This is an excellent question that is very difficult to measure. Typically in the past, builders would source and supply doors based on a brief description of what the client wanted. There wasn’t much to it really. Now, for multiple reasons, choosing what doors to have is not so much of a simple task. New laws setting out requirements for fire doors and improvements in manufacturing techniques have helped pave the way for an ever growing market that demands more and more uniqueness and eye-grabbing designs.
Until not too long ago, the ‘standard’ height for a door was 6ft 6 (or 1981mm). By today’s standards, that seems a bit short, doesn’t it? Natural selection ensures our population keeps on getting taller, so naturally the doors must grow too! With some larger houses having ceilings as high as 3 metres, you can easily imagine how it’d dwarf a door less than two thirds its height! Having doors up to 2400mm or even 2700mm (fire rating permitting) will no doubt leave a huge impression on anyone facing these behemoths. This is another contributing factor to the growth of the bespoke doors market. When people want a taller door, the only option they are really left with is the bespoke route.
Doors are a major aesthetic and practical part of a house that more often than not gets overlooked. The first thing someone sees when approaching a house is usually the front door. From the moment you ring that doorbell, you are stuck there, facing it until someone arrives to let you in. Then there are more doors. Doors everywhere. Each one must be approached up close and personal before you may see what is hidden behind it.
Imagine walking up to a house and seeing your face reflected on the paintwork of a shiny piece of timber and ironmongery. You’d be easily forgiven for thinking you’ve arrived at 10 Downing Street. High gloss finishes are creeping their way across homes around the country. With good reason: they increase the value of your property.
Now that’s a bold statement to make. Are there measurable statistics to back up this claim? Probably not. But that goes the same with various other forms of redecoration. No one can say with a guarantee: “If we re-paint your kitchen, it will add x% value to your property”. It varies depending on the situation. But you could say with certainty that it would add some value (usually more than what was originally invested). All forms of home improvements make the place more saleable. You just have to invest your money into things potential buyers will see the most. Funnily enough, doors are one of those.
Below is an example of a refurbishment, showing the original doors. There was nothing wrong with the originals, except that there was also nothing special about them. They blended into the surroundings like a chameleon, not provoking much thought or inspiration; which is absolutely fine. The replacements however, with the striking walnut finish and unusual modern features just scream quality and good taste. In fact, it’d almost be a crime to not replace the doors with ones that keep in line with the modern and trendy refurbishment. Now the tables have turned: no longer do they blend into the background and mind their own business; it’s now a major aesthetic factor in the overall look of the house.
It is without question of a doubt that a good looking house will sell for a far higher price than an ugly one. It’s almost absurd to imagine how much little thought we would give doors in the past. In the picture above to the right, what is the sole feature that would dictate if the house is modern or traditional? The doors! If they alone were changed to have panelled features with perhaps a mortice knob, the entire look and feel of the hallway would be dramatically altered.
As mentioned earlier, interior designers would hardly ever consider what doors should a property have, leaving it to the builders, but now they have merged with the furnishing. It is a widely accepted fact that good interior design will add value to a home, so naturally it makes sense that the architrave, finish and ironmongery are in line with the décor.
Interestingly, in the past us Brits would typically replace leafs only (usually to a white frame and architrave) when it came to renovations, whilst in Europe it was a much more common thing to replace pre-hung doorsets. As a result of people being more conscious of the property value when refurbishing, opting for set has become much more important, ensuring the finish of the leaf and surrounding architrave matches the theme of the house it lives in. Because of this, unique finishes such as stains and high gloss have become much more significant, reinforcing the value being added to the house.
It is not just looks alone that dictate how much value doors add to a home. The mechanical function of it opening and closing, the weight, the tactile feedback from the handles and locks will also play a contributing role. Pushing down a sturdy lever, feeling the extra durable mechanisms sending vibrating clunks up your hand, arm and spine will make someone at least subconsciously acknowledge the quality of the building they are in.
A handle with loose screws or mechanisms, connected to a lightweight door will only tell stories of cheapness surrounded by the seemingly beautiful room.
Another extremely important factor that rarely pops to mind is warping. Over the years, doors would typically be made out of solid wood which people quite easily mistake for as a good thing. As you probably guessed by now, they will indeed warp over time. How many times have you come across doors that close very awkwardly, or seem to have gaps between the leaf and frame? A modern-built door with an engineered core overcomes this problem (and is also essential for fire ratings). Some people may be surprised to learn that using these modern manufacturing techniques can still be used to create a traditional, panelled looking door.
Still, some people yearn for solid wood doors. There are solutions out there that claim to be solid wood with a fire rating, but in practice, the panels would be veneered whilst the rest of the door remains solid pieces of wood. It’s a clever way some suppliers are using to trick people into thinking they have planks of wood with fire ratings and is worth noting before forking out lots of money on what is essentially just a marketing gimmick.
So to wrap up this article, there are three main features a door can add value to a house. The physical appearance is a hugely important factor, and would most definitely play a large role in someone’s first impressions of the property. Upon further inspection, the mechanical properties will help reassure the quality of it and the house. Apart from light switches, the door handles will be some of the very few things people touch when doing a viewing. Lastly, the elimination of warping will stop negative seeds being planted in someone’s head. As a dramatic example could be if a door warps, someone may wrongly assume there could be cracks in the foundation and the house is moving more than it should.