Home Security

How Does a Commercial Door & Hardware Compare to Residential?

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One of the biggest concerns when it comes to owning or running a business or other commercial venture is security. If your building isn’t properly secure, your company faces more than just serious financial risk. The safety of your employees may be at stake as well. That’s why it’s critical to put the security of your building in the hands of professionals who are experienced with commercial structures. Naturally, security starts right at the entrance to your building. It must begin at the door. 

When it comes to the installation of secure doors for a place of business, simply having experience with residential properties is not enough; as this article will demonstrate, there’s a great deal of difference between a commercial door and its hardware, and that of a residential one. We’ll compare and contrast a few of those differences below. 

Think About Use

Before we begin to break down the differences between commercial doors and residential ones, we should discuss exactly why they are constructed differently. Are residential doors less secure? Don’t those in private homes value their security? Well, the answer isn’t that the residential doors are less secure; quite the opposite, in fact, if they’ve been installed by a reliable company like Harry’s Locksmith, the door of your residence will be incredibly secure. 

However, there is still a difference and you cannot simply put the same door as you would in your house and use it for your business. Unless you have a positively enormous family all sharing one house, your residence simply doesn’t get the type of traffic that a place of business does. 

If you own a store or any other type of business frequented by the public, then you can potentially have hundreds of guests in a day. That’s hundreds of hands grabbing your doorknob and turning it, and pulling your door open and closed. With that much use, a door made for a residence would simply drop off after a very short period of time. So for a commercial building, you’ll simply need something more heavy-duty. 

The Strength of Your Door

When you’re shopping for a commercial door, you may have noticed a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) sign where they are sold. The UL simply means the door has been tested to meet all the safety requirements that have been set in the case of a fire. 

Next to the UL sign, you may see the phrase, “Conforms with ANSI.” ANSI is the American National Standards Institute and is responsible for setting standards for many things, not just doors. This entity is responsible for quality control when it comes to selling door hardware for commercial buildings. ANSI will test door hardware for strength and longevity and issue a grade. The strongest and most heavy duty doors will receive Grade 1. Public buildings that see thousands of visitors, such as hospitals or schools, will use Grade 1 doors. 

The next most durable door hardware will receive a rating of Grade 2. Grade 2 doors are used for commercial buildings that receive less traffic. Smaller businesses and offices generally make use of these. They are also used in certain residential buildings, such as apartments. Finally, the simplest rating is Grade 3. Grade 3 rated doors are perfect for low-traffic buildings and also work well inside of homes. They are generally not suitable for commercial structures. 

It’s About More Than Strength

A commercial door should have hardware with a high ANSI rating, but that’s not all it needs. Residential doors that are used in the home do not need to comply with the often strict codes and laws that businesses have to follow. 

Your door must not only be secure, but it must also be accessible. So when you are thinking of getting a new commercial door for your business, you should also check if it is ADA Compliant

ADA stands for the Americans With Disabilities Act and is a U.S. law designed to make commercial buildings safe and accessible for all. This is where shopping for a door for a business can get a little tricky; a door can be very safe and secure, but not technically comply with the ADA regulations. If that’s the case, you’ll most likely need to look elsewhere. 

An ADA compliant door must be able to be accessed with an opening force of five pounds or less. In other words, it must be lightweight as well as strong. The door handle or knob, as well as any latches or locks, must be simple to operate; they cannot require any tight grasping or the twisting of the wrist. There are many more ADA guidelines that you should familiarize yourself with before installing a commercial door. Visit this link on the United States Access Board website for more information. 

Security Matters

Another major difference between a residential door and a commercial door is how they are secured. Unlike residences, businesses are often accessed through electrical doors as well as more conventional ones. They may also have electrified locks, keyless entry or other digital means of access. You may also have, depending on your staffing, many copies of the door key in the hands of various employees. Because of this, you may need to change your locks a lot more regularly than you would for a residence. You may also need to order high-security or restricted keys. 

Regularly, even if your business has faced no known security threats, you’ll want to upgrade your door to the newest locks. The security of your building may depend on it. 

Getting a Commercial Door Installed

Since having a commercial door installed in your place of business requires specialized knowledge and skill, you’ll need to find a locksmith that specializes in the right type of door hardware. Recommended by Three Best Rated as the top locksmith in the Vancouver, WA area, Harry’s Locksmith is the perfect example of a company that can help you with all your needs – commercial and residential – and they have the benefit of experience since they’ve been in the business for decades. Call us today for any questions you may have regarding the security of your commercial building.


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7 Tips on How to Secure Your Vacation Home

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Summer may be over. But before you jet back home, get back to business, and drop off the kids at school, remember to secure your vacation home first. While the number of burglaries has steadily decreased, down 37.1% compared to 2008, in 2017 there were an estimated 1.4 million burglaries in the US (according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program). 

Secure your vacation home so you don’t fall prey to property damage, theft, or burglary. Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.4 billion in property losses in 2017. The average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,416. Burglaries of residential properties accounted for 67.2 percent of all burglary offenses. The impact of a home invasion isn’t just the financial loss. There’s the emotional loss of losing keepsakes and memorabilia.

Here are 7 tips on securing your vacation home to help prevent burglaries and the like while you’re not on-site.

  1. Secure all points of ingress and egress before you leave. This means securing all windows, doors, sliding doors, mandoors, and all other openings before you leave. A simple trick for sliding doors and windows is to place a wooden dowel or pvc pipe in the door track. There are “security door bars” that you can buy for upwards of $50 but you can DIY with a PVC pipe that will get the job done too. 
  2. Make the property look lived in. Give the appearance that someone is home. Consider leaving some of the drapes open, leaving the kitchen range lamp on, and using programmable timers on lamps. Sun-light activated timers are a solid option that aren’t susceptible to power outages.
  3. Hire a caretaker. If your vacation property is far away, consider hiring someone to take care of the yard and pick up the mail. You can also install motion sensor lights near the doorways to spook anyone walking by. No one needs to know that the property is vacant! An unkempt and a dark home is a prime target for burglars. 
  4. Change the locks. After you’ve purchased your vacation home, it’s a smart idea to rekey your locks. Rekeying the locks ensures that all previous keys for the home won’t work anymore. You have no idea if the previous owners, tenants, and guests have kept copies of their keys. Read more about rekeying locks here. Another option is to have a digital lock installed by a reputable locksmith. 
  5. Don’t leave your spare keys in an obvious spot. For example, the mailbox, welcome mat, or fake rocks are some of the more obvious places. The doormat is usually the first place anyone, including a burglar, would look. Where’s a non-obvious place to hide a key? With your neighbor! While this isn’t necessarily hiding the key, if you have a neighbor you can trust, this is also a solid option for protecting yourself against a lockout.
  6. Install a home security system. There’s so many affordable home security systems ranging from simple keyless entry locks and deadbolts to Bluetooth systems that will alert you via text or email if a door or glass is broken. You can also monitor your property with a camera system that will trigger a siren if anyone gets too close and alert local police if anything is broken into. Home security systems can help provide peace of mind and security for your vacation home or second home while you’re away.
  7. Befriend your neighbors. If some of your neighbors are year-round residents, ask them to check on your place occasionally and make sure they have a way to contact you. Also alert them if your having work done on your house. Porch even recommends not posting your plans on social media and just tell those you trust.

Investing in strong locks, regular rekeys, security systems, common sense, and video surveillance equipment are a priority when securing your vacation home. If you have questions about securing your vacation home, second home, primary home, or business, call us for recommendations on home security systems, hardware upgrades, and rekeying locks.