Good door locks are the key to making a property secure, whether in your home or business premises.
Choosing the best locks for windows and doors is not as easy as it may look at first. Many factors need to be considered.
Things to think about are the security level you are looking for, the type of door or window and the lock that best fits your requirements.
Locks can vary in both quality and price. The two usually go together, so the cheaper the lock, the less secure it is likely to be.
It is better to get professional help from a registered door and window fitter when choosing the best security system.
Experts will have first-hand experience of the types of lock and security measures available, which work best and which will not measure up when it comes to protecting your home and your property.
An insecure door or window will be the burglar's chosen point of entry into a property, it is only sensible to ensure you have the right lock for the job.
Door and window locks come in many shapes, sizes and styles, as well as varying levels of quality.
Traditional locks are of two main types. They will be either latch or deadbolt design. All are designed to prevent a window or door from being opened.
This type of lock has a bolt that slides into the door frame. The most common deadbolt is the mortice which embeds into the edge of the door.
The mortice needs a key to operate it, and the most secure type is the five-lever deadlock.
The bolts used in this sort of lock should be made of durable metal such as steel, bronze or brass.
Some deadbolts have several bolts spaced apart, and a single turn of the key can throw more than one bolt pin at the same time. These are often used for patio doors manufactured from PVCu and usually have three bolts at the top, middle and bottom of the frame.
Unlike the deadbolt, a latch key sits on the face of the door. It can also be called a spring or Yale lock.
When the door closes, the latch is propelled into a cup fixed to the outside of the frame. It is opened from the inside by turning a handle from the outside by using a key.
Much cheaper than deadlocks, they are much less secure. Higher security is offered by some latch locks which incorporate a deadbolt mechanism.
Electronically controlled door locks are appearing on the market in higher numbers. The mechanism is usually of the deadbolt type, but an electric current is used to operate it instead of a key.
The user opens the door by typing a keypad code or pressing the button on a fob.
They offer several advantages over the traditional key system. Lost or stolen fobs can easily be deactivated, and the code is changed if the keypad numbers become compromised.
Electric access can also be used for other things, such as keeping entry logs and other monitoring devices.
No matter which type of locking system you opt for, it is widely recognised that the better the quality, the higher the security.
No average lock can be guaranteed to keep out all intruders, and the most determined burglar will break in. But high-quality locks and door entry systems will do much to deter burglary, break-ins or other unauthorised entry.
Two other things to bear in mind are to ensure door locks meet your insurance policy's minimum requirements and to appreciate that locks are only a sturdy as the doors and frame to which they are fitted.