Your Front Entry: On Duty 24/7
(ARA) - Your front entry needs to be on duty 24/7. Not only does it present a welcoming invitation for guests to enter your home, it also needs to shield you from prowlers and burglars, insulate your home from extreme temperatures and ensure safety and property protection from storms with high winds, flying debris and driving rain.
"Homeowners want beautiful doors and windows that enhance the curb appeal of their home, but they also want them to provide security against break-ins and performance against the elements," says home improvement expert Tom Kraeutler, AOL's Home Improvement Editor and co-host of "The Money Pit'" nationally syndicated home improvement radio show. "Fortunately, several easy improvements can help homeowners secure their home's entryway, from upgrading the materials to simple changes in lighting and landscaping."
Here are some ways to ensure your front entry has what it takes to provide security and protection 24/7:
Upgrade your Locking Systems
Unlocked or improperly locked doors and windows are responsible for nearly half of all home break-ins, according to the Home Safety Council. You can upgrade your locking system by adding a surface-mount, rim-mount or vertical deadbolt lock. Better yet, choose a door with a multi-point locking system that engages the door frame at three points instead of just one.
Choose Durable Materials
Whatever locking system you choose, your door's weakest point is generally the area surrounding the lock, especially if it is a wood door, which can warp or crack over time, making it an easy target for an intruder to kick in and enter. That's why it's important to choose an entry door made of an exceptionally durable material, such as fiberglass.
"Doors made of fiberglass are great for entryways because they can provide the rich look and style of wood doors, but they are extremely strong and won't warp, crack, rot, swell or split like wood, or rust, ding or dent like aluminum and steel," says Kraeutler. "They can also withstand temperature extremes, high humidity, and they're easy to stain or paint."
Manufacturers offer a wide variety of fiberglass door lines to choose from, available in dozens of designs to complement the most popular types of home architecture. Some leading door makers also offer fiberglass doors that replicate the look and wood-grain texture of mahogany, walnut and cherry.
Weather the Storms with Impact Glass
You might think doors made with glass would compromise security and privacy. However, impact-resistant glass is now available in decorative designs and patterns that are so beautiful, no one will be the wiser. In addition to providing beauty and home security, "impact rated" glass is approved for installation in areas with the most stringent building codes, meaning it can withstand severe storms with heavy winds, rain and flying debris. Impact glass is also available in clear, grilles-between-glass or Low-E versions for improved energy efficiency.
Be Wise with Windows
For the safety of your family and property, choose windows for your home - especially near the entry - made with tempered safety glass. Two panes of glass are adhered to a durable plastic interlayer, much like a car windshield. If someone tries to break it, the glass will shatter, but broken pieces remain adhered to the interlayer, preventing glass from falling into the home. Be sure to only open windows that young children cannot reach. Simonton offers ventilation locks that allow windows to be partially opened for fresh air while remaining securely locked.
Protection for Patio Doors, Too
Patio doors have a reputation as easy targets for intruders. In addition to security concerns, many patio doors are susceptible to air and water infiltration.
Look for a patio door system such as Therma-Tru's Tru-Defense System that offers a Design Pressure rating of 40 or higher. This means that the system can withstand structural test pressure of 60 pounds per square foot; the equivalent of 150 mph winds; will not allow air infiltration under 25 mph winds; and prevents water penetration under test conditions equal to 8 inches of rain per hour driven by 49 mph winds. Ask for a high-performance sill that will resist rotting and swelling, especially if you live in a rough coastal climate.
Adjust Landscaping and Lighting
Take security a step further by adjusting landscaping and lighting to eliminate places where burglars can hide in waiting or enter unseen. Trim shrubbery near doors and windows and illuminate porches, garage doors and rear and side doorways.
Inside lighting is important too, so install timers that automatically turn on lights at a certain time every day, even if you're not there. Lighting manufacturers also offer one-touch lighting control systems that let you turn on lights from anywhere, even in your car - so you can avoid entering a dark house.
Content Provided By: Courtesy of ARAcontent