Securing exterior doors and windows

Allianz Home Insurance
Securing exterior doors and windows is a critical component of securing your home. A wide selection of products is available: it's important to select those that provide security and which meet the requirements of your home insurance.

To help you we have compiled some information on the locks available and how they fit with your windows and doors. We do recommend that as part of securing your home you consult a lock or security specialist.

Exterior doors
Exterior doors should be secured with a deadlock that has a key cylinder on both the inside and outside. The lock can either be surface- or mortice-mounted. A mortice is simply a cavity or recess cut into the edge of the door in which the locking mechanism is located. The choice between the two types of installation generally comes down to preferred appearance and ease of installation. The surface-mounted lock - also referred to as a rim lock - is generally simpler to install.

Once you have decided upon either a surface or a mortice-mounted lock, there is a choice between a dead bolt and a dead latch. A dead latch is a self-latching device that contains a spring-actuated latch bolt. A dead latch automatically locks the door and it is released by a key on either side of the door.

The dead bolt is similar to the dead latch. Its main difference is that the dead bolt is not spring-activated. The key is required to both lock and unlock the dead bolt.

Deadlocks, dead bolts and dead latches are commonly used on the main exterior doors. For auxiliary exterior doors such as French doors and patio doors - including multifold doors - keyed patio bolts are common. These work by releasing and fastening the bolt usually into the ground.

Exterior doors should be secured with double cylinder locks.

Window locks
When securing your external windows you should use keyed window locks or bolts that match the type of window you are securing.

Keyed window locks and window bolts can be used to secure exterior windows.

Casement windows: A standard casement window has the sash hinged at the side. A casement window with the sash hinged at the top is referred to as an awning window, and when hinged at the bottom is known as a hopper window. Casement windows can be secured by a keyed lock that fastens the hinged part of the window to the window frame. Alternatively, a keyed bolt may be fitted to achieve similar results.

Casement windows: Standard casement, awning and hopper windows can be secured with keyed locks or keyed bolts.

Sash windows: Sash windows commonly come in one of two forms: single-hung or double-hung. A double-hung sash window has movable upper and lower sashes that slide vertically. In a single-hung sash window one sash can move while the other is fixed (generally the top). These windows may be secured with a keyed lock attached at the meeting rail. A keyed bolt may also be used - the bolt generally passes through both sashes at the meeting rail to lock both in place.

Sash windows: Standard casement, awning and hopper windows can be secured with keyed locks or keyed bolts.

Sliding windows: A sliding window consists of two or more rectangular sashes and as its name suggests, the window is open and closed by sliding horizontally. A keyed lock may be installed to keep the sash secured to its frame to prevent it from sliding. A keyed bolt may also achieve this. Some sliding windows will allow the installation of a keyed mortice-housed sliding window lock. Similar to the mortice-mounted door lock mentioned above, it is recessed into the frame. As well as being well-concealed for aesthetic purposes, its integration into the frame further enhances security of the solution.

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Sliding windows, particularly common in aluminium, can be secured with keyed windows locks, keyed bolts and in some cases mortice-mounted keyed window locks.