Fancy burglar alarms are good safety tools, sure. But one of the easiest ways to keep the bad guys from coming into your house is to burglarproof your doors. You’ll be surprised how many things you are NOT doing with the doors that enter into your home. Let’s take a look at the main opportunities here:
Get rid of all hollow exterior doors or those with windows, and replace them with solid ones
Although they may be less expensive than solid doors, hollow doors only belong in the interior of your house. All exterior doors that allow entrance into your home (including the door from your attached garage into your house) should be made of one of the following:
- Solid wood
- Wood core
- Reinforced metal
In addition, those with windows should also be replaced with solid windowless ones, since the glass can be broken so that the intruder can then reach through and down to the doorknob, unlocking the door.
What about sliding glass patio doors?
Sliding glass patio doors are very easily breached, but these can be easily reinforced with clear poly-carbonate panels that are secured behind the glass on the interior. The same is true of first level windows especially that may easily allow entrance to an intruder.
Every exterior door should have a high-quality deadbolt lock in addition to the doorknob locking mechanism
All exterior doors should have deadbolt locks installed in addition to those in the doorknob mechanism. Make sure the deadbolt you choose is a high-quality, Grade 1 or 2 level bolt, with a bolt that extends at least an inch into the door “slot” mechanism; this is called a “throw bolt.” The dead ball you choose should also be solid metal with no exterior exposed screws.
Check door frames, too
It’s all well and good to have a solid door, but it’s not as secure as it could be unless you have a solid door frame, too. Replace both door frame and door if the door frame is splintering, warped, etc., because any ill-fitting doors can give intruders easy entry. If you do replace both the door and frame, consider using doors are made of fiberglass, with security hinges.
Install a deadlock
A deadlock is like a deadbolt, but it only locks from the inside and there is no keyed entry. This can provide extra security, since an intruder cannot gain entrance unless he or she can also destroy the door frame or lock. Simply having one installed may deter intruders, since they can see that you have one installed very clearly.
Make sure sliding doors are secure
In addition to placing the aforementioned barriers behind sliding doors, you should also install locks at both the top and bottom. Placing an unbreakable metal or wooden stick or dowel in the sliding door’s track will also block entry by making it impossible to slide the door open with the stick in place.
Make locks more secure with cylinder guards
Cylinder guards are devices that reinforce a lock’s cylinders; the cylinders are what allow you to insert and then turn your key to unlock the door. These can be removed or damaged by intruders who are savvy at gaining entry without a key, by prying, hitting, or twisting the cylinders. You can help prevent this by installing cylinder guards; they are protective metal rings or guard plates that install both sides of the door. Round head bolts should be used so that intruders can’t easily unscrew them. In addition, rings placed around the cylinders that simply spin freely make it impossible for an intruder to twist the cylinder out with a pliers. Many locks come with these protections installed, but you can purchase them separately if they’re not included.
Use heavy-duty strike plates
The metal plate on the door frame that reinforces the hole where the locking bolt enters is called the “strike plate.” These should be heavy-duty and reinforced on exterior doors. The screws that secure the strike plate to the door should attach to the underlying studs in the door, not just the door jamb.
Finally, remember to lock your doors and windows
All of these safety features are worthless unless you lock up when at home or out. Most intruders simply gain access through an unlocked door or window. Make sure your doors and windows have the reinforcements listed above – and then use them.