Having a good level of door security for each entrance door in our homes is incredibly important. It is one of the most crucial security measures you can take to prevent would-be intruders from entering your home.
FBI statistics show that in the large majority of residential break-ins, the intruder gains entry thru one of the home’s exterior doors.
With the entrance doors in our homes being the entry point of choice for most criminals, it is essential that each exterior door is able to withstand the impact of force that may be used against them.
Criminals find it very easy to break-in thru the entrance doors in most homes, due to so many people not taking the appropriate measures to physically secure them.
It is only natural for people to acquire a better feeling of security with an alarm system installed in their homes, but receiving such peace of mind is causing many individuals & families to rely way to heavily & solely upon on them.
It is truly unfortunate how so many people spend large sums of money acquiring & monitoring a home alarm system & then completely neglect or overlook even the most basic physical security measures.
Understanding what is truly required to make one’s home & family safe & secure in today’s society is extremely important. The biggest part of your homes first & most important line of defense is the physical security of all accessible entry points (windows & doors) in your home.
When increasing the physical security of any residential exterior door there are five equally important elements that need to be addressed, the door, its frame & the doors hardware (locks, strike plates & hinges).
It is the physical strength of each of these elements working together that will provide you & your family with the level of door security you need. It is essential to address each of them with the same level of importance, as the physical security of each entrance door is only as strong as its weakest link.
The following content informs you of the security weak points that exists with most residential exterior doors & outlines the most practical & cost-effective security measures you can take to eliminate such weaknesses.
If you have a garage that is attached to your home it likely has a regular exterior door as well as an inside door that leads directly into your home. It is very important that both of these doors receive the same level of physical & electronic security as any other entrance door in your home.
There is also a few security issues that are inherent to most overhead garage doors. For complete information on how intruders are gaining entry thru these doors & the measures you need to take to prevent these type of break-ins from ever happening, please visit my garage door security web page.
Entrance DoorsYou need to have either a solid core hardwood door or one of metal clad construction securing each entrance in your home. It is very important to ensure any solid core wooden doors you may have are not constructed with softwood lumber.
Solid core doors made out of softwood lumber are not capable of withstanding the level of force that an intruder may impact against them.
If you are uncertain as to the type of material an entrance door is made from, a small scratch test will help you verify the type of wood it was produced with.
You can scratch your entrance door using a thumbnail (on the hinge edge of the door were it will not be noticed) & you should not be able to make any kind of a deep scratch if your door is made out of hardwood.
If you are unsure about the scratch you made, you can perform the same test on the hinge side of an interior door & you will find this scratch to be much deeper if your exterior door is made from hardwood. If it is made of softwood, you will not notice any significant difference in the two scratches you performed.
You will also want to ensure that each of your entrance doors are in a good state of repair, as it is very important that the structural integrity of each door has not been compromised in anyway.
If you do find one of your exterior doors need to be replaced, the rule of thumb in purchasing a new door is “the cheaper the price the weaker the materials used to construct it”.
To acquire the level of physical security you need for keeping criminals out, it is essential to have a good solid door securing each entrance.
Although if the door frame is not strong or the hinges & locks that are been used are of poor quality, this will significantly diminish the fortification that a solid core hardwood door or one of metal clad construction provides.
Quality Deadbolt Locks
Good quality deadbolt locks are also an essential part of physically securing your exterior doors. Most locks of inferior quality do not have the strength & durability to withstand the impact of force they would be subjected to from an intruder breaking-in.
It wasn’t that long ago when strength & durability were the only type of qualities that were looked for & needed in a deadbolt lock.
This has changed over the past several years as door security everywhere has been compromised by a very easy & widespread lock-picking technique known as “lock bumping”.
This lock-picking method is performed with a special cut key called a “bump key” & over the past 5 or 6 years there has been tens of thousands of these keys sold online & there are many more being sold & copied with each passing day.
Some locksmiths claim that Over 90% of all deadbolt locks across North America can be opened with a bump key.
With this lock picking technique being so incredibly easy to perform, there are thousands of criminals that are basically walking around with master keys to 9 out of every 10 homes.
For a more comprehensive understanding of this lock-picking security threat, please visit my lock bumping or bump proof locks web page. Each of these pages will also allow you to replay one of the many news updates that have been warning the public about this widespread security problem.
You should never use sales hype or product
advertising in determining which deadbolt lock(s) will help you acquire an
adequate level of door security.
The only way you can know with any certainty what type of quality a deadbolt lock really has, is for the lock to be tested & rated by independent organizations that are well recognized & widely accepted for carrying out such tests.
The two top organizations that are recognized around the world for performing test on deadbolt locks are ANSI (American National Standards Institute) & UL (Underwriters Laboratories).
ANSI puts deadbolt locks thru a series of rigorous tests to determine quality & durability, while UL puts them through a series of lock picking tests including lock bumping (UL 437, Paragraph 11.6).
The highest rating ANSI provides for deadbolt locks is a Grade 1 which is commercial grade. While it may be rated for commercial use, they are also widely used to secure residential exterior doors.
All ANSI Grade 1 deadbolt locks were once considered to be the best quality locks for securing the entrance doors in your home.
The only ANSI Grade 1 locks that most locksmiths & security professionals recommend today are ones that have also been certified by UL as being bump proof.
A good level of door security can also be obtained with an ANSI Grade 2 bump proof lock that has the deadbolt extending out from the edge of the door by at least one inch.
You will find the large majority of bump proof locks retail between $80 & $150. While you will find one’s that retail even higher than this, you will also discover some high quality bump proof locks that are much more affordably priced.
The most inexpensive high quality bump proof locks being sold today are the “Smart-Key” deadbolt locks that are produced by both Weiser & Kwikset.
The smart-key locks produced by both of these well-known lock companies are exactly the same. So as far as quality is concerned, it makes no difference which companies lock is used or purchased.
Producing the exact same lock is due to both of these lock manufactures being owned & operated by the same company, the Black & Decker Corporation.
All 980 & 985 smart-key deadbolt locks are ANSI Grade 1 certified & have passed UL series of lock-picking tests including lock bumping. They also have a unique security feature that no other lock provides, as you can rekey these locks yourself in less than 15 seconds without having to remove the lock cylinder from the door.
If you need to lend your house key to a
neighbor or service person, you can quickly rekey your lock before doing so
& then rekey it back to the original key when they no longer need it.
This will help ensure the integrity of door security in your home does not become compromised by a copy of your house key ending up in the wrong hands.
It should also provide you with peace of mind, as you will never have to worry or wonder if a copy of your house key was ever made when it was in someone else’s possession.
You should not have any problems finding a large assortment of smart-key locks available at one of the larger building supply or home improvement stores in your area.
If you are an internet shopper, you can click on the link below to view a large variety of these smart-key locks on Amazon.com.
Many of these bump proof locks are available for around $30, as you will find the Amazon web site retails these deadbolt locks at some of the lowest prices found anywhere.
If you do choose to buy any smart-key deadbolt locks from Amazon.com, I would appreciate if you would consider doing so through the link below.
Anything you buy through the following link will help support the continuous growth of this website as we earn a small commission on any purchases made.
It does not matter what brand of deadbolt locks you acquire or use on your exterior doors, but it is very important that you use good quality locks that are also bump proof.
Increasing the physical security of your exterior doors is absolutely essential for preventing criminals from entering your home. Having strong physically secured entrance doors alone though will not provide the level of door security that’s needed, if some would-be criminal can simply use a $2 bump key to enter your home.
Exterior Door Hinges
Another security weakness that is inherent to most residential exterior doors are the hinges, as they are generally secured to the door & frame with only an 1¼” to 1½” wood screws.
These screws are simply too short to hold the weight of a solid entrance door along with the level of physical force an intruder may impact against it. The weakest section of the hinges is where they are attached to the doors frame.
Since a 1/8” of wood needs to be removed so the hinges would be recessed flush with the frame, this may leave less than an inch of softwood that the short screws are being anchored too.
To effectively address this security weakness you will want to replace two of the four screws attaching each hinge to the door & two of the four screws attaching each hinge to the doors frame with 3 inch (7.62 centimeter) wood screws.
You will also want to ensure you have good quality heavy gauge hinges on each of your home’s entrance doors.
You may also have hinges that will weaken your door security if any of your exterior doors open outward. This would place your hinges on the outside of your door where any would-be intruder would have easy access to the pins that hold them together.
Knocking out the pins would unfortunately allow an intruder to remove an exterior door without having to unlock it.To ensure this does not happen, you will need to have or install security hinges on your exterior door. Security hinges cannot be separated due to the pins holding them together are not removable, as they are permanently fixed in place.
Door frames & Strike Plates
Residential exterior door-frames are generally made from softwood, due to much higher prices that retailers charge for hardwood lumber. While this undoubtedly lowers building & renovation costs, it also significantly weakens the level of door security in most homes.
The strike plate is a piece of metal screwed to the doorjamb where the deadbolt or entry locks latch enters the frame. Strike plates protect the finished surface of the doorjamb & with the door locked it helps keep the bolt & latch in place.
Most strike plates that come with new locks are made from a very light gauge steel that is not much thicker or stronger than a piece of sheet-metal or tin & are normally secured to the doorjamb with a couple of 3/4” wood screws.
These strike plates were not designed to enhance door security, as they are more cosmetic than anything else, but unfortunately this is the most common type of strike plate that is used on the exterior doorjambs in most homes.
The doorjamb where the deadbolt enters the strike plate is the weakest point on most residential exterior doors. Without taking measures to address this security weakness, one firm kick against the door is generally all that is needed for the doorjamb to split & for the door to spring wide open.
To address this security weakness you will want to use a heavy gage security strike plate on each of your exterior doors. This will hold the locks deadbolt securely in place & increase the physical strength of the doorjamb around it.
If you are working with a limited budget, you will find security strike plates that are a 1/8” thick & approximately 8” to 10” in length with 6 pre-drilled screw holes & they retail for around $15 each.
There are also many strike plates available that are very similar to this that retail for around $5 or $6, but they are only a 1/16” thick & are simply not strong enough to provide you with the level of door security you need.
Although if you run in to any difficulties finding 1/8” strike plates you can double up two 1/16” plates together to acquire the 1/8” thickness you need. If you do use two 1/16” strike plates, you may want to use a very small amount of glue to bond them together, as this will ensure the holes & the edges of both plates are perfectly lined up with each other.
Your 1/8 thick strike plate needs to be recessed flush with the doorjamb & then secured to the jamb & the wall stud behind it using 3” wood screws.The security measure above can be very effective if your home is located among other residences that are next to one another. If your closest neighbors are not nearby, you may want to consider securing your exterior doorjambs with a higher level of physical security that is outlined below.
For a residence that is located among neighboring homes most criminals will not use excessive force against its exterior doors or impact them with force multiple times.
They know the amount of noise this type of force will create will likely reveal their presence to the homes neighbor’s.
The biggest priority for every intruder is to be able to carry out their crimes without being seen or heard.
They know this is the only guarantee they have for not being identified or arrested when breaking in to people’s homes.
The farther a home is from its closest neighbors, the less concern criminal’s will have in repeatedly using loud excessive force against its exterior doors. Any home that does not have any neighbors nearby should increase the physical security of their exterior doorjambs with the following security measure.
This measure should also be considered by anyone that is able to afford the $70 to $100 it will cost to implement for each exterior door. While it will help one acquire a much higher level of door security, it has also provided many with a better feeling of security & peace of mind.
There are several different types of high security strike plates available in today’s market that range from 4’ to 6’ in length & normally retail between $70 and $100 each.
The standard cut-outs in most of these strike plates are made to accommodate exterior doors that have a distance of 5½” to 6” between the deadbolt & the entry lock latch.
If you are considering installing these strike plates, you will need to measure the distance from the center of the latch to the center of the deadbolt where they extend out from the edge of your doors.
If the distance between the latch & deadbolt on any of your exterior doors is less than 5½” or more than 6”, you will need to create an additional cut-out.
I found the best way to accomplish this is to use one of the existing square cut-outs for your deadbolt & drill a hole that is 1/8” larger in diameter than your entry lock latch.
When drilling a hole in steel it is always best to start off with a small pilot-hole first & then drill the larger size hole you will need.
These long steel strike plates are secured to the face of the doorjamb, so you will need to have enough space to accommodate each one. With your exterior doors closed you will need to ensure you have at least 1/8” of space between the edge of each door & the doorjamb.
These high security strike plates will basically turn a wooden doorjamb into a steel one & will completely eliminate what is generally the biggest security weakness in most residential exterior doors.
I sincerely hope this door
security web page has provided you with some helpful information that will
benefit you in securing your home’s exterior doors. You may want to consider
bookmarking this site as new & updated content is uploaded weekly.
Top Quality Home Security Information That Will Help You Provide Your Home & Family With An Adequate Level Of Security At The Lowest Possible Cost!
This report is a must read for anyone who is
serious about protecting their home & family against the onslaught
of unlawful intrusions that affects so many each & every day!
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