Bowing composites cost installers dear

Bowed composite doors are costing installers tens of thousands of pounds in call backs, reputational damage, and lost recommendations, according to Sliders UK.

According to the door company, by introducing timber in increased percentages of the total composite slabs to meet new requirements under PAS24 and Part Q, manufacturers have made it more likely that doors will bow.

This, Sliders UK warns, is costing installers up to £400 per call back, with the frequency of those call backs hitting new highs last summer as temperatures soared.

Steve Mines of Sliders said: “Composite leaves are using more timber in their construction to address vulnerabilities identified with PAS24 cut-through testing. The problem is that in going down this route, manufacturers have introduced some of the same problems that have afflicted timber doors, and which with no little irony, sales of composites have been founded on.

“The more timber you use in your composite door the more the slab responds to environmental conditions, particularly expansion with heat. We have had customers who’ve been told that 6mm – even 8mm – is an acceptable level of tolerance. If you’ve ever fitted a composite I don’t need to tell you what that’s going to do to the locking mechanism and weather sealing.”

At £400 per call back, some installers according to Mines were going out three or four times to the same job over the summer, with costs running in excess of £1,000 and composite doors taking a rapidly growing share of remedial works.

Sliders UK’s Ultimate Composite Door uses ‘intelligent timber inserts’, manufactured from 15mm LVL, which are deployed to strengthen the slab at points historically vulnerable to attack in other leaf systems, giving it a PAS24 cut-through test approval.

This means that this combination of timber inserts and thermally insulating foam delivers on security while balancing it with the core structural stability of the slab, the company said, giving it a maximum guaranteed bowing tolerance of just 3mm.