When looking for a contemporary door one is hoping to find something a bit different to fit a modern interior, something that will blend in and add to the overall design.

When looking for a contemporary door one is hoping to find something a bit different to fit a modern interior, something that will blend in and add to the overall design. As with most things in life however, looks are not everything and making sure that a door is not only aesthetically pleasing but also robust requires a little research.

Selecting a contemporary door

To judge a wooden contemporary door’s quality from the customers’ perspective, one must first decide what function it needs to achieve. The selection of a wood door type is usually based upon several criteria. Within a home situation this might begin with visual appearance. Will the chosen door fit in with a particular décor or design theme? Is it the right timber finish, the right colour, the right pattern? Aesthetic appeal is usually a very important factor within the decision making process. But quality doesn’t necessarily always link to appearance does it?

When judging quality one might be best advised to think at a more practical level. Is the product sufficiently robust to have a reasonable lifespan? Will it stand up to heavy use or will it need to be replaced in the short-term. Many popular doors are manufactured with what are known as cellular or hollow cores. Whilst this keeps the purchase price of the product lower, these door types are more susceptible to impact damage in regular use. By the same token, a solid core door may be more robust, but is it so heavy that it requires the fitting of heavy duty hinges to support its weight, or in the extreme scenario, can the joiner lift it safely when hanging it?

Contemporary door construction

A key factor not always considered by the purchaser of a contemporary door is how the door will perform in use. Whatever its appearance or method of construction, a door is primarily designed to be opened and closed to form a barrier between rooms. As such it must remain flat and square within its frame so that it can be opened and closed repetitively to perform its basic function. It is this area most of all where the door manufacturer has to get the ‘quality’ right. Many door purchasers will not necessarily understand, nor be interested in, how a wood door is manufactured. They would not ordinarily enquire specifically about what is (or is not) concealed inside the door. Often, purchasing decisions will be made on the basis of price and visual appeal first without sufficient thought being paid to quality of construction or level of specification. The supplier must think about these scenarios and strive to offer products that are not only affordable, but which represent value for money in the many and varied situations where doors might be used.

As well as the internal composition of the door, what about its surface finish? Nowadays, many doors are supplied pre-finished as standard? Is the surface finish scratch resistant? Can it be recoated in the future? Does it require regular maintenance?

Specification detail and method of finishing can have an enormous effect upon the price of wooden doors. Two doors apparently identical in appearance can easily have very different price points based upon how they are constructed or the formulation of finish used.

Contemporary door quality

Warranties issued with contemporary doors can often give some insight into the overall quality or suitability of a door in a particular situation. Most wooden doors are issued with a degree of warranty in some form or other. However, taking a look at the exclusion clauses and understanding just what is covered by a warranty is very important. It is also worth remembering that a wood door’s on-going performance can often be affected by how well it has been installed. Have the appropriate number of hinges been used relative to the door’s weight? Has the correct type of paint or seal been used to protect the surface of the door from dirt, grease or ambient moisture? The best quality product can easily be spoilt through a lack of good practice at the point of installation.

When choosing a wooden door for use within the modern built environment, solid wood in the traditional sense is sometimes not the best solution with regards to quality. Composite or engineered components used in a contemporary door, rather than boards of solid wood, make sense from the commercial point of view as they generally utilise the wooden raw material in a more efficient way to reduce waste, with the added benefit of lower prices for the finished product. More importantly from the quality point of view, most of the natural stresses that exist within the fibres of a solid plank of wood are removed when engineered timber components are used, radically improving the stability of the finished wooden contemporary door.

As we have seen, selecting a contemporary door is more complex than might appear. The answer is always to go to a reputable door supplier like J B Kind who have a wide range of wooden doors in a variety of style and wood finishes.

Ian Wright is the author of this article on contemporary doors. Find more information, about internal wood doors here

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