Period Properties - A Composite Door Challenge

Richard Pogson, managing director of Yorkshire based Lockwood Windows and sister company Composite Doors Yorkshire, talks about the challenges faced by people wanting to upgrade their doors but who live in a heritage property.

You want to improve the appearance, strength and security of your front door, but you live in a period property. How do you achieve this without losing the character inherent in your home?

“We are often approached by customers who have heard about the benefits of composite doors but have struggled to find a company that can not only provide a style and colour that complements their property, but can also manufacture one that will fit the often non-standard measurements and shapes that come with a building of heritage.

Customers are becoming more knowledgeable about the benefits of composite doors in terms of their strength, durability and energy efficiency, and when you have an older home these features are all the more attractive. They are also becoming more discerning about the products they choose, so it is easy to see why more people want to upgrade their front or rear door with a composite option.

Many companies are able to provide an extensive choice of styles and colours, including English Heritage colours such as Chartwell Green and timber effect, but the challenge with older properties is shaping the door to fit without changing the opening. We recognised this could prevent people from being able to have a composite door and so set about finding a solution.
We are fortunate that we manufacture in our own premises and were able to invest in a period of research and development, which gave us the time to deconstruct a composite door and work out how we could improve and change it.

We took a standard solid timber core and added a Kommerling profile - which is highly energy efficient, extruded with a unique lead-free compound, and reinforced with steel to ensure security. The door slab also has highly durable plastic edge banding and two thermo plastic door skins to make them exceptionally hardwearing.

In addition we were able to work out how to bend and shape the doors and frames, which would allow us to create bespoke doors to fit any property.

As a result we have been able to supply and fit composite doors to heritage properties where challenges have included shaping, aesthetics and listed status, like these examples below:

Property: Tolson Cottage - a listed property in Armitage Bridge, Huddersfield
Requirement: The customer wanted a more solid, secure door that had a timber appearance. They wanted it to complement the heritage of the building but incorporate an element of modernity.
Solution: We recommended the Milano composite door which is modern in appearance but suggested Chartwell Green as the colour. We also incorporated a side panel into the main door frame for extra strength and security. We also provided uPVC windows with an exact colour match.

 Property: Detached home in Hade Edge, Holmfirth (image below left)
Requirement: Hade Edge is a village which sits high above Holmfirth and so is exposed to all weather extremes. As a result this customer realised the benefits of having a composite front door. The challenge was the solid stone door frame which had a slight shape to the top which the customer did not want to alter as it would affect the appearance of his period home.
Solution: We were able to provide a bespoke Flint composite door in oak and shape both the door and frame to fit perfectly in the existing door opening.

Property: A detached property in Oldfield, Holmfirth
Requirement: In this instance the customer knew they wanted a composite door but they also wanted it to have an integrated top light and side panels. In addition, they wanted a modern door but one which would still be in keeping with the age of their property.
Solution: We suggested a Pisa door in black and used a modern abstract glass in the door apertures. We then manufactured a frame that incorporated both the door, side panels and top light which was fitted as one piece to increase security.

It is fantastic for the industry as a whole that homeowners are recognising the benefits of composite doors, and from our point of view, we are delighted that we have been able to expand our capabilities and provide an enhanced composite door solution to customers.

It is particularly encouraging that we are now being approached by owners of period properties from further afield, including the manufacture and fit of composite stable doors to a weavers cottage in Harrogate, and to a 350 year old manor house cottage in Badsworth, nr Pontefract.