The Anatomy of a Commercial Door & Locking System

Think about the way you enter your business at the start of the workday: you open a door. At the end of the day, you lock up after the last customer or client has left the building.

These are simple tasks-so simple, in fact, that they're easy to take for granted. But if your door breaks or your locking system fails you, suddenly your entire building is compromised. That's why you need strong doors and a top-notch security system on your side.

It all begins with the doors you choose, followed by the locking system and accessories you implement. Before you can predict the success of your building's security system, you have to do more than rely on the elements that were in place when you leased the building. You need to investigate each door's anatomy.

Here's what to look for in a secure commercial door system.

Durable Materials

Think of the door itself. Is it glass with an aluminum frame? Or is it a solid metal fire door?

The doors you choose all depend on their function. For example, you choose an entry door as a visible symbol of your business, an inviting point of access, and a protection against weather or break-ins. By contrast, your side or rear doors may include features that make exits easy during an emergency.

Rear or fire doors are usually solid or hollow metal doors with locking panic bars. Because they don't offer primary access to the building, they don't include glass inserts.

Regardless of your door's build, it includes several common components:

  • The door frame - Usually made from metal in most commercial buildings
  • The door and door closer - Built to allow easy function on the way in and a smooth closure
  • Top and bottom pivots/rollers - Created to roll on guide channels for smooth function; pivots allow for optimum door clearance
  • Security, wind-resistant, and/or insulated glass - Works well for entrance doors in businesses
  • Heavy-duty hardware - Crafted to bear the weight of large doors
  • Traditional or keyless locks - Include multiple latch, strike plate, and cylinder options
  • Exit and panic bars - Allow easy exit from the inside of the building or (in case of emergency) avoid dangerous delays by offering additional exit routes

If these components are durable, they'll also keep your entry and exit points secure.

Secure Locking Systems
Next, consider the level of security you demand for your business property. Will a locking exit bar be adequate for your main entrance? Will you need a security grate inside your entrance doors? Will each door have a separate key code?

These are questions every business owner needs to answer before choosing an expensive system. Additionally, some doors on your property may require panic bar installation. You need to decide if those doors will trigger separate alarms or if all doors will connect to the same system.

If you're in an historic building, pay attention to old locking systems. If you have double glass entry systems, you may be able to get by with only the outer doors having secure keyless systems while the inner doors use traditional locks. Either way, call your commercial locksmith to do a thorough inspection of your property.

Another important element is to assess your neighbourhood before you upgrade. Find out what the crime statistics are near your business, and plan accordingly.

If you wonder which locking systems work best for a business, investigate electric strike locks first.

Advantages of Electric Strikes
As the name implies, electric strike systems operate by electrical currents. These currents engage your lock and move the door either forward or backward. To activate the lock, an employee swipes a magnetic card through a card reader or allows an electronic eye to read the data on the card. The card then allows the electric strike lock to open.

Before you ask your commercial locksmith to install this kind of lock, be certain you know if you want doors to stay closed or open during power failures (there are 2 kinds of strike locks that allow for either action).

You'll also need to coordinate your electric strike system with a thicker door construction and safeguard your electronic card use. But for the investment, you can't beat electric strike locks for the ultimate protection against break-ins.

Advantages of Traditional Locks
If your building or budget is modest, you may benefit from a traditional commercial locking system. Consider these options:

  • Deadbolt or double deadbolt for added strength
  • Pry-resistant deadbolts
  • Rim or cam locks
  • Traditional keyless entry options

Additionally, you should look for removable cylinders if you anticipate making new keys on a regular basis. Find out if your system allows for a free-wheeling lever (this is when the outside lever is locked).

Finally, choose your lock grade. Standard systems are durable, but if you're concerned about risk, choose a medium or heavy-duty system.

Remember, your locksmith is your best ally when it comes to protecting your business. If you think it's time to upgrade your business's security, contact your commercial locksmith at Davies Lock & Door that services Toronto, Richmond Hill, Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough for a property inspection. You will gain peace of mind and your business will thank you.