And the Argument rages on –


And the Argument rages on –

Fake or real ?

“It ‘s not like it was when I was a lad/lass” is how the discussion normally starts –

“back then we had real ( any reader can fill in the next bit) “

-simply because the statement could apply to virtually everything we use in daily life.

The passing of time and the inventive minds of product designers/creators have given is so many new products that may or may not be better than the original.


In the main these arguments occur around products that were manufactured from natural materials whereas now we have the vast majority of products made from manmade or composite materials which are in the opinion of many not “natural”. This may well be the case but does it mean that the new products are inferior – not necessarily if this recent article from Home Building and Renovating which discusses whether look -a -like products can ever stand comparison with the real thing.


The initial couple of paragraphs introducing the article, before it goes on to discuss individual products, very much mirror our personal experiences here at GFD HQ


“There is undoubtedly a certain prestige surrounding natural materials and their use in the world of building and house design. A natural stone floor, beautiful hardwood windows, handmade bricks, rustic solid wood flooring and real timber cladding are all seen as the ultimate in quality and the pinnacle of good taste.

There appears to be a certain degree of snobbery surrounding the synthetic or manmade alternatives to natural materials — perhaps the very fact that so many of them strive to mimic the appearance of natural products is evidence enough that what people really want (but possibly can’t afford) is the real deal. But is this belief that natural products are always the better choice founded, or is it simply the fact that ‘natural’ often costs more and carries with it a sense of architectural purity that sways people towards thinking that it must be the best option?

Are there, in fact, cases when choosing a manmade or engineered product is the preferential option — and just what constitutes manmade anyway?”


The article makes reference to Bricks, roof tiles, stone, timber flooring and cladding but it could equally have applied to the products that the GFD Trading group sell notably Timber Composite Doors and UPVC Sliding Sash Windows.

Through our Global Sash Windows web site we have already addressed this “stand- off” between the wooden only traditionalist view and the progressive UPVC point of view in articles such as “English Heritage do not like us” and UPVC Sash Windows our opinion is that everything has its place and where conservation is involved we can easily understand the argument for wood if the purchaser can meet the prohibitive costs involved.


At our Timber Composite Doors and Global Doors outlets we are far from immune from the same criticism both companies supply quality “Composite Doors” one with a Timber core and the other with a Compressed polyurethane core, traditionalists may argue that they are not natural where in fact these doors have many qualities that make them superior to a wooden door.


Price – Yes we accept that it is possible to buy a cheap softwood timber imported external door which is fine if you want to watch it swell and stick at the first sign of rain, warp twist and require redecoration every year. If you want a true comparison with a hand crafted hardwood door you will undoubtedly get an excellent door but the cost will be substantially more than the equivalent composite door.


Choice – with wood as it is a natural material and requires to be worked into many components which require cutting gluing moulding etc the choice can be limited and when or if you look for bespoke – price again becomes an issue. With composite doors as both solid timber core and Compressed polyurethane can be machine pressed and cut from slabs the choice of styles is only limited by the number of templates available and where every hand crafted door will have its own little individual quirks the composite door because it is manufactured under Quality Controlled Factory conditions is the same every time – excellent.


Colours – Wooden doors have the limitations of paint and varnish and the chore of repainting on a regular basis. Composite doors do have limitations in colour but most manufacturers can provide about twenty colours which with through coloured external cladding means redecorating is a thing of the past


ECO credentials – Trees are the life blood of our planet so the more we can save the better. Composite doors as the name suggests are made from a number of materials and the factory production does involve a Carbon footprint but in the main manufacturers are now more aware than ever of the needs of “sustainability “etc and particularly those who use timber cores as we covered in an article a couple of years ago comparing the two different types of composite door


Thermal and Sound deadening efficiency – when considered like for like size and thickness the Composite door produces better results and as most new composite doors which include glazing come with double glazed cassettes as standard that’s a further advantage.


Security – A well handcrafted hardwood door can have excellent strength characteristics but many are let down by the quality of the locks installed. The vast majority of quality composite Doors have accreditation to PAS 23/24 for weather and strength and durability and even though the multi point locking systems fitted to most as standard are exceptionally good the majority of doors now have the option to upgrade to superior locking systems that comply with the Police and Insurance Company standard of “Secured by Design”


Aesthetics – this one comes down to the individual – but when composite doors can be made to look as stunning as this recent installation they certainly can compete with the real thing be it softwood or hardwood


Sometimes maybe the imitation can be better than the real thing – here at GFD HQ we believe it can

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