Upgrading security is one of the most important home improvements you can make, but where do you start?
A secure front door is, of course, essential. A good door is made of solid wood, with three 10cm hinges. The frame should be screwed or bolted to the wall every 60cm and can be strengthened by fitting special bars to make the locking points and hinges sturdier.
Fitting high quality, British Standard locks is the most obvious way to improve security. You need two locks – an automatic dead-latch cylinder lock and a five-lever mortice deadlock with boxed staple. If in doubt, check with your home insurer, as they’ll have minimum standards.
The back door needs as much protection as the front, if not more so because it’s usually out of sight. Many of the same rules apply to wooden back doors (including French windows) as to front doors, but the central lock should be a British Standard five-lever mortice sash lock with boxed staple. It’s also a good idea to have mortice rack bolts or surfaced-mounted press bolts as secondary security.
Sliding patio doors should be fitted with patio-door locks with at least three locking points. To stop the doors being lifted up and taken out, fit an anti-lifting device – it’s not hard to do.
Bi-fold doors, which are an increasingly popular alternative to French windows and patio doors, should come with good built-in security measures. Check with the retailer or manufacturer if you’re concerned about this – while a wall of glass is stunning, it’s never going to be as secure as good old bricks and mortar.