How to improve the security of your doors
I've been thinking about doors recently. There are many different types of doors, of course, depending on your cultural references. There's THE Doors, naturally, with your man Jim Morrison's insistence on having his fire lit. Let's not forget the blonde bombshell, Diana Dors (real name Diane Fluck, fact fans), and of course there's George Dawes, the character played by Matt Lucas on Shooting Stars. Yes, lots of doors indeed. But this diversion is just a roundabout way of getting round to saying that today I'll be talking about a specific type of door - the front door to your property.
Your front door is pretty much the most important aspect of home security. It's the first thing a burglar will look at when deciding whether to target your house or move on to easier pickings. We hear about burglars accessing properties through windows, over fences etc, but the simple fact is that they'll go for the easiest route each time and this could very well be your front door. However, this does not need to be the case, and I'll show you how by taking a few steps, you can make your front door a lot more off-putting to your neighbourhood burglar.
So how can we ensure our door is not the weak link in our home security strategy? Here are the four most important things to consider:
1. Quality of your doors
Regardless of how fancy your locks are, or what other security precautions you take, the truth is these may all be for nothing if the quality of your front door is found wanting. I'm not saying that some cheap front doors are as weak and fragile as paper, but some of them are getting there. I appreciate money is an issue for everyone and going for the cheapest model of door is naturally tempting, but if you could see the damage that one well-aimed kick at a poorly-made door could do, it would make you think again. In a flimsy door it will cause either the door to give in completely, the frame to break, or a split to occur in the door, leading to the lock breaking off. Don't give the criminals this chance - invest in as sturdy a door as you can afford, so that any attempt to kick it in will just lead to a sore foot and bruised pride.
2. Choice of door locks
Right, so the door's sorted. Now we get on to the real meat and drink of the matter in choosing our locks. Or, even better, getting in your friendly local locksmith to choose your locks for you. Knowledge is the key (excuse the pun) here and getting in a qualified locksmith to inspect your current locks will pay dividends in the long run. A quick inspection by them and they can advise you whether your current locks are fit for purpose, meet insurance requirements and whether they are the best combination to fit your door. Speaking for myself, as a locksmith for over 20 years, I've pretty much seen every combination of door and locks there is and know that every situation is different. Not everyone's requirements are the same, so buying off the shelf is not always the best way to go about things. Getting in some professional assistance is really to be recommended so you can have the peace of mind you have the best possible locks keeping your house secure.
It will make a difference whether your door is made out of timber or uPVC as these generally require different locks. I always recommend a minimum of two locks on a wooden door - a deadlock and a mortice lock for example. For uPVC doors it's generally cylinder locks that are the best way forward, but these should always be "anti-snap" models. If they're the old, easily snappable kind, they can be broken in a matter of seconds - check out videos on YouTube for the proof - and this is still a big problem in our area. Opting for the anti-snappable versions is a must, as it takes this quick entry option away from the burglar's armoury.
When getting any locks fitted, make sure you get a quote beforehand from the locksmith (though beware of suspiciously low quotes as they may be fitting the old style poor quality locks to save money), ensure that the work comes with a guarantee and that the locksmith is Police and insurance approved. (I adhere to all these, of course, should you be wondering!)
3. Lock that door!
Now you're all sorted with the lovely new door and the shiny locks, happy in the knowledge you've done the best you can to make your house super secure. You leave the house, sauntering down the street, looking sympathetically at your neighbours' inferior security precautions. Only to find on returning home that you had forgotten to lock your door. All that investment and hard work have counted for nothing - a burglar has simply walked straight in. This is an even more infuriating result than having your house broken into because it's likely that your house insurance will now not pay up for any losses as you haven't taken reasonable precautions to keep your items safe.
Sadly I come across this scenario time and again - the householder is immediately wracked with regret of course, but it's too late. So I urge you to USE THE LOCKS. Make it a habit, leave yourself a note if you think you'll forget. No matter how long you're leaving your house for - a day or even a few minutes to the shops, lock that door. Even if you're in the house but having a bath or in the garden and will be away from the door - keep it locked!
4. Door accessories
No, not earrings, although I'm sure many doors would be improved by these. Rather these comprise letterboxes, safety chains, spy holes and the like. First, letterboxes - be careful over the positioning of these. It's recommended that they are fitted over 40 cm away from the locks to prevent a burglar accessing the lock through the letterbox. They should also not be placed running alongside the bottom of the door as this can aid entry for a burglar.
Spy holes and door chains are a useful addition to any front door. Both allow you to see who's at the door without having to fully open the door. The former allows you to keep the door completely shut whilst still looking out whilst the latter means you can open the door a little way but still have the extra security if you're not entirely sure of who's at the door - delivery men will still be able to pass small packages through the gap if you open the door on the security chain, but you can still keep an eye on your personal safety.
Door lock repairs or replacement
I hope these tips have been of use for you and help you to make your front door one of the most secure on your street.
As ever, for advice on anything lock-related, to enquire about repairs or replacements, or to get me to look over your existing security arrangements, call 07990 573857 and ask for Stephen at SF Locksmiths Rotherham.