Patio doors are a lovely addition to your home. They bring the outdoors in, allow the flow of natural light, and open up the space to create a large room-feel.
That being said, it is widely, and incorrectly, known, that patio doors aren’t secure. We imagine that this rumour came about due to the glass-heaviness of these types of external doors.
In this article, we explain to you the many ways that this statement is incorrect. We look at how secure patio doors really are, and the features that you can put in place to have a set of patio doors that are more secure than your front door!
There are 3 types of patio doors that you can choose from:
Bifold Patio Doors
French Patio Doors
Sliding Patio Doors
All these doors are secure enough for you to use on the exterior of your home. However, some will have benefits that others don’t. Let’s take a look at what the most secure type of patio door is…
In terms of security, the type of patio door that is most secure overall is the French Door. While bifold and sliding doors can be extremely secure, French doors usually take the top spot due to how they operate. French doors have a whole host of features that make them more secure. French doors are set within a frame, contain pivots and hinges and have a central locking point. This makes it less likely that they will cave in.
French doors are more secure than sliding doors because of their central point. The left and right side of each single door is very sturdy thanks to the use of hinges and a locking mechanism.
The same goes for bifold doors. If you buy a standard French door and a standard bifold door, a bifold door won’t be more secure than the French door. Again, this comes down to a number of factors. A bifold door could be more secure than a French door. But this depends if the bifold door is kitted out with incredibly durable material and triple-glazed glass inserts.
So overall, the French door is the most secure type. However, if you compared a basic, low-spec French door with a high-spec bifold or sliding door this might change the playing field. Not every French door will be more secure than every other type of patio door.
The 3 most popular types of door frame material are:
The most secure patio door material is composite - and the price reflects this! Composite doors combine the benefits of the 3-main materials, uPVC, aluminium, and wood.
Looking at the 3 popular materials, uPVC is the most common material used. It is a durable material - but like for like, aluminium is more secure than uPVC. The reason uPVC is widely used for external hardware on homes is because it’s the most inexpensive material. It is also lightweight meaning easy installation, and it requires very little maintenance. In fact, it’s the easiest material to care for.
So, are wooden doors more secure than uPVC? There are a number of factors that can change the answer to this. On the surface, a wooden door is more secure than uPVC because timber is so durable. Yet, a wooden door requires a lot more care than uPVC. If you don’t carry out general maintenance on the wood, it can crack. It can also become susceptible to harsh weather conditions, and become weak over time. Thus making it less secure than uPVC.
If you care for your front door by cleaning it often and ensuring that the wood is always primed, your wooden door will be more secure than a uPVC one.
The glass used in patio doors is the reason why people ask “are patio doors secure?”. To some extent, they’re right to think that they’re not secure. But, you can change this by installing a durable glass-type, high-quality material for the frame, and a top locking mechanism.
The glass that you can buy to make your glass more secure are:
Toughened safety glass
Toughened safety glass is by far the winner here. Yet, any of these glass-types will reinforce your patio door and make it just as secure as any other type of door.
The reason people see patio doors as not being secure is because glass is pretty easy to smash. This is a major concern for homeowners.
We’ve reaped the benefits of double and triple glazing, and toughened glass as technology has improved. These 3-types of reinforced glass offer insulation from the elements. They also reduce heat loss, and are sturdy enough to not shatter when hit with an object. No matter the material that you’ve chosen for your patio door, glazed and toughened glass will keep your home safe.
The locking mechanism that you choose for your door will impact its security features. “Cheap and cheerful” is not the way to go when protecting your home.
The type of locking mechanism that you use should be discussed with a professional. This is if one hasn’t been recommended to you by the manufacturer of your door. Locking mechanisms are suited to the material of your door. A 5 lever mortice lock should be chosen over a 3 lever mortice lock, but only if you have a wooden door as this type of lock isn’t suitable for other materials.
A 5-lever mortice deadlock is the most secure type of lock used on external doors. Although this is not as common with patio doors. These deadlocks have been professionally tested using common theft methods to test their security.
The best locking mechanisms for patio doors are the 5-point multipoint and 3-point multipoint locking system. This lock uses bolts that press against the door frame when the lock is engaged. From the names of the locking systems, you can see that a 3-point system contains 3-bolts and a 5-point system contains 5-bolts. Naturally, the 5-point system is better for security.
Another great feature for the multipoint locking system is that it can be used with any material. Multipoint locks are mostly used for uPVC or composite materials but can also be fitted to aluminium and timber doors.
As with anything, there are some patio doors that are incredibly secure and others that are not. But there are always additional features that you can install to create a secure patio door.
When purchasing your patio door, it’s important to think about the main points listed in this article:
Which type of patio door is best for my home’s style, my lifestyle, and security?
Which door frame material matches the rest of my home’s aesthetic whilst increasing its security?
What type of glass best suits this type of door? Is there room for improvement?
Can I upgrade the locking system to a 5-point multipoint system?
Buying your patio doors isn’t a simple case of “this looks nice” or “this sits within my budget”. External doors need more thought. After all, they do keep us and our homes safe.
At Express Doors Direct, we supply a range of patio doors built with security in mind. If you're looking to install a new patio door in your home, get in touch with us today and receive a quote.