How to Secure a Door

By | May 12, 2017

It is really surprising:

An astonishing number of burglars gain entry through the front door of a house, either by forcibly opening the door with an ineffective lock, or even more commonly letting themselves in with a hidden key, or simply entering through an unlocked door. Maintaining a secure door is one of the most important lines of defense against break-ins. The simplest way to start is by always keeping your doors locked, even when you are at home.

Here are some more methods on how to secure a door at your home:

Install Solid Doors

Make sure that all of your exterior doors are made of solid hardwood, steel or fiberglass. Hollow-core doors are not secure and should be reserved for use inside the house, never the exterior. Consider that your door needs to be kick-proof, and even withstand a car jack or crowbar. Steel doors are surprisingly affordable, but would require rust-proofing otherwise they would turn out to be very ugly.

Also, think about this:

Stylish and luxury doors all have some kind of window in the design. You may want to consider replacing these doors that contain windows with solid, windowless doors. You can still get doors that are stylish without the windows. Having doors with windows can make it easier to break in by smashing the glass and entering your home by opening up door from the inside. If you absolutely feel you need a window in your door, take a few extra steps to make sure it’s fortified.

Or here is another idea:

Select a door with a window that is not within arm’s length of the door’s lock. Use reinforced glass, or consider adding a decorative grill over glass.

Something that most of us don’t think about is making sure that your door’s hinges are located on the inside of the house so that pins can’t be removed by burglars to gain access. If you need to, you can rehang the door, or replace with non-removable pins. All hinges should be secured to the door frame with 3” bolts.

Deadbolts are a must for securing your front door

Even a solid door is only as secure as its lock. In addition to a strong door, make certain that you have high-quality, reliable locks securing your doors.

Upgrade the standard deadbolt and lockset plates of all exterior doors. A Grade 1 or Grade 2 deadbolt with at least a 1” throw bolt (the “grade” is set forth by the American National Standards Institute, and refers to the durability of the product). Professional locksmiths are a good resource for graded deadbolts if you have trouble locating them in your local hardware store. Having a throw bolt with at least a 1” reach is critical to avoid forced entry.

Install a four-screw strike box and faceplate for maximum protection. This type of plate may need to be purchased separately from the deadbolt itself, but is worth the extra expense for the added security. The strike plate strengthens the doorjamb itself, and with the use of four 3” screws driven into the studs, and makes the entire door system less vulnerable to attack. You may also want to consider reinforcing the doorjamb with galvanized steel to withstand strikes.

As an added measure of protection, you can install a one-sided deadbolt. This is a lock that does not have keyed access from the outside, so it is nearly impossible to bypass. This lock is only used when you are at home, but considering nearly 30% of burglaries occur when homeowners are in the house, installing a secondary lock system can contribute greatly to your peace of mind.

If you’re into technology:

There are deadlocks with all kinds of high tech gadgetry involved such as deadlocks with key-less entry, fingerprint scanners, or keypads where a code must be entered to gain entry. Obviously these type of deadlocks will be slightly more expensive, but like I have said many times before, what price can you put on your security.

What about securing sliding doors?

Sliding door locks are notoriously flimsy and easy to pop open from the outside. They are also usually found in the rear or side of the house, so break-ins through a slider can go undetected. Take a few extra steps to make sure that your sliding doors are not an open invitation for a break-in.

First, install sliders made from reinforced glass or polycarbonate if you are concerned about the door being broken. Reinforced glass is much more difficult to break and makes a lot of noise when struck. Second, use a metal bar or thick dowel in the track to prevent the door being open even if the lock fails. Finally, use curtains or blinds over sliding doors so that intruders don’t have a wide-angle view of the inside of your home. If you do use window alarms, a sliding door is a great place to install one, especially with a motion detector to monitor activity outside.

Garage door security

Garages are often an easy way for intruders to gain access to a house. By following a few simple steps, you can reinforce the security of your garage door. When leaving your house in the morning, take a second to see that the door has actually closed all the way before driving away; if it reopens, your door is likely to sit open and unattended all day long. When out of town, disable the opener altogether in favor of a padlock or bolt through the track on the inside of the door.

Do you have a remote opener?

Try not to leave your garage door remote in the car. Although that might seem counterintuitive, thieves know where to look for easy entry points, and a remote in an unlocked car is just that. Keep the remote in your purse or obtain a keychain version of the remote for easy carrying. If your remote is lost or stolen, take the steps to reset the code and disable old remotes.

Keep your garage door closed whenever you are not in the garage. An open garage door is an open invitation to a burglar, and also gives a clear view of many belongings that can be easily carried away. If you have trouble remembering to close the door, there are timers that can be programmed to close the door after a predetermined amount of time.

Other tips for securing doors

Install a viewer or “peep hole” in your exterior door. This will allow you to see who is outside without having to open the door.

Make sure that trees, plants and shrubbery don’t obscure the view of your exterior doors. This kind of landscaping offers thieves a place to lie in wait before breaking in to your home.

Always keep doorways well-lit, and if you use cameras, have them directed at the entryways to your house. This indicates to criminals that your residence is under surveillance, and could be more trouble than it’s worth to rob.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. What do you do at your home to secure your front door? Let me know by leaving a comments below, or feel free to ask me any questions.

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