An important and often under appreciated facet of home security is the strength of your home or business’s outer doors. Can your front door withstand a few good kicks from a burly man? There are a lot of underlying factors that compose the strength and integrity of an outer security door. Things to consider including build quality, brand, materials, and supplemental reinforcement. Here we’ll look at some easy ways to ensure that your doors are safe and secure without having to sacrifice aesthetics.
The first step to making sure your outer doors are strong enough to withstand an attempted break in is identifying the materials in use. All outer doors should be solid wood core (usually a layer of veneer over solid wood), solid wood, fiberglass, or metal. Of these options solid core is the most common because it strikes a good balance between security, price, and appearance. Most interior doors are wood paneling over cheap composite filler and simply have no chance if someone wants to force their way through. As a quick test you can knock on a door in the interior of your house and then your outer door and you should feel a noticeable difference. Also important to note is that you should avoid outer doors with installed windows.
Reinforced Strike Plate
Once you have a solid and well made door for the front of your house there are a lot of supplemental ways that you can reinforce it. In the event that someone is trying to kick down your front door, the first place to give is usually going to be the strike plate (the place where the deadbolt connects with the door jamb). This can be reinforced quite easily with a heavy duty strike plate available from any hardware store. Now, the key here is the screws holding the strike plate in place. You want 3 inch screws that will go past the door jamb and into the underlying stud.
Deadbolts and Cylinder Guards
If you don’t already have a deadbolt on your front door it is the single most effective locking mechanism and an absolute must if you want take security seriously. If you have a stock deadbolt that came with your house it may be time to upgrade. Deadbolts are classified according to a numbered grading system with 1 being the toughest. Make sure that any deadbolt you use is at least 1 inch in length. In addition to a new deadbolt, another thing to consider is a cylinder guard for your lock. The basic idea behind a cylinder guard is a free spinning encasement that prevents burglars from unscrewing your lock with channel locks or vice grips. These can also help prevent additional tampering with the outside portion of your doors locking mechanism.
Reinforced Frame and Hinges
Lastly, it’s important to make sure that your door frame and hinges are up to security standards with the rest of your door. In some cases door frame moldings are simply tacked to the wall and can be easily pried off with a crowbar. The easiest solution is to use 3 inch screws to make sure that your door frame is securely attached to the wall and especially the underlying studs. Your door’s hinges should always be inside. Along the same vein as the door frame and strike plate, use 3 inch screws to make sure that the hinges cannot be loosened easily by extensive force.