Locksmith Advice: Eight Tips From A London Locksmith

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The vast majority of burglaries involve a door or lock being forced open by the intruder. Ensure your existing door is safe by following these property maintenance tips from a London locksmith.

1. Buy a secure door

If you’re buying a new door, make sure its specifications make it secure. As any London locksmith will tell you, a door lock is only as secure as the door in which it is housed. It’s important to make sure the door is at least 44mm thick; otherwise it is not fit to house a lock. Similarly, the door should not be hollow; otherwise it is vulnerable to being forcibly caved in and can also be a fire hazard.

2. Get the right hinge

The other important aspect of door security from a property maintenance point of view is the door hinge. It must be hung on three four-inch hinges. If possible, use screws of the same material as the hinge, or corrosion may occur.

3. Choose the best lock for your door

In terms of locks, there are many different combinations of locks you can have. Our London locksmith would advise you to consider installing two extra 5 lever mortice locks on the door; one above the Yale lock and one below. They should be installed between two to three feet from the bottom and top of the door. This lock will prevent the door being kicked in on the hinge side.

4. Consider hinge bolts

Also recommended by our London locksmith is using hinge bolts on the hinge side of the door to stop the door from being kicked in or levered off the hinge with a crowbar. Most door burglaries occur from the hinge side; so two hinge bolts on either side will deter some burglars.

5. Have some graphite powder handy

A remedy for stiff locks is to use graphite powder. Either buy it in the form of a dispenser (normally a blower) or file some off the end of a graphite stick. Never use WD-40 to lubricate the lock, as it will make it stickier over time.

6. Rack bolts can provide extra protection

Some people tackling security as part of their property maintenance work opt for rack bolts on their door. These are small locks which work are operated from one side only (the inside) in conjunction with a mortice lock, and sit at the very top or bottom of a door. The idea is that the occupier can bolt the door from the inside to offer better protection from break-ins. While fairly popular with some locksmiths, there are others who are concerned by the safety hazard that a rack bolt could potentially pose; in the event of fire, an occupier could find themselves unable to open a locked door to escape safely in time.

7. Invest in a London Bar

One option that some professional locksmiths use is a London Bar. This is a piece of metal which reinforces the doorframe on the lock side. It isn’t very commonly installed in residential doorframes, but it is frequently installed by our London locksmith for high security doors (such as at storage facilities). Since most break-ins occur on the hinge side of the door, some deem it unnecessary to install a London Bar.

8. Use a lock guard

A lock guard may also be used; this is a metal plate which sits attached behind the mortice lock to prevent lock tampering and forced entry on the lock side of the door.

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