The Trade Village launches brand new Smart Signature aluminium composite door…

The Smart Signature aluminium door range is brand new for 2023. The Trade Village are a proud launch partner with Smart Aluminium on this exciting new door, set to disrupt the industry.

We were recently invited by Smart Systems to visit their factory in Somerset for an exclusive sneak peek at the door. After 20 years in the industry, the prospect of seeing ‘another factory’ is about as appealing as a vegan barbeque. But as we discovered, the Smart Systems facility is not just any factory…

Based on a 60,000m2 plant in the middle of a field somewhere in scenic Somerset, the word factory is something of a disservice to the impressive facilities Smart have. More like a maze of futuristic production lines and manufacturing units, it’s easy to see why they are one of the world’s leading aluminium suppliers.

The new ‘factory’ that has been purposely built to manufacture this Smart aluminium door is equally impressive. The state-of-the-art machinery and processing capability is on a level that only a handful of other suppliers in the UK could even get close to…it’s clear that Smart mean business with this new door. 

So what is the product itself like?

You may already be familiar with the popular Smart Designer Door range, a high-end aluminium entrance door at the upper end of the market. The Signature range is a more affordable version, but if you think it’s compromised on quality you’d be mistaken…

Pre-hung in a 60mm aluminium outer frame, the thermally broken door leaf is an impressive 58mm thick.  The core is made up in exactly the same way as the premium Designer doors, which gives the door terrific energy ratings that fall under 1.4. That makes the door ‘building inspector friendly’ and suitable for both new build and renovation.

The outer frame is double rebated and thermally broken, and planned for release in the coming weeks is the option of side panels and top boxes. 

We had a very close look at the door and the quality is impeccable. The door feels a lot more solid and robust than other aluminium doors we’ve tried in this market, and every detail seems to have been taken into account. Even the aluminium glazing cassette is easily removable, in the same way as a composite door. This is not always the case on mid to high-end aluminium doors. 

An important moment in history for the entrance door market…

In a recent conversation with an experienced industry figure, who had no awareness of the new Smart aluminium door, it was interesting to hear the following comment…

“If somebody can come out with an aluminium door that is around £200-300 more than a composite door, they will mop up…”


Can the Smart aluminium door threaten the composite door market?

So let’s get the facts straight…we all know that an aluminium door is a superior product to a composite door. They’re stronger, last longer, can be made to bigger sizes, more secure, better energy ratings, don’t bend like a banana on a hot summer evening (ooh cheap shot, we won’t name any names!)…

But wait, aluminium doors still only make up less than 5% of the UK door market you cry! You’re dead right, and there are several reasons for this:

1 – Cost

Let’s face it, in the current climate aluminium doors ain’t cheap. The price range varies from the lower end of the market, which is an aluminium panel fitted into an aluminium outer frame (ugh, these are horrible and only trigger the PTSD from the uPVC panel days). Even one of these monstrosities will set your end user back anywhere between £1800 – £2500 on average. No thanks…

For the more visually appealing (and infinitely more popular) aluminium sash doors (such as Hormann, Smart Designer, Inotherm, etc.), end users will be looking at anywhere between £3k – £5 including installation. This cost can quickly get up to the 10k mark with larger doors at bespoke sizes, pivot doors, and fancy-pants additions such as LED lights, crystals (yes that’s really a thing) and natural stone finishes. 

Whilst there are some more realistically priced options, clearly most of the aluminium front door market today is aimed towards the luxury end of the market. We typically find these doors are ordered by wealthy end users for very prestigious projects. For the rest of us average Joe’s who don’t have 10k to splash, a composite door makes a more sensible choice. By the way, that’s around 97% of the market right now…

2 – Awareness

There is a distinct lack of awareness around aluminium entrance doors as a product. Boomers and even Millennials will probably remember aluminium was once all the rage, before the white gold of PVC exploded in the 1980’s. I can remember the house I grew up in had those ugly aluminium and timber window frames, with a clunky full glass aluminium door featuring everglade glass (surely the worst glass pattern ever made?)…

Aluminium back then was a different product; no thermal break and ugly sightlines meant it was always destined to be replaced. Today, it’s really only savvy homeowners who are fans of the Grand Designs movement that have a real awareness of the huge range of aluminium window and door options today. 

Composite doors had a similarly slow, compounding success story. When we started selling composite doors in 2007, you would have to explain what they actually were to every customer (this went on for many years actually). It won’t be any different with aluminium doors, but as we’ll discuss below, it does seem inevitable that they will start to replace composites over the coming years.

3 – Lead Times

The other big issue installers have with aluminium doors is the ridiculously long lead times. Expect to wait anywhere between 8-12 weeks for most aluminium doors, mainly because they are manufactured in Europe and then freighted to the suppliers in the UK. 

In 2023, there’s only a small selection of customers who will be prepared to wait this long. If you’re on a big project and the door is ordered well in advance, you might be ok. But for the majority of people, once they place their order they want the door fitting yesterday. 

This long lead time is never going to help drive the sales of these products, no matter how superior they are…

The Smart aluminium door clearly fills a gap in the market here, with the cost only being a small fraction more than a decent composite door. Lead times are an impressive 15 working days, which is again a fairly standard lead time for a composite door. 

Why are installers complaining so much about composite doors?

If you look at the various fitter forums on Facebook, or talk to installers at trade shows, there is a strange dynamic going on within the industry right now…a lot of installers HATE the products they are fitting!

That’s a very strange concept, surely? Why would anybody willingly sell and promote a product that they dislike, or have no confidence in? The only real answer is, there is no other alternative…

Composite doors are our flagship product, and it’s the single product we built our business on 15 years ago. But 15 years is a long time, and it’s time for some real talk… the product is still great but it does have flaws. (Don’t panic we still love composite doors and they won’t be going anywhere for a long time. Even a Ferrari has flaws, but it’s still a Ferrari, right?)

Installers grumbling on the forums weekly are aware of this; they work with the products every day. Even homeowners are becoming aware, as you can see from scathing reviews left online. So what are the issues we’re talking about here?

Well, the big issue is bowing, or warping (depending on which terminology you prefer). This is worse on timber-core doors than GRP ones, but the problem will always exist on any composite door because of the makeup and nature of the product. 

Manufacturers are taking steps to try and eliminate this issue, such as adding auto-fire locking systems, reinforced slabs etc. These things undoubtedly help, but the problem often isn’t with the product…it’s with the customers.

I can say confidently after 15 years of selling the product, the main reason we encounter bowing doors is because homeowners aren’t operating them properly. In busy households, the doors are rarely double-locked with every operation, and the problem is even worse with key-only locking systems. It’s no coincidence that customers who choose the sexy, long bar handles tend to have more bowed doors reported…

“Are you double locking the door as instructed in the homeowner guide, Mrs Jones? Or are you just shutting the door closed because you know nobody can come in with a key anyway?”

“Erm…no I always make a point to double-lock it.”

“OK I see. And the three kids? They double lock every time too, I take it?”

“Of course, they’re not stupid! I know my consumer rights, Martin Lewis said… (blah blah)” 

I’m not blaming Mrs Jones or the kids by the way. Most people when they arrive home have more pressing things on their minds than winding the cylinder up three times!

Still, this is an awful problem for trade customers to have. The customers often won’t accept that they may be partly responsible for the bowing issue (surely not!); all they know is they’ve spent a fortune on a brand new door and it’s sticking or catching…you best get back and replace it in full or they’ll be straight onto their solicitor and will tell everybody in the local area what a monster you are…

Nightmare…more often than not installers will go back and replace the door leaf at their own time and cost just to preserve their reputation. As you are probably aware, if the bow is less than 5mm then no manufacturer will grant you a free replacement. But that doesn’t help you when the bow is 4mm and Mrs Jones is ringing you four times a day…

This is where the Smart aluminium door offers a lifeline – bowing is basically a non-issue with aluminium doors. The strength, makeup and overall nature of the product mean this won’t be an issue, so you won’t have the potential nightmare of costly callbacks and unhappy customers. 

Other benefits of the Smart Aluminium Door

Let’s get down to brass tax – here are some of the major benefits to a trade customer who specifies the Smart Aluminium entrance door…

1 – It won’t bow or warp

Ooh thats a biggie! Unlike composite doors, bowing is not a common issue with aluminium. The nature and strength of the material means you can forget about all those annoying remedial visits – fit once and forget!

2 – Unlimited colour range

Choose from any of the 250+ RAL colours in a choice of matt or gloss finish. You can also select any of the 61 colours from the exclusive Smart ranges, including the very popular Sensations range.

3 – Choice of finishes

Customers today want more than just a woodgrain option – with the Signature range you can offer a choice of matt, gloss, anodised, metallic and textured door finishes. These finishes all come with a matching frame.

4 – Matching trims

Frames with special finishes can be a headache to source matching trims for. We can supply the trims you need with the door, saving you valuable time and giving you everything you need for a top finish. For the love of all that is holy, don’t fit a high-end aluminium door and finish off with PVC trims like some fitters would! (you know who you are…)

5 – 15 Day lead time

Forget waiting 8-12 weeks and hoping the doors aren’t stopped at the border. Our aluminium doors are made right here in good old Blighty. We offer a 15 working day lead time with delivery to site the following week.

6 – Shock dot technology

Every door is fitted with a Shock Dot, which will flash and illuminate red if the door has been mishandled, alerting you to potential damage. That means if the delivery driver has had a wrestle with your door prior to arriving, you’ll know before accepting the door and avoid any ‘he said she said’ shenanigans down the line. 

7 – Less callbacks

Hands up who wants to go back to a job once it’s fitted? Nobody?? Aluminum is the strongest material for an entrance door, making it a much more robust product than uPVC, composite or timber. That means there are less likely to be callbacks for issues like doors dropping etc.

8 – Strong & robust packaging

The packaging on the Signature range has been designed to eliminate transit delivery or delayed installs. The box is designed to be easily and safely carried horizontally and has all loose items packaged inside. In fact, it looks more like you’re accepting delivery of a widescreen OLED TV than a door!

9 – 3- Star locks as standard

Every door comes with a 3-star cylinder and insurance-approved multi-point lock as standard. The door has achieved PAS24 and the superb energy rating makes it suitable for both new build and refurb.

Want to try out the new Smart Aluminium entrance door?

At present, Smart Aluminium are distributing these exciting new doors through limited partners and official Smart fabricators. 

At The Trade Village, we offer the most competitive prices on all of our high-end aluminium products, and the Smart aluminium entrance door is no exception. If you’re a current customer, click here to login and instantly quote or order your door.

We have our own dedicated door designer already built and taking quotes/orders, so you don’t need to mess around with ‘fag packets’, faxes or tiresome order forms from other suppliers. Login or register today and get your price in seconds. You can save all quotes to come back to later, and send your customer a professional quote.


Can I order these now?

Yes, our Smart Signature Aluminium doors are available for ordering immediately.

What’s the lead time?

Our current lead time is only 15 working days.

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