Share Page

What is a security door? | Door guide

30 March 2023
Share Page

Security doors have performance requirements

Have you ever asked yourself the question: What exactly is a security door? Most people may recognize a security door by its appearance, but may find it difficult to pinpoint the actual differences between simple doors and security doors. On this page, we will help you clarify some of the major differences. In practice, what is called a security door is nothing more than an extra reinforced door. But to be called an official security door, the door needs to be approved and tested by an accredited security body. The door is tested for varying degrees of burglary attempts, using different types of tools. The lowest rated doors resist attacks with simple tools for a shorter period of time, while the higher rated doors resist attacks with heavier professional tools for a longer period of time. The aim of the test is to ensure that Swedish security doors are burglary-proof enough to function when the danger arrives. The available protection classes are RC1 to RC5.

How do I know if I have a security door?

If your door has one of these protection classes (RC1-RC5), you know that you have a quality-tested and type-approved security door. You can usually check this by opening the door and looking at the door leaf. The manufacturer's name, the door's protection class and fire class should be printed there.

Is it a legal requirement to have a protected door?

The simple answer is no. Instead, it will be up to the individual companies to security classify their doors via, for example, SBSC or RISE. Classification companies need to relate to the European security standard SS-EN 1627 when classifying the doors. Most companies need to meet the market's high requirements for security classification, both from an ethical and a competitive point of view. Today, real estate companies, construction companies, authorities and companies place high demands on door manufacturers. Hence, a security rated door becomes a standard in the industry. When it comes to apartments, RC1 is the most common and when we talk about entrances, basements, parking garages, conference rooms and company buildings, RC2 and RC3 are the most common.

 

What is a security door
Door handle of a lower-rated security door

Difference between a regular front door and a security door

The security door is usually made entirely or partly of steel and has a thicker door leaf, frame and locking device. In a security door, the locking device and openings in the door are also more hidden and protected. This creates a more compact whole that does not invite any obvious weaknesses or ways to break in. One of the major differences is that a security door is always made of steel while an external door is in most cases made entirely or partly of wood. A security door usually has a steel-reinforced frame and threshold, an anti-breakage device and a security-rated and electronic locking device. Many security doors also have two locks. In comparison, a standard front door has a wooden frame and threshold, rarely has a breaker and has simpler mechanical locking devices. Some people also keep their patio or balcony door as a kind of front door. These doors generally have lower overall protection than a low-rated front door. However, there are appropriate reinforcements that can be made to increase the protection of a patio or balcony door. A window door is in most cases locked by a espagnolette which may have a non-lockable or lockable lock case. A lockable lock case is the more secure option and means that the handle can be locked from the inside. For increased security, it is also preferable to have your window doors equipped with a espagnolette that has 3-4 locking points and preferably drop bolts that attach well to the frame.

The differences may seem insignificant and an ordinary front door may appear robust and stable. But the difference between how easy it is to break open an unrated front door and the lowest rated security door is significant.

Wooden security doors

Many people probably think that a security door must be steel-clad, like a cellar door. But this is not the case. Companies have been manufacturing wood-clad steel doors for a long time to meet the increased security needs of primarily apartment dwellers. These doors can be ordered from door manufacturers, and in many cases you can replace your front door with a more aesthetically pleasing security door.

What can I do myself to improve the security of my door?

Whatever door you currently have, there are a number of simple things you can do yourself to improve the security of your door, and thus make a potential burglary attempt more difficult.

  • Installing a breaker cover

    One of the easiest, best and most affordable improvements you can make to your door, whether it's a regular door or a security door. A deadbolt costs no more than a few hundred dollars at most but gives a burglar a much tougher challenge. It is also possible to buy a break-in protection that runs along the entire height of the door. This is more difficult to install, but is even more secure than a standard breaker, which only covers the area around the handle.

  • Buy a new lock with a curved bolt

    If you have a standard lock, it is recommended to invest in a lock with a more robust bolt. The bolt is one of the door components that is most resistant to burglary. If it is also more robust, or if there are more than two, a break-in will be more difficult.

  • Install a padlock or equivalent

    In case the thief tries to force the door after it has been opened, a padlock is an inexpensive insurance policy to successfully close the door.

  • Set up a bolt lock

    A simple set of locks that probably won't make much of a difference if the door is broken, but can add some extra security to the whole. Given the cost and ease of installation, a deadbolt lock is still something worth considering.

Of course, the very best way to increase the security of your door is to increase the protection class of your door. You can have a custom-made door made to suit your needs at most door companies. Then you can choose the color, handle and suitable locking system. In many cases, it is also possible to buy a door closer, opening button, alarm, code lock, letter drop and much more.

 

What is a security door
Use of a code lock for a higher rated security door

What is the function of a security door?

It should protect people and businesses from unauthorized persons. It should also act as a deterrent, in that if a potential burglar sees a proper burglar-proof door, in many cases it may be enough to stop the burglary from taking place. An RC3 or RC4 requires an almost constant assault for 5-10 minutes, with heavy tools making a lot of noise. This is not something a thief wants to expose himself to, as there is often a high risk of not succeeding, or being caught during the attack because of all the noise. Therefore, in the vast majority of cases, a security door and associated devices act as an insurance against burglary.

A security door is not complete without a secure lock.

For all RC-rated doors, the lock cases must be approved according to the SS-EN 12209 standard. Different requirements are set depending on the classification that the RC door must achieve. In many cases, it is the lock and the area around it that is the main point of attack for a burglar. It goes without saying that if the lock is too weak, it doesn't matter how solid and impenetrable the rest of the door is. Security doors are almost always built with ready-made spaces for electronic locks and extra reinforcements around them to make them very difficult to access. Electronic locks are by design much more difficult to attack as the lock case itself is much more protected than a regular door lock. In addition, an electronic lock, an electric strike plate or motor strike plate, can be connected to an alarm center and an access control system. This creates extra dimensions of difficulty for a thief. For example, with an electronic lock, keyholes can be excluded, making the door even more difficult to break open. It also removes the possibility of breaking in by actually getting hold of a key.

 

What is a security door
RC3-rated steel glass partition with door closers and a code lock linked to the surveillance system.

Safety is in the overall solution

The big difference between a security door and a regular door, however, is the possibility of a 24-hour connection to a camera and alarm center, which is activated at the slightest attempt to attack and sends police or security guards to the scene. Put into perspective that most security doors require attack via professional tools from experienced burglars for up to 10 minutes, sometimes more. This creates a very secure overall solution that deters most burglars.

A security door is fireproof

As a rule, both exterior doors and security doors must be fireproof according to EI30 and gas-tight according to S200. However, it is only a legal requirement that all newly installed doors to stairwells must be both fire-rated and gas-tight. With regard to other doors in a building, it is up to the property owner or developer to follow current safety and fire protection guidelines.

In Sweden, there are laws that state that entrance doors in apartments must protect against fire for at least 30 minutes, regardless of whether they are new apartments or doors being replaced in existing apartment buildings. Boverket has specified this in the building regulations, BBR section 5:534, which came into force on January 1, 2013. Security doors to apartments must therefore have a fire rating of at least EI30, which means that the door meets the requirements for integrity (E) and insulation (I) for 30 minutes.

It is of course also possible to order doors with a higher fire rating, such as EI60/A60. In Sweden, doors are usually used that prevent fire spread for 30, 60 or 120 minutes, which is indicated in their fire rating, such as EI30 and A60. The requirements mean that the doors must prevent flames from escaping through the door to a degree that could cause a fire, and must not exceed a certain temperature for a given time.

sound insulation

A security door protects against noise and disturbance, creating a more pleasant environment, whether it is a security door for a home or a public building. In Sweden, sound class 35 dB is the most common sound insulation for security doors, while sound classes 40 dB and 45 dB are mainly used in environments with higher sound requirements, such as government agencies, institutions and businesses with high levels of confidentiality.

Sound ratings are used to describe how well a door or wall insulates sound. The higher the sound class, the better the insulation against sound. For example, sound class 25 dB means that conversations at normal levels can be heard and understood on the other side of the door or wall, while sound class 50 dB means that conversations, shouts and screams are no longer perceived by the human ear.

In sound class 30 dB, conversations at normal level can be heard faintly and can be listened to. Conversations at normal level cannot be understood in sound class 35 dB, but can be heard to some extent at elevated sound levels. In sound class 40 dB, conversations cannot be heard, but shouts and screams are faintly audible. At 45 dB, conversations cannot be heard and shouts and screams are no longer heard at all.

Would you also like to read our buying guide?

Proceed