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Door security part 1: External doors

June 06, 2018
Door security part 1: External doors

We got such great feedback from last week's beginner's guide to door security that we're back at it again this week. Today's blog will focus on insurers' favourite product; external door locks and security.

What is an external door?

The common misconception of an external door is that it acts as the front gate or door to your home. However, it's more than that. An external door is any door that acts as an entrance or final exit point to your home or business.

These doors can be made from different materials, also insulating your door from the outdoor weather and preventing your home's internal temperature from changing. You can choose between fibreglass, vinyl, steel, wooden, uPVC and glass as your door's material. However, we recommend weatherstripping the edges to make sure that no heat is exchanged between your home and the outside.

This dual function of an external door is important to note. We tend to think of the role of external doors as keeping unwanted guests out of our home. But these doors also act as the final exit point for occupants in the incidence of a fire or emergency. With this in mind, external doors must be secure from the outside and easy to exit from the inside.

Popular external door security products

Let’s take a brief look at some of the most popular external door security products used in Australia.

Entrance Set

Entrance sets are the most common external door lock found on the front door of many Australian homes. From the outside, these sets require a key to release the deadlock latch pin and allow entry—Whilst a turn snib or push-button features on the other, locking the door from the inside. [eho]
We recommend that you get a qualified locksmith to key-alike all your external door locks. This means, you only have to carry one key to unlock all entry points to your home or business.

Remember, if you’re buying a lock for a unit or apartment, you must ensure that your lock is fire rated. The Building Code of Australia. stipulates that all entry/exit doors in residential buildings and apartments must be fired rated to one hour. We encourage you to speak to your building manager for more information on this topic.

Additional deadbolt or deadlatch

For extra security, a deadbolt or deadlatch works well alongside an entrance set. These provide an extra layer of protection against forced entry. Deadbolt uses a bolt by turning a knob or key rather than by a spring to lock. In comparison, a deadlatch uses a spring-bolt latch where the bolt self deadlocks once the door closes. It can be retracted by turning either the doorknob or key. A deadlatch is an excellent option if you forget to check the door is locked once you have left the premises. [eho]

Mortice locks

Mortice locks are often found in commercial buildings such as offices, restaurants and retail shops. They take their name from their installation method, as they are fitted into a hole or ‘mortice’ cut into the door. Thus making the mortice lock less vulnerable to tampering than surface mounted entrance sets. They are a popular choice for residential settings where increased security is the goal. [eho]

Door viewer

Coming in at under $35, a door viewer is one of the cheapest security products you can buy. But don’t let the price fool you, they have a significant role to play in your home security. Door viewers allow you to verify who is at your door while you remain safely inside. Controlling who enters your home is a powerful and often under-appreciated security tool. [eho]

Video intercom or doorbell

One step up from a door viewer is a video intercom or doorbell. Recent years have seen vast improvements in the quality of these devices. Not to mention a strong reduction in the price they demand.
Many modern doorbells are operated entirely via an app on your smartphone. The obvious benefit of this is that you can answer your door, even when you’re not home!

It’s important to check your insurance policy before you update any external door locks. Some policies stipulate what type of lock must be used on external doors. If you fit a lock that is deemed to be less secure than this, it could invalidate your policy in the case of a claim. If you’re not sure what lock to fit, we recommend giving your insurer a call for ultimate peace of mind.

Missed the 'Beginner's guide to door furniture?

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