Front doors are an important part of your home that serve two main purposes – letting people in and keeping unwanted visitors out.
They are one of the first things that people, and criminals, note about your property and that makes them important not just aesthetically but also security-wise.
When choosing a target to break into, there are certain things that burglars look for in a property and a vulnerable front door tops the list.
Front doors are the most common entry point for burglars with 67% of them breaking in through the main door.
What comes as a shock is that most of the doors are unlocked allowing the crooks to simply walk in instead of trying to break-in.
A secure door is your first line of defence against intrusions and burglaries and your front door security is directly proportional to your home security, meaning the more secure your main entry point is, the more secure your home is.
There are ways in which you can improve your home security and it starts with securing your front door using security devices such as locks, security lights, burglar alarms, and CCTV cameras.
Read on to find out how they can be used and what makes them so effective in keeping those conniving criminals away:
FRONT DOOR MATERIAL
Before we discuss ways of making the front door secure using various security devices, we need to discuss the security of the door itself and how important it is against intrusions and break-ins.
The sturdiness of the front door and the quality of the security devices go hand in hand. If either one isn’t up to the mark, it may put your entire property at risk.
Certain door types are more resistant to break-ins, giving criminals a rather hard time trying to make their way through.
It is important to note that not all types of locks work on all types of doors, which is why it is best to consider all aspects when making an informed decision about your front door security.
You must also make sure that the front door adheres to the British Security Standards and carries the BSI Kitemark and PAS 24 accreditations.
The three safest front door materials include wood, uPVC, and composite. Let’s look at each one in detail:
Wooden doors, also called timber doors, aren’t just aesthetically pleasing but are also sturdy and one of the most secure type.
They are solid and heavy hardwood doors with a thickness of at least 44mm and, in combination with a good quality lock, they make it very hard for burglars to kick them or to try to pry them open.
Wooden doors offer a high level of security but also come with a high investment cost and maintenance which is necessary to retain the integrity of the door.
uPVC doors became popular in the ’80s due to their low installation and maintenance costs. However, there were issues regarding the level of security they provided and the pre-fitted locks that they came with.
New uPVC doors being sold in the market today have addressed the security issues and now have anti-snap locks that cannot be broken easily to gain unauthorised access.
Composite doors are made out of various materials, all selected for their specific properties to provide you with a great front door option that not just offers a high level of security but is also low-maintenance and less costly.
They are one of the safest front doors that can withstand brute force and, when coupled with good quality locks, can provide the highest level of security.
FRONT DOOR LOCKS
Locks are one of the most commonly used devices for front door security and their sole purpose is to keep intruders out of your property.
Coupled with a sturdy door, high-quality locks provide good basic protection and are a vital part of home security.
There are several types of door locks available on the market and they come in a range of shapes, sizes, and the level of protection that they offer.
It is important to note that the quality of your locks is a basic requirement for home insurance and investing in inferior ones may negatively affect it.
The two most popular styles of front door locks in the UK are mortice locks and rim locks:
Mortice locks are a common type of lock used all over the country by homeowners to secure their front doors.
They are installed on the side of the door and have a keyhole or plate showing on the front that is used to slot the bolt into a boxed strike plate sitting in the door’s frame.
Primarily found on external doors, mortice locks are highly reliable and an ideal security option for both domestic and commercial properties with heavy foot traffic.
Rim locks are self-contained locks that are mounted on the inside surface of the door and do less damage to the door when installed as compared to mortice locks.
They are operated by a key and thumb turn from the outside and inside respectively, where the lock catches into a rim-mounted keeper attached to the frame of the door instead of inside it.
Rim locks can be used on their own and also as a combination of a mortice and rim lock for maximum security.
The two most popular locking mechanisms (systems) of front door locks in the UK are lever locks and Euro cylinder locks:
Most people confuse mortice locks and lever locks to be the same thing when in reality one is a style of lock and the other is a system.
The more levers a lock has, the more secure it is. A five-lever lock is more secure than a three-lever lock and a seven-lever lock is more secure than a five-lever lock.
Most insurance companies will require you to fit a five-lever mortice lock with a BSI Kitemark, which is considered to be one of the best locks for front door security.
Cylinder or Euro locks
Cylinder locks work by turning the grooved edges of the key to move internal pins inside the cylinder to open and close the lock.
They come in three main types: round, oval, and euro profiles which, as the names suggest, all differ in their shapes.
Euro cylinder locks sit within the handles of all uPVC doors and connect to a multi-point locking mechanism in the door frame.
The issue with these standard locks is that they can be snapped easily making them vulnerable to break-ins and intrusions.
To overcome this flaw, new anti-snap cylinder locks were developed to replace all standard euro locks and make front doors safer and more secure.
KEYLESS ENTRY SYSTEMS
They control, manage, and establish access permissions for users, granting access to authorised people and restricting access for unauthorised ones.
Keyless systems are a great option for front door security and offer more control to the homeowners for restricting unauthorised access.
The most common authentication methods for front door security include:
- Access cards,
- Keypad/Pin codes,
- Biometrics, and
- Remote access/Smart locks.
All of them offer varying levels of security with biometrics and smart locks being the most technologically advanced. For added security, you may also install two-factor authentication to your front door where users will be required to verify their credentials using two different authentication methods.
This way, if one of the methods is compromised, such as the access card being lost or the codes being stolen, you could still count on the second verification method to allow only permitted people to enter.
Keyless entry systems are a great front door security device for homeowners for several reasons:
- They eliminate the dependency on physical keys which can easily be lost, stolen, or copied.
- They provide more control over who to let in and who to prevent from entering,
- In addition to added control, they allow you to track who enters your home and when; something you could never do with traditional locks and keys.
- They offer an easy and costless way to withdraw access instantly by changing the codes or removing credentials from the system, which can come in handy when you need to give someone temporary access to your home, such as handymen, contractors, or Airbnb guests.
- Using cloud technology, keyless entry systems allow controlling and monitoring access in homes from a remote location. You don’t have to be present inside or near your house to control the system and, in addition to monitoring the activity, you can also grant and deny access permissions.
AUTOMATIC PORCH LIGHTS
Automatic porch lights are an effective front door security device that keeps intruders away from your property for the fear of attracting attention and possibly getting caught.
They work using motion sensors that pick up on the slightest movement and automatically switch on as soon as someone steps foot under them.
You may opt for LED bulbs since they are efficient, easy to install, and highly durable, in addition to lighting up instantly without any delay.
You may also install light timers that can be set to automatically turn on during the evening or before it starts to get dark.
This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about manually turning on the porch lights every night. They would also be immensely helpful for when you are away and wish to give burglars the illusion that you’re home by having them turned on every single night without fail.
Security sensors and alarms are another very useful front door security device that is used to keep burglaries and intrusions at bay and inform the homeowners of any such suspicious activity.
Door alarm sensors are placed on or inside the door frame and work using a switch and a magnet that create a closed circuit.
Once the door is opened, the circuit breaks and the system detects this as an intrusion sounding a loud alarm to alert the homeowners and neighbours of the intrusion.
There are other types of sensors available that include motion sensors, glass-break sensors, and shock sensors, depending on the type of activity you wish to be alerted to.
Security alarms come in a variety of options with each type differing in the level of alertness and control it provides.
Bells-only security alarms are the most basic type that makes a loud noise, sometimes accompanied by flashing lights, to alert the people nearby of the intrusion.
These are unmonitored systems that are best used for smaller, lower-risk homes with someone always present nearby to respond to the alarm.
Dialler alarms work just like the bells-only systems with the addition of automatically contacting the homeowners or nominated individuals in the event of an alarm trigger.
Smart alarms are a modern security device that use an app on your smartphone or tablet to send you instant notifications whenever any suspicious activity is detected.
They also allow you to remotely control the system from your phone and connect all compatible devices including security cameras, lights, and other sensors.
Monitored alarms offer the highest level of protection and are connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) where the alarms are first verified and, depending on the type of contract – keyholder or police response – the relevant people or authorities are contacted right away.
CCTV cameras are one of the most effective ways to prevent intrusions and break-ins, and the front door is one of the top places to consider installing them.
Since the front doors are a favourite among burglars, it is wise to keep a strict eye on the area and to always be alerted of any suspicious activity.
To avoid the camera from being tampered with, it is a good idea to place it on the second-floor level, or if you have only one level, you may consider enclosing it in a protective tamper-proof casing.
Alternatively, you may also install a peephole door camera that allows you to see who is outside your door before opening it.
There are several different types of CCTV cameras to choose from and the most popular ones include:
- Bullet CCTV cameras
- Dome CCTV cameras
- C-Mount CCTV cameras
- PTZ Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras
- Day/Night CCTV cameras
- Infrared/night vision CCTV cameras
- Network/IP CCTV cameras
- Wireless CCTV cameras
- High Definition (HD) CCTV cameras
Since the front door CCTV cameras are placed outside, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.
Front door CCTV cameras must be weather-resistant, be able to withstand extreme temperatures, and produce high-quality footage despite direct glare and shadows.
Also, since they are placed outside, they are susceptible to being tampered with, possibly by potential criminals, therefore they must also be vandal proof or placed inside a protective casing as mentioned above.
Outdoor CCTV cameras must also be able to record in poor lighting conditions or complete darkness, which is why they must have night vision.
The minimum resolution of the system must be 1280 x 720 pixels to ensure the pictures are clear and not grainy to the point that making up the face of an intruder becomes a challenge.
Placing a front door CCTV camera is permissible by the law, however, there are certain CCTV laws and regulations that all homeowners must adhere to.
As long as the camera records footage within the boundary of your home, including the front porch and garden, the CCTV laws and regulations do not apply to you.
However, if you intend to record images and videos of areas outside the boundary of your private domestic property, for instance, the neighbour’s yard or the street, you will have to abide by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18).
All homeowners need to ensure that their CCTV systems comply with the laws and guidelines laid out by the GDPR and DPA, since the inability to do so may subject them to appropriate legal action by the Information Commissioner’s Office
CONTACT CALDER SECURITY
Calder Security is Yorkshire’s leading independent security company offering a range of security services for homes and businesses.
Established in 1976, we are a growing company offering a friendly and personal service with expertise across a diverse range of security solutions.
We are members of the Master Locksmith Association (MLA), Approved Members of the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB), and also conform to all the relevant British and EU Standards.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our front door security experts right away!