Commercial security doors systems play an integral role in a comprehensive security system to keep commercial properties protected against external and internal threats.
Security doors for businesses are used to protect properties against threats such as unauthorized entry, burglary, fire or damage by severe weather conditions. Security door systems also form an important part of the structure of a building and, with the right choice of materials and finish, they can contribute to the overall design of the property.
However, despite their name, these doors cannot provide optimum security by themselves. They should be used in conjunction with commercial door locks, commercial wireless locks, access control systems and other security components, such as sensors, alarms and cameras to ensure the highest level of safety and security.
To help building owners, property managers and security professionals select the most appropriate types of commercial doors, this guide describes the application and benefits of commercial security doors in different materials, and explains the way they integrate with other security system components.
Requirements for commercial security doors
Security doors for business are not just a method of securing property; they make an important contribution to the quality of experience for occupants – employees or visitors to office buildings, tenants and their visitors in apartment complexes or guests in hotels or other hospitality venues.
When choosing a security door for commercial buildings, remember that the right doors can increase the value of the property and help to reduce maintenance costs and increase energy efficiency.
While doors for commercial buildings use similar materials to their equivalent residential doors, the demands on them differ in scale and complexity.
Commercial security doors must have the strength and durability to resist threats and cope with high traffic volumes and continuous use by larger numbers of occupants and visitors, with minimal maintenance. They must also have the performance to withstand different internal and external environmental conditions, sometimes in extreme weather conditions.
In certain applications, such as fire-rated doors or doors for emergency exits, they may have to meet local or national regulatory requirements.
Types of commercial doors
Commercial security doors are designed for both interior and exterior use and they are available in wood, metal or reinforced glass.
Exterior commercial security doors are usually stronger and designed to provide additional protection and insulation against rain, wind, snow and extreme temperatures. In some regions subject to extreme weather, commercial hurricane security doors are available to protect against strong winds and flying debris.
Interior security doors are generally lighter and less durable as they don’t have to cope with extreme environmental conditions; their primary role is to control access to restricted areas.
There are also heavy duty security doors designed for specific functions. Some examples of heavy duty security doors include fire-resistant doors, bullet-proof doors or doors that shield against radiation in areas such as laboratories or data centers.
How to choose the right type of commercial security door
When selecting doors for commercial buildings, it’s essential to take a number of important characteristics into account, including:
- Fire resistance
- Thermal efficiency
- Noise reduction
- Ease of maintenance
Wood or metal security doors meet many basic requirements and are the most widely used materials for commercial security door systems. As mentioned earlier, heavy duty security doors are recommended if you need extremely robust doors that are bullet-proof or fire resistant.
Reinforced-glass doors are used in commercial buildings, but their durability and security properties are significantly lower than wood or metal equivalents. They may be chosen for lower-security applications, such as lockable office doors where appearance is more important than other characteristics.
Commercial wood security doors
Wood is a natural material that offers strong performance characteristics and great design choices to enhance many different types of commercial properties.
Wood doors for commercial applications are generally constructed from multiple layers of material. In addition to a solid wood central core, they incorporate outer layers of laminate in different grades and finishes.
The core determines the primary strength of the door, as well as the level of insulation and soundproofing, while the laminate provides additional reinforcement as well as finished appearance. The laminates are attached to the core using a combination of adhesives, resin, heat and pressure to create a durable structure.
Benefits of commercial wood security doors
Wood doors offer a number of benefits for security and other selection factors.
- Security and durability – The multi-layer construction of these doors provides good resistance to impact or damage from attempted break-ins or severe weather, as well as wear and tear from heavy traffic and frequent use.
- Fire resistance – Wood doors can act as an important barrier in the event of a fire by reducing the speed at which flames and smoke can spread. It’s important to note that fire-resistant doors in key positions must meet local requirements for fire safety to ensure protection of the property and its occupants.
- Thermal efficiency – Wood doors can contribute to increased energy efficiency. The solid core provides an important level of insulation that acts as a barrier to cold air and helps maintain cooler air in hot weather. This can reduce both heating and air conditioning bills and improve overall energy consumption.
- Noise reduction – Wood doors absorb sound and have good acoustic properties which can help reduce noise-spill from hallways, stairways or other adjacent areas. This helps create quieter working or living conditions for occupants.
- Appearance – Wood doors are available in a wide range of styles and finishes, which makes it easy for owners, designers and architects to choose doors that blend with the existing architecture and aesthetic of the building.
- Availability – Wood doors are widely available in different sizes, grades and methods of construction. They can also be easily cut to size to fit non-standard door spaces.
- Ease of maintenance – Wood doors from reputable sources should be able to withstand high levels of normal use without damage to the surface. However, they can be resurfaced and refinished easily, which will maintain their appearance in pristine condition.
Steel or metal security doors
Commercial steel security doors or doors made of aluminum provide greater durability, which is why many metal security door designs are suitable as an exterior door. High-security steel interior security doors can also provide better protection in high-risk locations. A security door for commercial buildings can be made of solid metal, or hollow metal. Because solid metal doors are extremely heavy, hollow doors are more widely used as interior steel security doors and in exterior security applications.
Hollow metal doors are heavy-duty security doors manufactured from aluminum, steel or stainless-steel panels. They have a metal outer surface with a hollow core between the panels. The core is designed to absorb and disperse the force of any impact on the outer surface. This multi-layer construction reduces the risk of damage such as dents or cracks. The core’s ability to absorb impact also makes it difficult for intruders to force a commercial steel security door open.
Benefits of metal security doors
Metal doors offer a number of benefits for security and other selection factors.
- Security – The strength offered by the multi-layer construction makes hollow metal doors an effective choice for interior or exterior security applications. Some metal doors can be supplied in ultra-strong materials to resist gunfire and major impact, acting as ideal lockdown doors.
- Durability – Metal doors are resistant to environmental factors such as humidity, strong winds, water and extreme temperatures. These doors have the durability to stand up to the wear and tear of high levels of traffic and constant use.
- Fire resistance – Metal has good fire-resistance, making it suitable for fire-rated security doors. Depending on the design, commercial steel and interior steel security doors can also be supplied with ultra-high fire rating requirements.
- Thermal efficiency – Metal doors with hollow cores offer good insulation properties by acting as a barrier against strong winds or incoming cold or extremely hot air. They can help to maintain cooler temperatures when air conditioning is in operation. In addition to reducing energy costs, metal security doors can help to eliminate the risk of fluctuating temperatures in buildings housing temperature-sensitive products.
- Appearance – Metal doors are available in an extensive range of styles and colors. Metal doors can also be custom-finished to resemble the appearance of other materials.
- Availability – These doors are widely available in different sizes, weights and grades.
- Ease of maintenance – Metal security doors require minimal maintenance. They do not dent or scratch easily and are rust-resistant, helping to reduce long-term maintenance costs.
Integrating security systems with security doors
Commercial security doors add an essential first line of defense against intruders and other risks. However, their role is fairly limited. To provide complete protection for property and people, it’s necessary to add other layers of security, such as electric or magnetic strike locks, access control systems, security cameras, sensors and alarms, to monitor activity, manage movement within the building and improve situational awareness and response.
Advanced security door locking systems
Traditional lock and key systems are simply not adequate for commercial property security. Keys can be easily lost, stolen, shared or duplicated so that it becomes extremely difficult to identify who is entering a building or a restricted area. It may be an intruder or a person who does not have the necessary permission to enter.
That makes it essential to fit commercial security doors with an electric locking mechanism. By replacing traditional lock strike plates with electronic ones, property owners can now require more advanced physical security measures to ensure only authorized persons are able to unlock the door. Educational settings may also benefit from implementing more complex school door locks to secure the property.
As well as eliminating the risk of lost or stolen keys, these locks provide an extremely strong locking force, making it difficult for intruders to force them open.
Access control for security doors
Designed to manage access by identifying, validating, authorizing and recording each individual entering a building or a specific restricted area, commercial access control systems and door readers add an additional layer of security to your building. With the right tools in place, these systems increase the level of situational awareness and strengthen security posture.
This type of system requires users to present access credentials at a security door reader in order to identify them from a database of authorized users and then grant or deny access. This enables regular users such as employees in an office complex or tenants in an apartment block to gain access quickly and easily, while keeping unauthorized people out.
When connected to a commercial security door, teams have more comprehensive information on access activity in the building, including potential incidents such as a door being forced open or an unauthorized entry attempt. This enables security teams to quickly identify and respond to potential security concerns.
Motorola Solutions Access Control Manager (ACM)
Secure commercial doors and protect your most important assets with ACM:
- 100% browser-based management
- Open-platform hardware support for deployment flexibility, including wireless lock integrations
- Unification with Avigilon Control Center (ACC) video management software
- FIPS 201 – 2 compliant and on the GSA Approved Product List
- Mobile-enabled solution with the ACM Expedite app and mobile integrations
Video security cameras
Adding video security cameras to the mix increases security even further by providing security professionals with greater visibility into activity inside and outside a commercial building. The increased level of situational awareness enables security teams to detect and respond rapidly to incidents.
A security door in a commercial building usually is there to further restrict access. A well-placed network of video cameras should also enable security teams to monitor security doors for businesses. With the ability to analyze live or recorded feeds and identify incidents that require response or further investigation, video security cameras can act as 24/7 eyes on the commercial security doors where properties may be the most vulnerable.
Intruder alarms and sensors
Fitting alarms and sensors to commercial security doors strengthens security at the door by ensuring that security teams receive immediate notifications of any attempt to break into a building or a restricted area. Sensors detect attempts to bypass the lock system or to force a door. It then triggers an alarm or sends an automated notification to the security team, enabling them to investigate or respond.
Smoke and fire sensors and alarms
Used in conjunction with fire-resistant commercial security doors, these sensors and alarms are a vital safety feature, protecting tenants and the property. Smart models send notifications via the Internet to alert security teams to take action while the security doors slow down the spread of fire through the building.
Moving towards smart security solutions
Adding additional layers of security to security doors for business enhances the value and performance of the doors. However, if the various security devices operate as standalone, siloed systems, that can prevent safety and security teams from having a holistic view of activity in the building. It’s important to develop a single integrated system that provides a single view of all activity.
Successful integrations depend on digital security cameras and other devices and systems built to open standards. This enables security professionals to work with systems integrators to develop smart solutions that support incident management based on shared security information.
Planning a commercial security door solution
There is no standard, one-size-fits-all solution for commercial building security. The mix of security door types and other security system components is driven by a number of factors, including location, layout, types of threat, property values, compliance requirements and costs.
Location and types of threat are related factors. If a commercial property is located in an area with historically high crime rates or recent increases in crime, particularly burglary, then it’s essential to review existing security measures to identify any vulnerabilities.
Figures from the FBI, for example, indicate that victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3 billion in property losses in 2019. The report also found that 55.7 percent of burglaries involved forcible entry, while 37.8 percent were unlawful entries.
The value of the property and the type of contents held on the property can also be a determining factor. Luxury apartments, for example, retail outlets, such as jewelers, or office blocks where there are likely to be many laptops or other forms of technology make attractive targets for criminals.
Map out security doors for business and commercial sites
The layout of the property is also an important consideration when selecting security doors for commercial buildings. How many external doors need to be secured? Remember, this may include more than just entries – loading bays, delivery doors and emergency exits are all vulnerable areas. Each of those would benefit from effective commercial security doors, access control hardware and software, and intrusion detection sensors and alarms.
Within the building, there may be areas that require restricted access, including data centers, product development areas, research laboratories, conference rooms or senior executive offices. Here, security doors, access control systems and security cameras are essential.
Consider industry requirements and local regulations
The type of commercial building may also affect the level of protection needed from security doors. In a government facility, airport or law enforcement building, heavy-duty commercial steel security doors are more likely needed than in a school or office complex.
The number and location of fire-resistant security doors and fire and smoke alarms will be determined by safety policies and compliance requirements. The local fire department can provide advice on the right level of protection for individual buildings.
Collaborate with key stakeholders
Planning a commercial security solution and selecting the most appropriate security doors can be a complex, time-consuming task. It should involve owners, property managers, security professionals and other stakeholders, such as residents’ representatives in an apartment complex or representatives of businesses in an office block.
It can also be useful to work with a professional security installer or integrator based in the area. Local installers understand the security risks in their area and can provide valuable advice on the level of security needed for commercial building doors. They can also carry out detailed surveys to identify vulnerabilities and recommend solutions tailored to each property or zone within a building.
Professional security door and systems installers can also help develop estimated costs for different types of security doors and other components. By comparing those costs with the potential value of loss to the property, it is possible to determine a budget that balances costs with risk.
What is the right commercial security door solution for your business?
Property owners, property managers and security professionals should take many different factors into consideration when selecting the type of commercial doors and related security systems and components for their commercial building.
The ideal solution should provide protection, maximize security and safety and prevent loss, damage or other issues, while maintaining an environment that ensures the best possible experience for occupants and visitors to property.
There are a wide selection of door choices available, including interior and exterior security doors, double security doors, bulletproof doors, and wood and metal doors, so make sure to do your research before diving into any investment.
As this guide explains, there are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions, but there are many choices of doors and security components that make it possible to develop a customized solution for any commercial business.
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