You’d probably be familiar with the phrase “don’t open the door to strangers” or “keep the door locked at all times” when growing up and it’s likely what we have been or will be telling our children in years to come. This is due to the fact that the HDB main door and gate is the main entrance to our home and the one part of our home that we must secure to prevent burglary and keep ourselves safe. Although resale flats have windows along common corridors that can be broken into, the main doors are likely to be one of the easiest entry points to the units.
Did you know? In addition to securing your home and preventing break-ins, the HDB main door serves as a fire safety barrier, preventing the spread of a fire for a period of time.
While some may find replacing HDB main doors and gates unnecessary and simply for aesthetic reasons, the right HDB main door can actually better protect you and your family.
When it comes to HDB main doors, there are many materials you can choose from, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Learn more about the most popular HDB main door materials, fire-rated doors, HDB’s door and gate renovation guidelines and how to ensure the security of your doors.
POPULAR HDB MAIN DOOR MATERIALS
2.1. Engineered Wood Doors
Engineered wood doors are constructed using engineered wood, also commonly known as Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF). Engineered wood is made up of thin panels made of various materials such as wood fibre, veneer, resin and wax.
These panels are layered with a thin piece of hardwood and bound together to form a strong and durable plank of wood suitable for a variety of applications such as flooring, doors, and tables. Depending on the manufacturer, the hardwood used in engineered wood doors and the properties it exhibits may differ.
2.1.2. Advantages of Engineered Wood Doors
One of the most significant benefits of engineered wood doors is their high workability. These doors are made primarily of manmade materials, and their components allow you the flexibility to customise the doors according to your preferences.
The natural wood grains on the wood veneers can be manipulated in different directions to create a variety of designs. Additional decorative materials can also be used to improve the appearance of the engineered wood doors' surface. Of course, it also depends on whether the manufacturer and supplier provide such services.
Aside from the aesthetic benefits, their composition of multiple layers of manmade materials may improve the natural toughness of the hardwood slice. As a result, they may be more durable and structurally stronger than traditional solid wood doors.
2.1.3. Disadvantages of Engineered Wood Doors
A material's advantages will inevitably be accompanied by drawbacks. Engineered wood is not the safest material to produce because it is made up of a variety of manmade materials that are joined together with adhesives. Some of them can be extremely toxic because they release volatile organic compounds in the finished product, exposing the workers to various respiratory problems and other health risks.
Engineered wood doors are also prone to fading when exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods, which may bother some homeowners. Depending on the type of engineered wood used, some doors may be unable to withstand moisture and, as a result, swell when in contact with large amounts of water for an extended period of time.
2.2. Laminate Main Doors
Laminate doors are a popular choice for HDB main doors and are frequently used as bedroom doors as well. The door leaf is finished with laminate sheets to create the stylish and durable laminate door that we see in many Singapore homes.
Two or more layers of flat paper and resins are bonded together and printed with decorative patterns or colours before being enforced onto the surface of the door leaf to create the laminate sheets.
These laminate sheets come in two varieties: high pressure and low pressure. The laminate sheets will possess different characteristics and durability depending on the applied pressure.
2.2.1. High-pressure Laminate VS Low-pressure Laminate
#1. High-Pressure Laminate
A multi-step process is used to create a high-pressure laminate. The laminate sheet is composed of six to eight layers of resin-filled kraft paper, decorative paper with a printed pattern or colour, and a clear overlay. These layers are manufactured and combined at pressures of 1000kg per square metre and temperatures of more than 140°C.
The laminate sheet is then bonded to a substrate or backing, such as MDF, to create high-pressure laminate doors.
#2. Low-Pressure Laminate
Low-pressure laminate, on the other hand, is produced in a more straightforward manner. It is made simply by bonding a single sheet of melamine paper directly to a substrate or backing at a pressure of 200 to 350kg per square metre but at a higher temperature. Low-pressure laminate doors are also a more affordable option in Singapore.
2.2.2. Advantages of Laminate Main Doors
Laminate doors do not have natural patterns or grain designs like natural hardwood, but they do have consistent printed patterns and colours. The consistency of the door designs can blend in cohesively and even be in harmony with the rest of the elements in your home interior.
Thanks to their durability, laminate doors are a practical alternative to solid wood HDB main doors. Although they don’t appear to be made of much, these laminate doors have a number of amazing properties that make them ideal for HDB main doors.
It is not only heat resistant, but it is also moisture resistant and can withstand some staining and scratching due to its polymer film layer. Some of the models even have antibacterial properties.
#3. Aesthetic Appeal
Every laminate door is available in a variety of styles and designs that are appropriate for different interiors and preferences. Some buyers can even fully customise their HDB main doors or bedroom doors, rather than being limited to a narrow range of styles.
Furthermore, laminate doors come pre-finished and do not need to be polished to look more aesthetically pleasing.
#4. Easy Maintenance
A laminate door can look as good as new for many years provided that it is not exposed to direct sunlight, which can cause its colour to fade. On top of being easy to install, laminate doors are also easy to clean and maintain. Simply wipe away dirt or dust with a soft cloth or a microfibre cloth, and the laminate doors should look brand new for years to come.
Lastly, laminate doors are a cost-effective and value-for-money option for those who are concerned about cost but do not want to sacrifice quality and function.
2.2.3. Disadvantages of Laminate Doors
Unfortunately, there are also a few disadvantages to laminate doors. Although they are durable in many ways, their brittle nature makes them susceptible to clipping. If they sustain any damages, you may have to replace the entire door because they are almost impossible to repair. This is because the way laminate doors are manufactured doesn’t allow them to go through sanding or staining again.
If you value a sustainable lifestyle and environmentally friendly products, laminate doors may not be suitable for you because they are also nearly impossible to recycle.
Thinking about replacing any of the doors in your home? Check out some of our HDB main door promotions and snag the deal today.
ABOUT FIRE-RATED DOORS
3.1. What Is A Fire-rated Door?
In the event of a fire, a fire-rated door is specially constructed to slow or prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Such doors are typically heavy and made of dependable and non-flammable materials or fire-retardant MDF. When properly installed, they are capable of containing the spread of combustion within a specific time frame and should not combust.
There are many ratings for fire-rated doors that indicate the approximate duration that the door can withstand exposure to fire and heat. The most common are 20-minute doors, which can help to withhold the spread of fire for 20 minutes, and 90-minute doors, which do the same but for 90 minutes.
While there are no completely fireproof fire-rated doors, the 20 to 90 minutes that they help you delay by containing the fire and smoke will give you additional time to exit the building. They may also aid in the protection of your property and assets while firefighters work to extinguish the fire.
In 2020, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) responded to 1,877 fire calls, of which 1,054 occurred in residential premises. There were 184 fire injuries and one fatality. Fires are a common occurrence and can be life-threatening. With fire-rated doors, the impact of a potential fire may be reduced and they might even help save your life.
3.2. HDB’s Rules And Regulations To Installing Fire-Rated Doors
Many HDB Build-To-Order flats now have fire-rated main doors installed. They include a door closer, which is a self-closing safety device that will keep your door closed during a fire and prevent the spread of smoke and fire. If you live in an older estate with older HDB units, you may wish to check if your main door is fire-rated and replace it if it isn't.
In addition to the HDB main door, it may be a good idea to have all of your bedroom doors replaced with fire-rated ones.
The fire-rated door you want to install for your HDB main door must have at least a 30-minute fire-resistance rating and a self-closing device to help keep the door shut during the fire. This ensures that it can help contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to other units. It must also have an accreditor’s label.
If your flat already has a fire-rated door and you want to replace it with something more aesthetically pleasing, it needs to be of the same door class as the original fire-rated door.
If you wish to install any fire alarm system or conduct any fire safety work in your home, you must also apply in accordance with the SCDF Fire Safety and Shelter Department’s regulations.
HDB DOOR AND GATE RENOVATION GUIDELINES
While it is not exactly necessary for you to know all of the renovation guidelines for HDB main doors and gates, it is good for you to understand them so that you can ensure that your contractors have conducted works in accordance with HDB’s rules and regulations. Any failure to comply with the rules and regulations may result in a fine of up to $5,000 and other penalties or even imprisonment.
Do note that the homeowner will be fined for non-compliance and not the contractor.
Here are the types of HDB door and gate works listed according to those that will require a permit, and those that do not.
4.1. Renovation Works That Require A Permit
#1. Replacement of Main Entrance Door and/or Frame Along Fire Escape Route
It is critical to keep fire escape routes safe for evacuation during a fire. This is why, if you intend to replace your HDB main door and it is located along a fire escape route, you or your contractor will need to first apply for a permit with HDB.
In general, every unit within a 3-metre range from the nearest lift or staircase must be fitted with a 30-minute fire-rated door. Any other unit that opens up to pathways leading to a lift lobby or a staircase will also fall under the same category.
#2. Repositioning of Internal Door Entrances
When doing home renovations, some homeowners may want to relocate the bedroom door to a different spot in order to make better use of their space or to increase their bedroom size. All of these things are possible, but a permit will need to be obtained. Also, keep in mind that the new entrance should not be created through the reinforced concrete walls, which are structural walls that hold the building together.
4.2. Renovation Works That Do Not Require A Permit
Here is a list of door and gate works that can be conducted in your HDB flat without a permit from HDB. However, do note that these are still subjected to guidelines and conditions your contractor will need to adhere to.
You can find out more about the guidelines here.
- Painting the external side of the HDB main door or metal grille gate
- Replacement of main entrance metal gates
- Replacement of main entrance non-fire-rated door and/or frame
- Replacement of existing internal doors with ornamental timber/plastic doors
- Replacement of door frames at all locations for prefabricated flats
- Replacement of internal door frame (for non-prefabricated flats)
- Installation of sliding glass door, PVC folding doors in the bathroom, w.c. and/or kitchen entrance without removal of RC lintol/hanger (if any)
- Removal of sliding/swing doors without removal of RC lintol/hanger (if any)
- Replacement of study room sliding doors with swing doors
ENSURING SECURITY IN HDB MAIN DOORS
Following the installation of an aesthetically pleasing and sturdy HDB main door, the next step would be to protect everything behind the door, including your family, belongings, and property. A good HDB main door should be secure enough to prevent break-ins; here's how you can improve the security of your main door.
5.1.1 Install Digital Door Locks
If you’re still using conventional locks and keys to secure your main door, we recommend upgrading them to a digital door lock. Digital door locks are very secure lock options for your home, and you’ll be surprised at how many smart features they provide to help improve your home security.
These electronic door locks are powered by electricity, which is typically supplied by a battery. When the correct key is used, the digital door lock will unlock.
There are numerous types of electronic door locks available in Singapore, with each brand and model offering unique features that you may or may not need. But, even if you do not need some of the other features of a digital door lock, it will still be a worthwhile investment due to its convenience and security. Check out the different types below.
#1. PIN Number
The coded entry is one of the most fundamental types of digital door locks. These are the most common type seen in Korean dramas, as well as the most commonly used ones in Singapore. The digital door lock can be fitted with a touchscreen keypad or a traditional numeric keypad. All you need to do is key in the right PIN number in order to unlock the door.
Our smartphone is a device that we never leave home without, and it is also another way to unlock your digital door locks. Some digital locks are WiFi-enabled and can be unlocked using your smartphone as long as you’re within its radius. Some digital locks also let you program lock and unlock times and even notify you if someone tries to force open your door.
Many digital door lock models also include a biometric lock that can be unlocked using your fingerprint. Because no one can replicate your fingerprint, biometric digital door locks are the most secure.
#4. Key Fob
There are also many digital door locks that can be unlocked with a simple touch of the key fob or key card. These special keys function similarly to contactless payment methods and cannot be duplicated, so you know exactly how many keys you have and who has them.
Digital door locks are not only secure, but they also provide a number of advantages to those who have them installed on their main doors. You can easily grant or revoke access to friends and family members. They are also convenient, extremely durable and easy to maintain, so you won't have to replace them every few years like you would do with traditional locks.
5.1.2. Clearing Misconceptions Of Digital Door Locks
Digital door locks are relatively new to Singaporeans, and despite their multiple benefits, the misconceptions surrounding these devices have kept many people from switching to digital locks. Today, let's debunk some of these myths and clear up some misconceptions.
Misconception 1: Digital door locks will not function during power outages.
Fact: Digital door locks are powered by a battery source, which means that even during power outages, your lock will not be affected and you will still be able to lock and unlock your door.
Misconception 2: They are very difficult to operate.
Fact: Digital door locks are simple to install and use. Typically, the supplier who performs the installation will give you a detailed explanation of how to operate the lock. They will also assist you in registering any biometric data and PIN numbers in your lock so that you can begin using them as soon as they are installed. They operate similarly to smartphones and are mostly touchscreens, so you won't be confused about how to use them.
Misconception 3: These locks can be hacked and are easily broken into.
Fact: Digital locks are nearly impossible to hack. WiFi-enabled models and those linked up to home automation systems such as Alexa and Google Home typically include additional end-to-end encryption, similar to how banks protect your online access to funds. Digital door locks without WiFi connection are not on any wireless network and thus are almost impossible to hack.
Misconception 4: I won’t be able to unlock my door if I lose my key fob or smartphone.
Fact: Many keyless systems allow you to log in from multiple devices and change the PIN code to your digital door locks remotely. Even if it isn't WiFi-enabled and remote changes aren't possible, most digital door locks enable multiple modes of access. Those that can be accessed with a key fob will usually also allow access via a PIN code. Those that can be unlocked with a PIN code may also have a biometric system that allows you to unlock with your fingerprint. So you don't have to be concerned about losing access to your house.
5.2. Automate Your Home
Home automation is becoming increasingly popular in Singapore; almost everything in your home can be turned into a smart gadget, and the technology can be quite impressive and useful. Home automation is also surprisingly affordable and easy to install.
Some home automation features that can be installed in your home to improve its security include:
- Installing smart lights and putting them on a random schedule so that it always seems like there is activity in your home. This will help to deter potential intruders.
- Install motion-sensor lights outside your HDB main door that will light up when movement is detected. This will also help to scare away potential intruders.
- Scheduling lock times so that your doors will stay locked to keep your home secure when you’re asleep or away from home.
In the event of an unexpected situation, HDB gates and doors can be considered our home's first line of defence. From fires to break-ins, a strong main door equipped with secure lock systems can help to protect your family and your belongings.
Liminal provides quality and professional main door solutions to all households in Singapore. From gates to digital door locks, tap on our door and gate solutions, as well as years of industry experience to protect your home today. Contact us for more information.