Securing doors and windows

Doors and windows are the main way for a burglar to get in to your home. Making sure your doors and windows are secure can help to put burglars off. Always lock your doors and windows and make sure they are in good condition.

Check door and window frames

Doors and windows must be securely fixed to their frames. The frames should be strong and securely fixed to the wall.

If your door or window frames are damaged or coming away from the wall, make sure to get them fixed and securely fitted using strong screws or bolts. If you don’t, good locks are useless.

Good locks put burglars off

If your door is not in good condition, replace it with a door at least 44 millimetres thick. This will allow for a mortise lock to be fitted. In the meantime, if your door is thinner than 44 millimetres, you can fit a rim deadlock. Keep in mind:

  • if you do not have a mortise deadlock on exterior doors your home may be more at risk
  • mortise deadlocks should conform to BS3621 or the new BS EN 12209 standards
  • hinge bolts are recommended for doors that open outward - they should be located 100 to 150 millimetres below the top and bottom hinges

There are a variety of locks available to fit all windows, whether they are wood, metal or PVC framed. Make sure the lock is fitted correctly and in a position where it will have the most effect.

If burglars can see window locks it may put them off because the noise of breaking glass would attract attention.

If you have, or plan to use the type of lock that screws to the window, the following test is a good guide to help you decide how many are required.

With the window closed, press each opening corner. If there is any movement, fit a suitable lock, such as a push lock, at each corner on the opening side. If there is no movement, a lock fitted to the centre of the opening frame will do.

Don't forget, it's a waste of time fitting window and door security if you don't use it when you leave the house.

More information and advice on door and window security is available from the Master Locksmiths Association.

Installing new doors or windows

Make sure that they are certified to the appropriate British Standard (BS):

  • standard for windows is BS7950
  • standard for doors is PAS 24

Secure connecting door between your garage and house

Make sure your garage is always locked, especially if it has a connecting door to the house. A burglar could get in and work on opening the inner door without being seen.

Fit locks to french windows and patio doors

French doors should be fitted with either mortise rack bolts (bolts fitted within the door and operated internally by a threaded key) or surface-mounted locking bolts (push to lock, key to open). Make sure they are rigid on installation.

Patio doors are a common means of entry and therefore, unless the doors are fitted with a multi-locking system, it is best to fit extra locks. Some patio doors can be lifted off their track. If you can lift it more than six millimetres (1/4 inch) simply screw wood blocks of a suitable depth into the channel above the opening door in order to prevent this.

Door viewers and letterboxes

Door viewers help you to see who is at the front door before you open it. They are especially useful for vulnerable groups such as older people.

If you have a letterbox in your front door, make sure that it is not near the lock of your door, especially if you have a habit of leaving your keys in the lock. A burglar could easily slip their hand through a letterbox and unlock the door.

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