When we buy a property, we often inherit a front door we're not particularly keen on. It's only natural to want to replace - or at least redecorate - this, making your own personal stamp on the first thing that you and your visitors see.
The easiest way to personalise and update a front door is, of course, to paint it. Ideally, the colour of the door should go with the house's other exterior woodwork and the brickwork or render, and the style of the door should suit the house's age and architecture. Quick-drying exterior wood paint is the best option because you need to take the door off its hinges to access all the edges, and quick-drying paint should enable you to finish the job in a day. Don't forget to paint the top and bottom edges to prevent water seeping in, but don't apply too much paint because the door may be hard to open and close afterwards.
If there's no alternative but to replace the door, sadly this can be tricky and time-consuming. New doors take quite a bit of adjusting and the door frame may need to be altered or replaced. The other problem is fitting the locks - you don't want to compromise your home's security, so get in a carpenter or locksmith if you're not sure what you're doing.
At the back of the house, bi-fold doors are an increasingly popular alternative to French windows and patio doors, especially for extensions. Bi-fold doors consist of three or more doors that fold back on themselves and sit flat against one wall or both walls, depending if they open in the middle or at the side.
It's a case of the bigger, the better with bi-fold doors because they look most impressive when they span a whole wall (or walls). When the weather's nice, you can fold them back to open up the wall for a fabulous indoors-outdoors room. If you want to turn your living room, family room or kitchen-diner into a stunning space, bi-fold doors go a very long way to help.
Changing or fitting exterior doors may seem straightforward, but rules and regulations apply. Different planning rules can apply on 'designated land', such as conservation areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Some houses will have had their permitted development rights removed (flats don't have permitted development rights), which may mean applying for planning permission even to paint the front door, let alone replace it.
Similar rules apply to listed buildings. You may need listed building consent from your local council to make any changes to any doors, so check first. Also, if you live in a leasehold flat or house, you may need the freeholder's permission to change or add exterior doors - the building's front door, for example, usually belongs to the freeholder.
Building regulations can apply to new doors, especially if they're glazed. The easier option is to get them fitted by a company that can self-certify their work complies with building regs, like those belonging to FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme for the double-glazing industry). Alternatively, you can get a building control officer from the local council to check that they comply, or use an improved inspector, who does the same job but works for a private company. If you don't have this piece of paper, you may have problems when trying to sell your home, which is the last thing you need when moving house.
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