Securing Your Doors

There are many different kinds of residential doors, but most can be classified as one of the following:

  • Solid wood door
  • Panel doors (hollow and solid core)
  • Metal skinned 
  • Wood-edged doors
  • Metal edge-wrapped doors. 
  • Actual door frames are usually solid wood.

Security tests by Consumer Reports Magazine found that many types of residential doors fail easily when force is applied. Solid wood doors endure more pressure than the typical metal skinned wood-edged doors used in newer construction. 

Steel edged doors outperform wood-edged doors by a ratio of 7 to 1 and 2/3 of all break ins are through doors. One hit with 100 lb of force broke the wood-edged stile and opened the door. To actually open the steel-edged door required 7 hits of 100 lb pressure." Many manufactures provide several options of different types and strengths. 

It has also been reported that door frames often split with little force and that lower quality deadbolts failed when force was applied. In almost 90% of the break ins were the use of tools like screwdrivers and crowbars were used to bypass locked doors. Most often burglars targeted the doors that had no dead-bold. There were no documented cases where a burglar attempted to break a double pane window to gain entry.

Other common security methods and recommendations include the instillation, and use of the following: 

Sliding door channel or pin locks instead of sliding glass door braces, including wooden dowels, poles, and broom sticks.

High grade deadbolts on all outer doors instead of only on the front door. There are several manufacturers that offer deadbolts that are resistant to impact failure, picking and lock bumping. However, most deadbolts are not pick-resistant. Secondary internal locks including sliding bolts, hooks and specialty latches, like metal blocks or bars mounted internally also help to better secure your home. 

Outdoor lights with motion detectors. The more well lit your home, the less privacy a potential burglar has to break in. Large bushes shrubs should also be cleared from near doorways to reduce the chances of a burglar being hidden from public view. 

Install a home security or burglar alarm, and learn to use it properly.

Door and strike reinforcers -There are several different products that fall under this category: 

Frame reinforcers are metal strips installed vertically on or behind the door frame.

Door reinforcers that wrap the door edge to prevent delamination. 

Strike pockets can be reinforced by using the 3" screws that are often provided with the strike plate to attach the deadbolt pocket directly to the stud or other wall, instead of only being anchored into the thinner door frame. 

Hinges can be reinforced in similar ways, by using longer 3" screws to attach to a stud, and by using specialized hinge screws to prevent the door from being simply pushed in after removing the hinge pins. 

Chains allow the door to be opened slightly, with out allowing full access to your home. 

Peep holes are small fish-eye lenses that allow residents to view outside without opening the door. 

Securing windows in or beside doors can be challenging. 

Three methods commonly used are: 

Security films -coatings applied directly to the glass in windows to reinforce it.

Breakage resistant Plexi-glass, or other glass replacement products.

Security bars and grates that cover window openings. 

This method however also may have fire safety implications that should be explored.

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