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7 Ways to Dramatically Improve Security on a UPVC Door

by | Security Hacks

UPVC doors are getting popular, and for a good reason: they offer a durable, energy-efficient and affordable alternative to traditional doors. They require little maintenance, last for more than 30 years and can be recycled. Nowadays, most modern UPVC doors are usually pretty secure out of the box. Many, but not all, of them feature an integrated steel reinforcement and a multi-point locking system.

However, it’s a good idea to further improve security, and there are many possibilities to make your UPVC door even safer. In this article, you’ll find the most effective solutions.

So, what are the best ways to improve security on a UPVC door?

In a nutshell:

  • Make sure your door has an anti-snap lock and a multi-point locking system
  • Install sash jammers
  • Enhance security with hinge bolts
  • Add a door chain or a strike plate lock
  • Strengthen French doors with a Patlock
  • Install a security lock door or get a removable security bar

And now let’s see the details.

1. Make Sure Your UPVC Door Is Fitted with a Lock That Can’t Be Snapped

Many UPVC doors are fitted with a cheap standard lock barrel (like a euro cylinder lock) that can be snapped by burglars within seconds. Then all they have to do is pull the cylinder out and open the door. The whole process usually doesn’t last longer than 60-90 seconds, even for a beginner burglar.

Just have a look at this video:

When it comes to UPVC door security, an inadequate cylinder lock is one of the biggest problems you will face with. If you have a door with an anti-snap lock, then you can skip this step completely, but if you don’t, you should eliminate the risk as soon as possible.

You can make burglars’ life so much harder by simply changing the cylinder lock for a secure one. Fortunately, there are several anti-snap cylinders you can choose from. Avocet ABS door locks are pretty popular because they successfully prevent snapping: the external part consists of two parts that break away when a burglar tries to snap the lock. The intruder won’t have access to the locking points but you still be able to open the door from the inside.

2. Improve UPVC Door Security with a Multi-point Locking System

When it comes to door security, multi-point locks are unbeatable. Their main part is a long strip on the edge of the door that secures the door to the frame at several points.

Many modern UPVC doors come with a multi-point lock and usually the more locking point they have the more secure they are. Replacing an existing lock system with a multi-point one is not the cheapest improvement but it’s one of the few ones that can dramatically enhance security.

3. Install Sash Jammers to Add an Extra Layer of Security to Your UPVC Door

Sash Jammers are rather easy and fast to install and only cost a few bucks. They can be a great addition to UPVC door security but only when installed properly.

Experts suggest installing sash jammers about 4 inches from the corner of the door. If there’s no metal reinforcing in the door frame you’ll have to use jack nuts to fix the sash jammer. If your door frame contains reinforcing steel you can fit the sash jammer simply onto the door frame. While fixing the sash jammer don’t forget to check the compression of the sash jammer arm on the door frame: you want it to be tight, but not so tight that would prevent easy rotation.

One possible disadvantage of certain models is that when they become loose, they might drop down after you close the door locking you out. You can prevent this situation by proper installation and choosing sash jammers which arms cannot be turned upwards.

4. Hinge Bolts Are Cheap and Effective Security Additions

Hinge bolts are metal pins that are fitted a few inches below and above the hinges. When closing the door they’ll close into a keep on the door frame. Hinge bolts are especially useful when you have a UPVC door that opens outwards because in that case the hinges are situated on the outside of the door. This makes them an easy target for intruders.

Hinge bolts are inexpensive and can be installed easily and quickly. Usually, you’ll need four to six hinge bolts altogether, depending on the number of hinges (there should be a bolt above and below each hinge).

I strongly recommend installing hinge bolts because they have a great cost-benefit ratio: they make any UPVC door more resistant against burglar attacks on a budget.

5. Add a Door Chain or a Strike Plate Lock

A door chain (or security chain) can be a useful security addition but it shouldn’t be the first item to purchase when you want to improve UPVC door security. In certain situations door chains can delay burglars, however, they won’t be able to withstand full force kicks or ramming attacks. Consider door chains as just another layer of security.

Different kinds of door chains exist. Most models consist of two parts: a chain installed on the door frame and a track attached to the door. Some security chains work with a key and can be closed and opened from inside and outside as well (regular ones cannot be closed from outside). Installation is usually simple and can be done quickly with a screwdriver. If you want to make door chains more resistant to attacks, replace the original screws with longer ones.

A heavy-duty strike plate lock can be a more secure alternative to a door chain. At first sight, it’s similar to a standard door chain but has a much greater strength. Certain models withstand more than 50 full force kicks.

A strike plate lock is very easy to install. Besides being particularly durable, one of its biggest advantages is that you don’t have to drill into the door while installing, instead, you can attach the lock to the frame with only two screws. Furthermore, it doesn’t cost more than a good quality door chain.

Watch the video below to see the difference between a door chain and a strike plate lock:

6. Improve UPVC French Door Security Easily with a Patlock

French door safety

Most French doors are more vulnerable to attacks than single-leaf doors and intruders often try to take advantage of their weaknesses. Thus it’s always a good idea to strengthen them.

Patlock is developed to make any French door more secure and resistant to burglar attacks. Fitting is a breeze, you won’t need any screws or drilling, just slide it over the internal door handles and push to lock in place and you’re done. No keys required. Patlock will hold the handles in the same secure locked position even if the locks are snapped, so the door remains closed even when its original locking system is removed. The Patlock serves both as a secondary lock and a visual deterrent. It’s one of the best solutions to improve French door security.

7. Boost Home Safety by Installing a Door Barricade or a Security Bar

Security lock door barricade

To further enhance security you can add a barricade that can be removed only from the inside. The Nightlock Security Door Barricade can be a great choice if you don’t want to worry about nighttime burglaries. It’s a (semi)permanent solution and it works with both single leaf and French doors. Installation is quick and easy: after screwing its base plate down to the floor you just have to slide in and out the barrier itself.

 

Another way you can improve door security while you’re at home is using a removable bar, like the Master Lock Security Door Bar. It’s adjustable and works with both hinged and sliding doors. It’s easy to use and remove. You just have to place one end on the ground and the other one with the Y-shaped yoke under the handle to secure a hinged door or place it into the track of a sliding door.

A removable security bar can be a reasonable choice but if you have to choose between the bar and the security door barricade I think you’re better off with the latter one.

Summary

There are many ways you can improve security on a UPVC door. In this post, I’ve tried to introduce you the most effective ones, however, don’t think you have to do all these changes to prevent a burglary. Often a single but effective improvement is enough to significantly reduce the risk of a break-in.

There are a wide variety of UPVC doors and most of them can be improved in many ways but probably an anti-snap lock and a multi-point locking system will give you the biggest security enhancement if your door doesn’t feature them. You can do most modifications yourself relatively fast, however, don’t hesitate to ask a locksmith’s opinion when in doubt.

Securing your home is important and if you feel any of the doors can serve as a weak point, it’s time to take control and fix it. It’s something that’s really well worth the invested time and money.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t miss our best tips to boost apartment door security.

Photos: Protectify

 

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About the Author

James Mora is the founder of DailyHomeSafety. He is an avid DIYer, former healthcare professional and security manager. He is passionate about home improvement and teaching.