Energy Efficiency of Timber Doors: A Guide

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When it comes to making your home more energy-efficient, one often overlooked aspect is the choice of doors. Timber doors, in particular, stand out for their natural insulating properties, providing a sustainable and energy-efficient solution.

Unlocking the Potential: The Natural Insulating Properties of Timber Doors

In discussing energy efficiency, the focus is on the u-value of materials, where a lower value is better. In 2010, building regulations reduced the maximum u-value for doors to 1.8W. Standard wooden doors had u-values of 2.5-3, leading to the popularity of uPVC or composite doors in new houses.

Illustration Depicting Heat Loss in Home

Despite lower energy efficiency, wooden doors persist due to their aesthetic appeal. Some homeowners find uPVC doors less stylish, and the use of natural materials in wooden doors reduces the environmental impact compared to synthetic materials in plastic doors, making them a preferred choice for many.

Harnessing Nature’s Insulation

Timber, a natural insulator used in construction for 10,000 years, boasts small air pockets that provide effective internal insulation. While it fell out of favour for entire house construction a century ago, timber remains a versatile choice for specific home elements, particularly doors.

Despite the emergence of composite and uPVC alternatives, timber doors are preferred for their enduring insulation properties.

When installing new doors, timber stands out as an excellent option for maintaining high energy efficiency. This is crucial, considering that around 80% of home energy expenses go towards heating, making timber doors a wise choice for cost-effective insulation.

Timber doors have inherent insulating properties that stem from the unique characteristics of wood. Wood is a natural insulator, effectively trapping heat within your home during colder months and preventing excessive heat from entering during warmer seasons.

This natural insulation helps in maintaining a comfortable and consistent temperature inside your living spaces, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling.

Strategies for a Greener Home

To make your home more energy-efficient, consider a holistic approach that includes the choice of doors.

Beyond selecting timber doors, you can implement various strategies to enhance energy efficiency. Installing energy-efficient windows, sealing gaps and cracks, and improving insulation throughout your home contribute to a comprehensive energy-saving plan.

Advice for Improving Door Insulation

  1. Invest in a Draught Excluder:
  • A cost-effective solution to prevent heat loss under your door.
  • Place a draught excluder at the bottom of your door to reduce heat escaping due to natural material reactions.
  1. Install a Door Curtain:
  • Curtains are not just for windows; they also help retain warmth and keep cold out.
  • Opt for a door curtain to enhance energy efficiency and provide additional privacy, especially if your door has glass panels.
  1. Insulate Your Letter Box:
  • Combat heat loss by adding a letterbox draught excluder.
  • An inexpensive yet effective measure to prevent heat from escaping through your letter box.
  1. Seal the Edges:
  • Pay attention to the edges of your door and any glass panels.
  • Heat loss can occur if the weather stripping is damaged or improperly installed; address these issues to improve insulation.

Implementing these simple measures can significantly enhance the energy efficiency of your home, keeping it warmer and reducing energy costs.

Timber Doors vs. uPVC Doors: Weighing the Energy Efficiency Factors

Comparing timber doors to uPVC doors reveals distinct differences in energy efficiency. While both materials have their merits, timber doors often outshine uPVC counterparts in terms of natural insulation.

Timber’s ability to regulate temperature without relying on artificial means makes it a sustainable choice for those looking to reduce their environmental impact.

Exploring Alternatives for a Greener Tomorrow

For those seeking alternatives to timber doors, several eco-friendly options exist. Fiberglass doors, for instance, offer durability and insulation, and recycled steel doors provide a sustainable choice.

Each alternative comes with its own set of advantages, allowing homeowners to tailor their selection based on specific needs and preferences.

In conclusion, the energy efficiency of timber doors is a compelling factor to consider when making choices for your home.

By harnessing the natural insulating properties of wood and implementing a range of energy-efficient practices, you can create a sustainable and comfortable living environment.

Whether opting for timber doors or exploring alternative materials, each choice contributes to a greener future.


What type of door is best for insulation?

The best type of door for insulation is typically a well-sealed, energy-efficient door made of materials with high insulating properties, such as fibreglass or insulated metal.

Where is the biggest heat loss in a house?

The biggest heat loss in a house often occurs through windows and doors, particularly if they are not properly sealed or insulated.

How do you know if a door is energy efficient?

To determine if a door is energy efficient, look for features like weatherstripping, thermal breaks, and a high R-value. Additionally, doors with ENERGY STAR certification are known for meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines.

How much heat is lost through a door?

The amount of heat lost through a door depends on factors like the door’s material, insulation, and sealing. Energy-efficient doors can significantly reduce heat loss compared to poorly insulated ones.

What is the energy rating of a wooden door?

The energy rating of a wooden door can vary, but it is generally lower than that of doors made from materials with superior insulating properties. However, some wooden doors can still be energy efficient, especially if they are properly designed and have additional insulation features.

Low U-values signify a material’s efficiency in preventing heat transfer, with lower values denoting superior insulation. Timber doors are known for their favourable U-values, usually falling between 1.2 to 1.6 W/m²K, highlighting their effectiveness in conserving energy.

About the author

Glen Ramsey, who presently holds the positions of customer support and content manager, is a cherished member of the Sash Window Refurbish team. He is in a unique position to provide advice on all questions pertaining to the renovation of historic windows because he has a wealth of experience in all elements of window renovation, dealing with clients regularly and assisting them in choosing the best window-related course of action. He oversees the creation of information for all of our platforms in his capacity as content manager, including web content and other materials. Glen has witnessed the whole gamut of Sash Window Refurbish's window restoration activities, from our work on significant listed Georgian homes to a wide variety of smaller-scale private residential projects.


My technician Andrew replaced all my sash windows that had rotten sills. Accessing the rotten sills was not an easy task. He explained to me what needed to be done in order to fix the problem. He is a great person and I’m happy that he was the one who did the job. He is reliable, tidy, friendly and very professional. I highly recommend him.



I hired Andrew and Alex a while back to repair my damaged sash windows. They were was very considerate and very patient as he did his job. A few days ago, I had another problem with one of my sash lock keys and I called him again to come and fix the problem. I’m very impressed that Liam responded quickly and he not only fixed the problem but he also gave me a spare key. What a great after sales service!

Alan W.


I’m very impressed with the new windows that Andrew installed and also the reconditioning job that he did on other sash windows. The quality of his work is by far more superior than what we got when we hired another company a few years back. We will certainly hire him again if any window work arises

Kelly (Sleaford)


Our decorator referred us to Andrew because some of the work needed a window expert. Andrew together with our decorator did a fantastic job. The work was done efficiently and to the highest standards. Andrew is understanding, committed and very professional. I recommend him without any hesitation.

Steaven Reader


Alex did a great job in fixing windows in our terraced house. The windows were broken, frames damaged and the wood was also rotten. Alex's job was high quality and he did it pretty fast. I was also very impressed that he was considerate of my son’s asthma condition and maintained cleanliness. Top work.



Andrew just recently replaced three sash windows in my Edwardian house. He also repaired and replaced some sills and draught proofed three windows. In addition to that, he also did some carpentry work. What I like the most about Liam is that he did a clean job. He is very professional and always updated me about the timescales and costs. He also did his job with minimal disruptions. I highly recommend him.

Cris M.