What are you protecting your property against?
Before choosing your front door, you need to know what level of threat – and what type of threat – you wish to protect against. There’s a security door ratings scale, which runs from 1 to 6: 6 is designated for heavy duty military installation, and 1 is suitable for light protection against occasional attempts at unlawful entry. For most domestic properties, levels 2, 3 or 4 are ideal – at the top end, level 4 will protect your home from very heavy duty professional burglary attempts.
Be aware that many security front doors are also fire rated, and can also protect your property from floodwater and extremely inclement weather. Take your property’s physical location into account when selecting your door.
What about windows?
The ideal home security system is holistic –
that is, it takes all weak property points into account and protects them all. If you are looking at security front doors, be sure to do an audit of your home’s overall security. Do you have adequate window security? Where could a potential burglar or kidnapper conceal himself or herself within the boundaries of the property? Have you got CCTV, and is it monitored 24 hours a day, or only inspected when the alarm is tripped?
The strength of your front door is worth a lot less if the rest of your property is poorly protected. Depending on the level of threat, it may be advisable to have a professional security inspection done.
Locking mechanisms and bolts
Front doors are ultimately designed to be opened – which makes securing them extremely difficult. The material your door is made from is only the start of the security process. In addition to folded steel leaves, which should be able of withstanding ramming, traumatic and explosive forces, a good security door must be securely fastened into the fabric of your property. The normal weak points of a door are its hinges, its frame and its lock – so it is vital that you take these into account when specifying the design of your front door.
Expect multiple pins inserted into the door frame, grouped for strength and placed into the fabric of the building in such a way that even if some are sheared the others will remain intact. The pins should be long enough to grip into the structural strength of the building, and encased in steel to prevent them being cut.
What about finish?
There’s no need for strong front doors to look like anything other than a normal, beautiful entrance to your home. Finish includes veneer or coloring (often, security front doors are powder colored to resemble natural wood finishes); glazing; and door furniture. Ensure that any glazing is inserted into the door in a secure fashion – it should be bullet proof, and held in the fabric of the door with strong steel leaves.