What is a security screen door?
A security screen door is a door with a metal frame and mesh, fitted outside of your front door. These can either be hinged doors, or sliding doors.
Security screen doors allow airflow when the main front door is open, while still preventing entry. They usually have a heavy duty lock and recessed hinges or edges making the door more difficult to force open.
Security screen doors typically feature a metal grille set in a metal frame, often backed by a light mesh to keep insects out. The two most common metals for use in these doors are aluminium and steel - each material has its strengths and weaknesses.
A regular screen door operates on much the same principle, but is designed to keep insects out and act as a visual deterrent, so will lack the tested security performance of an actual security door (i.e. the heavy steel grille and reinforcements).
How do security screen doors work?
A locked security door is designed to stop anyone from getting into your house through the front door. The grille should be solid enough so that it can’t be kicked in, and the hinges should be hidden or inaccessible and securely bolted to the frame so they can’t be levered out. The lock should be sturdy and strong.
Security doors must be installed correctly for them to provide adequate of protection. A solid lock and spot welded stainless steel grille are only likely to serve as a visual deterrent if the hinges are poorly attached to the frame and can easily be prised off. There are Australian Standards governing the construction of security doors themselves (AS 5039) and their installation (AS 5040), so if you're after serious security, make sure you purchase one that complies with these standards. Not all screen doors labelled and sold as 'security doors' meet this code, although those that do have been tested under standardised conditions against impact, jemmying, pulling, probing, shearing and knife shearing.
Where are security screen doors used?
While these are usually found on front doors, any external door can be fitted with a security door or screen door if required. It is also possible to fit sliding doors with a security mesh door, though this obviously requires a wider rail to accommodate the extra door.
What variations exist in security screen doors?
New to the market are stainless steel mesh doors, which have no grille at all, and when viewed from the inside out provide a less obstructed view, very similar to viewing through a flywire mesh. These are becoming more popular as they are easier to see through. Some of these doors meet the Australian Standard and some do not, so make sure you understand what you're buying.
Another style which could be classed as a security door is the wrought iron door. These are usually heavy but very ornate doors made from wrought iron. They are commonly used as gates, but can also be used in front entranceways to enhance visual appeal and lend a grander appearance.
In many countries throughout Asia heavy duty cage-like security grilles are used instead, although these are rarer in Australia.