DIY How To

Door and Window Security

Locking the door and closing the windows is no longer enough to provide security at home, or to keep down the heating bills. Doors and windows need to be sealed correctly to keep out the draughts, damp and rain. Everything today needs to be locked securely. Householders not only need to stop potential burglars from finding their way in to private homes, they need reliable security to ensure that home insurance premiums remain a reasonable price.

Security systems for your doors and windows

Burglars are creative individuals who will use any opportunity to access the interior of a home. A piece of wire passed through a letter box has been a standard way to open many front doors, even when the householders were inside. Make sure that a letter box is located no less than 400 mm (about 16 inches) from the main lock of a front door. A snap-on cover plate on the inside of the letter box, or a letter basket attached to the letter box aperture, makes any access through the letter box difficult. Cut away the bottom of the letter basket and allow the post to drop to the floor. This makes sure that none of the mail can be stolen.

A five-lever mortise lock is the best type of door lock to an exterior door. These are deadlocks that are resistant to force and sometimes drilling. If a burglar does manage to break a window and reach inside to the door lock, he will not be able to open it from the inside.

However, all locks on doors are only as secure as the door frame itself. All door frames should be hardwood and screwed to walls at intervals of 600 mm (23 inches). You cannot attach a mortise lock to a hollow frame as the entire lock will fall inside the door post. If it is too difficult to replace a door frame for some period of time, think about attaching a steel plate around the door area on the frame side to reinforce the lock fitting.

Doors with window panels, French doors and all patio doors are less secure than solid doors. You can add extra security to laminating the glass. This not only gives greater security from burglary, but also protects residents and householders from shards of glass that could result from any object that shatters the glass during a storm.

UPVC windows - unplasticised polyvinyl chloride - is a cost-effective framing material for windows, especially double glazed windows. The material looks like wood but at a budget price. Wooden window frames contract expand, rot and generally, disintegrate in the weather. Sash windows especially, are very vulnerable to the British weather. The cord within a deteriorated sash window may loosen and break. This, in turn, makes locks on such windows almost redundant as sometime the windows may open fully, or sometimes they stick.

Mortise locks in wooden window frames work if the window frame is flush with the lock. In Britain, local councils in many conservation areas insist that Georgian, Victorian, or Edwardian houses retain pure wooden window frames. In these cases, the householder has to ensure that the wooden frame remains in good condition and that locks can fit into it above the sash top. Extra locks and bolts can be added into the central catch.

Coated aluminium windows with a locking handle offer the best form of window security. Additional bolts may be fitted at the top or the base for extra security. UPVC windows may not always support such a system as the material is not strong enough to support an extra metal locking system. The best solution for UPVC windows is to check with the manufacturer about adding extra security bolts.

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