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’

 

Letter Boxes – Is Bigger Better?

One of the big signs to potential burglars that there is no one at home is a letter box stuffed with post and junk mail after its gone dark in the evening.

In a  post about letter boxes I talked about minimum sizes.

After seeing a couple of larger letter boxes I can see some real advantages in thinking again about you letter box.

For Instance:

        • Not everybody has neighbors, or nearby relatives that can clear your letter box when you are away.
        • Why do most houses still have a tube for the newspaper when most newspapers now get wrapped in clingfilm and thrown from a moving car.
        • A large letter box means that a week or more of post and even junk mail stays hidden and dry
        • Some boxes have spring loaded flaps can trap the mail half in / half out exposing it to the weather, and the gaze of anyone passing by.

    My next mail box is going to be big enough to take several days post and junk mail and have on open slot, with weatherproofing, so the post drops out of sight.

  • Perhaps something like the one in this photo.

     

    The Settling In Section contains lots more advice on what to do after you have moved in your new house

     

Don’t Hide a Key . . . Get a Key Safe

Have you ever forgotten your keys?

I have! . . . Sometimes its been as soon as I have closed the door.

Other times its when I have got home from a long day at work.

How do You Get In

Wait for your partner to come home/

Have a friendly neighbour who has a key?

I hope you don’t hide a key in the garden!

Most casual thieves will be looking for stones or garden ornaments that may chide a key

The Key Safe Alternative

Since I got one of these key safes everything has been a lot easier.

Typically they cost around $50 plus a couple of strong bolts to fix into the brickwork.

Just fasten it securely to the wall and then set the combination to a number you remember.

Since I got one three years back I reckon I have used it around 4 times . . . . but if I had only used it once it would have been worth the money!

 

Before You Move In

Once you get the keys for your new house you will probably want to move in straight away.

Here are a few reasons why it’s best to stage your move:

    • Time to get window fittings such as blinds and curtains installed without furniture in the way.
    • There may be things that have been missed that need attending to. It was only when I started putting up light fittings I realised one of the light was missing.
    • Making sure that fences and gates are in place and secure if you have pets. Its not just having the fences in place, but making sure the dog can’t squeeze or dig under them!
    • Have the television aerials fitted, and if you want cable TV arrange for that to be installed.
    • Get the phone line/internet connected.
    • Make sure the water, electricity and gas are connected.
    • Paint any feature walls.
    • Opportunity to get carpets fitted if they aren’t in the overall package, without furniture in the way.
    • Paint the garage floor . . .easy to do with an empty garage and you will be glad you have done it.
    • Install the washing hoist.
    • Lay gravel in any areas that you need to get to that haven’t got a path. This will stop you bringing mud into the house.
    • Get a post box and number installed and check mail is redirected before you move out of your existing home.

What I did was move in myself with a single bed and put curtains up.

This made the house look lived in while I did those jobs around the place.

After a week or so we were ready for the big move!

 

For similar posts see Settling In

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

 

Emergency Planning – What Is Important To You?

Bush Fire Season is with us again . . . . so if you live in an area that is at risk its time to think about what would you do if a fire came through.

What would be the things would break your heart to lose?

  • Old Family photographs.
  • Mementos of your children’s early years.
  • Expensive paintings or artworks.
  • Important documents.
  • Jewelry from your partner.
  • The clothes you wore at a significant event.

After every bushfire the news programs show shots of people searching through piles of ash.

Why not think about protecting these keepsakes now.

Option 1 – Using a fire resistant safe

If you are going this route it might cost more than you expect.

You might need a large safe which is not only fireproof but water proof too.

You also need to check the fire rating. . . . the cheapest one at Bunnings may only give a short protection period at a low fire temperature.

Option 2 – Being ready to go

Have a box ready to go, preferably already in the car . . . it’s no good it being next to the door, if you aren’t home when the fire starts!

Option 3 – Off site storage

You could store the valuables with a family member or even in those self storage places.

For a suitcase, or similar sized box self storage costs are quite reasonable.

 

Perhaps the best solution is a combination of two or more of the options.

Disaster Planning for Your Home

Well summer is almost upon us and I am reminded of a poem by Dorothea McKeller

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The poem is called My Country

I also love Australia, but there are plenty of potential terrors

As well as the large disasters such as Floods, Bush Fires, Cyclones, there are many events that may be a disaster to you on a more personal level. . . . .  so are you prepared?

Have you thought

    • How you might react in an emergency?
    • What you might need?
    • How your pets would be protected?
    • What is valuable to you?

Well the Red Cross, who have had a lot of experience in disasters, have provided some very useful information.

Check it out at the following link: RED CROSS – DISASTER PREPARATION

 

 

If you find it useful you might like to make a donation!

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.

Takeaway

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.”

 

 

Sliding Doors/Windows Security

Does your new home have sliding doors and or windows?

Did you know they aren’t very secure? . . . as they can easily be lifted out, even if they are locked.

Here is a low cost fix that stops that happening.

Its just a thin piece of wood screwed to the top door/window track with a self tapping screw.

The door slides under the wood to close, but once closed can’t be lifted.

Total cost around 10 cents and about 5 minutes of your time!

 

The Forced Outdoors – 5 Tips For Avoiding Being Locked Outside Your House

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

There is nothing quite on the level of being locked out of your home.

Depending if you live alone or not, this could mean waiting outside your house for hours on end, waiting for another housemate or family member to come home, or worst of all – calling an expensive locksmith to come and remedy the problem.

So you’re not left out in the cold, we’ve put together 5 tips that you can adhere to to avoid being locked out of your house ever again.

Get a spare key cut

This may seem obvious to most, but the more surefire way to making sure that you don’t get locked out of your house is to get a spare key cut.

Some people keep this key in a pot plant outside your house or under the welcome mat home, but perhaps this might not be good idea as this could be the first place someone would look.

Brian much prefers to use a combination key safe, and keeps the combination in his phone so he doesn’t forget it

However, if you do get locked out of your house and you need to call some locksmiths in Melbourne, having had a spare key already cut will limit the amount of effort and stress you will have to endure after the event.

Keep a key at a trusted person’s house

Once you have got a spare key cut, if you don’t want to keep this key on the premises of your home, a good idea is to keep it at a trusted family or friend’s house.

That way, if you do get locked out of your house for any reason, you can promptly call up this trusted person and get them to deliver the key or you can go and get it from them.

This is a safer option than having a spare key on the grounds of your home.

Have a designated ‘key spot’

One of the best ways to not get locked out of your house is to employ some effective prevention methods!

Make sure you have a designated ‘key spot’, for example on a hook right by the door, or in a dish that is on your bedside table.

Each and every time you come home, be sure to place your house key in this spot, and this will dramatically decrease your chance of losing the key or leaving home without it.

Become an organised person

Becoming an organised person is another great preventative measure that you can engage in to mitigate the chance of you becoming locked outside your house.

Each time, before you leave the house, do a mental check: keys, wallet, phone, diary, and any other belongings you may need to have on you that day.

Once you start these sorts of organised behaviours, it will only seem natural to continue them.

Don’t let one of the most annoying afflictions ever affect you again!

Make sure that each time you leave the house you do a mental check of everything you need for the day ahead.

What’s more, ensure you get a spare key cut, and leave it in a smart and safe place – whether this be on the premises of our home or at trusted family or friend’s residence.

Lastly, it’s always a great idea to have a designated ‘key spot’, as this will mean your key has a home, mitigating the chance of ever losing it.