When it comes to choosing doors, there will always be an element of choice. While glass, wood, laminate and metal all have their different pros and cons, few of the attributes are unique – apart from the transparency of glass.
What wooden door sets can offer, however, is a genuinely sustainable option, while still providing good insulation, natural beauty, robustness and even – provided it has been coated and treated properly – a degree of fire resistance.
Sustainability is, of course, a major watchword in almost everything these days, not least in construction, where the use of wood is popular due to its much lower carbon footprint compared with steel and concrete, not to mention the fact that it is from a source that can be replenished.
Of course, if a building is not made with wooden beams or frames there is not much that can be done about that retrospectively, whereas doors can be changed.
This is worth noting because most doors do have a finite lifespan. However, for wooden doors today it is much greater than they used to be. Whereas once a wooden door would be made out of one or two big slabs of timber, now they tend to be constructed in several parts, with the core often being made of laminate or chipboard.
A great advantage of this more modern engineered construction method is that the door is less liable to warping, a prime reason for old wooden doors to become a liability.
The visible layer, of course, will remain wooden, with a great choice of types, be it oak, ash, cherry, maple, pine, walnut or even bamboo – although pedants will correctly point out that the latter material is in fact a type of grass.
Increasingly, wood is being produced from forests managed in a specifically sustainable way. International Organisations like the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) provide accreditation for wooden products that come from such forests, enabling consumers to know that the wooden items they are buying are genuinely sustainable when they see the kitemark.
The FSC is a global organisation that has member companies all over the world. At the latest count, this includes 35 in the UK and 29 in Germany, the two European countries with the greatest membership. But there are many more all over the continent, using only sustainable wood.
Is wood considered a sustainable material in UK?
In the UK, the Forestry Commission has its own rules for planting and growing woods and forests in a sustainable manner. It does this through the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS), which is designed to provide clear guidance on sustainability best practice, maintain standards based on UK laws and international agreements and conventions on forest management.
This includes considerations regarding issues such as biodiversity, climate change, the historic environment, the landscape, people, soil and water. The guidance, which applies the respective Forestry Commissions and equivalent bodies of all four UK nations, will be updated next year.
All this might seem a bit deep when one is simply seeking to choose the right doors for a home, office or commercial premises. But what it shows is that when it comes to using wood, the process of sourcing and sustaining this natural material can be managed in a way that goes a long way to protecting the environment.