If your doors and windows are looking a little on the tired side, you may think that you need to change them all at great expense. In fact, the easiest and cheapest solution may be to simply remove and replace the handles and catches. You will update your doors and windows in an instant and the job is easy enough for even a novice to complete with ease.
You will be left with doors and windows which look newer and which are totally secure. As far as peace of mind goes, replacing door and window furniture is up there with installing alarms.
When it comes to your front and back doors you will need to think of the security of your home first. It may be worthwhile contacting your insurance company to find out which door locks they will offer discounts on. Most will expect you to have a deadbolt system but may also ask you to install locks from certain manufacturers or with certain security features.
Fitting a new lock is a reasonably easy process. Most deadbolt locks come with a template which will help you to work out the best place to put it. You should place the lock at least 12 inches away from any other hardware on the door to spread the strength. When you have decided on a spot, tape the template in place and mark the position for the holes with a pencil. Do the same on the other side of the door jam. You will need a chisel and a drill to make the recess for the lock and screwdriver to fix it in place. If you take your time, this is easy to do.
Door latches come in a few different sizes. The most common has a casing of 63mm in depth with a distance of 44mm to the middle of the spindle. You can also get latches which are 75mm in depth. The size you choose will depend on the size of your backplate. You will also need to consider the depth of your door and whether it is glazed or not. Some doors may not have enough space around the edges for the larger size latch.
Handles are easier to decide upon and to fit. You are likely to get your handles and latches as a kit so you can be sure they will work together. To fit, you simply insert the spindle into the latch and slide the backplate over this and screw it into place. Put the handle on to the spindle making sure it is firmly attached. There may be a screw needed to keep it in place.
Your choices here will be dictated by the type of windows you already have. Sash windows will need a different set up to normal side opening ones. But generally you can expect to need a drill and maybe a template to place your window furniture in the correct positions.
A sash window will need a fastener at the top with a handle at the bottom for operating the sash. It is worthwhile spending a reasonable amount on these fittings as the look of your sash windows can be ruined by cheap ironmongery. They come in a variety of materials including brass, nickel and bronze.
For a normal side operating window you will require a casement stay which will hold the window in the open position. This is normally placed along the bottom of the window. Pins are also screwed into place on the casing which allow the stay to rest in different positions along the arm. You should also fit window locks as well as the stay. These placed half way up the opening side of the window and work as a type of latch. You should buy the lockable type as your insurer may offer a discount if you do.
Good door and window furniture are a security must, but they will also ensure your home stays warm by avoiding draughts. If your doors and windows are securely closed and locked you are both safe and sound.