Style preferences influence many of our choices around the home, but when it comes to front door security, peace of mind is at least as important as aesthetics. Assess the material and hardware options to find the door products that deliver the look you desire, as well as the security you need.
Entrance doors by nature are more durable than internal doors, as they need to withstand the rigours of weather. “Our entrance range includes solid high moisture-resistant MDF core doors, solid engineered timber with selected veneer options, hollow core doors with decorative glass panels to fully glazed options,” says Ian Sengstock, marketing manager at Hume Doors & Timber. From a security perspective, Ian says solid core doors can stand sustained punishment far better than hollow core options.
Although you might assume glass doors are easier to break than timber, the inability to discreetly and quietly smash glazing can be a deterrent against forced entry. The type of glazing will be often be determined by the design or function of the door. Small panels of glass in entry doors, for example, may only need to be 5mm thick compared to larger panels. In bushfire-prone areas, glazing must be 6mm-thick toughened glass.
For enhanced safety, consider a security screen door. Options include modern-style versions of a simple frame fitted with strong steel mesh, or solid-steel models with decorative steel bars, which can complement a traditional entryway. Aside from the extra layer of protection, lockable screen doors also let you keep your front door open while you're at home, so you can benefit from cross breezes while still feeling secure.
The two main types of entrance door locks are mechanical and keyless. “Popular mechanical options include the general purpose Lockwood symmetry dead-bolts and double cylinder deadlatches,” says Constance Bram, national account manager for Assa Abloy .
Digital locks (available in both keyed and keyless versions) have revolutionised home security, allowing home owners to do away with carrying keys. “The digital locks feature a sleek touch-screen keypad, which can be seamlessly integrated into most home automation systems, allowing you to create unique PIN codes to unlock the door,” explains Constance.
The advantages of these locks include the ability to set and delete digital keys to allow visitors temporary access to your home, and also to keep track of who's coming and going and when (so you know the kids got home from school safely, for example). For a closer look at home security, check out our article on setting up a smart home, which drills down into high-tech lock options.
The best way to increase security with minimal disruption is to replace your current lock with an upgraded digital option, suggests Constance. “However, if switching over to a different style of lock, you will need to check if your existing door hole footprint is in the right location,” she warns. Adding a door viewer, which can easily be retrofitted, will provide a 160-degree peephole, so you can see just who is outside your door.
Pro tip: For convenience, look into matching the key to your screen door to your entrance door key – and reduce those front door fumbles! When deciding on a lock, strike a balance between safety, security, style and convenience. “It's critically important to be able to get out of your home quickly and safely in an emergency” Constance Bram, Assa Abloy.
Entrance and security doors can be welcoming and attractive, yet also robust and protective. Find the perfect door for your home at your local Bunnings.