By Frank Fourchalk, Owner of White Rock Lock And Key Ltd
There’s something about watching new homes being built from the ground up that’s humbling to a novice carpenter like me. I’m referring to skilled tradesmen working hard producing finely crafted homes where care and attention win over sloppy workmanship every time.
The finished product often includes magnificent kitchens, inviting bathrooms and cosy media rooms with exquisite custom casings, baseboards, mantels and crown mouldings. But there’s one question I often ask myself while meandering through these dwellings: “What about the security?”
I have to admit – I rarely spot good home security in today’s new-home market and this is something that should be highly apparent before placing your signature on the dotted line. Often, buying decisions are made on the size of kitchens and bathrooms with little consideration given to the importance of a complete home protection package.
As a person who’s dedicated a good part of his life to the safety and security of homeowners, it’s difficult for me to comprehend the fact that many new homebuyers are more interested in crown mouldings than full coverage security.
I’m not saying to quit looking at beautiful bathrooms and kitchens when considering your new home purchase. But if you’re in the market for a new house, you need to add home security to your list of prerequisites. After all, keeping your family safe should be priority one.
So why aren’t we seeing higher grades of hardware and complete alarm systems as standard equipment in today’s new homes? New homes are byproducts of supply and demand. If the trend is bathrooms and kitchens, then bathrooms and kitchens it is.
So how can new homebuyers receive better home security as “matter of fact” equipment? They can start by insisting to see higher standards of locks and alarms as regular items on the feature sheets.
Once the demand is there for better home security, you’ll see the industries’ priorities change, making the effort to satisfy homebuyers. Don’t get caught spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the purchase of a new home, fill it full of your life’s possessions and rely on a $30 deadbolt and a 99-cent key to keep the “bad guys” out.
Many folks don’t think about inferior locks because for the most part, they look through the inexpensive door hardware on the way to those gorgeous kitchens and bathrooms. In other words, cheap locks have become accepted as long as the kitchen has an island and the ensuite a soaker tub.
New-home buyers need to reconsider their needs, not their wants. Needs that should find builders installing 200-watt metal halide cube light fixtures with vandal-proof lenses to the exterior.
Full-coverage burglar alarms should be standard equipment in new homes, with alarm contacts on all windows and doors, including upstairs.
Exterior doors should be solid wood construction, assuring a good sturdy surface for the installation of a high-security deadbolt. This combination will guarantee you maximum protection against a forced entry attempt.
Every new home should have a built-in video intercom installed. With the decreasing costs of this type of technology, there is no excuse not to have one of these units installed as standard equipment. This allows you to view and speak to visitors at your front door without having to open it.
Windows in hidden areas should be made of the strongest security glass available. Sliding glass doors should be secured with strong auxiliary locks and anti-lift shims installed in the top of the frame.
To prevent prying doors open, out-swinging doors should have blocker plates or astragals (full length plates) to seal off the gap between the door and the frame. A blocker plate would prevent a would-be burglar from prying between the door and the frame to gain entry. And builders should ensure phone lines are protected with steel reinforced boxes to prevent tampering.
Keep in mind that making the right security decisions today will protect you and your family in the future.