A little while ago I was asked for my thoughts on Door-Stop’s impending new solid core composite door. At the time, all I had was a teaser page on the Door-Stop website to go on, so I couldn’t make much of an opinion on it.

However, details of the product have been announced, and I even have one of their slick books for my perusal. So now it’s all out in the open, I can give some of my honest feedback on the product, and where we’re headed as an industry with the composite door.

Timber inside, but not British

This is how Door-Stop describe their solid core product on their website:

This is a premium collection of beautiful traditional and contemporary front doors, engineered with all the reliability of a door-stop door, to deliver exceptional strength and performance. Every door is made with a robust Nordic wood core, the best materials and exceptional standards of design and construction – every piece in our collection is certain to enhance your home.

Sounds great. The promise of a quality, high end composite door. But why use Nordic timber? Door-Stop put their doors together here in the UK, so why not source timber from UK, from a sustainable British forest instead? Their paragraph above hints that Nordic timber is a better product than British timber, which I think many would argue against.

I also think that Door-Stop have missed a key marketing plus point here. Given Brexit, given the impending push to support British business, British manufacturing and British products, in my opinion it would have been a much better choice to go with timber sourced sustainably from the UK. As we move forward with Brexit, amid a backdrop of booming UK manufacturing thanks to a drop in the value of Sterling, they may look back at this as a missed opportunity.

It’s also worth nothing that if you want a composite side light, according to what I read on the Door-Stop website, you’ll have to have it foam filled.

Slick marketing

Our office received a copy of their new brochure for this product, not that we buy from them, but we got one nonetheless. And it’s a hardback book, rather than brochure. I didn’t take a picture of the one we have, but it looks like this:

Credit: Door-Stop

We didn’t get the log obviously. This book is exactly as you would expect from Door-Stop, who have historically always had very good marketing materials. The photography is clean and crisp, the pages are very well laid out, with information on the product not overtaking the imagery in any way. The whole thing works towards it’s purpose: to appeal to the higher end of the composite door market.

DGB Features

Plenty of choice

As you would expect with a composite door offering in 2017, Door-Stop’s new solid core offering comes with a wide range of colours, door designs, glass designs and hardware and ironmongery suites.

I can’t login to the trade area on the Door-Stop website, but if I could, you would imagine that you will be able to order these doors online in the same way you can with their foam offering.

One thing worth asking Door-Stop is whether these new timber slabs pass the revamped PAS24 and Doc Q security requirements. We are all aware that many foam filled slabs failed the new legislation, causing a number of suppliers a headache. It is therefore natural to assume that one of the main reasons Door-Stop have come up with a timber option is to meet the new legislation. But, there is no specific mention of PAS24 or Doc Q compliance on their dedicated solid core web page: https://www.door-stop.co.uk/solid-core-doors. So if anyone at Door-Stop is reading, please feel free to respond via the comments section below.

Entering a crowded market

I have yet to take a close look at this new product, and I have only briefly skimmed the marketing material, but on the surface it looks to be a good initial offering. Time and installers will only confirm if things like build quality and reliability are attributes to this product.

The problem however is this new solid core product is entering a market where some very established composite door suppliers have been doing this for a very long time. Solidor have done this for years, and Endurance are growing into their own part of the market with their own timber offering. There are plenty of foam slab suppliers out there too. So it’s not as if there is an obvious gap in the market to fill.

Installers who are already Door-Stop customers will be interested in this. Installers who dual-source may not see enough of a reason to move away from their existing timber slab suppliers. Those who only sell timber core slabs are likely to be unmoved. But, Door-Stop has a wide and expansive network of installers, so I don’t expect this to be a flop.

This does feel like a forced move. And I won’t be surprised to see other previously foam-only suppliers bring a timber offering to the market, if only to be able to comply with new security legislation. This is where the future of the market is. A higher end, timber core composite door. There will always be foam composite doors, to be able to serve the lower end of the market where home owners only want to throw a minimum amount of money at the door. In the years to come however, I foresee more companies coming to the market with timber composite doors. I just hope it’s British timber they use.

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