Here are a few questions Elizabeth Assaf, Author of ‘Door Couture: A Unique Perspective of Contemporary Door Design,’ suggests you ask yourself about your home and entrance, first, before deciding on that most important element – the security.
How much security do you need?
If you have gates for instance, the security of your front door may not be so essential. Does your area have a good track record when it comes to break-ins? Do you need a front door that has multiple locking options? A motorised locking system that locks the minute you enter your home may make you feel more secure in an area which may be near a river or by a busy road. On the other hand, a single lock may be sufficient if you live in secure development or area.
Do you have a large house?
Will you need to be able to open your front door remotely from another floor or even when you are not home? In this case, you may need an electric latch on your lock which allows you to buzz people in when you are at home. You could have an electric latch or a motorised lock, the latter being much more secure.
Do you need your front door to be controllable using a phone app?
It is now a much easier option to have your lock or entry system attached to your phone and controllable at the touch of a button. Not only can you open your blinds and turn on your heating remotely, but you can also open your door too if someone is waiting for you.
Are you worried about your children losing their keys? Or do you have family or staff visiting who may need constant access? Would a fingerprint entry system be the best option for you and your family? Fingerprint entry allows you to enter or remove up to 100 fingerprints at any one time. This is a great system when you have teenagers who are constantly forgetting or losing their keys – it is much harder to lose your finger!
Will you actually use your front door often?
Quite a few people have secondary doors that really act as the main door to the home. Perhaps that door and its function is more important to you.
Do you need to be able to see your visitors through a door viewer or an entry system?
Urban Front has been asked in the past for bulletproof door viewers as some of its customers take all of these aspects of their security into consideration. An entry system with a screen could also be a way for you to see who is waiting outside.
Would it be better to have obscured glass in your entrance so that when you are away – it is not obvious to a caller or intruder?
Letting your post sit on your internal doormat may seem to be a good idea until someone can see it from outside and then it is very obvious that you are not there.
Do you need a letterbox in your door?
Have you considered where it will go and how it affects the security of your door? A letterbox in the middle of your door may make it easier for an intruder to access your lock (although with difficulty – it’s best to give them no way in if you can).
Have you thought about the security of the glass in your door or in the sidelite?
High security glass is sometimes misunderstood and confused with laminated and toughened standard double glazing. Security glass is much more than laminated and toughened glass and, when used correctly, can be tougher to get through than a wall but can be very costly.
So now you’ve answered these questions, how do you know if the lock on the dooryou are buying is good enough?
A lock’s strength is not in how it looks or how many bolts there are coming out of it. It’s in how it’s made and how well it withstands attack. There are various testing centres where manufacturers test their doors to certain regulations specifically to PAS 24, LPS1175 or equivalent. Secured by Design and New Homes 2014 is a police initiative to guide and encourage those engaged within the specification, design and build of new homes to adopt crime prevention measures. The principles have been proven to achieve a reduction of crime risk by up to 75%, by combining minimum standards of physical security and well-tested principles of natural surveillance and defensible space.
So, if a door has passed the above testing and meets Secured by Design then you should feel a bit more confident about the security on that door, however, not every bespoke manufacturer is able to test every door they make, so here are a few things to look out for too:
1. A multi-point deadlocking system with three to five deadbolts
2. Security escutcheon (an escutcheon is a protective surround for the cylinder lock and can prevent access to the lock) anti-drill and anti-saw protection
3. Security hinges that are not accessible easily from the outside of the door and security keys which are not easily copied
4. Frame strength – burglars are known to use crowbars to attack the frame of the door. So ensuring the frame of the door is hefty and strong is essential.
5. Construction of the door and how well it would withstand attack from a hammer or chisel. Having steel reinforcement, or good insulation really helps.
One of the main issues is to make sure you can delay the time it takes for a burglar to enter your home – as the longer it takes the more likely they are to give up or get caught.
Combining all this information should help you make the right decision about the security you need for your home.