Here, Victoria runs through her top eight tips to ensure your new home benefits from optimum security and keeps potential intruders at bay.
When it comes to keeping a home secure, materials matter, and it is worth investing in this area to avoid compromising security later down the line. Doors and windows are the most common access points for intruders, so it is essential that the frames are made of a strong and durable material in order to withstand potential attacks.
Aluminium is one of the strongest options available as it combines robustness with a lightweight structure that weighs 67% less than steel. Unlike wood or timber, it won’t weather and warp, and it is far more impenetrable than uPVC.
02 . Locks
In addition to strong frames, locking systems are also vital for keeping doors and windows secure and mustn’t be overlooked during a build. Self-builders should look for systems that lock at as many points as possible for the highest level of security.
The weakest areas for doors are often the cylinder/locking barrel. So, renovators must ensure they opt for tamper-proof barrels. High-quality doors will offer either a three-star barrel or one with coded magnetic keys for the highest level of security. Both are proven to protect against snapping, picking, drilling and bumping. Cheaper alternatives that don’t offer protection against tampering should be avoided.
After the cylinder/barrel, the handle is considered the next weakest part of the door and should also be prioritised. Intruders have developed methods to exploit all potential weaknesses, so a truly secure door handle will need to offer protection in all these areas. A solid-cast metal body secured with hardened metal bolts will protect against brute force. A cylinder guard covering the handle will offer resistance against lock snapping, whilst a rotating cylinder shield will protect against attempts to drill the lock. In addition, a chamfered backplate will make the handle difficult to grip, stopping thieves using mole-grips or clamps to detach it from the door.
Whilst easily overlooked, hinges are typically positioned outside the home and are, therefore, particularly vulnerable to burglars looking to break in via doors and windows. Hinges become an even easier target if they are poor quality, damaged or worn. The securest hinges will be made of a strong metal, such as zinc, and will be fitted with special bolts and screws that make it much more difficult for the frames to be levered off the hinges, a common tactic for intruders. Hinges made with strong, corrosion-resistant materials will also be better able to withstand bad weather, making them less vulnerable to damage later down the line.
It is now a legal requirement that doors that feature large expanses of glass, such as bi-fold doors, are installed with toughened safety glass as standard. However, for those looking to maximise security, we would recommend opting for laminated glass. Laminated glass has a thicker, layered structure, making it more resistant and better able to withstand damage. As an added bonus, it can also make doors more thermally-efficient.
06. Front doors
With the vast majority of break-ins happening via the front door, this should be a top priority for self-builders. As well as ensuring the door includes the most secure materials and components, renovators and self-builders should also consider the additional safety features that could make a big difference to the security of a home. For example, quality front doors can be fitted with a security bar restrictor to limit how widely they can be opened when answered to visitors.
Spyholes are a great way to enable homeowners to identify their visitors without having to open the door and can be incorporated into door knockers for a sleek and subtle finish.
Whilst the doors and windows leading directly to a home are important, self-builders mustn’t overlook garages, as these tend to house a wealth of expensive items, including vehicles, bicycles and tools, and often connect to the main house. Therefore, homeowners should look for a garage door that incorporates all the safety features they would expect from a front door, being careful not to compromise on materials. Internal doors that lead from the garage to the main home should also be secured with multi-point locks for absolute peace of mind.
Establishing which doors and windows offer the highest level of security can be overwhelming, but accreditations offer a quick way to identify quality. Self-builders should look for frames that are PAS 24 certified as a minimum. For extra assurance, homeowners should opt for doors and windows that have the police-approved Secured by Design accreditation. The accreditation uses rigorous testing methods to ensure doors and windows are sufficiently robust to resist attack by opportunistic burglars and has been credited with helping decrease new home break-ins by up to 87% since its launch.