When selecting hardware there are several criteria to consider. For most consumers appearance and cost often weigh heaviest in their decision making, but may this be an oversight of the real fictional objectives when securing or servicing your property?
1.What is your commitment to the property?
Do you own or reside at the property or are you a landlord only concerned with bringing your doors up to code?
For those planning to sell or rent the property to be secured it may only be an issue of installing hardware that meets and operates as outlined in current building codes. Commercial grade 2 locks and hardware are will often meet the minimum code requirements and come in various functions and finishes. Like everything else you get what you pay for! There is a huge selection and various levels of quality, while any UL listed grade 2 product will meet the minimum requirements, some hardware is designed and manufactured to higher standards and will offer a longer service life and better protection.
If you own and or occupy the property to be secured, this is the time to consider what kind of investment your security is worth. Alarm systems are a great deterrent to those hoping to sneak in and out undetected, and do a fair job of limiting the time a pro will spend in your home once inside. For sure they are the best warning that someone has entered, but the more important aspects of most modern alarm systems come from their integration with safety monitoring like fire alarms and co detectors.
A professional thief cares little about an alarm! If you aim to keep them out only High security deadbolts like Medeco M3 or the like, offer real protection against forced entry, Picking, Bumping, Drilling, and unauthorized key duplication. Properties where Sensitive Information or Intellectual Property, Firearms, jewels, Cash or Valuables are kept should never be secured with anything less! and are often required or recognized by insurance companies.
While most high security hardware meets and exceeds Grade 1 specifications as set out by Underwriters Laboratories, many of the high security products available in Grade 2 designation, surpass requirements for residential and commercial hardware, and with simple maintenance will last a lifetime.
2. How solid are your doors and frames?
In many cases the frame surrounding your door is made from soft wood less than ¾” of an inch thick and shimmed out away from the actual structural framing of the wall. Once drilled for a bolt or latch the material left can be as little as 3/8” of an inch wide. Installing the simple strike plate with its ¾” #8 screws that comes with most builders grade hardware does little to nothing stop the door from being forced open! Likewise most softwood doors and residential metal doors will give out long before the hardware with a few good kicks!
Most heavy duty Grade 2 locks and all UL listed Grade 1 High security locks like Medeco or Schlage’s Primus XP series come with reinforced heavy duty strikes that secure through the frame and into the existing structure to offer greater security and resistance to forced entry. Even if issues with “Key control”, “Picking”, or “bump” and “drill resistance” were not on your mind, High security locks come out way ahead in all aspects of their construction and durability. These products are manufactured for a demanding commercial marketplace and exceed all requirements for residential use. Several extended security strikes are also available that offer even greater reinforcement, with load bearing characteristics that distribute the force of an attack over a broader area of the frame, withstanding even greater forces. These strikes and frame reinforcements are often used after an attack, but preventative implementation is always advised! Doors can also be reinforced against “Kick-Ins” as well. Several plates are available that wrap around the door and offer more secure mounting of the bolt and latch. Again, sadly these plates are more often used to repair doors after break-ins, but it is a much better idea to reinforce your frame and door before!
3.How many potential points of entry are there?
While securing several doors can be as simple as installing locks keyed alike to operate with one key, other points of entry should be considered as well.
Do you have basement widows or sliding glass patio doors that could be compromised? Installing window bars on basement windows is an easy and effective deterrent to this type of breach in your security. Some of these bars are also removable from the inside in case of fire to allow emergency exit. Sliding patio doors can be a vulnerable point in any home security plan, while it is possible, it is less likely that these doors will be smashed than simply pried open or lifted out of their tracks! There are several products available to prevent entry even if the simple latch is pried open. In addition, plates can be installed to prevent this type of door from being lifted out of their tracks. The methods of prevention that are right for you will vary based on the manufacture and type of widows or sliding patio doors you have.
4. "Safety" and "Security" why aren't they the same?
This is where the interests of "Safety" and "Security" can be conflicting.
Many residential doors with glass or side lights (window panels beside the door), offer potential intruders an opportunity to reach through the broken glass and unlock the door!
In many cases, consumers and handy men install double sided locks, or locks with keyed cylinders inside and out. THIS IS A DANGEROUS MISTAKE! In addition to being incredibly dangerous this is a serious violation of fire and life safety codes and in many cases will disqualify you for home insurance. In the event of a fire or other emergency these locks turn your home into a death trap! There are several solutions that offer increased security without a compromise in safety. "
Captive deadbolts like those offered by Medeco and Mul-t-lock offer double sided locks with removable thumb turns that lock in place while you are home and can be removed while you are away. Captive deadbolts when used properly are the only kind of locks that offer both the "Security" and protection of a double sided locks and still meet Egress requirements for "Safety" as stated in Fire and Life safety codes.
Window bars and Film
Widow grills or bars pay several dividends in terms of increasing home or business security. While the installation of bars or application of window films does create a measurable barrier against entry, it is important to note that this also allows home owners to employ “safer”, and less costly single sided locks that allow un-obstructed “egress” or exit from the property. Similar to Bars installed on Basement widows, the visual deterrent presented by widow bars is also an added bonus! Window films likewise serve many purposes as well , adding not only a measurable barrier against intrusion, but also for the available UV protection some offer or the limits in visibility from the outside that some of the tinted or mirrored films offer. Maybe more importantly to some than all of this is the reduction of, or near elimination of dangerous glass shards scattered through your home common with this type of breach!
Call With your questions
There are many aspects to consider when securing your property or choosing hardware for your doors, but these are the basic considerations regarding security and safety. If you have any further questions please feel free to call for more information!