A complete guide to door lock security

Whether you’re a business owner or homeowner, you need to take security seriously. This means investing in good locks and other security features for your doors. Of course, it can be difficult to know what to purchase with all the different security products to choose from.

At Men Behaving Handy we’re experts in door and lock installations and a handyman can always be hand to advise on the different options available.

Let’s talk about a door security term which is used a lot today… door furniture.

If you look at the various categories of door security, you’ll find one called “door furniture.” This is the category that door locks are usually found under. That is because, in the United Kingdom and Australia, door furniture signifies door knobs and door handles. Basically, any item which allows you to control a latch is considered door furniture. In the United States, door furniture can refer to any object which you put on a door to make it look better or function better.

When “door lock” is used in Australia, it refers to a product which lets you control a deadbolt. Any other items, such as door closers, door knockers, and door hinges, are called door hardware.

Considerations to Make About Door Furniture / Hardware

Why do you want a door lock? Think about it because the answer can save you time and possibly even money.

You need to think about the door’s material, whether it’s an internal or external door, and who is going to be using the door.

Material

The two most popular door construction materials in Australia are solid core timber and hollow core timber. But there are several other materials which are growing in popularity too, such as uPVC, glass, steel, and aluminium. You need to choose the right material for the construction of the door because it influences the availability of various locks and accessories for it.

If you don’t know whether a lock is compatible with your door’s construction, try communicating with the seller. They can help you figure out which product is suitable for your door.

Internal vs. External

There are several differences between internal doors and external doors. These differences mainly pertain to their security requirements. Obviously, external doors require more security because they’re meant to keep out people. Internal doors don’t need this security because only the people inside the home are using them. A simple latch is really all you need to include with an internal door. However, it is still important that internal doors offer fire protection, whether they’re used in your home or in an office or workplace environment. For a door to be a fire door, it needs to be fitted with handles, closers, and locks that are fire rated.

Common Door Users

Before you install a door in a commercial or residential building, you need to consider who is going to use that door the most. If it’s in a house, are there older or younger people living there? If there are older people, then lever handles may be better to install than doorknobs because levers will be easier for them to grip and control.

External Doors

Let’s examine external doors a little more closely. External doors are the doors which exist at the entrances and exits of a building or home. They are the link between the outside and inside of the structure. Traditionally, people think of external doors as something which keeps out strangers and unwanted people from entering their homes. These doors normally have locks which can only be opened with a key that the owner possesses. However, external doors serve another important purpose too. They are the emergency exits of a building whenever a fire incident occurs. For this reason, the people on the inside of a building need to be able to leave through the external doors without any difficulty. On the other hand, the people on the outside should have more difficulty getting into the building through the external doors.

Below are some popular security products available for external doors.

Entrance Set

When it comes to front external door locks, the most common ones are entrance sets. These are sets controlled by levers or knobs and include a deadlatch bolt. All you need to do is turn the knob or push the internal button to activate the deadbolt. For the deadlock latch pin to be released, it requires someone to use a key on the outside of the set.

It is best that the locksmith who performs the installation creates the same keys for every external door lock in your building. That way, you can use just one key to open every external door and not have to carry around multiple keys. This keeps things much safer for everyone because you don’t have to struggle to find different keys in an emergency.

Sometimes you’ll need a fire rated lock if it’s going to be used for an apartment, condo or other residential unit. The Australian Building Code has set this requirement for everyone. According to this code, the exit doors and entry doors in apartment buildings and residential buildings must have a 1-hour fire rating. The manager of your building can provide more information on this.

Extra Deadlatch or Deadbolt

If you want to increase the security of your home or business, then install a deadlatch or deadbolt in conjunction with the entrance set. This gives the set an additional layer of security which helps prevent forced entry.

Mortice Locks

Offices and other commercial buildings typically have mortice locks. They’re called “mortice” locks because their installation requires you to cut a “mortice” into the door. This is the hole in which the lock goes into. It is more difficult for someone to tamper with a mortice lock than a standard entrance set which is mounted on the surface. Residential homes can also benefit from mortice locks if you want them to be more secure.

Door Viewer

You can purchase an affordable security product called a door viewer. Even though it is cheap, this security product serves an important purpose. When someone comes to your front door, the door viewer lets you see who it is before you open the door. If it is someone you don’t recognize, you can stay inside your home safely and not let them in.

Video Intercom

If you want something even more advanced than a door viewer, try installing a video intercom or a video doorbell. This technology has seen many improvements in recent years. For instance, newer doorbells have smart technology integration which lets you control them through a smartphone app. This also lets you see who is at your front door when you’re not even home.

Prior to upgrading the external locks on your door, look at your insurance policy first. The policy might specify which type of locks you’re supposed to use on your external doors. If you install a lock which your policy doesn’t approve, then any future claim that you file may get denied. To ensure this doesn’t happen, contact your insurance company to verify which lock is good to use.

Internal Doors

In a commercial building, internal doors can still be just as important as external doors. Internal doors may serve the purpose of limiting access to certain rooms or areas inside a building. These could be restricted areas where only certain authorized personnel can enter. In that case, these doors must have the right door furniture to provide these limitations.

Like all doors, internal doors tend to suffer wear and tear a lot faster because they’re opened and closed more than external doors. For this reason, internal door furniture gets replaced regularly.

The 3 most popular products for internal doors on the market today are passage sets, digital locks, and privacy sets. We’ll go over them now.

Passage Sets

Internal door furniture is often associated with a passage set. This set is basically a latch set which has doorknobs or door handles on the front and back sides of a door. What is unique is that you cannot lock the door on either side. They are always unlocked and free for people to go in and out of them. That is why you often find passage sets used in residential buildings, especially when there are young children around.

Passage sets should always be durable. Check for a manufacturer’s warranty before purchasing a passage set. This can ensure you don’t have unexpected expenses in the long run. Reputable brands like Lockwood usually have a warranty included with their products.

Privacy Set

You can probably guess that a privacy set is supposed to give you more privacy. It is a latch set where the outside handle can be locked by turning a knob or pushing a button on the inside. With most models, privacy sets come with an emergency unlock feature which can be activated from the outside. This is commonly seen on the bedroom or bathroom doors of a home.

Digital Lock

If you want even more privacy, then digital locks are the next best thing. You can use them in residential homes, but they’re more often used in commercial buildings. Rather than needing a key to unlock the door, a digital lock grants entry to anyone who knows the proper access code. This is great if you don’t want to remember your keys and would rather just memorize a code instead.

The only problem here is if you tell someone else the code and then you later change your mind about wanting them to have access to the door. In this case, you can easily change the code to take their access away. In fact, most digital lock models that are out today allow you to alter the code while the lock remains inside the door. You’ll commonly see digital locks on commercial cupboards and stairwells.

Fire Doors / Exit Furniture

You’ve probably seen fire doors before. They usually have signs which state something like “Keep door closed at all times.” These doors help contain fires by stopping them from spreading to other areas of the building. Most people don’t think about fire doors when a fire breaks out. Instead, they’ll think about sprinklers on the ceiling or fire extinguishers to put out the fire with. However, these are merely fire suppression products. Fire doors offer passive fire protection which stops fires before they even get out of hand.

Passive fire protection items can be any part of a door that is made to be fire resistant, such as door frames, locks, handles, hinges, and closers. These items are often installed on fire doors to stop or reduce the spreading of fire. This creates more time for people inside the building to escape. In addition, the building’s structure suffers less damage.

From a security standpoint, fire doors must have the proper locking products fitted on them too. This must be fire-rated hardware which complies with AS1905.1. The hardware stays resistant to fires for a certain amount of time, like up to a few hours or so. It all depends on which material the fire door is made from.

In Australia, the 3 major fire door manufacturers are E-Core, Pyropanel, and Firecore. Before you purchase fire hardware, make sure it is compatible with your fire door’s brand.

Fire doors usually come with the following security products:

  • Panic Bars – These are also called crash bars. They’re fitted onto every fire door which is a final exit door where people can flee from a public access building. One perfect example of this is in movie theatres. People don’t need to know how the door works in order to exit. They’re designed for panic situations.
  • Door Closers – A self-closing and self-latching fire door is fitted with door closers. This ensures that when someone opens the door but doesn’t close it themselves, the door will automatically close itself completely. That way, if a fire breaks out and people are rushing out of the building, the door will close itself and stop the fire and smoke from spreading.
  • Primary Locks – To comply with D2.21, each door should have one lock. On the inside of the door, there cannot be a key lock feature. Fire doors can also never have deadbolts installed either.
  • Door Handles – When opening a door or lock, users must be able to either pull down a lever or push the door.

Do you remember the fire incident in London that happened at the Grenfell Tower? The building failed to satisfy the requirements of passive fire protection. To ensure this doesn’t happen to your building, talk to a professional fire door installer and ask about the right hardware to use for our fire door.

DDA Furniture

In 1992, The Federal Disability Discrimination Act was passed to help disabled people gain the right to access fair housing, accommodations, services, goods, education, employment, and facilities. To remove the barriers around these people, the security industry stepped in to help. They created DDA compliant security products for people to use in either commercial or residential buildings. This is despite the fact that DDA compliance legally applies to only public access buildings.

A DDA compliant security product must satisfy the guidelines and requirements of Australian Standard AS1428.1. Whenever you go searching for DDA compliant security products, check the description of the production to ensure it’s met this standard. In addition, other standards may need to be met too. It is best to contact a professional locksmith to receive further consultation on this.

Security products which relate to AS1428.1:

  • Door Handles – According to the AS1428.1 standard, the action to open a door must involve pulling a lever down with one hand or pushing the door. To stay compliant with the DDA, replace doorknobs with a push and pull plate set.
  • Door Closers – Door closers have several possible features to consider when shopping for one. To stay compliant with the DDA, look for a delayed action function. It lets the door stay open for a certain amount of time before it closes by itself. This extra time is supposed to accommodate people in wheelchairs who need the door to stay open for them to pass through slowly.
  • Signage – Toilet access signage is required for AS1428.1, Section D3.6 of the Building Code of Australia, and AS2899.1/1986 of the Public Information Symbol Signs. If this is an outside accessible toilet, it needs a UV ray protected finish. This will prevent the writing on the signage from fading away.

The following products are not legally required, but they can still help people access a building.

Exit Buttons – This is not a requirement of DDA compliance, but it makes it easier for people to open a door by simply applying minimal pressure to the button.