Choosing a good quality security door or gate can be as daunting as most large purchases. When going down this path it’s always good to have a solid understanding as to what you are purchasing. Here’s a few tips on what to ask.
1. Where are the Doors made?
This is an important question for many reasons and is mostly related to Warranty.
If there is something wrong with the door from the start or even in 6 months time, who will fix it and how long will this take. If a door is made over seas this can create many complications that are not worth the risk. Keep it simple and buy Australian.
2. Steel or Aluminium
This is a question I get a lot and it really depends on the purpose of the door. There is no doubt that steel is stronger than aluminium and if strength is your number one priority then steel is the answer. But steel doesn’t always match the aesthetics of every property nor is it as corrosion resistant. If choosing an Aluminium door for security it must be one with the Stainless steel mesh and preferably 316 marine grade. It also must come with a 3-Point Lock by Australian Standards. There are many players in the market pushing non complying aluminium doors as security doors to uneducated buyers. If its not built from steel or doesn’t have a stainless steel mesh then it is very likely its not a security door.
3. Is the Door made from quality products?
Like anything, there is a cheap way to make something and a quality way. Over the years I have been shocked as to some of the lengths businesses go to save money, usually this will bite them in the backside down the track and that is the difference between good and bad after sale service. Make sure you ask the right questions and that you get a detailed quotation. writing a figure on the back of a business card just doesn’t cut it in 2015.
4. Is the Door Corrosion Proof
This is a very important point and its where most manufacturers will spend their money if the door is made right. When purchasing a steel door, there are two common practices.
One is to Hot Dip Galvanise the door followed by the Powder Coating. This is an age old practice that has its Pros and Cons. While the door will most likely never rust, the powder coating can’t be guaranteed to stay on in years to come. This is due to the products not being 100% compatible due to the silicon content in the galvanising. It also depends on the doors location. The other common process is to make the doors frame work which is usually tube from an All Gal tube so that the insides are protected. The door is then Sand Blasted, Zinc Primed and then Powder Coated. This process will usually give you a much smoother finish and seems to be growing in popularity. Sydney Ferry seats and the Bus shelters are made using this process. However which ever you choose, self maintenance is imperative. Give the door a wipe down once a month to keep the grime and salt build up at bay.
5. Locks and Handles
Locks and Handles are as important on a door as the motor in a car. Always go with the guy offering quality brands, such as Lockwood, Jackson, Chubb, Delf…etc. If you don’t know the brand it doesn’t mean its poor quality, just make sure it has a sufficient warranty.
Another important point is to make sure the locks are mortice locks and not surface mounted. This means the lock body is situated inside the doors frame work, or in a lock box. A good quality security door should never have a surface mounted lock such as a Lockwood 001 or a 355 these are timber door locks and can be easily smashed off using a hammer.
Like locks and handles, hinges are extremely important, I have seen way too many steel doors over the years built using a timber door butt hinge, this is WRONG!
A quality steel door should always use a weld-on PIN HINGE. This means the hinges are welded to the fixing frame that is bolted to the wall. A typical steel door weighs anywhere from 30-40kg so quality hinges are a must. Aluminium doors which are much lighter will use a specially designed butt hinge that has a pin that locks into the frame of the door. This is usually referred to as a aluminium security door hinge. Quality Hinges are a must!
7. Design – Steel Doors
When picking a design for your front door don’t be afraid to pick something interesting and creative. This is the front door to your very expensive home that either needs a reno or is brand new, either way for the sake of a couple of hundred dollars extra get something that adds value and appeal to your property. Be brave, make an impression.
Like the design, colour is just as important. Most houses have a 3-4 colour pallet already in place. This is usually the standard option, either to match the guttering or the roller door. If you’re unsure because you are going to paint again down the track, then Black or White is classic and safe. Otherwise go big and make it a feature, Fire engine red or XT Orange is always fun.
Screens are optional and there are a few to choose from. If you are after a door that is insect proof then be sure to relay this to the sales rep. A steel security door will traditionally and for safety reasons have 6-8mm gaps down the side and across the top. This is so when a house shifts due to heat, the door doesn’t bind and make it difficult to open. These gaps can easily be solved using weather seals. Screens available are, Fly Screen, Pet Mesh, Privacy Screen and 316 Stainless mesh. Again depending on the purpose and whether you have a big dog, crazy kids or the door opens onto the pavement, different methods apply. An experienced rep should always give the right advice.
A good warranty usually speaks volumes as to whether a company backs their product.
Never except anything under 12 months and get the warranty in writing. However a quality product will usually come with a price. be prepared to spend a couple of hundred extra and buy something that will stand the test of time. Remember none of these doors should be siting on a shelf, they are all built specifically for the customers home because no front door is the same size, regardless of what some may think. If you buy a pre made door from a hardware the likelihood of it fitting without any work is 50-1. The money you thought you saved may be blown on a handyman installing it. Again, do your research and buy quality.