which will be higher than either uPVC or solid wood.

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Exterior Door Design Options

While standard single doors are typically used for the front of a property, there is a range of other designs that can be used for back or side access.

  • Single Doors: Most external front doors and many back doors will be a single door size, typically around 1981mm in height and 762 mm in width. These can be produced in a range of styles and looks.
  • Double Doors: More typically used in commercial environments or for back doors, a double-sized entrance will more easily allow access for multiple people. When used as a back door, glass doors with a frame can let light into interior spaces, and give an attractive view of a garden.
  • Stable Doors: Stable doors are typically single doors that are built from two halves hinged separately, with a join in the middle. This means that the top half of a stable door can be opened while the bottom remains closed. Stable doors are available as both front and back doors. This can be great for ventilation and will give a rural charm to a property.
  • Panel Doors: A panel door will be designed with panels on its solid surface, offering a traditional look to a property. 2,4, and 6-panel doors are available, with different sizes and spacings on sale.
  • Glazed Doors: These doors will include one or more glass panels within them. This can create an attractive look while allowing more light into a building. Glass panels are particularly popular on back doors, such as sliding doors, or folding doors, as they can create a warm and natural feel within a kitchen or living room.
  • Flush Doors: Flush doors are solid and flat, with no panels or glazing. They are considered a more modern look, commonly paired with sleek door handles.
  • French Doors: A double door set with large glass panels on each door is referred to as a French door, and is a popular choice for back doors, letting in plenty of light whilst opening to give a wider access point into your home.
  • Sliding doors: Sliding outside doors can be used to create a hugely bright and open-feeling interior space, with large framed glass panels that can be opened to truly bridge internal and external spaces. These would typically be used for back doors and can be large enough to cover an entire wall or room of a house. They can be double-glazed to minimise heat loss.
  • Bifold Doors: Sometimes called folding doors, these can occupy a similar size to sliding doors, but will be constructed from narrower framed glass panels that can fold into themselves, on one or both sides of the door. While this will allow for a more open border than sliding doors, the folded doors will occupy space internally and externally. Like sliding doors, this will be an option reserved for back doors or garden access.
  • Fire Doors: External fire doors are used in commercial and shared residential buildings. These are typically not fire-resistant like internal fire doors, and are instead designed to be used as part of a fire escape, allowing people to safely evacuate a building. They will need to have signage and be openable from the inside at all times.

External Door Sizes in the UK

As we’ve explained more thoroughly in our guide to UK door sizes, there are no set standard sizes for external doors. External door sizes can range, though they tend to be around two metres in height, and will vary between around 500mm and 900mm in width on a standard single door. When shopping for an entrance door it’s important to keep in mind that wheelchair users will require an opening of at least 775mm, which can be achieved with an 826mm door.

For back door options like bifold or sliding, bespoke sizes will be available, able to cover far larger spaces.

High-Quality External Doors For Sale

Offering a full range of supplies for construction projects, Building Materials Nationwide aims to save professionals time and money across the industry. Through our website, you’ll find an excellent range of external doors and internal doors for sale, available for delivery across the UK. 

For professional customers, our trade accounts can offer a huge range of benefits. Trade account holders are paired with a dedicated account manager, who’ll work with you to get you the exact products you need, delivered to you, at a competitive trade price. 

We aim to source our customers whatever they need, with a huge network of suppliers. To start saving time and money, sign up for a trade account through our website today.