School design is a huge responsibility. The design of the school determines its functionality, impacting teaching and learning. When designing or renovating a school, choices about educational doors and other features affect the lives of students and the community for many generations.
In today’s world, one of the most significant concerns of parents, teachers and administrators is keeping students and teachers safe. There have been more than 100 school shootings each year since 2018. As a result, many people want to implement ways to protect schools from active shooters and other threats. It becomes part of the responsibility of school design to implement safety features. This is not to say the layout, interior décor and color scheme are not essential aspects of design — they are, but safety is most important.
You can make a building safer by fortifying entry points. One way to do this is by upgrading the interior doors to ones that are attack-resistant. The purpose of attack-resistant doors is to delay an attacker’s entry until first responders can arrive. These high-security wood or plastic laminate doors can help protect gyms, classrooms, corridors, teacher lounges and other interior areas where people congregate. They are durable and professional-looking, providing safety without making the school feel like a prison. Best of all, they could deter intruders and threats for the critical first few minutes or more of the attack.
What Makes a Door Attack-Resistant?
When discussing attack-resistant doors, many assume the doors are bulletproof, but they can also be resistant to forced entry. People generally think bulletproof is most important because it can stop the force of a bullet and prevent lesser attacks. However, forced entry is generally a more important factor. In most cases, a person attacking with tools can gain entry sooner than someone shooting with a bullet.
Attackers can break down doors using several methods, including:
- Breaking the hinges.
- Picking or drilling through a lock.
- Bending the frame out so it is not level.
- Breaking the door.
Doors that are attack-resistant are integral to building safety. All parts — the jamb, frame, door, glass and hardware — must work together to delay or stop an attacker from entering the room. If the intruder can break the glass, they can gain access. Similarly, the assailant can gain access if the door is weak, even if the glass is strong. Thus, the door and glass must be hardened, and all parts need to function as a single unit.
They are not supposed to stop bullets. Instead, they must keep the opening solid and intact so an attacker cannot breach it. Delaying the attacker increases the chance of survival by giving first responders time to arrive.
The door, frame, structures, system and hardware on attack-resistant systems must meet specific standards. A hollow metal door is not necessarily attack-resistant. Many attack-resistant doors are wooden or plastic laminate. These doors have a school guard glass that is security-grade, heat-strengthened and shatter resistant. When force is applied, the glass should bend instead of ripping and tearing.
These doors must withstand intense physical attacks from tools or bullets for minutes. Various points of the opening, including the glass, hinges and door, must resist the attack. The door must be fire-rated for further protection.
Not all heavy-duty doors are attack-resistant. Sometimes schools use hurricane-rated doors or windows or apply window films to glass to increase security, but this does not do that. Hurricane-rated glass can withstand an impact from one blunt object that slams into the glass at specific wind speeds. Someone trying to break into a classroom will apply different amounts of force and speed, including multiple gunshots.
Window films keep the glass together when blasted apart and prevent shrapnel. They do not prevent the glass from breaking, and no window films pass forced entry tests.
Attack-resistant doors can withstand attacks for minutes. Those minutes are essential in saving lives, so schools need attack-resistant doors.
Benefits of Attack-Resistant Doors
Attack-resistant doors increase school safety while still looking aesthetically pleasing. Many schools employ target hardening to deal with potential attackers. The four aspects of target hardening are:
- Deny access
- Delay the act
- Detect the crime
- Deter the attack
Attack-resistant doors typically meet three out of four of these aspects. They deny the intruder access, which delays the act and deters the attack.
Additional Advantages of Wood and Laminate Attack-Resistant Doors
Aside from increasing survival chances by delaying and preventing assailants, attack-resistant doors offer many other benefits. The benefits of wood doors include:
- Appearance: The core of wood doors is covered with beautiful wood veneer or laminate that is easy to clean. Whether laminate or veneer, the doors can withstand humidity and other elements better. Some veneer options are lightweight and easy to install.
- Fire-rating: Wood doors are fire-rated for different times based on their cores. This can be for 20, 45, 60 or 90 minutes, which complies with building regulations and keeps students safe.
- LEED certification: Manhattan Door can use door materials that meet LEED certification standards. This means those doors protect the planet and schools using wood sourced from local areas and agri-fiber cores.
- High-quality design: The doors can withstand years of heavy use and provide protection against assailants.
- Customization: Manhattan Door provides customization options to clients so the doors are as functional and safe as possible.
The benefits of plastic laminate doors include:
- Affordability: Laminate doors can be offered at affordable prices because they use sturdy, simple materials. They can look similar to wood or stone at a fraction of the cost.
- Versatility: A wide selection of designs is available to match a space’s theme and décor. Plastic laminate can come in solid colors or resemble stone or wood.
- Durability: Laminate is a manufactured material that is more durable than wood veneer. It resists heat, scratches and stains.
- Environmental resistance: Some doors might warp during high humidity or weather changes, but laminate stays the same size and shape during all seasons.
- Easy maintenance: The surface of these doors is easy to clean, only requiring a damp cloth. You do not have to oil them, keeping their maintenance needs low.
Order Custom Doors From Manhattan Door Today
We at Manhattan Door are a family-owned business that manufactures interior doors. Our mission is to provide every customer with superior products and high-quality customer service. We have fast lead times, so you could get your order within two to three weeks or sooner with rush orders.
Our interior wood doors for schools are attack-resistant and can be customized to fit your appearance, material and size preferences. Learn more about our custom interior laminate doors or contact us to place an order.