What makes an external door secure?
Door designs are continually being upgraded according to the latest security innovations. Modern doors engineered to the highest security standards have no weak points to exploit, and some companies are so sure of their doors’ impenetrability, they are even offering compensation in the event of a break in!
Common methods for breaking in through a door include cutting or kicking through the door slab, jemmying or levering the door open at the lock, or snapping off the handles. That’s why it’s important for all parts of the door to work together, leaving no weak spots.
Modern door slabs are thicker than ever, frames reinforced, and glazing tougher. At the same time, locking systems and hardware have also become more robust. For example, door glazing is now always internally beaded to stop glass from being lifted out, and multi-point locking secures the door to the frame at regular intersections.
Types of door lock
There are many options regarding house locks, with each offering varying levels of safety and security. You might have heard of ‘Yale’ or ‘Chubb’ locks – these are brand names for lock companies who will offer some of the following types of locks.
A deadlock is a straightforward lock that inserts a bolt into the frame when operated with a key. Frequently referred to as a ‘Chubb lock’, this is the most common lock placed within a doorframe. It is recommended by the police for home security and is often a necessity with many insurance companies.
Mortice deadlocks are usually used with timber doors, and is often paired with a night latch and a chain for extra security. The most secure deadlock is a 5 lever lock, which meets the British Standard BS 3621 for security, but 3 lever locks are also available for doors.
Entrance doors sometimes have two locks: a deadlock to secure the door to the frame and a second lock for convenience. Night latches enable you to leave without a key, as the door latch will lock behind you. You can also unlock the door and push, for a handle-less entry.
Also known as ‘Yale locks’, night latches can be secured from the inside by sliding across a snib button. Still, they are often paired with a second, mortice deadlock for additional security.
uPVC doors with locks in the handles feature a ‘euro cylinder’ lock, which allow or prevent the handle from turning, and the door opening. Poor quality cylinder locks are responsible for around 25% of burglaries, so it’s important to make sure that ‘anti-snap’ hardware is used. A good quality cylinder lock will receive a British Kitemark star rating.
Multi-point, bi-directional locking system
If you’re buying a new door, the likelihood is that it will contain multi-point locking – one key-operated lock that activates a series of bolts long the length of the door, securing it to the frame. Some bolts curve up whilst others face down, hooking into the frame so that the door cannot be lifted or jemmied from any angle.
You can tell if your door has multi-point locking, as the handle will have to be lifted before the door can be locked. On average, doors have about 3 locking points, but some doors feature 5 or more hooks. Some doors even feature shootbolt locking, with additional bolts that spring into place at the head and foot of the door.
Door chains are a simple yet effective way to prevent intruders from opening the door far enough to enter. Chains are permanently fixed onto the frame and slide into a track on the door to secure. We always advise our customers to consider a door chain or a spyhole, because this gives you the power to refuse entry to undesirable guests.
Some patio doors can be lifted off their track – this is known to the police as a way intruders gain entry into a house. Some patio doors feature anti-lift security strips which prevent doors from being lifted out of the frame from the outside.
'What makes an external door secure?'