What’s the difference between uPVC and composite doors?

Both are fantastic upgrades that can not only enhance the look of your home, but also add thermal efficiency, security for you and your family and increase the value of your home, but what are the key differences between them?

Whilst both types are thermally efficient, which is the best, which has the best insulating materials? What materials are used in manufacturing uPVC and composite doors, which has the most flexibility in design? Knowing the fundamental differences can help you choose the right style and design to suit your needs and the style of your home.

difference between uPVC and composite doors
Choosing the right door for your home is easy when you know the difference between uPVC and Composite doors

Composite doors VS uPVC

Composite doors are made manufactured using a number of different materials which feature a reinforced steel frame and a 48mm solid hardwood core. Composite doors insulated timber core provides superior security & excellent energy efficiency because of the insulating foam layer that is covered in hard-wearing Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP). The manufacturing process results in an incredibly strong door that is resistant to adverse weather conditions. They are designed to replicate the look of traditional timber with a plethora of colours and styles allowing homeowners to create the perfect door to suit their discerning tastes and the style of their home.

A uPVC door is comprised of an insulated steel frame wrapped in un-plasticised polyvinyl chloride or as it’s commonly known, uPVC. Front uPVC doors are extremely hard-wearing, resulting in maintenance-free doors that are a low-cost alternative to front doors made from other materials such as timber, composite or Aluminium. This offers homeowners a strong, secure and thermally efficient door which is affordable and stylish.

Composite doors are more expensive than uPVC doors, in fact, prices can be as much as 60% more. This reason for the price difference is due to the manufacturing process and the materials used. Both styles, however, offer fantastic value for money, especially in terms of security, energy savings and kerb appeal.

Replacement Doors

Which is most popular uPVC or Composite doors?

Home improvements are continually evolving, this is also true of external door designs, composite and uPVC doors are the two most popular materials for homeowners updating their properties.

When choosing between uPVC or composite doors for your home, you should consider the style of property, and the position of the door. If a front or rear door is going to get a lot of direct sunlight then we would recommend choosing a uPVC door rather than a composite front door. Due to the manufacturing process composite doors tend to expand and contract a lot more than a plain white uPVC door.

Both door styles have their pros and cons, however choosing the right door will enhance your home creating a strong and stylish entrance to your home, whilst offering a robust water-tight design that will make your home safe and secure for you and your family.

uPVC doors are manufactured using only one material, whilst composite doors consist of a mixture of several including uPVC as part of the makeup, utilised as a weatherproof coating for the timber core. Sometimes less is most certainly more, the more materials used, the more complex the manufacturing process resulting in higher costs.

Composite door selection

Which is the most energy efficient uPVC or Composite doors?

Many homes are losing both heat and money due to old, or poorly installed doors, older designs or installation methods allow doors to loose strength or shape resulting in gaps where cold air can enter the home and warm air escape. This also causes damp or black mould around the door frame and surrounding areas due to the hot and cold air colliding inside of your home resulting in condensation and subsequently damp.

Modern uPVC and composite doors can prevent valuable heat from escaping your home, they will also stop cold air from entering the living space, which also stops condensation from occurring. uPVC door frames trap the heat inside your home, by reducing the air gaps. The design is extremely practical and prevents excess heat loss whilst regulating the temperature in your home.

Composite doors also offer a similar design, which will stop draughts and prevent dampness from developing in the home. The one main advantage offered by composite doors is the solid timber core which is protected by both a uPVC and GRP coating which results in a stronger and more thermally efficient solution.

Both designs can save money on your energy bills as they are both thermally efficient, this means you won’t have to use your heating to compensate for poorly designed or badly fitted old doors. There are many other reasons to upgrade to a modern entrance door such as the multi-point security which bolts into the frame and locks at multiple points with a simple turn of a key, giving an unbeatable level of security.

contemporary solid coor door

What are the benefits of a uPVC door?

The difference between uPVC and composite doors can have an impact on your home. uPVC doors are extremely hard wearing and will have a long lifespan, they require very little maintenance and will withstand even the most adverse weather conditions without any loss in performance. These attributes make a uPVC front or back door the perfect for homeowners that lead busy lifestyles.

They are also less expensive than composite doors which can cost 60% more, than a standard uPVC door. This is because fewer materials are used in the manufacture of uPVC doors resulting in lower costs. Having fewer materials does not impact performance and will still keep your home warm, dry and comfortable whilst looking stylish and remaining almost maintenance-free.

uPVC doors usually offer a smoother operation than composite counterparts, this is because they are nowhere near as heavy as composite doors which means less stress on the hinges, they do not require weather brushes and overall feel a lot easier to open and close. Choosing a low-threshold option will ensure easy accessibility for everyone entering or leaving your home.

If you are looking for a long term, cost-effective home improvement, a uPVC door will save you money on your energy bills for up to 30 years whilst requiring very little maintenance. Perfect for any home in any position whether in direct sun all day or used as an internal door to a porch.

upvc doors
  • Low Cost
  • Long lasting (up to 30-years)
  • Virtually zero maintenance
  • Wide choice of colours and designs
  • Thermally efficient
  • Easy operation

What are the Benefits of a Composite Door?

Composite doors offer amazing overall performance and an authentic look that would compliment any home, traditional or modern. The main advantages they have over uPVC doors are the solid timber core which increases sturdiness, and the authentic look of a timber door, this offers homeowners a door with ageless styling, without the negative features of a timber door.

These doors better security than uPVC doors, the composite material is super hard-wearing and robust, burglars are less likely to attempt entry via a composite door. Most suppliers and installers ensure they offer reinforced locks and security along with a choice of hardware to really make the door unique.

Composite doors offer homeowners peace of mind as well as being better at insulating your home, saving you money on heating bills and adding value to your home at the same time.

In summary, the difference between uPVC and composite doors is that composite doors offer superior performance, which comes at a higher cost initially but will add value to your home in the long term.

Composite door ruby red
  • Thermally efficient
  • Authentic timber aesthetics
  • Solid timber core
  • Hard wearing glass reinforced plastic coating
  • Secure, Robust door panels
  • Traditional or modern design

Whats the price difference between uPVC and Composite Doors?

The most noticeable price difference between uPVC and composite doors is the initial cost without taking into account the value the doors add to your home. A basic uPVC door fitted would cost around £600, depending on the size, door furnishings, colour, and glazing choices.

There are many extra features, such as door handles, doorbells, house numbers, letterboxes, spyholes, knockers and dog or cat flaps that all add to the overall price.

A basic, standard colour (blue, black, white etc) composite door is initially more expensive, with prices starting at around £1,000 for an entrance door. It is worth noting however that a uPVC front door would be closer to this price than a basic door for any other part of your home. For example, a rear door would be cheaper than a composite front door.

As you can see, a uPVC door is roughly £300-400 cheaper than a composite door initially, depending on the extras and position of the door. Ignoring the initial outlay, a composite door is a better investment in the long term, adding more overall value to your home and saving you more money on your energy bills.

You can reduce the cost of uPVC and composite doors, however, by walking through all the options with a local Double Glazing supplier and installer. Avoid national companies to get a better price and an overall better service.

Door lifespan comparison

Door Type Expected Lifespan Maintenance
Softwood Door20 YearsPaint Every 4 Years
Hardwood Door30 YearsPaint Every 5 Years
Steel Composite Door30 YearsWipe clean
PVC Composite Door30 Years Wipe Clean
GRP Composite Door 35 Years Wipe clean
uPVC Panel Door 20 Years Wipe Clean
GRP Composite Doors have the longest lifespan with minimal maintenance

Frequently asked questions about uPVC and Composite doors

How much does a basic uPVC door cost fully fitted?

A basic uPVC door fully fitted would usually cost from £600 depending on the style of door, the types of features chosen for the door, the part of the country your home is located and which company you choose.

How much does a basic composite door cost fully fitted?

A basic composite door with standard colours ( black, blue, white, grey etc) would cost around £1000 depending on the style of door, the types of door hardware and the style of glazing chosen, the part of the country your home is located and which company you choose.

What are common composite door problems?

Composite doors can suffer from some common problems such as swelling, creaking and groaning and dropping on the hinges as well as warping and bowing. These problems are avoidable, and we cover all of the common composite door problems and how to avoid or fix them in our article.

How to look after a composite door?

Unlike uPVC doors, composite doors do require some maintenance to keep them in top working order. We cover how to look after a composite door in our article.

How long will a composite door last?

Generally, a composite door can last up to 35 years with very little maintenance required. This is one of the many reasons why they are one of the most popular doors amongst homeowners for their robust sustainability, security, ease of maintenance and durability.

Is a composite door better than a wood door?

A GRP Composite door has all the positive attributes of a timber door with none of the negatives. A GRP Composite door will outlast a timber door with virtually zero maintenance. A GRP Composite door is highly customisable with many long-lasting colours available, a plethora of door furniture allows homeowners to create a style that suits their discerning tastes, whilst promoting sustainability and durability.

Are composite doors warmer than uPVC doors?

Because Composite doors are over 10% thicker than almost every other door on the market they offer homeowners maximum energy efficiency making them the warmest door because of the superior heat retention and minimal loss of energy.

What is the difference between uPVC and Composite doors?

The main difference between uPVC and composite doors is the materials used in the manufacture of the doors. uPVC doors are comprised solely of uPVC (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride) low maintenance plastic. Composite doors are constructed from a collection of hard-wearing and thermally efficient materials such as a solid timber core, GRP (glass reinforced polyester) coatings and a uPVC frame. Because of the difference in materials and manufacture, composite doors, though more expensive, tend to be more popular due to the robust, long-lasting structure.

Which is best composite doors or uPVC?

Both styles of products have their own positive and negative attributes. Composite doors offer homeowners a wider variety of beautiful colours and are available with a choice of either a flush or rebated finish. uPVC doors have less of a colour palette, however, a foiled product will replicate the look of a timber door. Both doors are thermally efficient and Secure by Design.