Home Security 101: The Front Door
I have decided to start a new series of posts here for home security and the first place we are going to tackle is the front door.
If you haven’t done so already, you can sign up to our newsletter in which you will receive a free report on home security at the bottom of the page but this series looks at going into much more detail.
Most home break-ins occur via the front door which is why it is important that we maximise security here first.
The idea here is to fortify the front door so that it becomes incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for an unwanted guest to gain entry.
Before we go any further, I need you to forget anything you’ve seen on TV, or you’ve been told about burglars picking locks. Most criminals wouldn’t have a clue how to pick a lock. One thing they do know how to do, is kick a door through so no amount of extra chains or flimsy locks is going to be a problem for them.
1. Install a Security Door
A security door is a wise investment for those that are looking to improve their home security. They have a strong and sturdy frame, often made from steel or wrought iron, which makes these doors much more secure than common exterior doors that may have wooden or plastic frames.
The security door should also have heavy-duty keyed locks and a deadbolt. Deadbolts are essential for achieving maximum security, and non-removable pin hinges will further help to stop any attempts to break in through a security door.
These are not only hard to break into, but it also stops many criminals from even trying.
It is important to understand at this point that you could have the best security door out there, but it is useless if it is attached to a poor frame or incorrectly installed.
2. Change Your Locks
Sure, your external doors already have locks installed but they’re probably basic locks that don’t even include a deadbolt.
The best locks to get are called cylinders. These are operated with a key, but they are harder to snap open and break. A deadbolt is also a good option but you do have to use it. Some people tend to skip that part when they leave the house, since locking an additional door is just one more step.
No matter what, purchase a door lock made from a heavy-duty metal as it will stand up to the test of time.
If you haven’t made a point to upgrade your locks, you need to perform a quick search and get the most trusted front door lock brands. It’s a wise move to change the locks if they are substandard.
3. Reinforce the Strike Plate
The strike plate is an additional piece of metal that is meant to hold the lock bolt in place where it goes into the door frame.
The use of a strike plate is a great way to reinforce the overall security of your lock, but like anything else, if your strike plate is not properly installed, it will ultimately do very little in a brute force attack.
The best way to reinforce your strike plate is to make sure that it is firmly connected with long screws to the door jamb and its adjoining door frame. Long screws will bite into the stud that supports the jamb.
When a door is kicked, the most likely failing point will be the strike plate—short screws just rip through the frame, shattering the material that holds the deadbolt. But longer screws— at least 2 to 3-inches long—won’t rip free. This simple process increases your security tenfold.
Next up, we need to focus our attention on the door hinges. Make sure that your door hinges are strong and are fitted with long screws. It is possible to fit hinge bolts, which will reinforce the hinge side of the door against attempted forced entry.
When a burglar sees that they can’t bypass your locks, they will turn their attention to your door hinges. If these hinges are not correctly installed, the burglar can dislodge the entire door out of the frame and access your home.
I remember a couple of years back now when a man who lived just up from me had his house broken into. The thieves literally just attacked the hinges, removed the whole door, placed it aside and went in to his property. Please don’t be this guy.
5. Reinforce the Door Jamb
This will take a little work but it will be well worth the effort and costing very little to do. If you pry off the trim/doorstop that the door closes against, you will see where the jamb has been nailed through the shims.
You need to remove each of the nails and replace them with long screws. Put the doorstop back and you’re done. This will hold against even the most powerful of kicks.
6. Security Door Bar
If you’re looking to beef up your home’s security to the max, you can look at getting a door bar which are an easy-to-use, budget-friendly option for any home. These vary in style, construction materials, and price but the end goal is always the same, to keep the bad guys out!
These security bars go by many names: door stoppers, barricades and jammers, to name a few. They are a brilliant way to keep thieves out of your home.
The good thing with door bars is that even if the criminals manage to defeat the locks, they most likely still won’t be able to get inside your home. Even ramming the door won’t work since most security bars are designed to hold firm against huge amounts of force.
7. Strengthen Glass Surfaces
A lot of doors are in close proximity to windows. Some doors even have glass or windows on them. Both of these greatly reduce the security of your front door if they are not addressed.
There are three main ways to take care of these issues. The first is that you remove the glass, at least to the point so that someone who smashed it would not be able to reach their hand through to manipulate the thumbturns on the other side.
The next thing that you could do is place bars over the glass, making sure that the bars are close enough together that no one can reach through them. This is not the answer for most people because very few homeowners like the idea of barred windows.
The third thing that you can do to strengthen your windows is to place security film over them. This is an adhesive tape similar to window tint, but it can be completely clear. This wont make your window smash-proof, but it will discourage most burglars by keeping the glass from shattering easily.
8. Install a Peephole
A door viewer or a “peephole” is a small opening that is drilled through your entrance door and fitted with a fisheye (wide-angle) type lens. Sometimes, opportunistic intruders will wait for someone to open the door before they force their way in.
The peephole will allow you to see who’s on your doorstep without opening the door. If you don’t recognize the person on the other side, you can decide whether to open it or not.
The simple glass peephole has been around for a very long time. Despite it being low tech, the peephole is a valuable added layer of residential safety and security for the occupants.
9. Use a Light Sensor
The main purpose of motion detection is to sense an intruder before they even get to your front door. Some security systems can be programmed to record events via a security camera when motion is detected.
They are ideal for covering the area in front of the garage and the front garden, and can switch outdoor lighting on and off that is placed to illuminate areas that are covered by video surveillance cameras, when the latter do not incorporate them.
10. Keep Shrubs in Check
Everyone loves a flowery landscaping, but it belongs nowhere near your door. Never plant shrubs, bushes or trees to obscure your doors; they make it too easy for a burglar to lie in wait and then do the deed without anyone the wiser.
11. Security Cameras
The best way to secure a door does not end with simply keeping an attack from being successful. In fact, protection can begin before the criminal even approaches the door.
Something like a security camera has the potential to discourage any attack before it takes place. If the crime cannot be prevented before it takes place, a security camera with an alert notification protocol may allow you to respond to the event. This will mean the thief does not have the time required to work their way through the many different ways you have chosen to secure your door.
Have anything else you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments below and if you have enjoyed the post, please share it for others to read.