Monday, 26 July 2010

Tips for a Bright Entrance

Hallways can be one of the trickiest areas of the house. Often lacking in windows, the room can be dark, dank and depressing. Being home to the front door, the room also accumulates a high level of traffic. Here are some tips for brightening up your hallway to create a welcome entrance for you and any guests to your home:

  • Choose a front door with a white interior. A light colour, like white, reflects existing light, helping to make the most of any light which does enter your hallway.

  • Choose a front door with glazing. There are many reasons why people prefer to choose a solid front door. Security may be one of these issues. There are front doors available which offer laminated glass - a security glass which prevents anyone gaining access by smashing the glass. Privacy may be another issue. Obscure glass, which (as the name suggests) obscures the view through the glass, can allow light into the hallway without giving a clear view to anyone who may peer inside.

  • Paint the hallway light colours. As with the front door interior, light colours help to reflect existing light and generally give a brighter appearance.

  • Use mirrors near any light sources to reflect the light around the room.

  • If you really don't want a glazed front door, or a glazed front door doesn't offer enough light, consider getting glazed side panels. These can be full length window panels on either, or both, sides of the door, half windows or small windows at the top, known as top lights. You can also have a combination of all 3 if you choose.
    This can maximise the amount of light coming into your hallway if you have no other sources of natural light.

Don't get disheartened about dark hallways, a few simple changes can make a big difference and change the entire atmosphere of the room.

Friday, 23 April 2010

How to Choose a New Front Door

Part Three - Requirements

The third part of this buying guide, focuses on the requirements of your new front door.
These requirements cover both personal needs and the requirements of your home, like:

  • Disability & Access requirements - do you need a wider doorway? A front door with a low threshold?

  • Security requirements - does your home need an enhanced level of security? Does your front door offer you the protection you need?

  • Light requirements - is your hallway dark and gloomy? do you require light passing through your front door, but also need privacy?

  • Energy efficiency needs - whether you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint or just want to keep energy bills as low as possible, the energy efficiency of your front door is a key consideration for some.

Front Door Access

Some front doors give you no choice when it comes to ease of access. Some require a frame running along the bottom to function. If you, or someone in your household, has access needs such as a low threshold or wider door way, this is your first requirement to make a note of.

Front Door Security

Although already covered briefly in Part Two, home security is an important consideration in any property. The level of security you require from your front door is personal to you, your family members and your belongings as well as the risk of crime in your area. You may live in a relatively low crime risk area, but if you have vulnerable family members or valuable belongings you will still require a high level of security.

Front Door Glazing

Dark hallways are not appealing to anyone. If your hallway has no windows, or perhaps windows that are very small or in a shady position, it is important your front door is glazed and allows light to pass. The size of the window depends on your personal preferences. If you require light to pass AND privacy, you will need to consider windows backed with an obscure glass.

Other Front Door Needs

There are many other requirements to consider when planning to buy your new front door. It is important to think about your usage of your front door and make note of anything you can think of. Some of the requirements you may wish to consider include:

1) Energy efficiency

A thermal door can keep your home warm and reduce your heating bills. If you're concerned about your impact on the environment or just need to reduce your energy bills, getting a front door with excellent energy efficiency properties should be one of your main priorities.

2) Sound proofing

Partly a location consideration, the sound proof qualities of your front door may be important to you. Maybe you live near a busy road or have noisy neighbours. Maybe it is not external noise that you wish to keep out at all, maybe you'd rather that any noise you make is not easily heard by people outside.

3) Hardware requirements

Hardware requirements are a pretty important consideration. You don't want to buy a new front door, only to get home and realise that you forgot to get a door with a letter plate. Door knockers, spy holes, security chains, letter plates, numerals.. These are all additions to your front door you need to think about and make a note of before buying.

Friday, 5 March 2010

How to Choose a New Front Door

Part Two - Location

In the second part of this front door buying guide, I'm going to talk about the importance of considering the location of your door.
The location of your door includes several important factors:

  • Appearance - does your new front door suit the style of your home? Does it fit in with your other doors and windows? Is there a colour scheme to consider?

  • Climate - is your door exposed to strong daylight for most of the day? Is it near the coast? Does it bear the brunt of all weather conditions?

  • Security - is your entrance hidden away or your home in a secluded area, where it may be easier for burglars to work on it unnoticed? Is your home in a high crime area?

From this list, you can see that the location of your front door plays several important roles in choosing the right door for your situation.

Front Door Appearance

If you have a period property, you don't want to install a modern uPVC front door. Not only would it look unattractive and out-of-place, but no doubt it would reduce the overall value of your home. If your budget does not allow for a real wooden door, why not consider a door with a wood grain appearance, such as a composite door? Composite doors have a smart appearance that is not tacky like uPVC, but not expensive like wood.

For modern homes with uPVC windows, you can easily buy a uPVC door for cheap to match. uPVC doors may not suit your every need though, in which case you can buy composite doors with uPVC door frames, so that the door does not look out of place in your property.

Front Door Climate

Harsh climates really limit your options when it comes to buying a new front door. Entrances that are exposed to strong sunlight, heavy rain or blowing winds require a front door which can take the weather and last. You do not want to buy a door and find that five years of weathering has taken its toll and you need to replace the door again. Especially in coastal areas, where the usual weathering is mixed in with the abrasive sea salt, you should avoid wooden doors. Unless you wish to sand and paint your door on a regular basis and don't mind rot setting in much earlier than it should. Although the surface of uPVC doors may fair better than wood, the flimsy construction can allow draughts and leaks in easily.

For the best protection against harsh elements, composite doors are incredibly tough and durable - the skin will not require maintenance or lose its shine and the door will not allow draughts and leaks into your home.

Front Door Security

Living in a secluded area, or having an entrance which is not in view of the world can make you feel vulnerable. It allows burglars the cover to work on your front door without being spotted. Installing security lights can help to protect you when you are home, alerting you of potential intruders, but what about when you're out? Security lights would only provide more light for the potential attacker to work with.
Even if your home and entrance is in full view of the street, your entrance remains a vulnerability. Some doors, such as uPVC doors, have obvious weaknesses which can be seen by attackers with experience. These weaknesses can be taken advantage of very quickly by those who know how.

With both of these situations in mind, you really should choose a high security front door. If you're in the UK, buying a Secured by Design door gives you the assurance that your door has the best security possible.

How to Choose a New Front Door | Part One - Why Plan Your New Front Door?