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Front Door Security - Advice

Wednesday, 15 May 2013  |  Toni


Your front doors are the primary route into and out of your house.

It only takes a few simple adjustments to your front door to improve the security of your home.

Door, frame and locks

Whilst Insurance companies will accept a Rim Latch (also known as a Yale or Nightlatch) providing it complies with BS 3621 we do not think that that is enough for a front door.  We will always recommend that you also add a BS 3621 5 Lever Deadlock to boost your security.  

Now there is some debate regarding front door security whilst the house is occupied.  Fire Officers will suggest that the deadlock not be engaged whilst there are people inside as searching for keys in the event of a fire can cause delays in escape.  Crime Prevention Officers might advise that a nightlatch alone is sufficient.  So what do you do?  Well, we suggest that you consider using a BS Deadlock Case which can be used with a Key & Thumb Cylinder.  This ensures that your door is secured from the outside and easily unlocked from the inside. If you have young children, it is wise to also add a draw bolt to the top of the door to prevent them from going walkabout.  

So you've got your BS locks and your draw bolt but the locks are only as strong as the door and frame they are fitted to.  Make sure that your frame is sound.  There should be no rotting or cracking and it should be securely fitted to the wall at 600mm intervals around the entire frame. London and Birmingham bars can be fitted to the frame to reinforce it.   

The door itself should be suitable for exterior use and at least 44mm thick and of substantial construction. A hollow core door is not a good idea.  The door should be hung on 3 good quality 100mm (4") hinges and the locks should be fitted 45mm - 60mm apart.If the door is weak consider fitting a metal plate ont he outside covering the lock area.

The addition of a spy hole and security chain will enable you to deal with callers whilst maintaining your security. 

Glazed panels

Doors with Glazed panels are naturally less secure that their solid counterparts and will definitely need a deadlock and the use of thumbturns on glazed panel doors can be a problem as gaining access is a simple case of smashing the glass and disengaging the lock from the inside.  It is wise to replace ordinary or toughened glass with laminated glass. Laminated glass consists of 2 panes bonded together with a sheet of laminate which offers a significantly higher resistance to attack.      

Letter boxes

Letterboxes offer convenient access to criminals, either to extract items close to the door (like the car keys you leave on the hall table) or to operate locking mechanisms from the inside. 

Letterplates should conform to BS 3621 and should be positioned a minimum of 400mm from the door lock and never be positioned on the bottom rail of the door. An internal letterplate will also help to improve security. 

UPVC/PVCU front doors

UPVC/PVCU front doors are generally unsuitable for retro-fit security devices. Not only is the material not strong enough to support devices fitted with steel screws unless secured into the internal metal framework, but such changes to the original design may invalidate an existing warranty or possibly damage the integral locking assembly. If in doubt, consult the installer/manufacturer. Modern designs will usually incorporate deadlock shoot bolts or a multi-point locking system, both throwing a number of bolts from the door into the frame. Under these circumstances there will not normally be any need for additional devices.



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