Why Gerda Doors Don’t Fit the Standard Mold of Composite Doors
Ask Danny Williams, who insists that Gerda Doors are not composite doors, even if they would appear to be…
During the run up to this year’s FIT Show, we enjoyed a conversation with Danny Williams, MD of trade fabricator, commercial installer Pioneer Trading; and now, official distributor of the premium Gerda residential doors, from Poland. Never a dull occasion, when discussing Gerda Doors Danny made the statement that ‘Gerda Doors are not composite doors.” What are they then, we wondered….?
The definition of ‘composite’ is: ‘made up of distinct parts or elements’. And every dictionary checked, agreed. “OK,” responded Danny, “I agree that Gerda doors do fit that broader definition. But Gerda Doors do not fit the popular definition of a ‘composite’ door, because that generally suggests GRP or PVC skins, with a timber or PU core. And little variation from that. And I have sold and installed enough of them to know,” rounded Danny. We await mail from ‘conventional’ composite door manufacturers…
But Danny’s rationale is based upon the fact that Gerda’s ‘composite’ is quite different than anything else out there, and therefore should not be confused with other composite doors. And on that basis, perhaps we can agree with Danny. 60mm to 88mm front-to-back dimensions are offered, with thermal efficiency across the range between 0.79 W/m2K to 1.3 W/m2K. Three chamber reinforced aluminium internal construction insulated with PU cores, located into reinforced aluminium outer frames, is utilised across all doors.
The emphasis on security that is standard across all Gerda products, is rarely seen in any specification on composite residential doors currently available in the UK. Multi point locks, Teflon coated strike plates and anti-prise pins are standard throughout, with the highest specification hardware provided by Gerda’s own hardware, though with Fuhr figuring widely.
Could Gerda Doors be the Game-Changer for the UK Door Industry?
The replacement window and door market is one in which the differences between brands and products may be measured, if at all, by slim margins and nuances. So much of why any of us, at home or the office and factory, make a decision to buy from one supplier over another, is based on instinct and intuition, despite often having carried out extensive research. Even in significant decisions, often – usually? – it is the little things that count.
Citing the motor industry, it has been said that there is no such thing as a bad car anymore, and perhaps the same can be said of windows and doors. What may also be said of both sectors however, is that few products actually stand out; there is a lot of ‘vanilla’.
And these thoughts were what drove Danny Williams of window and door manufacturing and contracting group Pioneer Trading, when he decided to look for a new entrance door to supply his own retail installer customers, but actually, if this particular Holy Grail could be found, then maybe he could sell it to a wider audience.
After a search that took place during the Covid Years, Danny found Gerda. A manufacturer of residential entrance doors, the Polish company is also a well-known, throughout Europe at least, producer of locks of the bike and pad variety, of window and door hardware and even garage doors; essentially, every way of securing and protecting something from unwanted ingress or removal. Here, in the UK however, the Gerda brand is known only within the confines of social housing.
With Danny Williams’ penchant for making a splash, anonymity has evaporated, as since he introduced Gerda entrance doors to an unsuspecting UK replacement window and door industry at last year’s FIT Show and reinforced at the show’s most recent outing, Gerda Doors is now a thing, a brand, a part of the UK window and door market.
And as Danny settled upon this brand in his quest for ‘something different’, perhaps we should examine why he feels that Gerda is, if anything, not vanilla: “To glance at any Gerda door the obvious reaction is ‘yes, nice, look good’. When you touch the door and especially when you open and close it, the difference is obvious – Gerda doors are faced with steel or aluminium, set over aluminium sub-frames and filled with a thick core of PU foam. They are so obviously different from the majority of resi-doors that populate the market here,” explained Danny.
The numbers work too, says Danny: “Our decision to open discussions with Gerda were based upon conversations that I had with Ray [Sinclair, Pioneer Operations Director] who had dealt with Gerda previously and one of our [Polish] fitters, who raved about the quality of these doors. After that, it was the numbers and specification… multi-point locks, three bolt main locks, anti-burglary vertical bolts, anti-theft pins and optional auxiliary locks for added security.
“And thermal performance is as low as 0.8 [W/m² K] for the solid doors, which means that they are ready for whatever the market and Building Regulations throw at us, probably for the next five years or more.”
The physical experience had to wait for Covid restrictions to reduce but when Danny was able to experience the products at Gerda’s advanced factory and development centre, it was love at first sight: “The doors were everything that I was looking for,” waxed Danny. “And now we have had a year’s experience of seeing how homeowners react, when they see, touch and try the doors for themselves in retail showrooms. These are premium doors in terms of construction and performance but the retail pricing is not out of sight for most homeowners. The reaction is that once they have tried the Gerda door against others, they find the money.”
Who Are Gerda?
But who and what are Gerda? A major residential door manufacturer, according to its website Gerda produces ‘199 designs in 8887 configurations’, with Pioneer curating a UK/Ireland-focused selection of four ranges, offering quite distinct price and specifications. Styles have been chosen to include contemporary to some traditional styles produced specifically for British and Irish tastes.
GERDA is one of the leaders in the production of doors, locks and door hardware based on innovative safety technologies. The company provides the highest parameters of protection and burglary resistance.
The hardware specification is interesting, with Gerda’s background in locks – including padlocks and bicycle locks – coming to the fore. And although Gerda is a new brand in the home improvement sector in these isles, throughout mainland Europe Gerda is a household name.
Gerda Tedee Smart Lock
Pioneer is also distributing Gerda’s range of hardware and locks as an OEM product. And that includes Gerda’s Tedee smart lock: “Tedee is the first smart lock to impress me,” explains Danny. “So many so-called smart locks are clunky, ugly or both. Tedee is beautifully styled and the smallest smartphone controlled doorlock in the world. It will lock and unlock multipoint locks and does not rely upon a handle being thrown to do so. There is resistance from homeowners to smart security, because people don’t see any advantage in replacing ultra-reliable keys with smartphones with potential glitches that we all experience with our phones now and then.
“For there to be significant take up of smart security, there must be clear benefits. Tedee can be set to touch-free opening and closing, of the door, which I have not seen with any other smart lock. That is a real, game changing, tangible benefit. Approaching the door for it to swing open and then close behind you, has to be seen. Brilliant.”
Become an Approved Pioneer | Gerda Installer
Gerda Doors are already available through a growing network of mostly retail installers, for which they are usually added as a premium range that sits above a conventional range of composite doors, thus qualifying Danny’s ‘not a composite door’ contention: “Gerda Doors are surprisingly affordable, to the point where most homeowners will find the extra money when they compare the specification of standard composite doors against Gerda. And this works especially well in showrooms where the sheer feel and heft of a Gerda door – and the quality – are so tangible,” says Danny. “We have a lot of good areas for which we are looking for Approved Installers / partners, there are some great opportunities.”