Having a lock on your front door is the standard protection from burglary attempts. But it may not be enough if the thief can kick a door in easily of use a crowbar to get past the lock. Here are some ways to make sure your front door is really protecting your home.
1. Install the Best Deadbolt Possible
Don't skimp on this. Have a locksmith service like Pop A Lock install the best deadbolt they have available. Deadbolts come in different grades and the ANSI Grade 1 is the strongest. These locks are made of hardened steel so the bolt can't be cut or sawed through.
2. Replace the Strike Plate
The strike plate is the strip of metal in which the bolt slides when you lock the door. In most doors, this is simply a thin rectangular piece of metal that screws into the door jamb. The bolt slides through a square cutout and into the door frame. This is enough to hold the door closed, but can be forced open with a crowbar and wedge.
While the locksmith is there to install the deadbolt, have them replace the strike plate with a thicker model that has longer screws and a metal enclosure in which the deadbolt slides. This makes the door resistant to being pried open or kicked in.
3. Install a Door Reinforcement Kit
Your locksmith or local home remodeling store may carry these kits. They consist of metal strips and plates that are attached to the door jamb and the door itself. These add a layer of steel to the jamb so it won't split if kicked. Additional steel strips and plates on the door prevent it from splitting when kicked.
4. Replace the Entire Door
For maximum protection against someone trying to kick or break the door down, replace a hollow-core door with a solid hardwood or metal door. Solid wood doors are heavy, do not warp, and are difficult to break. The steel doors are lighter than solid wood but give the same level of protection.
5. Upgrade or Secure the Hinges
In an older home, where the door opens outward and the hinges are exposed, this is a vulnerability. The hinge pins can be pushed out and the door lifted off. The best protection is to replace the door so it opens inward and the hinges are concealed. If this isn't possible, you can still secure the exposed hinges:
- Replace the hinge with one that uses a setscrew to prevent the pin from being pulled out.
- Replace the pins with ones that use a crimp at the end so they can't be removed.
- Replace the hinge screws with safety studs which prevent the hinges from sliding past each other even with the pins removed.
These tips will give you a front door that deter burglars long enough that they may give up on your house and go on to their next target. Keep your home safe by starting with a secure front door.