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Under lock and key

Choosing a door with the correct security for your home isn’t as simple as you may think. Find out how to make the right choice.


By Gina Hartoog


Although we physically touch our doors plenty of times every day, we probably don’t give them much thought - unless they aren’t working in the way we expect them to. Doors have an important function in our homes. They provide a barrier in terms of the elements and keep intruders out. 

Doors are not all equal. Interior or exterior doors may be similar but they do have important differences. Like good furniture, a quality door can last many years. Changing a door may not be as straightforward as you think. Your new door may need different hinges or your frame may not be the correct size for the door you require. It is important to make an informed choice when choosing a new door.


The first step is to decide on the material from which the door is manufactured. This may be based on the design of your home, the door’s function or your personal taste.


Styles of doors

Hinged – a basic door which attaches to the door frame by means of hinges. The door either opens to the right or left and swings inside or outside. Hinged doors may have a single door knob or a handle with a lock. The door is opened by either a push or pull action and the door rotates on the hinges.


Fold-a-side – the fold-a-side door opens like a concertina and may either stack at one or both ends of the opening. It is a good choice where space is limited and has become very popular in recent years as it links indoor and outdoor rooms almost seamlessly.


French – essentially a hinged door made of glass, the French door looks like a window. It isn’t as popular as it once was but it is still used on patios or places that lead out to a garden.


Dutch or stable doors – a hinged door split horizontally into a top and bottom section. Once very popular as backdoor, the stable door provides a lower end barrier while the top can still be opened to allow air and light in.


Sliding doors – a door that slides on a track to open. Sliding doors usually have a fixed panel and can be single or double doors. They can be used as interior or exterior doors. Glass sliding doors are popular on patios or leading out to a swimming pool area. They allow plenty of light into the room. The sliding door can be a solution where space is limited, for example, wardrobe doors in a small room.




There are myriad different styles of doors available and in different materials. Each material has various pros and cons that should be taken into account.


* Wood

A genuine timber door is a traditional choice for both exterior and interior doors. They may be manufactured from different types of wood and must be properly treated to withstand the elements if they are used as exterior doors. Wood doors are durable but may require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition. Wood is also beautiful and never goes out of style. 


“Wood is a wonderfully environmentally friendly choice of building material,” says Dylan Miller, national marketing manager at Swartland, a wooden window and door manufacturer. “It is renewable, an excellent insulator, and, if properly maintained, it is exceptionally durable and long lasting. The correct timber windows and doors will add value to your home and mostly increase your property value if properly maintained.”


Look out for Swartland’s Ready-2-Fit range of wooden windows and doors. They are professionally sealed and glazed before they leave the factory and are ready to be installed in your home without sanding, sealing or glazing required.

* Steel

Steel doors are generally inexpensive but not suitable for all applications. While steel doors are sturdy and durable, they are vulnerable to dents. They also need to be painted and nicks and scratches in the door can cause it to look unsightly. It may also rust if not properly maintained. Steel doors are generally used for outbuildings or as garage doors.


Aluminium doors are the ‘new’ kids on the block. Aluminium doors can be manufactured in different styles, including entrance doors, fold-a-side and sliding doors. They are also available in a wide range of colours. Aluminium doors are durable, easy to clean and rust-free.


According to Stephan Marckx, national retail channel executive for Duro, aluminium isn’t subjected to swelling and warping like natural wood. Duro’s range of entrance doors can also be used as balcony or passage doors. They also provide a range of aluminium sliding and stacking doors.


* Veneered door

Veneered doors are usually combined with an MDF core for added strength. Many assume that veneer doors are inferior to wood but this can be an incorrect assumption. While veneer doors can be more affordable than wood (this is not always the case), they are not necessarily of a lower quality. The manufacture and finish of modern products is excellent, but as with everything, you get what you pay for.


Veneer doors come in a variety of different styles and finishes in many different colours. Colour is very consistent and there are no imperfections in the door. Manufacturing of veneer can also be environmentally friendly. 


In the next article we'll look at what to consider when choosing a door as well as how to choose door hardware and locks.

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