Find out how to reinforce
your homes doors to prevent a thief from using force to kick the door
Reinforcing Door Frames
Companies such as Strikemaster in Virginia now offer a simple way to
reinforce existing doors frames. They have engineered a long metal
strike plate with extra long screws. These screws bite into the wall
studs surrounding the door frame. An average sized man can easily kick
in and break through a standard door casing without much force. The
Strikemaster product turns soft wood door frame casings into solid steel
casings with simple installation and minimal effort. Strikemasterís
patented steel design is constructed to fit on any door casing without
the need to paint over or alter your door casing or frame design. Strikemasters
door reinforcing hardware. Images courtesy Strikemaster.
Security Strike Plate
A standard strike plate comes with every door lock. Many times these
strike plates are only cosmetic and not intended to provide much
security. They come with two short screws that attach it to the
doorframe, and are made of thin gauge metal. The strike plate's
attachment to the doorframe is usually the weakest point of the entire
door system. In order to stand up to an attempted forced intrusion a
security strike made of heavy gauge metal should be installed with extra
long screws to engage the structural stud behind the doorframe.
The screw holes in a security strike plate should also be staggered so
the screws don't penetrate into the same grain of the wood in the
doorframe or wood wall framing. This helps to prevent the wood from
splitting during an attempted forced entry. Security strike plates are
inexpensive and should be added to every exterior door.
Chain Lock Photo courtesy Masterlock
Auxiliary Chain Locks
Auxiliary chain locks on doors, typically a sliding piece attached by a
chain to the door frame, are not very effective security devices. Almost
any intruder can force open a door secured only with a chain. These
chains were designed to allow residents to see who is at the door while
still being protected. A wide angle viewer or peep hole would be a much
Burgular Bar. Photo courtesy www.asecuritydepot.com
Burglar bars fit securely under any door knob. The bottom of the bar has
a hard rubber floor pad which wedges onto wood, tile or carpet floors.
These are easy to install. Most are telescoping and adjustable to fit
any door. When traveling they come apart for convenient carrying in
luggage and offer instant release in emergency situations by just
kicking the bottom of the brace away from the door. These bars are often
used when traveling but should also be considered for extra security in
high crime areas.
If possible try to avoid having a mail slot in the door. They can
provide a thief with an opening through which the lock can be reached
and manipulated. Unless your door has a double side dead bolt a mail
slot should be avoided. If the door already has a mail slot, a letterbox
cage can be installed to prevent thieves from manipulating the door
Photo courtesy www.imagewonders.com
If there is no glass panel in the front door, or the glass is not
transparent, a wide angle peep hole should be installed. Wide angle door
viewers give a nice field of view and allow residents to see who is on
the other side of the door before opening it. For security, the wider
the field of vision the better.
Exterior doors should swing inward to prevent any attack on the hinges.
When doors swing in the hinge pin of the doors hinges are then safely
mounted on the interior of the home. If local building codes require a
door to swing outward, it should be installed on non-removable pin
hinges or the hinges should be "pinned". To pin hinges remove the screw
from opposing positions on both top and bottom hinges, and drive a pin
or nail into one of the holes so the head sticks out just enough to stay
within the drilled out hole of the opposite side. When the door is
closed, the head of the nail engages the matching hole, and holds the
door in place even if the hinge pin is removed.
Sliding doors are inherently less secure than standard swinging doors
and should be avoided when possible. If sliding doors are already in
place, make certain the sliding panel is mounted on the inside. If it's
mounted on the exterior then it could be lifted off the track and
removed. A security device such as a "Charley-Bar", which is a solid bar
that latches in place between the sliding panel and the frame is
suggested for additional security on sliding doors. Homeowners could
also install a pin-lock by drilling a hole completely through the
sliding panel so that a removable solid metal pin can be inserted to
secure the sliding to the fixed panel.
French Doors, or any paired doors which do not have a center post, are
inherently insecure, and if possible should not be used on the exterior
entrance to a home. If an existing home has French doors, security can
be enhanced by installing heavy-duty vertical bolts to secure the
inactive side of the set to the threshold and the top frame. Additional
security is obtained by installing a quality deadbolt on the live door
to secure it to the inactive one. An alternative solution would be to
install ornate wrought iron exterior security storm doors.
French Doors cremone bolts Photo courtesy Killian
Steel Security Doors
Steel security doors provide additional security especially on hard to
secure doors like sliding doors and French doors. These doors are
available in a variety of ornate designs. Steel security doors should
have a heavy duty 2 inch steel frame, a quality deadbolt and be pre-hung
on a metal jamb.
Another option for additional security on windows or doors is installing
roll-a-way security shutters. These shutters provide a formidable
barrier, not only against intruders, but also against hurricane damage.
Security shutters can be set up to work on timers as well as automatic
garage door style openers. Just be sure they have a quick release that
allows the shutters to be opened from inside the home in the case of
Access to a homeís attic should only be located inside the home. If an
external access door exists, consider having it professionally removed
or use a good quality pad lock mounted inside the attic. If possible,
protect the attic space with an motion detector alarm.
Supra key lock box with combination code. Photos
Sometimes thieves can take advantage of a security system by accessing a
set of keys. Never leave a spare key under the doormat, or in a
flowerpot. Burglars know all the standard hiding places. If a spare key
must be left outside, purchase an external key lock box with a
combination code. These miniature safes can be kept out of sight and
also can be mounted firmly to fence post or other solid structure.
When moving into a new home, itís advisable to change all the exterior
door locks immediately. Never leave your house or car keys near a door
or window. Burglars may break in just to steal the car keys. A good
security measure is to mount a combination key box in a convenient space
within your home. These boxes not only protect your keys from theft but
also help keep all of your keys organized.
Guide to Home Security, by Dan Berg, Your complete guide to
locks, alarms, cameras and security systems designed to protect
homeowners and their valuables. This book is available as an inexpensive instant-download
that you can print today and read again and again
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