Panel Pushing – and ways of solving the problem
Security should always be a major consideration when buying a residential door but with the double glazing industry being so competitive some companies have cut costs by fitting pvcu doors with panels that were not reinforced. Pvc door panels that are not reinforced are simply two thin sheets of pvc bonded to a sheet of polystyrene insulation and if you have ever held a piece of polystyrene that is less than 25mm thick, you will be able to imagine just how weak such a panel could be. With an unreinforced door panel one hard push on the panel or one good kick could be all a burglar need give to enter your home.
If you have a door panel in your door (or the bottom of a window in place of glass) press it with your hand and see if it will bow. If it does it is probably not reinforced.
A reinforced panel has a plywood or mdf core bonded to 2 layers of expanded polystyrene and then to the outer skins to make a strong rigid sandwich that is greatly resistant to ‘panel pushing’. Panels with double reinforcement are also available even greater security.
You can replace panels relatively simply by removing the glazing beads and replacement reinforced panels can be supplied cut to size for trade or DIY fitting from companies such as Kent Home Improvements or can be supplied and fitted by window companies. You should expect to pay from around £45 per square metre for DIY reinforced flat panel with glazed and raised panels costing more.
If you decide to replace a residential door a stronger alternative to panelled doors are Composite Doors and these are rapidly becoming the low maintenance door of choice. Composite doors have a one piece door leaf pre-hung in a pvcu door frame and give the look of a finished wood door without the future painting costs. A typical composite door leaf is made from two layers of high performance thermoplastic bonded to a frame of engineered timber with a core of high density polyurethane foam. Some are even reinforced with a steel mesh to give enhanced security.
When choosing a Composite door make sure it is fitted with multi-point locking with hook bolts and ‘dog bolt hinges’. These hinges have an integral bar that pushes through the frame as the door closes to stop the frame being forced by a would be intruder with a crow bar. Ideally, choose a composite door that has been approved under the ‘Secure by Design’ Official Police Security Initiative.
Another replacement door option that is regaining its popularity is real wood. The reason for the return to favour is that they can now be supplied pre treated with stains or paint finishes, pre fitted with hardware and with very secure hook bolt multi-point locking mechanisms. And please, if you are looking to buy any timber product look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo that proves the timber is sourced from a sustainable timber supply.
Kent Home Improvements www.kentsdirect.com – 01454 313135