Most commercial doors do not come with the security improvements necessary to make them as secure as they can be. Most commercial door locks can be bypassed in minutes by nearly anyone wanting to break into a business. To improve your commercial door security, a few of the things to do are the same as those to reinforce a residential door, but many are unique to commercial / business doors.
To reinforce your commercial door to the best of your ability, you need to:
Use the best commercial grade locks,
Install door security hardware to protect those locks from being bypassed and
Reinforce the door and door frame as necessary.
I’ve seen too many small business owners substituting residential hardware on their commercial building to save a dime. Residential grade door locks are not built as sturdy as commercial grade locks and nearly all residential products now come with plastic parts. Whereas, commercial grade locks are built heaving, with better material and have no plastic parts.
Commercial Lock Grading
Understanding commercial lock grading is extremely important. They have well defined commercial lock grading systems. The commercial locking systems are graded based on a set rigid and demanding testing processes. Based on such test results, the locks are graded. The two most common grading for commercial locks are Grade 1 and Grade 2. The grading is done on the basis of three major parameters: strength, cycle and material used.
Grade 1 Schlage Entry Lever
The best locks that are available in the market are Grade 1. Grade 1 is the strongest and most durable. They are recommended for use in areas where there is high traffic or a high need for security. They are heavy duty locks ideal for exterior doors on a commercial buildings where security is a priority. Grade 1 locks are expensive, because they’re worth it.
Grade 2 locks, also referred to as medium-duty locks, are used on doors that are less likely to be compromised. They are used for indoor offices and other such places. To save money, small business owners will often use a commercial lock of Grade 2 on exterior doors, and in most cases where crime is low, this is sufficient. But, it is not as secure as a Grade 1 so you need to understand the trade off you are making in price vs security.
Grade 3 locks are at the low end and only suitable for light, non-security applications. As a local door lock manufacturer, we won’t install Grade 3 on any commercial building unless specifically told to do so by the occupant. If you have some interior doors that aren’t used often or aren’t protecting anything of value you can save some money using them, but for any exterior door, Grade 2 or above should be all you use.
Door Security Hardware to Reinforce Commercial Door Locks
So what are latch guards? Latch guards are made up of heavy gauge steel that can’t be bent or cut easily. The gap between the frame and the door is one of the weakest point which can be attacked. If the gap is wide enough a crowbar can be used to separate the frame from the latch or the latch can simply be pushed back using a screwdriver to free the door.
The latch guards are metal plates whose purpose is to cover the gap and the visible latch to prevent tampering. Go for latch guards that are thick and corrosion resistant. You will need to choose a latch guard that is suitable for the lock set and door you have. Their are specific latch guards for out-swing doors, in-swing doors, and aluminum/glass storefront doors. And for each of those types of doors, the guard may be designed for a specific type of lock on that door.
There are also special types of latch guard plates that comes with a security pin that embeds into the frame side of the door. This security pin acts as an additional anchor to prevent a crowbar from separating the frame and the door by pinning the two pieces together.
If you don’t know what you need, call your local locksmith and they will get you the right product to protect you commercial door and latch.