How much does a steel door cost?
The short answer is, anywhere between £100 – £10,000. However, there is a common misconception that steel doors are all very similar which is understandable; most steel doors look exactly the same once they are installed. This is not the case. For example, most steel doors are made by welding 2 steel skins together and what goes in between these steel skins can mean the difference between paying £100 or £10,000, despite them looking very similar.
Before purchasing a steel door based on price alone, consider what the door is being used for and read our exhaustive guide on some aspects to look out for when purchasing a steel security door. This information should help you understand why you may consider spending more on your door or, conversely, may help you save money by eliminating unnecessarily expensive features. Assuming that you are sourcing your steel doors from reputable suppliers who manufacture their doors using premium materials through a process that ensures quality, here are some factors that affect the cost of your steel doors:
Minimum Requirements – CE Mark and a DoP
A minimum requirement you should expect from your steel door is for it to carry a genuine CE mark and Declaration of performance (DoP). A DoP should contain all the specifications needed for you to decide whether it is suitable for your application.
A steel door DoP should contain information on the following:
- Water tightness
- Air permeability
- Resistance to wind load
- Dangerous substances
- Mechanical resistance and stability
- Thermal resistance (U-Value)
- Weighted sound reduction index (Acoustic value in decibels / dB)
- Ability to release (for fire exit doors only)
Some of these characteristics aren’t required for CE marking but, the more detailed the DoP, the more information you have to judge the credibility of the product. You should expect to see at least the weatherproofing ability (water tightness and resistance to wind load), thermal values and acoustic information.
There is a price to pay for the confidence that a product will last:
Ensure the steel door has been made from at least galvanised steel as, relying on the coating alone, will likely result in a rusty door after a few years. The raw material is the most determining factor with regards to the corrosion resistance of a steel door. For complete peace of mind, consider purchasing a door made from Magnelis® and Zincalume® which are even superior in rust resistance, but expect to pay a premium for this.
A 12 month warranty should come with anything bought within the EU as this is the minimum requirement to comply with the Sale of Goods Act. However, look for a longer warranty. If no warranty is mentioned, assume 12 months. If a longer warranty is offered, look within the terms and conditions to see what is and isn’t covered.
The material of the hardware is also a factor in the longevity of a steel door. You should expect stainless steel hinges and ensure the hardware manufacturer is credible.
The overall performance of the door set is mainly determined by the construction and materials used. To have a superior insulation value, adequate, high quality insulation must be put inside the door. For high security doors, the steel must be thicker and the locks stronger, along with an integral design aimed at achieving the required specification.
The steel gauge and internal components contribute a lot of the cost. A security door should be made from a minimum of 1.0mm thick skin with a 1.6mm door frame (assuming a traditional double skinned door design). If the door is single skin and welded to an angle frame, 2-3mm is necessary.
The way in which the steel door is fabricated contributes significantly to the cost. For example, a fully welded door is going to cost more than a door which has been pop riveted together. Welding is not only stronger, but leaves a cleaner finish too.
This is where door costs are misunderstood and it’s due to the fact you can’t see what’s inside the door and frame. The shell of a more cost effective door leaf will likely contain nothing but honeycomb paper, whilst superior doors will be manufactured from strong internal bracing, insulation, lock boxes to protect the locking system and reinforcing systems for the hinges to be screwed into. Integrated astragals (jemmy bar lips), dog bolts / hinge pins and interlocking door skins make for a very strong door design, compared with a non-rebated door, for example.
A good example of how the construction and door design significantly improves the strength is by looking at the difference between our 3 door ranges: Budget, Security and High Security. The 3 ranges all have improvements to steel gauge, insulation, internal reinforcements as you move up within the ranges. The level of security therefore improves, too.
Design and Finish
A plain steel door will cost much less than one which has fancy or complicated designs. The purpose of your steel door will guide you on which design is most suitable. If you are buying a steel door for your store, a plain one may do. However, if you are buying a steel door for your home or office, you may want to consider paying a little more so as to ensure you get a door that blends in to the style of your building, like a 6 panel steel door or a cottage style door, for example.
Finishing is another factor that contributes to the cost of steel doors. Most suppliers will offer you steel doors that have standard powder coat finishes in various colours. If you need custom finishing like a special colour or wood grain, you should be prepared to pay a higher price. If you’re based in a coastal environment, you must stipulate this and a special marine grade finish will be applied to your door at an additional cost.
The type of hardware is very much determined by the application of your door. For example, a fire escape door will require a panic bar. A security door will typically require a multi-point locking system. However, the quality of the hardware is a very important factor.
Mortice locks and multi point locking systems
A standard mortice lock will lock your door in 1 place. A multi-point locking system can lock your door from 2 to 14 places. Don’t so much focus on the quantity of shoot bolts, but more so the credibility of the hardware manufacturer.
Multi point locking doors are now common within the steel door market, but be sure that the locking systems are branded with a credible brand like HOOPLY®, MUL-T-LOCK®, ERA® or FULLEX®. It is important to ask yourself the following questions when analysing the door hardware manufacturer:
- If you have a problem in the future, how easily can you get hold of a replacement part?
- Should it be covered under warranty?
- Could you buy a component instead of having to buy the whole locking system again?
If it’s difficult to replace the hardware of your door, you may have to replace the whole door which is why we would always recommend checking the credibility of the hardware brand. A telling sign is when they have no branding at all.
Also, check the internal rods are galvanised and protected with internal lock boxes around the locks and tubes around the rods.
The quality and quantity of the hinges affect the cost of a steel door. Expect a minimum of 4 stainless steel ball bearing hinges or a full length piano hinge fitted to security doors.
Exidor is the most popular panic bar brand in the UK, fully CE marked and with a great reputation. Expect to see a surge in price as you step up in ranges, though. Exidor’s 200 series panic bars cost on average £40-£100. However, the 700 series panic bar range increases 10x, from £400-£1,000,
This is an area where the costs really can spiral out of control. A traditional mortice lock, lever handles and euro cylinder compared with a fingerprint access control wired up to a mag-lock or electric strike is the difference between £50 and upwards of £1,000. This may be a necessity, as an intercom and electronic opening system may be a requirement for a communal building, but for your single occupancy office, consider this an expensive luxury.
Other Ancillary Hardware
Door closers, restrictors, letter boxes, even door viewers have a vast array of available options. A 50p door viewer will typically be made from plastic, with a plastic lens and spray coating. Higher quality versions are made from brass with a glass lens, and therefore longer lasting with a clear and larger viewing angle.
Certification and Accreditations
Research and Development (R&D) and testing is expensive. To offer some perspective, our average cost to design, test, certify and bring to market a security certified product is upwards of £40,000. For fire rated doors, these costs are even higher. Although the specification of the door may only change slightly when comparing a standard steel personnel door to a fire rated version, much of the additional cost is due to the R&D and testing. Expect to pay a premium for any form of certification that your door set must have.
Although not a legal requirement, it is advisable to seek a company who are working to a strict quality management system like ISO9001. This gives you confidence that they are conscious of continual development and a reliable quality. Other accreditations like Secured by Design also mean that their products comply with recognised and trusted bodies.
What is the door being used for?
Go back to basics and ensure the door suits the purpose of its application before paying a premium for brand or a special certification. Think about the purpose for your new door. Is it simply an entrance door with little need for security? Do you need a fire exit door with a medium level of security? Do you have a very rigid specification from your architect and must ensure it’s a certain spec to satisfy regulations? Take some time to look at the needs for your property to assess the priorities fir your door before purchasing.
Check the specification
The higher the specification of your door, the higher the price will be. We are regularly asked for doors which, when spec’d up, are very expensive. Quite often such a door has been needlessly over specified which is purely down to a lack of knowledge in the industry.
A few examples:
1) Security doors: Levels of security are infinite! You can go from a budget steel door (£140+VAT), to a high security steel door (£310+VAT), to an LPS1175 SR6 door (£5,000+VAT+). Ensure you understand the application of the door, the value of the contents in the room/building, any insurance requirements and whether certification is required at all. If in doubt, don’t ask to be quoted for a ‘*** rated door’, explain the application and let an expert recommend the most cost efficient door to suit your requirements.
2) Air-tight doors: Do you really want an “air tight” door? To develop, test and manufacture an air-tight door to certain air pressures is extremely expensive. The reality of what most customers who call us really want is a weatherproof or air-restrictive door. This is far more standard in the industry, and most steel doors comply with weatherproof testing and requirements.
3) Fire rated fire exit doors: Firstly, in the event of a fire, fire exit doors are meant to be open to aid escaping the fire. Therefore, it is unusual a fire exit door needs to be fire rated. It’s not unheard of, but it drastically reduces the cost if the door is either: Fire Rated OR Fire Exit (they serve 2 purposes).
There are obviously a number of other factors that will influence the cost of a steel door. However, if you talk to your supplier about these areas, you could save a lot of money or just have more confidence that the door set is being made to suit your application. Most importantly, you should always shop for steel doors from a reliable supplier who can guarantee the quality of the doors regardless of size, design, finishing or the combination of materials used to make them.