The importance of the right front door

front doors

Front doors, we all have them, and mostly take them for granted. We go out of them each morning carefully locking them behind us, and come back through them in the evening grateful to be back in our home. But do we give them any thought at all? Mostly not I suspect.

We might pass through them several times a day and not even notice if they’re looking a bit tired. If they’re painted the wood might be looking a bit chipped, if they’re UPVC, they might be a bit scratched or the colour may be yellowing, but do we ever really stand back and look at the front of our homes that often?

Probably not unless we are thinking of selling and trying to gauge our home from the perspective of the estate agent or a potential purchaser.

And this is where, in estate agent speak ‘kerb appeal’ comes in. You may have the loveliest house inside, bright rooms, great garden, but if people never come through your door they will never know.

Imagine if you’re looking for a new home, trawling the internet you come across a couple of houses with the criteria you’re looking for in your price range, but one has a sparkling new well maintained door and the other has a down at heel, chipped, unloved door. Which one would you view first? It goes without saying.

Of course you may make an appointment to see them both, but the one with the new front door will always come first, and may well be ‘the one’, and so the lovely home with the old front door won’t get a look in.

Of course the right front door isn’t all about aesthetics, it’s so much more than that.

Firstly, security, the door to your castle should always keep you safe. A properly fitted door won’t be easily penetrated by burglars, likewise properly fitted locks.

Last but by no means least, a correctly fitted front door will keep the warmth in and the cold out, cutting down on heating bills.

So, next time you pass through your own front door, give it a quick look, is it looking a bit tired? Is the lock a bit unstable? Is it letting in draughts?

Maybe it’s time to consider a replacement.

Streak Free Glass

You’ve had new Bi-fold doors installed, hopefully by us here at Essex Window and Door Centre, but perhaps by another company. You’re very happy with them and they look pristine, but what is the easiest and most efficient way to keep them looking brand new and shiny?

The trick to sparkling glass (whether it’s in windows or doors) is not to leave smears, which sounds simple but as anyone will know who has spent an age cleaning windows only to stand back to admire their work and been disappointed and disheartened by the number of smears left behind, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

There are as many ways to clean glass as there are opinions on the correct option, but whether you use lemon juice, vinegar, purpose-made cleaner or just good old washing-up liquid the main consideration is what you use to apply it and how you remove it.

To begin with, you need the correct type of cloth. Most fabrics leave behind small fibres which make your windows look dusty and add a smeary appearance. If you are going to be using a cloth, microfibre is the best choice because it sheds less and will leave fewer fibres on the glass.

So, what is the best thing to clean windows? Well, believe it or not, newspaper is one of our favourites. It absorbs moisture, making smears less likely, it doesn’t shed fibre, it’s ecologically friendly, and on top of all that, it’s free.

Having found the correct medium to clean your glass, what about the liquid solution? There are ‘streak free’ cleaning solutions on the market, some of them work, but some of them sadly are not quite up to their marketing claims. A good old fashioned but reliable solution is a mix of vinegar and water.

Try using 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle and lightly spray your windows before wiping off with the newspaper. The acid in the vinegar cuts through any grease on the glass without adding to it like some brands of cleaner do. Another plus to using vinegar is that it’s safe for children and pets should they come into contact with it.

If you find yourself cleaning your windows often and you like a bit of technology there is such thing as a window vacuum cleaner that sucks the water away from the glass when you’ve finished cleaning. A great idea, but if that’s a cleaning step too far for you, you can’t do better than stick with good old vinegar and newspaper.

We hope this helps you maintain streak-free glass on your new bi-fold doors and any windows in your home.

How Roof Lanterns Changed the World

It doesn’t sound very likely does it? And of course, that’s an exaggeration, but they could change your world, or at least your home life for the better.

Roof lanterns, a window to the sky as we like to think of them are a relatively new concept in this country and makes us wonder why they’ve taken so long to catch on.

After all, what could be nicer than looking up at the sky on a bright sunny day without leaving the comfort of your armchair? Similarly, there is something magical about being able to look up at a starry sky whilst sitting in the warmth of your dining room or kitchen.

In their infancy roof lanterns were large boxy affairs that didn’t always look the smartest, but like everything, they have moved on to become sleek modern additions to your home.

All the lanterns that we offer at EWDC use slimline technology and come in a range of colours to suit your home. Aluminium exterior coloured profiles are quality finished with powder coat paint, which is guaranteed to last.

The latest way to bring the sky into your house is our ‘Edge’ rooflight. It benefits from polished edge to edge glass and its low profile will make a stunning addition to your home. Its clever design also means that water will glide seamlessly from its surface.

Whilst allowing maximum light into your home, the Edge also keeps out unwanted heat, helping to keep your room at an ambient temperature.

The Edge is fitted with laminated security glass to the inner panel making it exceedingly difficult to penetrate from the outside, and in the unlikely event that the inner glass is compromised, laminated glass is shatterproof, keeping you and your family safe.

If you would like to know more about any of our roof lanterns, please feel free to visit our Brentwood showroom to chat through the options for your home.

Energy Saving with Double Glazing

Energy prices are rising and set to continue to do so over the next year. With this in mind, we think everyone is looking at ways to save money on their energy bills. Yes, you can turn the heating down a notch or two, put less in the kettle when you boil it and stop using the tumble dryer.

All these are useful energy saving tips, but what if the warmth in your home is being lost, how much difference will these things make then? They are all worth doing, but rather, or as well as turning your heating down a notch have you considered the basic structure of your house?

Is your loft insulated? If not, you could be losing up to a quarter of your home’s heat through the roof.

Do you have double glazing? If not, you could be losing a further 15% of heat from your windows. Although double glazing can be expensive, the initial outlay could save you money in the long term, it’s also a plus if you ever decide to sell your house. Houses with double glazing are more attractive to buyers not just for the reasons above but also from an aesthetic point of view.

Double glazing creates highly energy-efficient window insulation, and you can choose from a range of materials, all equally effective. The main contenders are uPVC, wood, aluminium, steel, or composite.

Energy-efficient windows are made of 2 or 3 glass panes sealed in a single unit and surrounded by a frame made from one of the materials mentioned above. The glass panes have a sealed gap between them filled with air or a type of gas.

Fully insulated windows can lessen outside noise and cut down your carbon footprint if that’s important to you. They also lessen the amount of condensation you have on the glass.

Last but not least, they come in a range of sizes colours, and styles to suit any building and can add the finishing touch of style to your home.

The Benefits of Bi-fold Doors

You’ve decided that you want to open up the back of your home, to see more of the garden, to make your home lighter and give it a feeling of space.

You know that’s the plan, but what are the options? There are of course sliding doors, French doors, or bi-folds. They all have advantages and disadvantages depending on your property, but today we’re going to look at the advantages of bi-fold doors, and hopefully help you to decide if they’re right for you and your property.

Bi-fold doors of course feature multiple leaves which can fold back to open up as much or as little of the back of your house as you choose. At Essex Window and Door Centre we install aluminium doors for their strength, longevity, and low profile.

Aluminium is the best material for the job because it is strong and lightweight, and due to these properties the doors are slim enough to slide right back and give you a completely unrestricted view of your garden.

Bi-folds are of course more expensive than for example, French doors, but the advantages are huge. They require very little space when open and can be almost invisible once slid back. They are slim and elegant and although they are a fairly modern invention they can still look good in period properties if correctly installed.

The aluminium that we use is incredibly strong which apart from making our bi-folds long-lasting also protects your home from burglars, making it more difficult for them to force entry.

Our Bi-folds also come in a range of colours to suit the rest of your décor. Some customers want their doors to blend in with the existing property and others like them to stand out and be a feature of their home. At EWD we can advise you on colour, size, and style to make sure that your new bi-folds suit you and your home.

It’s common knowledge now that light is good for us humans, not just the vitamin D that we get from the sun but the feeling of well-being from having light flooding into your home. What better way to achieve that than with a beautiful bespoke set of bi-fold doors?


Following the National lockdown announcement by the Prime Minister on the 4th January 2021, our showroom will remain closed until National restrictions are lifted by the UK Government.

Construction & manufacturing is permitted throughout this lockdown period so we will continue to attend site to carry out the installation & maintenance of our bespoke products.

We have strict COVID secure practices in place including PPE, enhanced hygiene & cleaning measures, and social distancing in affect throughout our entire operation.

We ask all our customers to respect the guidelines issued by the Government & to ensure the safest possible environment for any member of our team that enters your home or building site. If we are working inside your home we ask that your home is well ventilated, you keep your distance & that you cancel any appointment if you or anyone in your home is showing any symptoms or has been advised to self-isolate.

Despite the showroom being closed you can contact our team by email or on the telephone should you require any assistance.

We are still here to help & work with you towards creating your dream home in 2021.

How a Traffic Door can Answer your Bifold Door Problems

Bifold doors are a fantastic solution for integrating your indoor living space with your garden. But one of the biggest bifold door problems is that you can’t get in from the outside when the doors are internally locked.

Luckily, there is a way you can solve this problem. Ask your bifold door specialist to design you a traffic door.

What is a traffic door?

A traffic door is just like a normal door, but it is built in as a part of your bifold doors. It opens and locks independently from your bifold door system. That means that you can keep your bifold doors shut when you just need to pop outside. Lots of homeowners who have bifold doors report this as one of the most irritating bifold door problems.

A traffic door gives you easy access to and from your garden without having to open your bifold doors up. It also means you won’t get locked outside if someone locks your doors from the inside!

Why might I want a traffic door?

Bifold doors give you a perfect view into your garden. They also let lots of light into your home. But what you won’t want to do is open your full wall-length doors to the elements in the winter.

With a traffic door, you can nip into your garden without letting the cold in by opening your bifold door. You can also get into your home from the outside even when your bifold door is locked. All bifold doors lock from the inside, otherwise you could open up your home as a target to burglars.

Do I need a traffic door?

You won’t always need a traffic door to complement your bifold doors. A traffic door will solve your bifold door problems if you don’t have any other way of getting in and out of your garden. But if you have another door that allows you to access the outside, you might not need one.

Even if you do have another external door, you might still want to include a traffic door in your bifold door design. It’s more convenient to have a door that you can open independently. And you might even find that it improves your experience of having bifold doors.

Whether you’ve decided you want a traffic door or not, our bifold door specialist can help you find the perfect design for your home.

If you would like to see bi fold doors with a traffic door we would welcome you to our Essex Window and Door Centre Showroom at The Brentwood Garden Centre, Vicarage Close, Brentwood, Essex, CM14 5GR

Or call us on 01277 233513 for friendly help and advice.

Planning permission for bi folding doors?

Bifold doors are a fantastic way to create a seamless transition between home and garden. They are very popular, especially in homes with patios or decking. Bifold doors will open out onto these areas, creating a beautiful open plan effect. Bifold doors will generally not need planning permission as they are covered by permitted development rights. If your bifold doors are part of a new extension, they will need to be included in the plans.

What is planning permission?

Planning permission allows local authorities to approve building work in their area. The system means that for some kinds of building work you will need to apply for permission from the local authority. The local authority will make sure that the building work is in keeping with the area. They take a range of factors into account for each decision. Some of these include the size and design of the work as well as any impact on neighbours or parking spaces.

Bifold doors and planning permission

If you want to install a bifold door as a replacement for an existing door, this will not usually need planning permission. There are no restrictions on the style or material you can use for your bifold doors. However, you must make sure the bifold doors follow building regulations.

You may need planning permission to widen an existing opening for your bifold door installation. It’s usually worth checking with your local authority if you plan on significantly altering a door opening. In general, this will be covered under permitted development rights, but in some areas, you may need planning permission. If you are altering a door opening and installing bifold doors, you will need to make sure the existing opening is structurally capable of withstanding the extra weight.

If you are adding a new opening for your bifold doors, you are likely to need planning permission. This would generally be classed as a major alteration to your property. Speak to your local authority for advice.

Listed buildings and conservation areas

If you live in a listed building or conservation area, you will normally need to apply for planning permission to install bifold doors. You may also need listed building consent. There may also be restrictions that affect the materials and styles that you use. In some areas, aluminium bifold doors are not considered to be acceptable. This is because the appearance of these doors is not in keeping with the local area. In this case, timber bifold doors are more likely to be acceptable.

If you are in a conservation area or listed building and want to install bifold doors, speak to the local authority or conservation team. They will be able to offer you advice on the materials and styles that are acceptable in the area.

The restrictions on bifold doors will not usually affect your project. However, it’s worth being sure as local authorities can enforce the regulations. If you’re not sure if your bifold door installation will need planning permission, you can check with your local authority. To find out who your local authority is, use the government’s search tool.

Dual colour bi-folding doors, sliding doors and windows!

Dual colour provides an array of benefits to homeowners, but most importantly the ability to have two different types of style, inside and out.

At Essex Window and Door Centre we can offer our products in dual colour to help you customise your home, whatever the style of your property.  Spice up your home’s aesthetics and get the neighbours talking!

Essex Window and Door Centre can help you design your own bespoke bi-folding or sliding doors

We understand that everyone’s taste is different – your ideas and requirements may be totally different to someone else's.

So why not pop into our Brentwood showroom to discuss your requirements and view the different options on offer.  Alternatively, if you would like to book an appointment please get in touch with one of our team who will be more than happy to hear from you!