Back Door

Most people spend a lot of time thinking about their front door. . . . . but forget about their back door.

There seems to be a bit of a convention for back doors.

Conventional Doors

Quite often if a conventional door is used usually have a half window and usually only have a single simple lock.

Unfortunately criminals know that an easy way to break in is to break the small window, reach in, and unlock the door.

It’s not as though you really need the window as most back doors are in the laundry which isn’t a room you spend a lot of time in, and it usually has a window.

My preferred approach is a solid back door with two locks fitted at least 300mm apart.

One a deadlock, as I am always a bit suspicious about Construction Locks

Not only is this more secure, and offers better insulation but its likely to be slightly cheaper. Also you can always put a couple of coat hooks on the back of the door to hang your gardening clothes.

As you can see from this photo of a previous back2 door I specified the double locks but didn’t think to specify ‘no window’.

My latest houseI is a plain door!

Full Length Sliding Glass Doors

When looking at a display home you might find the builder uses ‘Patio Doors’ for the laundry.

I think these should be avoided.

My suggestion is you should ask for a solid hinged door!


More on doors including 24 pages of Check Lists for your new house choices in the‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’


Construction Locks

Have you ever thought about who has keys for the locks on the doors of your new house?

After all there are lot’s of tradies working on the house after ‘Lock Up’ stage.

Well these days most builders use Construction Locks, sometimes called Project, locks. These are a special type of lock which comes with two types of key:

The Construction Keys

Standard pattern ‘master’ keys which are given to all the tradies, who can with a single key enter any of the builders houses under construction

The Final Key 

These are the keys which is given to you at handover. Once you use this key it displaces some ball bearings in the lock which should mean the Construction key will no longer work.

Some of the things you should know about Construction Locks are:

  • Before the end of the handover you should make sure you use the Final Key in every door lock in the house. check each lock with all the keys you are given. This will ensure that:
  • Every lock will be changed to only open with the final key. (It’s worth borrowing the site supervisors key to make sure his key no longer works)
  • All the locks, and keys work properly.
  • The  locks the builder uses are unlikely to be expensive/high quality.
  • Although the construction key won’t work there will be a limited number of final key combinations for this type of lock. If you want in increased level of security it could be worth getting a locksmith to re-key the locks as soon as possible. The cost is going to be around $60-80/lock plus a call out fee.

Would you go for better locks?


The Settling In Section contains lots of advice on what to do after

you have moved in your new house


Sliding Patio Doors – Occasional Use Only

These sliding patio doors were the entrance to a cafe that I visited the other day.

It was no surprise to find they didn’t open very smoothly.

It reminded me of the first house we built in Australia where we used patio doors to let the dogs in and out of the house.

The Problems

Most patio door components are not designed for constant use.

The doors are fairly heavy but run on a couple of fairly small nylon wheels

My experience is that the wheels the doors roll on will only last for 2-3 thousand openings. . . . . Sounds a lot but open them twice a day and they will be badly worn after 3-4 years.

You can get new wheels which are a bit fiddly to fix; however that’s not the end of the problem.

After a few more years you might find the door tracks, which are often fairly soft aluminium, are also badly worn, and that can be a tricky and expensive fix.


I’m not saying don’t buy patio doors . . . just don’t use them in places where they will be in daily use.


A Secure, and Welcoming Front Door

Your entrance should provide a welcome to your guests, not look like a fortress!

Consider this as an opportunity to sweep guests off their feet.

For many, the house entrance and the front door can also be a conversation starter. Hence, you’ll want to make this impression a good one.

More than just the design aspect, don’t forget its functionality, too.

It should still tell potential thieves that your home would be a harder target than the average house. . . Sounds contradictory?

Well, here are front door and home entrance ideas that give you both the balance of functionality, security, and aesthetics.

Attractive but Solid Door

Even though this carved door is very attractive it can still be seen to be a very solid door, without looking like a fortress

Although you may not want to spend as much money on a carved door, you will still many good looking doors with a solid appearance.

The key here is in making your front door look thick, hard, and difficult to get through.

Plus, solid doors are also a classic.

They may be costly, but they’re going to last you through years, both to its lifespan and its design.

Plus, solid doors also go with just about whatever home designs you’d like to copy.

Good Lighting

That doesn’t mean  those movement activated integrated floodlights with a harsh glare.

This entrance demonstrates a soft but effective illumination of anyone at the door.

It provides a strong signal to any criminal that there is a high risk they will be seen if they are trying to break into your home.

Frame It With Plants

The plant and garden craze may seem like a new one, but there’s absolutely no reason for you not to join in the bandwagon.

If there’s any place in your home to add some green plants, it’s the front door; frame up your front door with plants.

This will instantly make your home feel more relaxing and inviting.

Can Be Seen From Street

The front door should be obvious to visitors as they approach your house, you don’t want them wondering where it is.

Similarly to lighting, criminals don’t want to be visible to a casual passer by.

Double Locks

Two locks are at least 300mm apart means two separate point of attack to get through the door.

I prefer a good quality handle with integrated lock around 1.20m from the ground with a matching deadlock at a height of around 1.50m.

Avoid Glass Panels

Even if you’re up for an airy or modern house design, you might want to skip glass panels on the front area of your home.

Glass panels in the door, or even alongside the door are an area of weakness.

Rather than inviting guests over, it invites thieves.

Glass panels in the door, or even alongside the  door are an area of weakness.

It’s quite easy for a criminal to break a small pane of glass to get get his hand to the back of the door to let themselves in.

A criminal may also be able to see into your house and check out the situation without appearing suspicious.

Go For A Bold Color

If you could paint your door another color, choose a bold one.

This doesn’t necessarily mean a screaming orange or pink (unless it’s what you want).

By bold, this means creating a stark contrast from the door to the wall that it’s set on so your front door stands out.

For instance, your house has walls in white or gray.

If you’re adventurous enough, you can go for a dark blue door.

If you’re up for something more classic, dark brown or black will do as well.


Of all the parts in your house, it pays to give special attention to your entryway.

After all, this is the very first part that your guests are going to notice.

For others who may never get inside your house, your front door is also the only glimpse that they may have, regarding the overall style of your home. 

At the very least, you’ll want your front door and the entire front entrance to feel homey and welcoming.

If your door could speak, it should be saying “Welcome, and come in.”



Garage Door Fail

Think these garage doors look nice?

But why isn’t there a car in the garage?

Could it be because there isn’t room to fit the car because the doors open into the garage?  (taking around 1.0m off the effective length of the garage)

There is a reason why garage doors either lift or open outwards!


For more Fails and unusual houses go to What the………….?

Quirky Rome Apartment 2

Earlier this week I posted about the quirky apartment we have rented in Rome.

Here are a couple more photographs.

The first shows the wall that separates the entrance hall from the Bathroom / Laundry.

The wall is a translucent material with a blue tinge on the external surface and a white surface on the bathroom side.

The lights are mounted inside the wall to illuminate both rooms.

I am sure you will agree that it gives quite an unusual effect.

Another interesting thing was the security.

This photo shows the locking mechanism on the steel lined door.

It looks more like the lock on a bank vault than a domestic dwelling.

Don’t think I have shown you all the quirks;  I have left some for any readers to check out if they decide to visit.

See the previous post on a Quirky Rome Apartment to find out more.

NB. I have not been paid, nor received a discount on accommodation, for this post.


The Risk Of Too Much Security

As I visit lots of houses I often wonder if some houses have too much security.

I see lots of houses with roller shutters or even steel gratings over the windows like these.

Quite often when I ring the bell the owner seems to spend ages unlocking the various locks and bolt on the front door.

Yes they are keeping people out . . . . . but what happens if there is a fire in the house?

In a typical year around 70 People die in Home fires in Australia.

So before you put more security in your house . . . .Think about how you would get out in a fire!

Here are some thoughts about making sure you keep safe:

  • Although I typically have two locks on my doors I only lock the deadbolt when I am going out.
  • If you do want to lock the deadbolt while you are inside always leave a set of keys where it is easily accessible in an emergency.
  • Think about how you would escape through the window if you couldn’t get to the door. I would be able to smash a window and get out . . . But would shutters or bars lock you in, with the flames!


See : Doors and Glazing for more posts



Internal Doors

Most internal doors these days are of lightweight composite construction. Basically a light timber framework with two hardboard ‘skins’ and a cardboard honeycomb filler.

Not the best thing is you have got teenagers who love slamming doors !

These type of doors are really inexpensive……………..

I recently replaced a damaged door and the door cost less than $50 and came primed, complete with hinge plates. and with a latch already fitted.(Many builders now buy door frames with hinge plates already fitted and the doors are installed by just pushing a hinge pin into place.)

The question for you when specifying your new house is:

“Although the standard internal door is cheap is it the best door for me?”


Here are a just 3 of a wide range of doors available at my local DIY store.

A couple of low additional cost alternatives to the basic painted door that I believe are worth thinking about are:

  • A veneer face, typically maple.
  • A formed panel skin.

Getting a stronger internal door such as a solid door can have the following advantages.

  • Lower noise transmission…………good for home theaters and to isolate the laundry noise.
  • Fire Safety……….good for kitchen doors and internal doors to the garage.
  • Storage……….easier to install hooks on.

Just remember though that if you want a particular look you can get it, but the cost could be $300 or more per door which can add up if you upgrade every door in your new house.

What type of internal doors do you like ?


Want all the information about Pre-Start/ Selection, with handy printable checklists?…….  Why not buy my E-book ‘Guide to Selection’ for just $4