Help protect your home from break-ins by ensuring your front and back doors are as robust and secure as possible. Julia Gray reports
Upgrading security is one of the most important home improvements you can do because there’s nothing worse than being burgled, but where do you start?
A secure front door is, of course, essential. Most front doors are wooden and so are usually straightforward for DIYers to make more secure, but if you’re not sure what you’re doing, employ a locksmith or carpenter. A good door is made of solid wood, with three 10cm hinges. The frame should be screwed or bolted to the wall every 60cm and can be strengthened by fitting special bars to make the locking points (a London bar) and hinges (a Birmingham bar) sturdier.
While the door and frame are important, because entry can be forced around the frame, fitting high quality, British Standard locks is the most obvious way to improve security. You need two locks – an automatic dead-latch cylinder lock and a five-lever mortice deadlock with boxed staple. When shopping for a mortice lock, you’ll see that some offer more security than others, so buy the most secure you can afford. If in doubt about the type of locks you need, check with your home insurer, as they’ll have minimum standards.
To reinforce a mortice lock against forced entry, fix metal plates to the area around it on both sides of the door. Fitting a door chain is a simple but effective security measure and if your DIY skills are up to it, add a peephole as well. Hinge bolts prevent the door from being forced off its hinges and should be fitted if the door opens outwards.
If you have both an inner and outer front door, don’t skimp on security for the inner door because once a burglar has gained entry to the outer one, they may not be seen breaking in to the inner one, so don’t make it easier for them.
Glazed or semi-glazed doors can be made more secure by fitting a decorative metal grille on the inside, or putting security film on the back of the glass. When replacing the glass or buying a new glazed door or side panels, make sure the glass is laminated and fitted from the inside, then the beading around it can’t be removed from the outside to gain entry.
The security of UPVC front doors isn’t easy to improve yourself, so don’t try – just make sure you invest in a secure door (from a reputable supplier) with a high quality multi-point locking system. Metal doors should also be secure without modifications, but in both cases, old doors may not have the security features of modern ones.
The back door needs as much protection against break-in as the front door, if not more so because it’s usually out of sight. Many of the same rules apply to wooden back doors (including French windows) as to front doors, but the central lock should be a British Standard five-lever mortice sash lock with boxed staple. It’s also a good idea to have mortice rack bolts or surfaced-mounted press bolts as secondary security.
Sliding patio doors should be fitted with patio-door locks with at least three locking points. To stop the doors from being lifted up and taken out, fit an anti-lifting device – it’s not hard to do.
Bi-fold doors, which are an increasingly popular alternative to French windows and patio doors, should come with good built-in security measures. Check with the retailer or manufacturer if you’re concerned about this – while a wall of glass is stunning, it’s never going to be as secure as good old bricks and mortar.
Latest posts by Silversurfers Editor (see all)
- Win 1 of 10 copies of the iconic Dairy Book of Home Cookery - January 18, 2017
- Is sleeping in separate beds the beginning of the end? - January 16, 2017
- Get back to doing the things you enjoy - January 16, 2017
- Are you a Flexitarian? - January 14, 2017
- Why you should be setting sail on an ocean cruise this year - January 13, 2017
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!