01.Safe as houses?
- Buy a door that displays the Standards Australia logo. While other doors may meet the standard, this is the easiest way to be sure.
- Have the door installed in a way that meets the Australian standard for installation.
Security screen doors are designed to let you safely open up the house to air and light while you’re at home — upstairs or out in the garden, say. They should prevent someone from sneaking quickly and quietly into your house when your main door’s open and nicking your stuff, and deter or delay potential attackers long enough for you to call for help.
While they provide some level of protection, given enough time and the right equipment, they’re still penetrable — some more so than others. Then there’s the installation — attaching it to a weak door frame or allowing enough space to get good jemmying leverage reduces its effectiveness as a security door.
Please note: this information was current as of February 2005 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
What's in a name?
Unfortunately in most states a product advertised as a “security screen door” may only secure you against flies: the term is meaningless unless the door can be shown to meet the Australian standard. However, in WA, any door advertised or sold as a security door must meet the Australian standard — something CHOICE would like to see applied nationally, and which the Australian Security Industry Association Limited (ASIAL) and the National Security Screens Association (NSSA) are lobbying for.
A proper security door must have a combination of several elements that make it secure. For example, a strong grille is useless if the lock’s easily broken. And a solid lock doesn’t help if the hinges can be jemmied from the frame in moments.
While you can check some aspects of quality yourself (see What to look for), others are concealed in the structure and impossible for a typical consumer to assess.
Looking for additional home safety? Check out our smoke alarm reviews on how to protect your home from a potential fire.