Are External Bifold Doors Secure? All About Bifold Safety And Locking Systems
When it comes to your home, safety is obviously going to be one of your most significant concerns, and one of the primary reasons homeowners might be put off installing a set of external bifold doors is due to security issues.
However, they would be mistaken in thinking that bifold doors are a less secure option than conventional patio doors or french doors, as, in fact, if you take the right measures and precautions, they can actually be one of the most secure options for the rear of your home.
How Secure Are Bifold Doors?
Whilst many might think of wardrobe doors when they hear the word “Bifold,” bifolding doors have actually become incredibly popular of late as conservatory doors or doors leading from your kitchen and/or living room into the garden. This is because they are aesthetically pleasing, bring a great deal of light and warmth into any room they're attached to and are energy efficient and space saving.
However, many people also assume that they are magnets for thieves, which is not true at all. It might be true that thieves occasionally target conservatories because they are often less secure or more poorly constructed than the rest of the house, but the doors themselves will have no impact on their decision, and bi-fold doors are generally a lot harder to break into than typical french doors or sliding doors.
Many bi-fold doors will come with a multi-point locking system, as well as a hidden, inline tracking system, which should make it almost impossible for an intruder to lift your doors out of their mechanism.
In this case, the doors themselves will be attached to the gear concealed within the bottom track, so to remove the doors they'd need to remove that too, as well as the steel lock pins, and these are often formed from specially hardened steel, so unless they're packing some serious tools, that simply isn't going to happen.
It is important that all panels have internally beaded frames, which overlap with your glass panel for extra protection. Double glazed glass is also a sensible option (plus it will help with your home's thermal efficiency). Also remember that bifold doors are secure by design, so don't panic!
Bifold Door Locks
Of course, the doors themselves need to be secure, but they also need to be easily opened by you and your family, so you will definitely want to consider a decent bifold door lock. Adding bifold door security locks could often be an added expense of course, but the increased security they will ensure mean they will definitely be a worthwhile investment in not only your safety but your peace of mind.
The most secure bifolding door locks are the multi-point systems described above. These systems alone will not keep the door locked, though, for that you're going to need an actual lock and there are several types of lock available:
Twinpoint – A twin point lock will include a handle in the centre of your bifold doors, which will operate from both the top and bottom of the door. It can secure the doors in just one movement and is an elegant and attractive solution. This is a solution that will also come with perhaps the most possible finishes, styles, and permutations.
Dropbolts – Drop bolts are a little more menacing looking, and will add further security to your bifold doors. We don't however, recommend them as a sole source of security. The great thing about these locks is that they can be as long or short as you like, and can be installed relatively easily by anyone with even a cursory understanding of DIY.
Deadbolts, on the other hand, are far more secure, and will generally be included as part of your multi-point system. They can generally be controlled with a key or internal, twisting locking mechanism.
Childproof locks – As the name suggests, childproof locks exist specifically to keep your children safe. A simple zip-tie lock could be used if you have smaller children, as all you have to do is wrap the loops around each one of the knobs or handles on the door, then press the two loops together and zip them up.
There are also more secure top mounting child locks available, which can lock both single and double doors. These slip over the top of the door to prevent it from being opened.
Keyed locks - Keyed locks and even padlocks are a good idea to create maximum security in the home, especially if your bifold doors are being used as conservatory doors or patio doors, so are direct access points to your home.
Don't forget, however, that hiding your keys in common places (such as underneath plant pots in your garden) is incredibly dangerous, as thieves will look in these places before they attempt any more invasive measure, and then they'll have exactly the same level as access to your home as you do!
How To Lock Bifold Doors
Locking the bifold door itself is simple. The first step is to engage the locking points by making sure the handle is lifted. Next, simply turn the key or thumb turn and the different points of the multipoint locking system will move into place. As long as the door is aligned properly, this will provide a secure closure that's extremely difficult to open without a key!
Bifold Door Security Screens
As a further security measure, you could install security screen doors on your external bifold doors. These screens will also allow you to keep your bifold doors open, but still retain an element of security, which is perfect for those balmy summer months.
Bifold security screens are mesh doors that can be installed behind or in front of your existing bifold doors and are popular in warm countries, where some homeowners prefer to keep their doors open at night. They are also decorative and will reduce UV radiation, keep out dust and will increase ventilation in your home.
These screens will come in a variety of styles and are very easy to install and clean but might seem like an extravagant purchase unless you happen to get a lot of sunshine. And in the UK, that's not very likely!
Bifold doors are perhaps one of the safest ways of keeping the rear of your home secure, and as an added bonus, they look great, and could some significant value to your home, especially if it's an older home that requires some modernisation.
If you have extra concerns regarding security, remember you could also consider installing a home security system. Though, in our experience, unless you live in an area with a particularly high crime rate, these can prove more of a hindrance than anything else.
Ultimately, it's up to you. Either way, we hope we've managed to convince you that home security and bifold doors are certainly NOT mutually exclusive terms!