French Door Security

22 Mar 2006
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United Kingdom
I recently had some quotes to have an external window replaced with some uPVC french doors and was intending on going ahead with one of them.

A short time after a friend was burgled and the burglar gained access via uPVC french doors.

From some initial research it looks as though there are different levels of security on uPVC doors (locks, build quality e.t.c) and corresponding cost. I also read that french doors are a common security weakness.

This raises a few questions:

1. I got the impression that it is easier to retrofit security to wooden french doors. With uPVC they either are supplied with security feature or not.

2.What should I be looking for as security features on uPVC French doors.
Multi-point locking?
Shoot bolts?

3. With these security features are French doors still inherently insecure?

4. Would wooden french doors be preferable to uPVC (as another poster here suggested).

Any pointers or info would be appreciated.

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Plastic doors are not very secure, which is why they are fitted with numerous hooks and bolts to try to compensate. They can however still be easily forced, or melted apart with a hot instrument or flame. They are also surprisingly expensive.

If you can afford plastic doors, you can afford good-quality wooden doors and frames. You could have them fitted with laminated glass if you like which is difficult to break through. You can also fit both leaves with hinge bolts or locking hinges, with rack bolts top and bottom, and with a 5-lever lock like you would put on the front door of your house.

Some wooden doors (especially German imports) are "engineered" and laminated which means they are very good for draught exclusion but bolts and locks probably need to be fitted during manufacture. Ordinary solid wood doors are very easy to change later and any joiner or handyman can do it.

Some people (including me) also consider that a well-finished hardwood door looks more attractive than a plastic one.

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