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Improving door security on a budget

Keeping your family and property safe at home has been critical since we were all living in caves and using animal skins as primitive doors. Things have thankfully moved on a bit since then ( imagine the smell of those skins after a few weeks ! ) but the need for the best security possible is still one of the biggest priorities we have.

Whenever we visit customers,either for double glazing repairs or new windows and doors, security is always mentioned very quickly when going through the customer requirements.Whilst our new windows and doors come with a huge amount of security features as standard, many people aren't aware that security can be improved greatly on your existing windows and doors without changing the whole product,and that's what this blog wants to concentrate on today.

74% of break ins happen through the front door:

So this is the most obvious place to start. One of the most simple things you can do, which costs absolutely nothing, is to ensure your door is fully locked. With most modern uPVC,composite and aluminium doors a multipoint locking mechanism is fitted. This is a strip lock running the full length of the door with various locking points up and down the strip.However for the lock to fully engage it is critical that you lift the door handle fully and then lock the door with the key ( either from the inside or outside ). Once the handle has been lifted fully, the locking mechanism is engaged and you can turn the key,locking everything in place. If you don't lift the handle and just close the door without turning the key,the mechanism will not have been engaged and your door can be easily opened with a screwdriver or similar.

The next step to giving your door more security would be to take a look at your door cylinder ( the part you put your key in ). Even in expensive newly fitted doors we often come across cylinders that are simply not fit for purpose and only cost a few pounds ( even if the door costs thousands ! ). Cheap , poor quality cylinders can be easily snapped,drilled or bumped open, and once this has happened your multipoint lock is compromised and can be disengaged with the flick of a screwdriver. For around £80 you can get your old cylinder changed to a 3 star ultra secure Ultion cylinder. This cylinder has numerous security features which ensure your door is kept safe and intact.In fact Ultion are so confident of their product they will give you £1000 if a break in occurs through their cylinder ! Take a look at this video from Ultion, explaining how the lock works and how it deters thieves :

Another cost effective way of improving the security of any of the doors in your home is to consider changing the double glazed units. All doors have to be installed with toughened safety glass to meet building regulations. Toughened glass is there to avoid people getting hurt if they trip or fall into the door,or as my friend once did, run at full speed through a door that he thought was open ( it wasn't ! ). Toughened glass is great but it can be broken,fairly easily if you know the way to do it ( and unfortunately most burglars do ). Once broken it shatters into thousands of tiny pieces which can be easily pushed through to gain access into the house.

Door glass broken to gain access
Broken toughened glass

A relatively cost effective way of stopping this is to replace the toughened glass units with double glazed units that have an exterior pane of laminated glass. Laminated glass is what is generally found in shop fronts and car windscreens.When attacked the glass fractures but is held together by a layer of film ( 6.4mm laminated glass is actually 2 panes of 3mm glass bonded together with a film ) .This means that even if the glass is attacked, the intruder cannot gain entry immediately. The intruder would need to continue hitting the same spot on the glass many many times before a hole large enough to even put an arm through would be made. Most intruders would not risk the noise and time taken trying to gain entry,so whilst you may end up with some broken glass, it's far less likely entry would be gained than with toughened safety glass. The picture below shows broken laminated glass in a door, even though it had been struck numerous times no hole was made through to the other side.

Damaged double glazed laminated glass
Broken laminated glass

In the next blog post we will take a look at some of the additional add on security devices,both visual and hidden, that can also help improve your door security.

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