Everyone wants their home to be a safe haven, and that includes ensuring that security doors and windows do their job the way they are supposed to. However, unfortunately in this industry, the term ‘security door’ can often equate to nothing more than a door-with-a-flyscreen in terms of construction, durability and the product’s ability to deter break-ins.
So how do you know what’s actually going to protect you and what won’t? Here is our guide to choosing security doors and windows.
Where Will Your Security Screens Be Placed?
Typically, security doors are installed on patio doors, the front and back doors and on all doors that lead to the outside, include bedrooms, the laundry and the lounge room. And of course, security windows on all windows!
However, high-quality security doors and windows are a big investment, so think about the areas of your house that are the most vulnerable. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to installing all doors at once, consider the state and placement of your current doors. Older doors obviously need attention first, but the front and back doors and particularly ones obscured by shrubbery or in dimly areas are also worth considering as well.
What Type Of Frame Should You Choose?
Frames on security screens are usually constructed of either steel or aluminium. Aluminium security doors are less prone to corrosion than steel, however, most industry experts believe a steel door that’s properly constructed and installed is the most effective security screen door. If it meets Australian Standards (more on this below), it will be protected against corrosion as well.
What Door Infill Should You Consider?
The infill on security doors and windows can be made from aluminium grille, stainless steel mesh or from steel in the forms of bars or a decorative motif.
Aluminium grilles are the cheapest option, however, they are generally little more than flyscreens. Stainless steel mesh security doors are made from either steel or aluminium frames that are in-filled with woven stainless steel mesh. One of their benefits is that they don’t spoil views (they are much like looking through a flyscreen), however, their security benefits are also questionable. Steel bars that are in-filled with grilles or motifs are considered the most secure option, and high-quality options also meet Australian standards.
How Should The Door Grille Be Constructed?
When it comes to choosing security doors and windows, it’s important that you choose an option where the cords of the grille are thick, however, it’s worth noting that even the strongest grille isn’t worth much if it isn’t fixed to the door frame properly!
Grilles that are riveted to the frame aren’t the hardiest option, particularly if the door has its aluminium rivets inaccessible positions. Rivets should be clinched at the back of the grille frame and placed not too far apart – at least one every 25cm. Ideally, every second connecting point should be riveted and not so badly aligned that they don’t fully connect with the grille itself!
Security door manufacturers that use plastic clamps claim that it reduces the risk of galvanic corrosion from stainless steel mesh coming into contact with an aluminium frame, whereas manufacturers that use screws to hold the mesh in place claim that it works better than plastic. The reality? There is no evidence currently that supports either claim.
Grilles that are welded to the frame are likely to be far more reliable, however, there should be no more than 25cm between welded spots and ideally this should be seen at every connection point.
Other things to look for when choosing security doors and windows is whether they are reinforced at the corners (fully welded joints are stronger), and whether the frame has a deep and sturdy receiver channel which ensures that the edge can’t be easily pushed out of the frame.
What About Locks And Hinges?
Security doors may be outfitted with a variety of locks, including wafer locks that are constructed of ‘wafers’ or small disks that must be raised to a certain height to align and therefore allow the lock to open. These can be easily picked and are therefore more vulnerable in terms of security.
Three-point locks enable both the top and bottom of a door to be secured, which may prevent the top or bottom of the door being wrenched open by an intruder, however, they are also not the most secure option.
Five-pin cylinder key locks are one of the most secure locks available and security doors fitted with these will meet Australian Standards. Many of these locks are also guaranteed for a substantial period of time.
In terms of hinges, security doors should have at least three hinges with hinge pins that can’t be removed, and the bigger the pin, the better. Fixed steel pins welded into the hinge leaf give additional protection, and ideally, hinges should either be recessed or the door should have a hinge filling between the door and the doorframe.
What Are The Australian Standards?
Unfortunately in most states, the term ‘security door’ is useless unless it can be shown to meet Australian Standard AS5039-2008. Australian Standards are guidelines that ‘specify the minimum safety, quality or performance requirements that a product or service needs to meet’. If they don’t meet these standards, there is no guarantee they will be able to do their job properly.
There is also an industry standard for installation (AS5040), which can be supplied by most reputable companies (including us!) if requested.
What Standards Does Vincent Security Adhere To?
After years of testing against the industry benchmark set by Standards Australia (5039), the Vincent Security Research and Development Team developed the Very Strong (VS) range of security doors, window screens and security shutters.
Their range of VS welded aluminium doors come with Ultra Strength versions of Lockwood Triple Locks (Lockwood is the leading brand in the Australian locking industry), a heavier serrated frame and 7mm mesh that’s securely fixed in place to ensure the mesh can’t be kicked out. Their VS 7mm security screen is also the only welded system to have the Safe-S-Cape system of keyless emergency exit (in case of a fire emergency) that doesn’t compromise on security.
Vincent Security also offer a range of Crimsafe security doors and screens that pass and in fact exceed the Australian standards for impact, knife-shear testing and jemmying (a method of forced entry using a short steel crowbar). Their products are also corrosion-resistant, energy efficient, they filter UV Rays and provide fire attenuation protection.
Need advice on the best security doors and windows for your home? Contact the experts at Vincent Security today on (07) 3849 3455.