You may be forgiven for thinking that all aluminium windows and doors offer similar levels of security. At first glance it can be hard to differentiate one product from another, but once you know what to look for, you start to understand the huge differences in security performance from one window or door to the next. This article is designed to help you know what to look for.
The design of the window frame itself is surprisingly complex and technical. The thickness of the aluminium, the shape and size of the profile, the strength and flexibility of the profile, and the extent to which the window or door is designed to make attack difficult are all important to the overall security performance.
The glazing bead is the strip of aluminium that clips into the frame to hold the glass in place. Often the window or door is designed so that the glazing bead is on the inside, meaning there is no way that a would-be intruder can remove the bead and glass from the outside to gain access. Sometimes the glazing bead may be on the outside, and this can be just as secure if security clips and/or security tape are used to make it virtually impossible to remove the glass without breaking it.
Locking mechanism and hinges
There is a very wide range of aluminium windows and doors locks available on the market, from the simple cockspur handle right though to the modern multi-point espagnolette locking system. A good locking mechanism will pull the window or door tightly shut and secure it in more than one place.
A good hinge will be strong and will be designed to be tamper proof.
As a general rule burglars are reluctant to smash a window to gain entry due to the noise. However, if you are concerned you can choose to have laminated glass. Laminated glass comprises two sheets of glass sandwiched around a thin but very strong interlayer (usually polyvinylbutyral – PVB). This means that even when the glass is broken, the glass adheres to the interlayer. Gaining access would take much longer and would be noisy – it would be enough to put off most intruders.
Even the most secure window or door for self build projects can be vulnerable to attack if it is not installed correctly. It is usual to fix the outer frame securely into the surrounding brickwork in at set intervals on all four sides.
Accreditation and standards
Independent tests and accreditation make it simple for the householder to gauge the security performance of a window or door. As a general rule, if the window or door has any of the following tests and accreditations, you can be confident that is has been independently tested and is considered to offer a good level of security:
- PAS 24
- WK2 or WK3
- Secured by Design