The Ultimate Guide to Waterfront Living
  The Ultimate Guide to Home Security
Additional Door Security
Find out how to reinforce your homes doors to prevent a thief from using force to kick the door in.


Reinforcing Door Frames
Companies such as Strikemaster in Virginia now offer a simple way to reinforce existing doors frames. They have engineered a long metal strike plate with extra long screws. These screws bite into the wall studs surrounding the door frame. An average sized man can easily kick in and break through a standard door casing without much force. The Strikemaster product turns soft wood door frame casings into solid steel casings with simple installation and minimal effort. Strikemasterís patented steel design is constructed to fit on any door casing without the need to paint over or alter your door casing or frame design.
Strikemasters door reinforcing hardware. Images courtesy Strikemaster.

Security Strike Plate
A standard strike plate comes with every door lock. Many times these strike plates are only cosmetic and not intended to provide much security. They come with two short screws that attach it to the doorframe, and are made of thin gauge metal. The strike plate's attachment to the doorframe is usually the weakest point of the entire door system. In order to stand up to an attempted forced intrusion a security strike made of heavy gauge metal should be installed with extra long screws to engage the structural stud behind the doorframe.

The screw holes in a security strike plate should also be staggered so the screws don't penetrate into the same grain of the wood in the doorframe or wood wall framing. This helps to prevent the wood from splitting during an attempted forced entry. Security strike plates are inexpensive and should be added to every exterior door.

Auxiliary Chain Lock Photo courtesy Masterlock

Auxiliary Chain Locks
Auxiliary chain locks on doors, typically a sliding piece attached by a chain to the door frame, are not very effective security devices. Almost any intruder can force open a door secured only with a chain. These chains were designed to allow residents to see who is at the door while still being protected. A wide angle viewer or peep hole would be a much wiser choice.

Burgular Bar. Photo courtesy

Burglar Bar
Burglar bars fit securely under any door knob. The bottom of the bar has a hard rubber floor pad which wedges onto wood, tile or carpet floors. These are easy to install. Most are telescoping and adjustable to fit any door. When traveling they come apart for convenient carrying in luggage and offer instant release in emergency situations by just kicking the bottom of the brace away from the door. These bars are often used when traveling but should also be considered for extra security in high crime areas.

Mail Slots
If possible try to avoid having a mail slot in the door. They can provide a thief with an opening through which the lock can be reached and manipulated. Unless your door has a double side dead bolt a mail slot should be avoided. If the door already has a mail slot, a letterbox cage can be installed to prevent thieves from manipulating the door lock.

Photo courtesy

Peep Hole
If there is no glass panel in the front door, or the glass is not transparent, a wide angle peep hole should be installed. Wide angle door viewers give a nice field of view and allow residents to see who is on the other side of the door before opening it. For security, the wider the field of vision the better.

Safety Hinges
Exterior doors should swing inward to prevent any attack on the hinges. When doors swing in the hinge pin of the doors hinges are then safely mounted on the interior of the home. If local building codes require a door to swing outward, it should be installed on non-removable pin hinges or the hinges should be "pinned". To pin hinges remove the screw from opposing positions on both top and bottom hinges, and drive a pin or nail into one of the holes so the head sticks out just enough to stay within the drilled out hole of the opposite side. When the door is closed, the head of the nail engages the matching hole, and holds the door in place even if the hinge pin is removed.

Sliding Doors
Sliding doors are inherently less secure than standard swinging doors and should be avoided when possible. If sliding doors are already in place, make certain the sliding panel is mounted on the inside. If it's mounted on the exterior then it could be lifted off the track and removed. A security device such as a "Charley-Bar", which is a solid bar that latches in place between the sliding panel and the frame is suggested for additional security on sliding doors. Homeowners could also install a pin-lock by drilling a hole completely through the sliding panel so that a removable solid metal pin can be inserted to secure the sliding to the fixed panel.

French doors,
French Doors, or any paired doors which do not have a center post, are inherently insecure, and if possible should not be used on the exterior entrance to a home. If an existing home has French doors, security can be enhanced by installing heavy-duty vertical bolts to secure the inactive side of the set to the threshold and the top frame. Additional security is obtained by installing a quality deadbolt on the live door to secure it to the inactive one. An alternative solution would be to install ornate wrought iron exterior security storm doors.

French Doors cremone bolts Photo courtesy Killian Hardware

Steel Security Doors
Steel security doors provide additional security especially on hard to secure doors like sliding doors and French doors. These doors are available in a variety of ornate designs. Steel security doors should have a heavy duty 2 inch steel frame, a quality deadbolt and be pre-hung on a metal jamb.

Security Shutters
Another option for additional security on windows or doors is installing roll-a-way security shutters. These shutters provide a formidable barrier, not only against intruders, but also against hurricane damage. Security shutters can be set up to work on timers as well as automatic garage door style openers. Just be sure they have a quick release that allows the shutters to be opened from inside the home in the case of fire.

Attic Hatches
Access to a homeís attic should only be located inside the home. If an external access door exists, consider having it professionally removed or use a good quality pad lock mounted inside the attic. If possible, protect the attic space with an motion detector alarm.

Supra key lock box with combination code. Photos courtesy

Sometimes thieves can take advantage of a security system by accessing a set of keys. Never leave a spare key under the doormat, or in a flowerpot. Burglars know all the standard hiding places. If a spare key must be left outside, purchase an external key lock box with a combination code. These miniature safes can be kept out of sight and also can be mounted firmly to fence post or other solid structure.

When moving into a new home, itís advisable to change all the exterior door locks immediately. Never leave your house or car keys near a door or window. Burglars may break in just to steal the car keys. A good security measure is to mount a combination key box in a convenient space within your home. These boxes not only protect your keys from theft but also help keep all of your keys organized.

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