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What is the best front door for security?

What is the best front door for security?


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WHAT IS THE BEST FRONT DOOR FOR SECURITY?

Our guide looks at uPVC, composite and timber doors and tells you what to look for when choosing the best front door lock.

What is the best front door for security? What is the best front door for security?

In obvious terms, the best front door for security is one that will stop anyone from forcibly entering your property.

Long gone are the days when you could leave your front door open and today, the stark reality is that homeowners have to make effort to protect their homes.

The door is the Achilles heel to your home - the point that most burglars will use to gain entry to a property.

If you want peace of mind, then you need the best front door for security to protect your family and your home.

What to look for when buying a front door for security

There are two important factors to consider when choosing the best front door for security and they are:

  • The material of the door
  • The lock

When considering a front or back entrance door, always look for the British Standard (BSI) Kitemark and PAS 24 accreditations.

The safest front doors: materials

A secure wooden front door

Wooden doors

Timber doors not only look great, but they're also solid and sturdy and one of the best front doors for security.

When we say timber, we mean a heavy, solid hardwood door of at least 44mm thickness.

The strength of any door usually comes down to the quality of the lock and the frame - a solid wooden door can still be kicked in if it has a flimsy latch style lock or frame.

The superior style of lock loved by insurance companies is the five-lever mortice and this in combination with a solid frame is going to make it hard work for a burglar to jemmy open. It can't be kicked through, shoved with a shoulder or smashed open.

The only drawback of a timber door is the regular maintenance needed to retain the integrity of the materials and remain solid and impenetrable.

uPVC doors

uPVC doors became hugely popular when they were introduced in the eighties due to their low maintenance materials. However, a lot of older doors and cheap quality uPVC are not the same standards as new uPVC doors sold today.

Reported issues with uPVC doors surround the quality of the lock that is pre-fitted in the handle. Older and cheap doors use a substandard cylinder lock that can be easily 'snapped', making them an easy target for a break-in. A multi-point locking system is no use if the lock can be overridden.

It's also important to note that a uPVC door cannot support a lock fitted on the door anywhere except where it's designed and pre-made to go. This means you can't add any extra locks to the door for additional security.

The good news is that new uPVC doors have addressed any security issues and now have anti-snap locks that are accredited by the Police with their Secured by Design standards after withstanding attempts at a break-in for over 15 minutes.

A good uPVC door can even hold up against a Police battering ram!

A uPVC door with an anti-snap lock and multi-point locking system is a good choice of door for security.

A secure uPVC front door
A secure composite front door

Composite doors

Composite doors were designed in response to all the inherent flaws of other singular material doors - because of this, they have great security features.

The door is a component of materials that usually includes a reinforced steel door frame and a solid hardwood internal frame. The surface skin of the door is made from glass-reinforced plastic which is a sturdy material and the combination of these materials makes a solid door that can withstand brute force.

When buying a composite door just make sure it adheres to PAS 24 and Secured by Design standards.

A composite door is one of the safest front doors and the best front doors for security.

Safest front doors

WooduPVCComposite
CostHighLowMedium
MaintenanceHighLowLow
SecurityHighMediumHigh

Are glass front doors safe?

Are glass doors safe - yes and no, some glass doors are safer than others.

There are two flaws with glass doors:

  • They can be broken easily
  • Pieces of glass can be lifted out of the frame.
  • Small windows near the door can be broken and then the lock can be opened from the inside by reaching inside.

To make glass doors safer, the glass can be installed with the beading internally to stop the glass from being lifted out of the frame externally.

Don't install windows adjacent to the door or in the door.

If you do install glass panels in the door, make sure they're made from toughened and reinforced glass.

Or, have a lock that can't be opened by reaching through the window - such as a double cylinder lock.

If you do have glass panels in a door you can also consider adding safety grills for extra security.

How to secure patio doors

Because a patio door is a large expanse of glass, they're perceived to be more vulnerable to break-in.

The reality is that it's very unlikely a burglar will break a large window because the noise will draw attention and a thief doesn't want to risk cutting themselves on shards of glass.

The most vulnerable part of your house and the easiest way to enter are your front and back door and your windows.

Most patio doors have a multi-locking system and can have bolts fitted to the top and bottom for additional security. The doors are also made out of extra toughened glass that even a 200 lb punch bag can't smash through.

If you do want to secure your patio doors with additional measures, you can get special rods that slip into the tracks to prevent a door being opened in the tracks.

When buying a new patio door, look for anti-lift security strips that stop the door from being lifted out of the tracks.

What is the best front door lock?

Apart from the quality of the material it's made from, a front door is only as secure as the locking system it uses. A super reinforced door is no good if the lock can be easily picked, drilled or snapped.

For this reason, when choosing a front door, you should pay more attention to the locks and locking system than anything else.

Also note, that when insuring your home, you will be asked about the locks used on the entry doors. Five-lever deadbolts and British Standard are usually basic requirements and your home might not be insured if your doors use an inferior lock.

Most Everest doors are certified to British Standard PAS, and some are so advanced that they have the Secured by Design accreditation. See our selection of doors here…

What is the best lock for a front door?

There are two main common types of lock STYLE used in the UK:

Mortice lock drawing

Mortice Lock

A mortise is a hole or recess cut into an object that is designed to accept another part (a tenon) that locks the two together (a mortise and tenon join).

A mortice is a lock rebated into the door through the side and has a keyhole or plate showing externally and internally. This used to be known as a 'Chubb' lock.

The bolt from the mortice lock slots into a boxed strike plate that sits in the frame of the door and the strength of the lock is where the bolt from the lock sits in the frame.

If the door also has a handle that operates a door latch, this is known as a mortice sash lock.

Rim lock or nightlatch

A rim lock is a self-contained lock housing that fits on the inside of a door. The lock catches into a rim mounted keeper on the frame of the door, not secured in the frame of the door. This used to be commonly called a 'Yale' lock.

The lock is operated by a key from the outside and a thumb turn from the inside. The lock can usually be deadbolted by moving a thumb switch, meaning that the external key can't operate the lock.

Wooden doors often use a combination of a mortice lock and a rim lock:

  • The rim lock is used during the day if you are in the house for ease of opening
  • The mortice lock is used for additional security overnight or when you leave the house
Nightlatch drawing

Along with style, there are two main types of locking SYSTEM used in the UK:

Lever lock drawing

Lever lock

Most people think a mortice lock and a lever lock are the same thing, but they are different - a mortice is the style of lock and a lever is the system. However, you can have a mortice lever lock.

The lever lock works by using a bitted key that moves each lever to a specific height, this pushes the locking bolt into the metal boxed strike plate that sits in the frame of the door. This style of lock is exceedingly difficult to break as it secures into the door frame.

The more levers the lock has the more secure the lock is, three-lever, five-lever, seven-lever and more.

Most insurance companies want you to fit a five-lever mortice lock with a BS heart-shaped Kitemark that meets the BS 3621 standard, otherwise, they will request a higher premium.

A five-lever mortice lock with a BS 3621 standard is considered one of the best locks for a front door.

Cylinder lock drawings

Cylinder or Euro locks

A cylinder lock is operated by the grooved edge of the key moving spring-loaded internal pins around inside the cylinder as the key is turned.

Cylinder locks come in three main types:

Round profile

Typically, this would be a rim lock style with a cylinder locking mechanism - like what used to be called a 'Yale lock'.

Oval profile

Oval profile and Euro cylinder locks work with a mortice lock case fitted into the door.

The cylinder part of the lock that takes the key sits through the handle of the door and this can be replaced without having to change the lock case. For example, if you lose your key or want to change the key.

The handle has to be lifted for the lock to turn and when locked the handle can't be lifted.

Euro profile

A euro lock is the same as an oval lock except it's a different shape, like a keyhole.

All uPVC doors use a euro cylinder lock that sits within the handle and connects to a multi-point locking system in the door frame.

The multi-point locking system is a safe system but the cylinder lock has an inherent flaw that allows the cylinder of the lock to easily be snapped and overridden - thus making the multi-lock security redundant. Euro cylinders have been responsible for up to 25% of break-ins.

Anti-snap - in light of the issues of the euro lock, new anti-snap cylinder locks were developed and the police recommended that the original euro locks on older uPVC doors be replaced.

Look for a standard of TS 007 and SS312. All new uPVC doors should be sold with anti-snap cylinder locks.

Double cylinder - a cylinder lock that can be key operated internally as well as externally is known as a double cylinder. This gives extra security because the lock can't be opened by breaking a window and reaching through but it does have building regulation restrictions (see below).

Restrictions to internal key-operated locks

When living in a property that only has one main door as an escape route or an upstairs apartment, a key that can be locked on the inside is not permitted by building regulations.

The door must have a lock that is thumb-operated on the inside for quick escape.

Also note, a lock must be fitted properly to be secure and in most cases, a registered locksmith is the best person to do this.

An ill-fitted cylinder lock is more vulnerable to 'snapping' attacks.

When buying a door lock, look for the following security standards:

BS 3621 or EN 13309 - for five-lever mortice locks.

TS 007 3* or SS 312 diamond - anti-snap euro locks for a uPVC door.

When buying a new door or window, look for the following security standards:

PAS 24 standards – explained here.

Secured by Design

Everest door security accreditations

How to make my front door more secure

Apart from installing the best front door for security with the best front door lock, there are a few additional tips you can take:

A letterbox cage with a padlock - this will stop anyone trying to steal your house or car keys with a fishing rod or trying to reach and unlock the catch from the inside.

A window/door alarm - that beeps when the door is opened.

Door chain/door bar - still one of the best security measures you can add to a front door.

Spyhole - another simple but effective measure so you can see who is at the door before you decide to open it.

Locking pet doors - intruders can get through pet doors so make sure they are secured when no one is home. Although, a large dog is probably the best anti-burglar device you can install.

The best front door for security

As a recap, the best front door to keep your home secure are:

  • A timber door with a five-lever mortice deadlock
  • A uPVC door with an anti-snap cylinder lock and a multi-point locking system
  • A composite door with either of the above locks

A secure front door is peace of mind for you and your family

Our doors have been tested by the police to withstand an attempted break-in for 15 minutes.

Our newly developed GrabLock in combination with Yale, is our most innovative and secure lock ever.

Is it time to think about a new front door?

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