I've been writing on DenGarden for over 5 years and have over 25 years of experience working in the window and door trade.
How to Get in Through a Locked PVC Door
First of all, this is not a guide to help people break into other people's houses. Because people who would do that already know how to break in through a door.
This is to help people make their doors more secure and to prevent people from breaking in. Below are some of the main ways people get through a door. Have a read and see how the door will hold up.
Some Locks Are Easily Forced Open. We all like to think that our door is nice and secure with that multi-point locking system. If it locks in six different places, no one could force their way through, right? But the trouble is if the door is not fitted right or if its sash is not made properly, you can pop open one of these locks in less than 10 seconds.
(This is not the case with all locks. The locks with hooks or shoot bolts built-in can not be popped open and if you are thinking of getting a new door, make sure you have either the hook or shoot bolts in your lock.)
The lock that you need to watch out for is the 4 cam roller lock with tongue and deadbolt. In factory tests, it is impossible to pop open because the deadbolt prevents it. But in the real world, it's easy to pop it open. When the door is being made and welded, it often happens that the welder melts a bit too much of the door sash. So now when the lock is fitted, it does not have the recommended cover to prevent the door from being popped open. Also, if the frame is not fixed properly to the wall, then when a nail bar is used to prise it open, the frame will move back and allow the lock to be popped open.
A burglar does not know what type of lock you have, but they will try to pop the lock open first, and if that fails they will then look at the hinge side.
A door panel is the solid part of the door. Well, it looks solid, but in fact, it is only two plastic skins filled with Styrofoam in the centre. You can get these panels reinforced (and most window companies would use reinforced panels), but it is cheaper for a window company to buy the panels without reinforcement.
To look at them, you can't tell the difference. But if someone knows what he is doing, he can go through an unreinforced panel in sixty seconds. A handheld blowtorch will burn a hole big enough for a person to go through in a minute or less. The reason a person would choose this method is if there's an alarm sensor on the door. They won't set it off because the door sash frame won't move.
Most people think the glass in the door is the weakest spot. But door glass is usually safety glass, which is very hard to break, and will also make a lot of noise if broken. So if an expert thief is going to break glass, he will just go to a window first.
This is when someone snaps your door cylinder, then slides in a new one and opens your door. The part they snap is the cylinder (were the key goes in). What they do is grip the cylinder with a vice grip, then move it over and back. Sometimes they might also have to break of some of the handles to get a good grip, but if the cylinder is sticking out enough, they won't have to.
The best way to prevent this from happing is to have anti-snap cylinders fitted. They can be fitted in a matter of seconds. If you are going to replace the cylinders yourself, then first take out the old one and measure the length plus measure from outside to centre screw hole. Once you have the measurements, you can then just buy your new cylinders online or call down to your local window company. Some hardware stores now also stock them. But just make sure that it is an anti-snap cylinder that you get as there are many different types on the market
Unscrewing the Hinges
If your PVC door opens outwards, that means your hinges are on the outside. Some hinges have a security cap covering the screws and the only way to get this off is when the door is opened.
But a lot of door hinges have only a cap that clips on, so a person only has to unclip the cap and unscrew the screws, and in they go. This will only take about 90 seconds to do with a battery screwdriver.
Some window fabricators fit a security claw to the door so if someone does unscrew the hinges, the door still won't open on the hinge side. But this is an extra cost to the fabricator and these security claws are left off most doors.
Some burglars may take a different approach and decide not to go near the locks or hinges, but will instead try and go through the door panel.
- If you are getting a new door, just make sure you have a good locking system with hooks or shoot bolts built in.
- If your door opens outwards, than make sure a security claw is fitted to the hinge side and if your door comes with a panel make sure it is a reinforced panel.
- But if you already have new windows and doors, the best thing you can do is look for ways to upgrade them. Because if a burglar can't get access to your home within a few minutes, the chances are they will just move onto the next house.
Tip : Shoot bolts can be fitted to 4 cam roller locks plus a security claw can also be fitted to a door. even if the door has being fitted a good few years. To change a door panel is more costly but if you are looking to change your door style than just make sure your new panel is reinforced.
Images showing different door parts
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
StepAhead Security on November 20, 2013:
Hi Martin great post. We sell security products on line from our website (which I'm not allowed promote) and anti snap cylinders have been the biggest sellers for the last couple of years but today we where called out to a house which had the outer and inter pvc doors popped open. The doors were around 2 years old and where fitted with the 4 cam roller lock with tongue and dead bolt which were still in the locked position when the owner returned home after been out for 15 minutes.
There was very little marks left on the doors so it looks as doe it didn't take much of an effort to pop the 2 doors open. We are based in Ireland and this is the first time I have come across this way of bye passing this type of lock hence the search on line and coming across this blog. I also feel changing to hooks or shoot bolts would make it harder to pop the door open. Thanks again for the post Mick at StepAhead Security
Mark mccann on October 21, 2013:
As most people know there are other methods of breaking into properties more easier than the above mentioned,lock snapping is a big problem just now,easiest solution is to upgrade handles and locks
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on August 30, 2012:
Hi Martin, welcome to Hubpages.
I was worried there a minute when I saw your title. But as I can see, you were just guiding us what to do if your door is actually easy to break through. Thanks for the tips.