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Security Doors – What Are The Best Options?

As the populations in cities increase and crime rates rise, people are becoming increasingly conscious of their home security. There is often much scaremongering amongst companies competing to sell you security screen doors. But how effective are these systems when it comes to home security? Which is the best option? Many householders often fall into the trap of being sold something that they may not need by shrewd salesman. This article will give an insight into the different types of security screen doors which are available and their possible effectiveness, and what other options you may have as a householder.

What Is A Security Door

A security door is basically a screen door which is used on external doors in your home. What makes a screen door a security door is some added security features, such as an aluminium grille, which is often diamond shaped with fly wire but can vary. Also the door has a keyed lock which gives it the added security compared to a regular screen door. Security doors are either hinged, for hinged doors such as your front door or can be sliding doors which fit onto a sliding glass door with wheels or rollers on the bottom. Security doors can give the feeling of safety by having the barrier of a locked door whilst also allowing the breeze to pass through. The doors are usually made of aluminium, however there are steel and stainless steel versions.

Different Types And Systems

As mentioned above, you can choose from a range of doors and styles. All security doors have keyed locks, with either a single point locking system or a three point locking system. The single lock system locks only in the position where the handle is, whereas the triple lock system has two extra points, which are located approximately 150 millimetres from the top and bottom. This makes it harder for a would be burglar to place an object in the corner of the door and break the centre lock free. The frames and grilles of the security doors will either be powder coated to suit the need of the customer, or anodised to suit coastal areas. Hinged security doors are fixed to the door frame with hinges, whilst sliding security doors are placed on the sliding door track with wheels or rollers. Here is a list of some of the more common varieties of security doors:

Standard Diamond Grille Security Door

This is the door that you will see on around 80% of homes. It has an aluminium frame with an aluminium grille, which is diamond shape and does not allow the hand of an adult to get through. This it the most basic and cost efficient of doors, and gives only moderate protection for users.

Small Diamond Grille Security Door

This door is almost identical to the standard diamond grille door, however the grille itself has smaller holes, which are half the size. This gives added security but can reduce the amount of airflow through the door.

Decorative Grille Security Door

This door has an aluminium frame similar to the above, however there are a number of different shaped patterns on the grille. This is more for a decorative style which suits the style of your house, and is only for aesthetics.

Cast Iron Grille or Colonial Style Security Door

This door has an aluminium outer frame like the other doors, but has a cast iron grille which is usually made up of different styles to match the style of the home. These doors are heavier than the normal door but do not add anything in terms of security. They are sometimes referred to as 'Colonial Style' security doors.

Stainless Steel Security Wire Door

The stainless steel wire door is one of the more expensive types of door, and is probably the most effective when it comes to security. The door will always have a three point lock, and has heavy stainless steel mesh instead of a grille. This mesh is either screw clamped or wedged using one way wedges from the inside of the door and is almost impossible to break through.

Steel Security Door

Steel security doors are often found in older buildings, and are rarely made today due to the weight, cost and susceptibility to corrosion. These doors can still be purchased however they can be costly and offer no more protection than most other doors.

Types Of Wire

Security doors which use either the aluminium or cast iron grilles will have wire or mesh to stop insects entering through the gaps. There are different types of wire depending on what you are trying to achieve. The most common is fibreglass which has a little give and is coated in plastic. It can be easily cut by sharp objects, however has flexibility if you bump into it with something. Aluminium wire is also popular, it is a little stronger than the fibreglass however it has little or no give and can quickly get pierced when it comes into contact with any object. The best option is to use a thicker grade of aluminium wire which is sometimes referred to as tough mesh, as the thickness of this mesh makes it very hard to penetrate and is almost impossible to cut with a sharp object. There is also one way vision mesh which is a solid piece of thin aluminium with perforations which enable the person inside to see outside whilst people outside cannot see inside. This is good for those who want privacy but is terrible for air flow. Copper wire mesh can be used in areas where bush fires can be a problem as it has a higher melting temperature and normal mesh which has smaller holes in it can be used in areas with insect problems 1).

Effectiveness

Many companies will market security doors as something that cannot be broken through and the optimum when it comes to safety. Whilst some of the security doors, especially the stainless steel variety can be extremely hard to break into, they are not completely burglar proof. Security doors are more of a deterrent than a fool proof security system, much like steering wheel locks. As we often see, if a burglar has the desire to enter your house they will do so, maybe not by the door but via a window or the roof. Whilst there is some evidence to suggest that locks and security systems can reduce burglaries in an area, the most effective means of security is by having a strong sense of community where people look out for each other. Most burglars will look for opportunities of easy entries, so often they will enter through a window or a door which has been inadvertently left open 2).

Other Options

There are many other options when it comes to making your home more secure. As mentioned above, the best option is a strong and responsible community but when that is not an option you can use home alarm systems, monitored security, locked gates, window security screens and locks, heavier gauged doors and door locks, security lights and guard dogs among other measures 3). It may to have some or a combination of these methods, for more information you should contact your local police or neighbourhood watch.

Conclusion

Whilst manufacturers call some screen doors 'Security Doors', in reality most of them are not very secure at all. It may give the owner peace of mind and a sense of security but unfortunately most doors will not stand the test. Security doors should be used in conjunction with other methods of security and should not be trusted as your only means of security. Hence claims that are made by manufacturers and sellers that their doors are the best for security may not always be the case. If you think you must have a security door, then the stainless steel triple locked systems stack up the best against other types of doors assuming that they have been manufactured and fitted in the correct fashion. When buying any such products it is important that you ensure that the door meets your countries standard and the installer has the correct accreditation 4).

Home Security

1) Wisegeek.com, 2014, 'What is Screen Mesh', Available: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-screen-mesh.htm
2) Tasmania Police, Tasmanian Government, 2014, 'Residential Burglary Prevention', Available: http://www.police.tas.gov.au/services-online/pamphlets-publications/residential-burglary-prevention/
3) Crimereductioncanada.com, 2013, 'Protecting Your Home', Available: http://www.crimereductioncanada.com/Documents/Home_Security/Protect_Your_Home.pdf

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