Security begins with good locks, whether it is for your home or business that needs to be made safe from burglars and other intruders.
But choosing the best window and door locks for your security needs is not a simple matter as it may first appear.
When selecting a lock for the home or business, you need to take several factors into account, such as what type of door or window you wish to secure and what level of security you need.
Other factors to consider are the type and quality of the frame into which the door is fixed; what kind of key system you need or whether an electronic door entry system better meets your security needs.
Door locking systems vary in price and generally, the more you pay, the higher the level of security you get but changing the locks on your property is not always as expensive as many customers think.
Independent, professional help can be a real bonus here, not only regarding getting the best level of security but in saving money by getting the correct hardware for the job.
A standard mortice lock, for example, will be little use on a UPVC door while a weak quality frame may never be secure no matter what type of locking system you use.
Professionals will have first-hand experience of the door entry and locking systems that work best and those that have a poor record.
Insecure doors are the burglar's favourite point of entry and exit, so it pays to make sure that your doors are fitted with quality locks.
Door locks come in many different shapes, sizes and style to suit a similarly varied range of doors materials and security needs, but they fall into two main groups – deadbolts and latches.
Deadbolt locks, also called deadlocks, effectively bolt the door into the surrounding frame. The most common type is the Mortice lock which is fitted in the edge of the door so that only the plate and the bolt are visible.
The best type of mortice is the five-lever deadlock which requires a key to both open and close it. Many insurers will insist that the deadlock complies with British Standard BS3621.
Most mortice locks have a combination of deadlock and sash or latch lock. The latch is opened by turning a handle while the deadlock requires a key. All deadbolt locks should be constructed from steel, bronze, or brass.
Variations on deadbolts include multi-point locks where a single key operates several deadlocks that are spaced apart. They are often found on uPVC doors, typically on patio or conservatory doors and usually have three deadbolts that lock simultaneously.
These are locks that fit on the face of the door, and they come in a variety of names such as latch locks, Yale locks and spring locks.
Spring latch locks, or Yale-type locks, are cheaper, but the basic latch lock offers minimal security. The latch automatically locks when the door is closed. It is opened by turning a small handle on the inside our using a key from outside.
Some spring latches can have deadbolts fitted to make the lock a little more secure. Other variations on the latch are roller bolt latches, often found on doors to flats so that residents don't accidentally lock themselves out.
Electronic door operating systems are becoming increasingly popular. The locking mechanism is the deadbolt system, the difference being that the device is operated using electric current instead of a key.
Electronic locks also offer much greater control over door entry. Lost fobs or cards can be erased from the system to prevent unauthorised access; entry codes can be changed at will or new passcodes issued quickly and efficiently.
Electronic access also allows other security features such as transaction logs, recorded use of cards and fobs and remote activation and monitoring.
Whatever the type of security lock you use, it is essential to note that no door locking or door entry system can be 100% guaranteed to keep out all intruders.
Nevertheless, quality locks and efficient door entry systems can significantly decrease the risk of burglary or other unauthorised entry.
Locks are also only as sturdy as the doors and frames on which they are used, and it is vital to ensure that all of your windows and doors are in good condition, have the most appropriate locks that are correctly fitted to meet your security needs and insurance requirements.