Making front door more secure

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MarySkater
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Making front door more secure

Post by MarySkater » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:44 am

My cats have free access to my enclosed back garden, but they are not allowed through the front door which would let them on to the road. This can be a problem if I am talking to someone at the door, or signing for a parcel, when a cat can zip past my ankles while I'm distracted. My first thought was to change my front door for one in two halves, like a stable door. However, when I made enquiries, I found that a stable door at the front is difficult and expensive, owing to the complication of being able to lock it from inside or out.

So my next idea was to keep my existing door, but have a gate fitted outside it:
A. Inside gate closed.jpg
The gate has to be low enough to leave the letter box clear, and a cat could jump it, but not so quickly that they could get past while I'm standing there. I had the gate made solid, not barred, because if the cats can't see through it, they have less incentive for wanting to explore the outside.

Front door opens inward, gate opens out. Note the bolt on the inside of the gate. It can't be opened unless the door is open - to stop local kids playing with it while I'm out. (That's not a ladder outside, it's the support for the porch roof.):
B. Inside both open.jpg
When I come home, I first open the house door, letting me check if either cat is lurking on the doormat, before I open the gate:
C. Outside open.jpg
All closed, looking quite tidy:
D. Outside closed.jpg
Before I did anything, I phoned the local planning office to ask if I needed permission to change my front door. They checked my postcode, and told me I was okay to go ahead. If you live in a listed building or a conservation area, it might not be so simple.

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Lilith
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Re: Making front door more secure

Post by Lilith » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:49 pm

Hey, that looks good - congrats :)

With my last 2 houses I've had similar problems. My previous house had a narrow hallway and I had a glass door installed to make a 'double trap' so that I could close it before I opened the front. It had the added benefit of stopping my Alsatian from 'franking' the mail lol.

My present house has a kitchen and one room downstairs which opens straight on to the street; when I first came here I built a screen door which fitted into the aperture of the open front door in fine weather and was secured by bolts slotting into the door frame. There was a gap in it for letters too. For an amateur effort it wasn't bad; I could have improved on it, but I only used it for the elderly cats who'd accompanied me to the house and who just went into the yard at the back under supervision. They liked to sit by the screen door and watch the street too. The next lot were ferals and came in off the street, but now that these too are housecats, I might just develop the screen door again ... you've got me inspired ... :)

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Ruth B
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Re: Making front door more secure

Post by Ruth B » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:56 pm

Nice work, and good luck at catching those kitties as they try and jump the gate just as you are signing for something :)

We are lucky that our porch has an internal door as well as the front door, so when we need to, we can operate a 'kitty lock' system.

As our back garden isn't enclosed and the road we are on is quiet it isn't a problem unless we have new cats that have to be kept in for a few weeks. I never (intentionally) let them out the front door, but there have been several times when they have escaped, normally when we are unloading the shopping, and it's fairly frequent that we end up letting one in the front door while unloading the car.

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MarySkater
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Re: Making front door more secure

Post by MarySkater » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:30 pm

Thanks. A man who came to read my meter recently said he thought something like that would be useful for his dogs, so I decided to post on here in case anyone could use the idea. (And also, the forum has been quite quiet recently.)

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Re: Making front door more secure

Post by alanc » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:05 pm

Mary
I'm impressed with that. Sadly, not an idea I can copy as living in a conservation area the local planners would not like it!

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Re: Making front door more secure

Post by MarySkater » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:23 pm

alanc wrote:Mary
I'm impressed with that. Sadly, not an idea I can copy as living in a conservation area the local planners would not like it!
I hope I didn't give the impression that I made the gate. I designed it, but got a local joiner to do the actual work.

Yes, Alan, I did think that if you live in an area with planning restrictions, it would be difficult. I could make my gate less obvious if I painted the hinges white (and I may do that). But if you're not allowed to change the outside at all, you'd need to fix some sort of double-door system inside, and it depends on how your house is configured whether that would work. In my case, my door opens to a very small lobby with a door to the living room, and stairs going up. Since I don't always know whether the cats are outside at the back, or upstairs, it's difficult to close them off on the inside.

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Re: Making front door more secure

Post by meriad » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:50 pm

That is a clever idea. My Harry is the only one I worry about and that would do the trick in stopping him... thankfully Ava has never tried to get passed and not ever shown interest either, which is just fine by me.

As for signing, greeting people etc - generally the moment the door bell rings the cats scarper which I'm quietly quite pleased about, but when I come home they come running the moment they hear the key in the door and that's when I worry about Harry.

If I have friends over, they know that they have to hurry inside and I shut the door before we greet each other. One neighbour I'm not overly fond of I just step outside and chat to her; don't think she's ever been inside :oops: :lol:

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Re: Making front door more secure

Post by alanc » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:13 pm

Mary, I think it looks good they way it is, no need to paint the hinges white.
I managed to reduce problems with cat escape by putting a book case by the door to make a sort of hallway, so they could only come from behind, not the side. Would need to have moved a radiator to put a door across though. Since Badger's death, the problem has halved and now Tilly is getting older, she doesn't seem to want to dash out any more.
Last edited by alanc on Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MarySkater
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Re: Making front door more secure

Post by MarySkater » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:36 pm

When I adopted long-term friends Rocky and Bridie, more than a year ago, Rocky seemed to be a home-body who didn't want to get out, but Bridie slipped past me several times. Fortunately I was able to round her up before she got too far. After Bridie died, it was Rocky who started sneaking out, and he wasn't easy to catch. Sadly, I'm afraid he was looking for Bridie. Eventually he realised that she wasn't coming back, but now I have kitten Ria, and I don't want her ever getting the idea that it would be fun to go roaming out the front. So far I've been able to keep her contained.

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Re: Making front door more secure

Post by Crewella » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:24 pm

Great idea, and I think it looks pretty good! :)

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